Netflix’s Over The Moon review: A heart-warming children’s film that can amuse adults too
This animated adventure drama reasserts the importance of children’s films and manages to deliver a well-written film that will appeal to adults as well
When was the last time you heard about the paati who cooks vadais on the moon? Who decided that such grandma's tales aren’t necessary anymore? Netflix's Over The Moon is a film that reiterates the importance of such children’s stories, and it's one that will amuse children and adults alike.
A few minutes into the film, uncertainty looms over Fei Fei, the teenage protagonist of Over The Moon, after her widower dad decides to remarry. What follows is Fei Fei's breath-taking journey to the moon to prove to her father that Chang’e, the lonely goddess of the moon exists, and that “love lasts for eternity.” She decides to build a rocket-ship, and just as she leaves the earth, she realises that her step-brother, Chin, has sneaked into the vehicle. Due to the added weight, the rocket begins to topple and ends up on a collision course. What happens from thereon is the story of Over The Moon.
Cast: Cathy Ang, Philipa Soo, Robert G Chiu, Ken Jeong
Director: Glen Keane
Steaming on: Netflix
It’s quite natural to wonder if the themes handled by the film are a little too heavy for kids, given the 7+ age guidance. However, the subtlety in handling these narratives might just make Over the Moon a classic children’s animated adventure – a film they can frequently revisit to discover deeper themes and find solace.
Written by the late Audrey Wells and directed by Glen Keane, Over the Moon manages to delve deep into topics like grief, the dynamic nature of human behaviour, the importance of moving on, and the need for familial love. It is hard to not tear up when the film talks about how love deserves to be spread far and wide and not be stagnated. And despite the multiple narratives, the film still manages to stay on course.
Even if the writing fails to amuse, the advanced animations, right from the beginning, are bound to make an impression. There's one sequence that merits special mention — it's a shot of Fei Fei standing on top of a breathtaking Chinese tower that beautifully transitions into a rocket ship. The detailing in the frames is commendable, especially a particular shot at the end, where Fei Fei and Chin are playing along the lake. Amidst all the movement in the frame, one can notice the ping-pong ball fall from Chin’s hand and bounce off the edge, falling into a lotus petal in the water.
Over The Moon ends up being more than just another animated feature. Using a mythological character to tell a children’s story is not new. However, at a time when even the major studios are feeling the crunch over catering to younger audiences, Over The Moon’s storytelling and execution give a fresh look at the whole subject, and once again, re-establishes the necessity to shift some focus back to the genre.