Monday, September 1, 2008

Should've been swatted right out of the theatres

In Fly Me to the Moon, the year is 1969 and like everyone else in the world, Nat (Trevor Gagnon) and his pals IQ (Philip Daniel Bolden) and Scooter (David Gore) are abuzz over the upcoming launch of the first manned mission to the moon. Inspired by his Grandpa’s (Christopher Lloyd) oft-told tale of hiding aboard Amelia Earhart’s plane during her famed solo cross-Atlantic flight, Nat hatches a secret plan for the three young flies to stow away on the Apollo 11 rocket. The hard part is keeping the plan secret from his mom, Mrs. McFly (Kelly Ripa)! When a N.A.S.A. Ground Control official catches sight of the three winged stowaways, he instructs the astronauts to store them in a test tube for later study. But after an electrical short causes the ship’s engine to malfunction, the three intrepid insects manage to escape from their glass mini-brig just in time to discover the wiring problem and fix it. After a difficult lunar landing, Nat tags along with Neil Armstrong on his legendary moon walk.

In a junkyard near Cape Canaveral in 1969, a pre-teen fly named Nat (voiced by Gagnon) and his pals Scooter and IQ (Gore and Bolden) are dreaming of space when they concoct an idea to hitch a ride on the first manned moon mission. Nat inherits his yearning to explore from his grandfather (Lloyd), which causes much anguish for his nervous mom (Ripa). And once they get into space, a Russian fly (Begley) sends an evil spy (Curry) to sabotage the mission. The set design and animation are spectacular in 3D on a massive Imax screen. The moon-landing sequence is worth the price of admission, with a painterly elegance that includes detailed textures and gorgeously rendered light and shadows. So it's a pity that into these settings come ssuch poorly designed characters: flies that just look like goofy humans with tiny wings. Honestly, why call them flies at all? The film would actually make more sense if you called them fairies. But the problem goes deeper than that, because the screenplay is completely haphazard, with rambling, talky dialog that doesn't actually tell us anything about the characters, plus a plot that spirals into unexplored realms of implausibility. We'd happily go along with a tale about three adventurous adolescent insects if there was even a shred of logic within their story. But nothing holds water; the script feels slapped together without a second thought. And you have to feel sorry for the talented animators and voice actors who lend their skills to such an ill-conceived project. Most of the vocal cast is wasted, although Ripa and Sheridan (as a curvy Russian who has a history with Grandpa) try to inject some attitude, despite the script's appalling sexism. And when the real Buzz Aldrin appears after the painfully sentimental finale to tell us that all of this is scientifically impossible, we know the filmmakers have completely lost their way. This one had the potential to be fun, but sad to say...It just wasn't. A saddened 2 on my "Go See" scale.

No comments: