Over the Moon is overdone

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Netflix recently released a new film, Over the Moon, which gained immediate popularity for its Asian representation in animation and an entirely Asian cast. Although there was great excitement over the release of this film on social media, the film felt as if it focused more on the details of its animation than the actual story.

The film introduces us to a young Chinese-American girl named Fei Fei and her shared love with her family. After losing Fei Fei’s mother, her father introduces Fei Fei to her new step mother, Mrs. Zhong, and Chin, her bothersome son. Fei Fei soon loses a sense of trust between her father, and perceives as though her mother’s memory is being replaced. To prove that true love still exists from the legend of an immortal woman, Chang’e, and her mortal lover, Houyi, Fei Fei builds a rocket to fly to the moon with her bunny and bound-to-be brother. There, she meets Chang’e and is given a task to find a gift to bring back Houyi.

The start of the film already becomes a tearjerker for myself, as I watched Fei Fei and her mother share their most loving moments of mooncakes and traditional stories, until I gradually saw her mother grow increasingly weak from illness. As Fei Fei grows up, we can tell that her mother’s death heavily affects her appearance, personality, and ambitions as she holds onto the memories of her mother. There was one point in the movie where Fei Fei was swallowed up by the mourning and memories of her mother, which left me emotional as I related to the loss of a family member. The detail that was engraved into this scene felt realistic with the experience of feeling hopeless and chained was something that I felt an emotional connection to. Bringing the sensitive topic of family death and remarriage, a difficult experience for anyone to endure, was one aspect of the film that made it very heartfelt and loving.

Although it was refreshing to see the Asian representation for the entire film, there were a lot of important factors of the film that were very questionable and vague. As Fei Fei entered this mythical realm on the moon where Chang’e and her kingdom resides, I was immediately astonished by how vibrant everything looked and expected Fei Fei to spend some time exploring, but instead, she went back to where she landed on the moon. Throughout the film, we are given several mythical characters such as Gobi, a pangolin who assists Fei Fei in finding her way back to Chang’e, and Chinese imperial lion guardians who both play important roles in helping Fei Fei and Chin. Although Gobi was present halfway through the movie and had some background, I wish we were given more information on where he came from, why and what he did to make Chang’e trust him. The imperial lions briefly were present in the beginning and the end of the movie, but I also wished they were introduced properly rather than simply as transportation in and out of the kingdom. 

Overall, the vibrant colors and graphics of the movie were well done in attracting its viewers and providing a clear theme to its audience. Although the film is not entirely under my taste, I believe others would enjoy the movie for its aesthetic and emotional scenes.

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