Over the Moon Review
Here’s my Over the Moon review which is now streaming on Netflix and features the voices of Cathy Ang, Robert G. Chiu, Ken Jeong, Phillipa Soo, Sandra Oh and John Cho. It’s directed by Glen Keane and John Kahrs and written by Audrey Wells.
Netflix recently released a new animated feature/ musical called Over the Moon and while it looks like the usual, mediocre animated features released every so often, there’s a little surprise at the center much like a mooncake waiting to be discovered.
The film follows Fei Fei (played by Chinoy Cathy Ang) who wants to travel to the moon to meet the Chinese goddess of the moon, Chang’e (Phillipa Soo) and bring back proof to her father who is set to marry a new woman.
The film is chockful of optimism and heartache; again a surprising amount. I’ve not yet seen an animated film that prominently features loss and blended families yet. As Fei Fei struggles to cope with the reality of her father (John Cho) moving on after the death of her mother and wanting happiness as she gets a new stepmother and a stepbrother named Chin (Robert G. Chiu).
The humor’s surprisingly classy and child-friendly and the character designs range from forgettable to memorable. I am particularly fond of a number of things in Over the Moon including Chang’e’s multiple wardrobes and Fei Fei’s makeshift space suit.
The set design and animation is also good especially for most of the scenes in the moon. Those cute Chinese Lion/Dragons also look good. The blending of different colors here are also impressive.
The music is an OK bunch with Fei Fei’s “Rocket to the Moon” and “Rocket to the Moon Reprise” and Phillipa Soo’s “Ultraluminary”.
Netflix was banking on Ultraluminary that they released it earlier than the film.
It worked too. My little one was mesmerized with most of the performances at various parts of the film. If she liked the music then its good.
The one element that I really liked about this feature was accepting death and loss. Both Fei Fei and Chang’e share the same feelings of loss and they have their own ways of coping/ denying and pushing it away. The film brilliantly shows these two characters pushing people away because of their emotions; Fei Fei pushing away her new family while Chang’e pushing people from her court. By the end of the film, they are enveloped in their own darkness with the latter manifesting it in a dangerous fashion. They don’t discount Fei Fei’s feelings of darkness too but it looks more deadlier for Chang’e.
This is what I liked about OTM which I have to put down in my Over The Moon review. They did a good job of telling a story about loss from a pre-teen’s point of view together with the emotional challenges of joining a blended family and touching on classic Chinese mythology.
What’s the one thing I didn’t like about the film is the lack in terms of depth for other characters like Chin and Chang’e. Yes, even Chang’e needed a little bit more meat. Alas, that was not the case.
Rating: 4.5/ 5
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