| The Red Right Hand
FLY ME TO THE MOON
I've been known to entertain guests from time to time and almost always my rather obscenely large collection of DVDs gets a mention. A phrase I hear all too often is, "Matt, why do you own...?" A lot of the time, this question is finished with a children's film. How could I, a fully grown, mature adult, have any possible interest, desire or need to own something like Aladdin, My Neighbour Totoro or The Kid? Well, quite simply put, part of me enjoys watching kid's flicks every now-and-then. I enjoy the innocence and the simplicity of the visual storytelling and sappy morals. There is, however, a very clear cut difference between a good film for the young 'uns and one that simply talks down to them; a difference that takes moral concepts and either simplifies or trivialises them. Unfortunately, Fly Me To The Moon falls heavily into the latter.
It would seem certain studio executives have decided that kids of today will never know (American) man went to the moon and that a film should be made to commemorate such an event.
"But how do we market it to the kids? Astronauts and rockets, kids have no interest in such things. They like… flies! My TV is littered with adverts with kids covered in flies; they must love them. Yes, that's the way forward!"
"Oh, but how do we explain the state of political unease between the American and Soviet powers?"
"I know! A short, fat Russian fly but get this! His name... can be Poopchev!"
And thus, a plot is born. Three young flies (completely ignoring the fact that flies only live for a day or something) stow away on the Apollo 11 mission and go to the moon. Then they come back. I understand and appreciate what an achievement the Apollo 11 mission was and how it changed so much for so many but isn't the Apollo 11 mission just a tad boring? They go up, they go down; there's no sense of urgency because we know they made it to the moon, even the kids know that.
Last month I stated how much I hated Space Chimps and thought it was so very stupid and yet I am now treated to the same thing but with flies. Sure, the cast has improved but the finished product is abysmal. Leaving the CGI/3D element for one minute, let's just quickly analyse the script. First off, there are far too many stereotypes. We have stereotypical fainting women, stereotypical mothers, stereotypical old-timers, stereotypical young hot heads, stereotypical leader kid, stereotypical smart kid, stereotypical fat kid, stereotypical bad guys, stereotypical henchman, stereotypical Russians, stereotypical flag waving Americans, stereotypical everything! (I'd be impressed if you read that all out loud in one breath as that's pretty much how I said it when I came out of the cinema). To be honest, the script can be blamed for most of the glaringly obvious flaws. The plot is lazy, the events benial and the humour absolutely appalling and I don't want ONE email saying this film was intended for kids because that's no excuse. Children are so much smarter than we ever give them credit for and if you keep a story visually entertaining, you can slide all sorts of subtleties in. Unfortunately, the most popular slides are stupid jokes about incompetent henchman, bullying the weakest of the group and moronic pratfalls.
Now, this film has been advertised and marketed as the FIRST film EVER created completely in 3D. For anyone about to mention Beowulf or Shrek 3D, when these people claim it's the first 3D film they mean this is the first feature length film created to be a 3D project from start to finish, rather than a novelty afterthought. Understand? Good. The problem is, where the 3D effects are well done and rather entertaining, the CGI itself is sub par to awful. The shuttle looked good but other than that everything was half rate and at times looked no better than Antz or A Bug’s Life (both of which are nearly a decade old). Another point I never thought I would mention for an animated film was the editing. For some inexplicable reason, every transitional point was marred with pauses. To the layman, this simply means at the end of each scene, after a joke had been told or some dastardly plan hatched, the characters would freeze for a couple of seconds before the next scene began. It may sound like a minor point to you but it irritated the hell out of me.
At the end of the day, the 3D effects make the film worthwhile and if your kids are young enough (and American enough to stomach all that patriotic garbage), by all means go along. If, on the other hand, you don't want your children to grow up rolling their eyes and dryly remarking, "Women!" every time a girl says/does something or name their first born Scooter, take them to see Wall-E instead.
3rd October 2008
The Scene To Look Out For:
I was originally going to point out the Kremlin introduction just because Red Square looked so very cool in 3D but ended up changing it to Buzz Aldrin's pre-credit sequence. Just before the film ends, the real Buzz Aldrin walks on screen and states that he flew on the Apollo 11 mission. He then goes on to point the finger at all the boys and girls (and critics and parents and drunk guys with nothing better to do than watch a film in 3D) and tells them "THERE WERE NO FLIES! THERE WERE NO CONTAMINANTS! I FIXED THAT COMPUTER! ME! WE MAY HAVE SEEN A UFO OR TWO BUT NO MATTER WHAT THAT NUT BAR ARMSTRONG SAYS, THERE WERE NO FLIES ON BOARD! GOT THAT, KIDS? THIS IS FAKE!" Then he bleats on about how great America is for achieving such a feat and a flag waves proudly behind him. Bile. Just... just bile.
Rather than focus on one particular character, I'm actually going to highlight characters that weren't present; the fathers. Somewhat inexplicably, none of our lead characters have male parents, just one stuffy old grandfather; which leads me to believe that some sort of dirty incestuous relation has gone on here in which Grandpa Dr. Emmet Brown [Lloyd] or whatever is impregnating women then impregnating his daughters. I suppose I probably shouldn't be questioning these things, if we can accept the concept of one fly living for sixty years, I suppose I can let the daughter lovin' slide.
"They are American flies"
In A Few Words:
"As with the 3D effects, the only depth in this film is an illusion; take your kids to see Wall-E instead"