Netflix: A Wonderful Modern Twist on a Legend in ‘Over the Moon’ ☆☆☆☆

Produced by Pearl Studio and Netflix Animation and animated by Sony Pictures, “Over the Moon” is a lovely computer-animated adventure, suitable for little kids and adults who are still kids at heart. If you love bunnies, you may squeal with delight. This film is the perfect treat to watch while eating mooncakes with voices provided by John Cho, Sandra Oh, Margaret Cho, Ken Jeong and Phillipa Soo.

Pearl Studio teamed with DreamWorks to produce last year’s computer animated “Abominable,” also a fine family animated feature where the action takes place in China. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ animator Glen Keane and former Pixar-Disney animator John Kahrs direct “Over the Moon” this film about how a fanciful world beyond Earth’s atmosphere helps bring together of a blended family.

The young Fei Fei (Bryce Taylor Hall) loves hearing her mother (Ruthie Ann Miles) tell her about the mythical Moon goddess Chang’e. Her mother dies, leaving a young widower (John Cho) and his Fei Fei to run their traditional Chinese sweet shop. Eventually, Fei Fei’s father finds a woman, a widow named Mrs. Zhong (Sandra Oh), whom he wishes to marry. Mrs. Zhong has an eight-year-old son, Chin (Robert G. Chiu) who welcomes the opportunity to have an older sister with annoying enthusiasm.

Yet the now 14-year-old Fei Fei (Cathy Ang) wants her father to remember her late mother and plans to appeal to the goddess of the moon, Chang’e ( 嫦娥).

Chang’e and her true love, the archer Yi, have the potion of eternal life. Versions differ in why, but ultimately, Chang’e drinks the elixir and become immortal while her husband eventually dies. She lives on the moon with the jade rabbit. During the full moon of the eight lunar month, the Mid-Autumn Festival, people set up altars for her to bless and she will give beauty to her worshippers.

Fei Fei builds an adorable, I’d-buy-this-toy rabbit-shaped rocket and with her pet rabbit sets off for the moon, but her calculations are off. She didn’t count on an 8-year-old stowaway. In an other worldly realm that has a C-pop/K-pop musical feel, Chang’e grants her an audience, but sets her on a mission. Fei Fei has the help of Gobi (Ken Jeong), a former advisor to the goddess who has been in exile for 1,000 years.

During her journey, Fei Fei will learn from Chin and together, they will become a family. Screenwriter, Audrey Wells (“Shall We Dance?” and “A Dog’s Purpose”) wrote the script, but died in 2018 of cancer. The film is dedicated to her. 

“Over the Moon” was released on Netflix 23 October 2020.

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