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With: (voices) Christopher Lloyd, Trevor Gagnon, Tim Curry, Robert Patrick, Kelly Ripa, Adrienne Barbeau, Philip Bolden, Nicollette Sheridan, Ed Begley Jr., David Gore, Buzz Aldrin (as himself)
Written by: Domonic Paris
Directed by: Ben Stassen
MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 84
Date: 01/30/2008

Fly Me to the Moon (2008)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Lunar 'Toons

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Oddly similar to the most recent clunker Space Chimps, the new Fly Me to the Moon looked infinitely more promising in that it was based on an actual idea: the 1969 Apollo 11 mission as seen through the eyes of three stowaway flies -- in 3D! The camera flows smoothly through the back lots behind Cape Canaveral in Florida. It swoops into a patch of dirt and a tangle of weeds, through some bits of discarded junk, to the world where our little flies live (like humans, in little dollhouses). During this and other traveling sequences, the 3D works beautifully, engulfing us comfortably in this tiny world. But as soon as we meet the characters, the movie starts to sputter. In real life, houseflies can zip across the kitchen pretty darn fast relative to their size, but these flies drift lethargically from place to place, and the movie bogs down in their lackadaisical pace. It gets worse when the flies stop moving and start talking. Their faces are smooth and without texture, with eyes sunken into their heads. And it follows that the characters have a serious lack of personality. The filmmakers compensate by using ideas that were already out of date in "The Little Rascals" shorts of the 1930s. Our hero, Nat (voiced by Trevor Gagnon) is the "normal" kid. His friend I.Q. (voiced by Philip Bolden) is smart and wears glasses, and his other friend Scooter (voiced by David Gore) is fat and talks about food all the time.

Nat and his friends play "rocket ship" in their yard while Nat's grandpa (voiced by Christopher Lloyd) encourages him to do amazing things, regaling him time and again with a story about his flight with Amelia Earhart. So when the Apollo 11 gets ready for its momentous launch, our fly trio decides to stow away. (As the half-crazy, half-avuncular grandpa only Lloyd manages to get through a measure of human connection.) Then, as if having a hard time killing 84 minutes, the movie desperately tries to keep things moving by cooking up little dramas within the capsule; Scooter gets stuck in the back part of the capsule, about to be jettisoned and left in space forever. The three flies get caught and are imprisoned in a test tube, etc. But the movie still isn't exciting enough, so the writers cook up the most ludicrous subplot of all: Russian flies on the ground attempt to sabotage the mission so that Americans will not have the glory of being the first ones on the moon. On a further note, I brought my two year-old son to the screening, the same one who sat enraptured through Horton Hears a Who! earlier this year. Maybe he didn't like wearing the 3D glasses and couldn't get used to their disorienting effects, but within the first two minutes, he was shrieking, "I don't like this! I don't like this!" I couldn't have said it better myself.

Best Buy Co, Inc.