Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fly Me to the Moon

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Blame Jiminy Cricket. Since the day that diminutive top-hatted dandy first wished upon a star, animators have periodically tried to make insects cuddly. For every attempt that succeeds, say A Bug's Life, there's a bunch of weird misfires such as Antz, which tried to sidestep the "ick" factor by putting Woody Allen's and Sylvester Stallone's words in their cartoon mandibles. Fly Me to the Moon is in the latter category, as it attempts to make space-conquering heroes out of common houseflies, who, after all, are disease-carrying insects that feed on refuse and shit. No matter how you spin it, or how much 3D trickery you slap on, a bug is still a bug.

Actually the average bug probably has more personality than these ugly and pale blue beasties. The "daring one" is dubbed Nat, the clownish fat fly is Scooter and, in a burst of ingenuity, the brainy nerd is called "I.Q." Whatever.

It's the summer of 1969, and these three teeny malcontents take a break from buzzing the scrap heap and munching on dung long enough to listen to Nat's doddering Grandpa (Christopher Lloyd) rattle on about how he once rode shotgun with Amelia Earhart. Somehow this tale inspires the boys to flap over to the Kennedy Space Center to stow away on the historic Apollo 11 moon mission. Nat's worrying mom — voiced by Kelly Ripa — is a major buzzkill who keeps saying "dreamers get swatted" and gives disapproving looks through oversized pink cat-eye frames, which, of course, lack the hundreds of tiny frames a real fly needs. (Such nitpicking's moot on a picture loaded with fart jokes, cutesy maggots and evil Russian flies with borscht-thick accents.) Adding to the old-school weirdness is the sight of the real-life and NASA-shilling astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who pops in to assure us that no flies were really in space. The whole affair has a musty aroma, harking back to a creaky era before Pixar forever raised the bar for big screen cartoons with beautiful, clever amusements that can entertain adults and kids equally.

To distract from the flat, dreary animation and lameness of the comedy, there's some nifty 3-D, with the big rocket launch being only slightly outclassed by the bit where Scooter eats floating drops of Tang. Yet the modern whiz-bang can't cover the generally tired plot and sorry-ass gags and the strangely retro "let's beat the Russkies" jingoism of the piece; even weirder, the film was made in that crazy animation hot bed called Belgium.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2022 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation