Fly Me To The Moon

The second cartoon this summer to open with ape Ham I strapping into a space suit, Fly Me to the Moon has two advantages over rival Space Chimps: it’s marginally smarter and in 3-freaking-D. These are watery compliments for a pleasant, unassuming film. Aside from a few oh-yeah! dazzlers, dimensionalizing the story of three young houseflies – the hero, the geek, and the fatty – who slip aboard Apollo 11 doesn’t maximize its visual potential. There’s a nice swoosh-glide into their insect habitat past stubborn mushrooms and glass blades that seem to lash your cheeks. Later, chubby Scooter ping-pongs through weightless drops of Tang, and the three enjoy a gravity-free ballet that makes you ask, couldn’t they fly on earth? When Armstrong (one assumes: the humans are as indistinguishable as marshmallows) bounds across the lunar landscape, we’re treated to a fly’s-eye view from his helmet, staring down as the ground recedes under his feet and then pulls him back down with a puff of space dust. The plot – the usual be-a-hero stuff – is unessential; the science stops with “Wow! Look! The moon!” Back in their Houston swamps, we spend a little too much time with their families: three nervous moms nursing round pink maggots, and a daredevil Gramps still reminiscing about his old love Nadja, a Russian insect built like Charo, and his flight across the Atlantic with Amelia Earhart. Forming the killjoy truth committee are biologists in the audience compelled to note that the 41-year gap between Earhart and Armstrong would make Gramps as relatively ancient as King Tut, as well as Buzz Aldrin, who interrupts the credits to insist that at no time was the Apollo 11 infected with “contaminants.”

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