'Moon': mission impossible

Review C

August 15, 2008|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,Sun reporter

Fly Me to the Moon, the animated tale of three flies who find themselves reluctant stowaways on the Apollo 11 moon flight, exists for only one reason: to showcase the 3D work of its director, Belgian-born Ben Stassen, and his production company, nWave Pictures.

To that end, it excels. The 3D work is quite marvelous, ranging from the awesomely impressive, as when the huge rocket lifts off from its launching pad, to the delightfully puckish, as when the three young flies - Nat, Scooter and I.Q. - savor the weightlessness of space.

Good thing, too, because without its extra-dimension, there wouldn't be a single thing about Fly Me to the Moon that would appeal to anyone older than 6. And in an age when Pixar, and to a lesser extent Disney and DreamWorks, are routinely putting out animated features that are equally appealing to 6- and 60-year-olds, such limited ambition simply doesn't cut it.

Baby boomers may enjoy the film's evocation of the golden age of space exploration, but even those pleasures prove fleeting. The film's respect for its source material goes only so far before reducing everything to the level of an old-style Saturday-morning cartoon, complete with stock characters finding themselves in stock situations.

Writer Domonic Paris even throws in a pair of Russian secret-agent spies sent to sabotage the mission, a Cold War reference that will seem silly to those old enough to understand it, superfluous to those not.

Fortunately, Fly Me to the Moon is one of the first mainstream releases to be shown only in theaters with 3D capabilities. Go to enjoy the technical expertise, and take a first-grader (and not a particularly savvy one) along to find something of value in everything else.

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

Fly Me to the Moon

(Summit Entertainment) Featuring the voices of Trevor Gagnon, Philip Bolden. Directed by Ben Stassen. Rated G. Time 84 minutes.

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