- Cole Delaney
Over The Moon (2020)
Feature Film Review
Over the Moon is a feature film debut by industry giant Glen Keane and co-directed by the great John Kahrs. It is based on a deeply personal screenplay written by Audrey Wells, who passed away before the film's production had begun, and animated by Pearl Studio, a Chinese Animation studio originally partnered with Dreamworks.
What really works for Over the Moon, more than any other element, is the design and settings. Of course with Glen Keane at the heading, there is so much love and care poured into each character, and you practically feel the personality dripping out of them from even his original sketches, which was translated beautifully to CG.
I will say that the emotional heart of the story is beautiful, if not predictable, but I think that was what they wanted. Some of the most heartwarming scenes revolve around Fei Fei's family, especially when they share meals.
But once Fei Fei makes it to the Moon city and meets the goddess Chang'e, it becomes breath taking. The energy, the vibrant colours all mixed with Glen Keane's delicate design sensibility all seem perfectly at home here. I can't compliment the team enough for these sequences.
Though, what I found didn't work for me are two elements. First, is the green creature she meets on the Moon, Gobi. I feel the story would be much better served if he was removed and replaced by other elements to help Fei Fei on her journey. The second element were the songs.
Now, this could be down to me, but I got fatigued throughout the feature from them. Again, I loved Chang'e's musical numbers, but I think because mainstream animation has drifted away from music quite heavily, I found they slowed down my interest in the story. I'm sure many people love them, I didn't. Then again, I thought Let it Go was the worst song in Frozen, so who am I to judge.
Over all I thought Over the Moon was a nice movie, and I'm sure is very important to many people, but for me, it hasn't really stayed in my head to think about over and over again. There is a lot to love, thanks to the masterful hands in design, but I think the story needed some more passes to get totally right.