by Soyal Khedkar
★★★ + half
Over the Moon is a musical adventure film filled with fuzzy family moments and positive spirit. Based on the legend of Chang’e- the Chinese goddess of the Moon- a little girl named Fei Fei (Cathy Ang) puts all her love and passion into building a rocket ship to meet Chang’e (Phillipa Soo).
The story starts out with a rather lovely moment spent by a beautiful lake with Fei Fei and her parents. Young Fei Fei is fascinated and in love with the moon goddess’ fairy tale, giving the audience a preview of the fairy-tale fantasy. However, the story truly begins when Fei Fei realises that she remains the last person who heartily believes in Chang’e ever since her mother’s passing. Reality strikes Fei Fei when her family gathers during the Moon Festival to discuss this moon goddess’ tale over a huge feast and most importantly– a plate of delicious mooncakes.
Truthfully speaking, the plot is somewhat predictable from the beginning. It’s just like any other optimistic fairy-tale. A princess found the sudden desire to take off on an adventure to prove the world she’s right, found friends along the way, tackled hardships and returned with your oh-so predictable happy ending. At one point, you almost feel like you’re seeing Joy and Bing Bong from the hit 2015 film Inside Out. Indeed, there are plenty of heart-warming moments throughout the film. Still, it all feels quite repetitive in terms of its overall plot. Not to mention that the film was directed by Glen Keane, an animator for Walt Disney Animation Studios, which explains all the ‘Disney’ feels throughout this movie.
However, the film has rather commendable animations. A blast of colours, lots of pixie dust, and an overwhelming amount of colourful talking “globs”. Literally. This movie will appeal to children more than it would to adults. The film just captivates a young child’s imaginative mind more than it does a teenager or adult. It’s got all the selling points that will make children fall in love with it– from random yet easy to follow melodies, a “problem” to solve, and happiness that’s found.
While Fei Fei’s affirmative spirit is something to adore, I had many other questions. Not every day does one see a Chinese goddess singing pop songs and having a musical ping pong battle with an eight-year-old boy. Even for someone who doesn’t know the goddess’ legend in much detail, that bit didn’t make sense. How one switches from a performer at a ‘sold-out concert’ to a lady yearning for her love to return in traditional royalty attire is beyond me.
Overall, I would say this film is a one-time watch if you’re one that loves the Disney and DreamWorks fantasy fairy-tales. While Netflix shows the world its capabilities with its animations and musical production, it is probably an excellent watch for a particular age group.
Only children would believe in a rocket ship that flew with the help of firecrackers now, wouldn’t they?