There is this idea perpetuated by many Americans that European culture is superior to anything that comes from the States. And it’s often true that the European cinematic output that makes it across the Atlantic is of a higher quality. British television is superior because of Monty Python; French movies are better because of Amélie and so on and so forth. But what we in the U.S. forget, however, is that we never get a look at their dreck. Until now.
Created by Belgian nWave Studios, the computer-animated Fly Me to the Moon should put to rest once and for all any idea of complete European cultural superiority, since this movie is as tedious and crass as anything pumped out by Hollywood—and it contains the added gimmickry of 3-D. Of course, Hollywood’s never had the class to 3-D animate a burp, or have Amelia Earhart’s snot fly at the camera, or the chutzpah to have adorable, doe-eyed maggots provide comic relief.
This movie is a classic example of why film concepts shouldn’t be built around song titles and puns. Fly Me to the Moon follows the adventures of three young houseflies: the go-getter, Nat (Trevor Gagnon, Loggerheads); the nerd, I.Q. (Philip Bolden, Are We Done Yet?); and the chubby one who loves to eat (as we’re reminded ad nauseam), Scooter (David Gore, Nomad). The trio hitches a ride with the crew of Apollo 11 all the way to the moon. Add in a few Soviet saboteur flies and that’s the gist of the movie, meaning for that extra $2.50 per ticket 3-D surcharge, all you get is 84 minutes of filler. Add in screenwriter Dominic Paris and his love affair with awful jokes (the exclamation, “Oh my Lord of the Flies!” is bad enough the first time, but then it’s used again!) and the movie becomes downright sadistic.
The animation is no better. Toy Story came out 13 years ago, and it still looks better than this. On the same note, the 3-D effects are rarely impressive, and often headache-inducing as the makers insist on constantly moving the focus of a scene quickly in and out of the fore and background (and the depth of field that reveals the interiors of the flies’ mouths is just creepy). Then again, it might’ve been the movie rather than the effects that gave me a migraine. Rated G.