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.
- Video- Apollo 11: The First Moon Men
- The Top 10Apollo Mission Hoax Theories
- Images- Magnificent Desolation: The Apollo Moon Landings in IMAX