Starring: Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo, Ken Jeong
Director: Glen Keane
Running Time: 100 mins
Over The Moon is an American film about a young girl who builds a rocket ship and blasts off to the moon, where she finds herself transported to a magical land ruled by a goddess who may have the key to her life returning to how it once was.
This movie strikes me as Netflix’s first real move to take on Disney, and it’s a really good one. With gorgeous visuals, immense imagination, lovable characters and a soaring adventure story, Over The Moon is an enormously enjoyable watch, but is actually at its best when it’s not trying to emulate Disney classics.
First things first, as a standalone movie, Over The Moon is really wonderful. Working in tandem with Chinese producers, Netflix have made a heartwarming and boundlessly imaginative tale that will make both young kids and adults smile from ear to ear.
With beautiful, vibrant visuals that feel just unique enough from what we’re used to seeing from Disney, Over The Moon has a confidence that we rarely see from other animation studios, telling a soaring adventure tale that’s full of energy and heart.
Couple that with an imaginative take on Chinese folklore. as well as an occasionally jarring but ultimately effective parallel with the country’s incredible progress in the 21st century, and you have a film which is undeniably entertaining at every moment.
What’s most interesting about Over The Moon, however, is the way that it aims to emulate classic Disney animations, and whether or not that’s even a necessary move from Netflix.
Right from the beginning, the movie uses musical numbers that feel distinctly similar to Disney’s films, albeit never quite hitting the same sweet spots. The songs themselves are perfectly nice and add good energy to the film while advancing the story, but the lyrics are generally a little too on-the-nose, and lack the show-stopping power of Disney’s greatest songs.
Where Over The Moon really shows strength, however, is in the places it’s most different to Disney. People might make parallels to Mulan because of the film’s focus on Chinese culture, but the truth is that this film is a lot more similar to modern animations like The Little Prince, with adventure and emotion at the centre of its focus.
The music is nice, but it feels too much like a copy of Disney’s style. However, when this film beats its own drum, whether that be in its wonderfully imaginative use of Chinese folklore or in its soaring adventure story, that’s when it really takes off.
Over The Moon isn’t an all-time classic of animation, but it shows sparks of something really different and new, and I loved seeing that. On the whole, it’s still a gorgeous movie, and a delightful watch for younger and older viewers alike, though I just wish it embraced its individuality more than just making a play to take on Disney. So, that’s why I’m giving the film an 8.0 overall.