Home Over The Moon

Over The Moon (U)

Cast: Cathy Ang, Ken Jeong, Robert G Chiu, Phillipa Soo
Genre: Musical
Author(s): Audrey Wells
Director: John Kahrs, Glen Keane
Release Date: 16/10/2020 (selected cinemas)
Running Time: 95mins
Country: Chi/US
Year: 2020

Thirteen-year-old Fei Fei is raised on the legend of moon goddess Chang'e, who sacrificed her love for mortal warrior Houyi to live forever in the starry firmament. According to the myth, Chang'e resides on the moon with her companion, Jade Rabbit. When Fei Fei's widowed father nervously introduces his girlfriend, Mrs Zhong, his daughter reacts angrily. She resolves to remind her father of the love he lost by building a rocket ship to the moon to prove Chang'e exists.


 

LondonNet Film Review
Over The Moon (U)

An emotionally conflicted girl comes of age 150 million kilometres from Earth in Glen Keane and John Kahrs’ visually stunning computer-animated odyssey. Dedicated to the memory of scriptwriter Audrey Wells, who died of cancer in 2018, Over The Moon teaches heavy-handed lessons about embracing the future through the eyes of a teenager, who refuses to accept that anyone could replace her late mother. The loss of Wells at the age of 58 lends poignancy to the lead character’s inner turmoil…

Keane and Kahrs’ film is immersed in Chinese culture, specifically the Mid-Autumn Festival when families come together in joyful celebration, devour calorific mooncakes and release sky lanterns. Mindful of the environmental concerns about lanterns, the filmmakers wisely ignore that part of festivities and embellish the legend of a lovesick moon goddess with a musical soundtrack that warmly embraces self-empowerment and self-reflection including a rousing K-pop anthem entitled Ultraluminary. The quality of the animation is impressive, notably the expressiveness of the adolescent heroine, whose anguish is achingly evident in her furrowed brow and widening eyes.

Thirteen-year-old Fei Fei (voiced by Cathy Ang) was raised by her mother (Ruthie Ann Miles) and father (John Cho) on the legend of moon goddess Chang’e (Phillipa Soo), who sacrificed her love for mortal warrior Houyi (Conrad Ricamora) to live forever in the starry firmament. According to the myth, Chang’e resides on the moon with her companion, Jade Rabbit, and her tears are the stardust that twinkles in the night sky. Fei Fei clings onto this story and a silk scarf adorned with the goddess’ likeness as cherished memories of her late mother. Four years after the heartbreaking loss, the teenager’s widowed father nervously introduces his girlfriend, Mrs Zhong (Sandra Oh).

Fei Fei reacts angrily to the prospect of another woman invading their home. She resolves to remind her father of the love he lost by building a rocket ship to the moon to prove Chang’e exists. Mrs Zhong’s chatterbox eight-year-old son, Chin (Robert G Chiu), whose greatest achievement is fourth place in a ping pong tournament, is an unwelcome stowaway on the interstellar mission. The bickering children blast off to the colour-saturated kingdom of Lunaria, where they encounter a loveable creature named Gobi (Ken Jeong), who helps the prospective step-siblings to realise the value of teamwork.

Over The Moon bears thematic similarities to Coco and Wonder Park but sets itself apart with a retina-searing luminescent palette and a menagerie of outlandishly colourful characters. The script short-changes Jeong as the otherworldly comic relief and operates most effectively when it gently tugs a heartstring rather than aggressively mining a laugh. There are surprisingly few obstacles on Fei Fei’s journey to acceptance but Ang’s sensitive vocal performance ensures each tear-stained emotional outpouring feels genuine.

– Kim Hu


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From: Friday 23rd October
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Everyman Muswell Hill

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