Fly Me to the Moon
dir Ben Stassen
scr Domonic Paris
with Trevor Gagnon, David Gore, Philip Bolden, Christopher Lloyd, Kelly Ripa, Nicollette Sheridan, Adrienne Barbeau, Ed Begley Jr, Tim Curry, Robert Patrick, Mimi Maynard, Buzz Aldrin
release US 15.Aug.08, UK 3.Oct.08
08/US nWave 1h24
Fly Me to the Moon
Houston, we have three problems: Scooter, Nat and IQ

lloyd sheridan curry
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Fly Me to the Moon Despite some astonishing visual sequences, a flimsy script and frankly awful character design ground this film before it can blast off. With a little more daring and invention, it could have been a gem.

In a junkyard near Cape Canaveral in 1969, a pre-teen fly named Nat (voiced by Gagnon) and his pals Scooter and IQ (Gore and Bolden) are dreaming of space when they concoct an idea to hitch a ride on the first manned moon mission. Nat inherits his yearning to explore from his grandfather (Lloyd), which causes much anguish for his nervous mom (Ripa). And once they get into space, a Russian fly (Begley) sends an evil spy (Curry) to sabotage the mission.

The set design and animation are spectacular in 3D on a massive Imax screen. The moon-landing sequence is worth the price of admission, with a painterly elegance that includes detailed textures and gorgeously rendered light and shadows. So it's a pity that into these settings come ssuch poorly designed characters: flies that just look like goofy humans with tiny wings. Honestly, why call them flies at all? The film would actually make more sense if you called them fairies.

But the problem goes deeper than that, because the screenplay is completely haphazard, with rambling, talky dialog that doesn't actually tell us anything about the characters, plus a plot that spirals into unexplored realms of implausibility. We'd happily go along with a tale about three adventurous adolescent insects if there was even a shred of logic within their story. But nothing holds water; the script feels slapped together without a second thought.

And you have to feel sorry for the talented animators and voice actors who lend their skills to such an ill-conceived project. Most of the vocal cast is wasted, although Ripa and Sheridan (as a curvy Russian who has a history with Grandpa) try to inject some attitude, despite the script's appalling sexism. And when the real Buzz Aldrin appears after the painfully sentimental finale to tell us that all of this is scientifically impossible, we know the filmmakers have completely lost their way.

cert u themes, violence, vulgarity 21.Sep.08

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© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall