“Over the Moon” Review

Story posted October 30, 2020 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Sarah Simpson

Filled with magic, music and myths, Netflix’s new film “Over the Moon” is a powerful film that audiences of all ages can enjoy.

“Over the Moon” was inspired by the classic Chinese myth of Chang’e. The film’s main character, Fei Fei, builds a rocket to the moon in hopes of meeting the legendary Chang’e. When Fei Fei discovers her father is getting remarried a few years after her mother’s death, she hopes a visit to the moon goddess will remind her father of eternal love.

The success of the animated film, released on Oct. 23, exceeded the filmmakers’ expectations. It was initially recognized as an incredible family film, compared to “Coco” by critics for its adaptation of traditional Chinese culture.

The young, charismatic Fei Fei was voiced by Cathy Ang. Other standout roles included John Cho as her father Ba Ba, Sandra Oh as Mrs. Zhong, Phillipa Soo as Chang’e and Ken Jeong as Gobi. Kimiko Glenn and Margaret Cho also appear as Fei Fei’s aunties.

The film was animated by Sony Pictures Imageworks. The animation style is remarkable, featuring dynamic motion and lots of color. The filmmakers were able to make the story come to life in a creative way, while looking to Chinese culture for inspiration.

However, it’s clear that filmmakers of “Over the Moon” took shortcuts when adding elements of genuine Chinese culture to their film.

While doing their best to set the scene and include concepts such as traditional food and architecture, the film is no perfect representation because it was largely adapted for American audiences.

“Over the Moon” features nine original songs that tell the story throughout the film. The musical numbers were energetic and emotional, matching the inspirational tone of the film.

Various musical genres are utilized in the film’s music. For example, “Hey Boy” is a hip-hop/rap number, “Ultraluminary” is a classic pop song and many of the songs in the beginning of the film are traditional ballads.

The film was directed by Glen Keane, who is well known for animating iconic Disney films such as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou served as producers for “Over the Moon” through Pearl Studios and Netflix Animation. Pearl Studios is a fairly new production company, but is well known for 2019’s “Abominable.”

“Over the Moon” was initially written by screenwriter Audrey Wells in 2017. However, after Wells’ death in 2018, Alice Wu and Jennifer Yee McDevitt came on board to assist in writing the screenplay. The filmmakers decided to dedicate “Over the Moon” to Wells, in her memory.

Fei Fei’s story is inspirational to audiences of any race, age or gender. Though in the beginning she is misguided by her grief, by the end of the film she learns that love can be found in many places. Young audiences especially can take away a positive, inspirational message from “Over the Moon.”

Rating: 3/5

 

Sarah Simpson is a junior film-video major. To contact her, email sus816@psu.edu.