As a parent, I’m game to bring my kids to any film that’s made for their age level. A movie like Fly Me to the Moon was one of those movies I had seen plenty of advertising for, but it wasn’t really grabbing me. In fact, the only thing that really stood out to me was the fact that it was in 3D.
I’ll be the first to admit that I get totally sucked in with the 3D gimmick. In fact, some films (like this summer’s other 3D event, Journey to the Center of the Earth) are really only worth watching with the newfangled glasses. I’ve loved the 3D experience since I was a kid, and now the RealD technology with digital projection allows for crystal-clear perception of the 3D event.
The only thing that really worried me about this movie was how much they seemed to be pushing the 3D angle. It’s advertised as “The first ever animated film created for 3D.” I’m sure that’s true on a certain level, that this was the first animated film that was meant to be exclusively 3D since its inception. However, with a multitude of animated 3D releases (include Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, Monster House, Beowulf and The Polar Express), it hardly stands out as unique.
The other angle that interested me, though, was the whole allure of the Apollo program. While the whole Moon hype died down more than ten years ago after Ron Howard and Tom Hanks moved on to other projects, I’ve always been fascinated with the history surrounding it. So, Fly Me to the Moon had this going for it.
The film tells the story of three young flies (that miraculously live for years rather than the standard one-day life of the typical housefly) that sneak aboard the Apollo 11 rocket and join the astronauts for a trip to the Moon. There are challenges to face in space (and at some points, the flies are the only thing that saves the mission). Meanwhile, evil Russian flies are infiltrating Mission Control to sabotage the landing.
If Fly Me to the Moon were not in 3D, it’d hardly be worth the effort. The story is pretty forced, and the messages are delivered with the subtlety of a sledgehammer (e.g., the flies declaring their motto to be, “If it ain’t an adventure, it ain’t worth doing!”).
The animation is decent enough, but not nearly at the level of the high-end brilliance of the Pixar and DreamWorks movies. But it will do, allowing for some pretty nifty 3D effects. There’s enough gimmicky 3D shots and fast-moving virtual camera moments to provide the necessary thrills and spills for the experience.
However, the simplicity of the plot, availability of other superior 3D experiences and sub-par voice talent in the film make it hard to recommend to anyone over ten years old. Still, under all of the glitz is a nice history lesson that might get the younger viewers into the dream of going to the Moon.
So, Fly Me to the Moon is a recommended film… sort of. It’s available in limited release, in 3D theaters only. I’d avoid it if it ever comes out in the standard format, as the only reason it’s worth a look is for the thrill ride experience. The bottom line, if you kids want to see it, take them to the theater because it will most likely be lame on DVD.
THE UPSIDE: Like any modern 3D film, it’s kinda fun to watch.
THE DOWNSIDE: The plot seems really, really, really forced.
ON THE SIDE: In space, no one can hear you buzz.