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Film Review: 'Fly Me to the Moon' Launches in 3-D

Film Review: 'Fly Me to the Moon' Launches in 3-D
Three houseflies, Scooter (left), Nat (center) and IQ star aim for the moon in the family adventure comedy "Fly Me to the Moon," a Summit Entertainment release. (Image credit: Summit Entertainment.)

At its heart, the new film"Fly Me to the Moon" offers immersive 3-D effects that will likely entertainkids with visions of America?s first lunar landing of even if its story fallsflat with parents.

Billed as the firstanimated film made exclusively in 3-D, the movie follows three young flies as theytag along with NASA?s Apollo 11 mission to land the first astronauts on the moon in 1969.

Leading the trio is Nat(voiced by Trevor Gagnon), who enlists the aid of his pals — the bespectacledpal IQ (Philip Daniel Bolden) and tubby Scooter (David Gore) — to hitch a rideaboard Apollo 11 and escape their terrestrial life in a local junkyard.

Directed by Ben Stassen,?Fly Me to the Moon? is aimed at being both educational and entertaining. Butwhile it offers a competent portrayal of NASA?s moon landing and a houseflyversion of the competitive space race between the U.S. and former Soviet Union,the story?s action and simplistic dialogue seem geared solely towards youngchildren with the inevitable burp and fart jokes.

Nat and his friends enjoyweightlessness, stow away in the spacesuits of astronauts NeilArmstrong and Buzz Aldrin for their historic moonwalk and take advantage oftheir miniscule size to save the mission when things go awry. Meanwhile, theirfamily and friends — including Nat?s adventurer granddad voiced by ChristopherLloyd — are called upon to thwart some Soviet spy flies at NASA?s MissionControl.

A short-lived housefly isan odd, if perhaps practical, creature through which to tell the storyof Apollo 11. But to his credit, Stassen avoids peppering the film within-your-face 3-D antics, and instead uses the technology to try and build alarger sense of immersion. 

And while some historybuffs may complain at some inconsistencies in the mission?s presentation, therocket, Apollo capsule and moon lander themselves are impressively rendered.The movie is also the second animated film of the summer after ?SpaceChimps? to draw on NASA's factual history, which hits the 50-year mark thisyear, for fictional adventure.

If little else, a cameo bya real-life Apollo 11 Aldrin, who lets viewers know that his historic flightactually reached the moon without the help if a trio of fly stowaways, is goodfor a chuckle for the adult set.

Aldrin, who has beenworking on his own to promote human spaceflight, told SPACE.com thatefforts like ?Fly Me to the Moon? are just one way to try and encourage today?syouth to pursue math, science and space-related studies.

?I just think it?s one ofthe best combinations of informative history and entertainment in hightechnology,? Aldrin told SPACE.com of the film. ?It?s mixed with thereality and I just am so happy the way that it has turned out.?

"Fly Me to the Moon," is rated G and opens in theaters today. Running time: 84 minutes.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.