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Over the Moon


Stars: Voices: Cathy Ang, John Cho, Phillipa Soo, Sandra Oh, Ruthie Ann Miles, Edie Ichioka, Brycen Hall, Irene Tsu, Ken Jeong

Director: Glen Keane

This new animation set in the Far East features a bereaved child who undergoes a fantasy adventure. But don't get your hopes too high: Kubo and the Two Strings this isn't.

Fei Fei (Hall, later Ang) is a seven-year-old Chinese girl whose parents sell pastries - principally 'mooncakes' - from a stall adjoining their home. Fei Fei's mother (Miles) fills the girl's head with stories of mythical lovers, the woman (Soo) taking a magic potion which took her away from Earth and off to the Moon, where she became Moon Goddess, pining for her man.

Alas, mother sickens and dies and, four years later, Fei Fei is dismayed to find her beloved father (Cho) interested in the widowed Mrs Zhong (Oh), who has an obnoxious pingpong-obsessed runt of a son, Bungee (Ichioka).

Unable to accept a replacement for her mother, the super-brainy Fei plans to run away and restore the Moon Goddess to her lost lover, constructing a rocket in which she plans to fly into space.

The best scenes in the film are those on Earth. As soon as, with the help of flying Chinese dragons, Fei Fei, her pet rabbit and stowaway Bungee, land on the Moon, things pretty much collapse, as, with the Moon depicted in jelly-and-blancmange colours, texture and blobby creatures, the film turns into a combination of The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Chinese mythology and daffy sci-fi. Even kids will find this long section, full of talk and no get-up-and-go, barely watchable.

Still, there's beautiful singing from Ang and Soo, and the filmmakers are to be congratulated in assembling a virtually all Chinese-American cast. The PG certificate is bewildering. Whatever the movie's merits, there's nothing here the frighten even the smallest child. Available on most digital platforms.

David Quinlan

USA/China/Canada 2020. UK Distributor: Netflix. Technicolor.
95 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 03 Dec 2020