What is the story about?
Fei Fei, a young girl, believes in the Chinese legend of Chang'e, the Moon Goddess. After her mother's death, her father's attempt to remarry makes her build a rocket to the moon. When she eventually gets there, she bumps into the Moon Goddess, who is nothing like the legend Fei Fei is familiar with. Fei Fei then criss-crosses the moon in search of the “gift” for Chang'e, with which she can bring her lover Douyi back to life. But will she succeed?
Netflix has officially arrived in animation.
Made in collaboration with Shanghai-based animation studio Pearl, Over The Moon does not suffer from problems of racial appropriation that plagued Disney's live-action retelling of Mulan. Directors Glen Keane and John Kahrs create a thrilling story steeped in Chinese mythology, but this film feels universally appealing for the way it also delves into themes of loneliness and letting go of the past.
This is a kaleidoscope of colours, where Fei Fei, along with her pet rabbit Bungee and probable step-brother Chin, go on multiple adventures with Gobi, a glowing creature, as well as lunar rooster bikers, lunar frogs, talking mooncakes and the Jade Rabbit, who seems to be the film's answer to Getafix from the Asterix comics. But the film truly shines when it focuses on Fei Fei's own emotional growth and the confrontation of her grief.
Hopefully, this film should signal the start of Netflix's big animation splash, where local customs cut across geographies to appeal to global audiences.
Music & Other Departments
The animation by Pearl Studio is top-notch, but the film is truly elevated by Steven Price's operatic score. Performances of the voice cast are all good.
There are numerous memorable sequences, but the ones that stood out for me, personally, were Chang'e rockstar-entry set to “Ultraluminary”, and a surreal sequence where both Fei Fei and Chang'e come to terms with their grief in the Chamber of Unbearable Sadness. The sewu
Did I enjoy it?
Yes, I enjoyed it.
Do I recommend it?
Yes. Watch it with your family. And keep some handkerchiefs ready.