'Over the Moon' shines in its graphics, soundtrack and narration (2023)

Starring MV graduate Cathy Ang, this visually stunning musical adventure puts a modern twist on a traditional Chinese legend.

Vivien Jiang

28. October 2020

"Over the Moon," a computer-animated musical film, was released on Netflix and in select theaters on October 23, starring a star cast of Asian descent including Phillipa Soo, John Cho, Sandra Oh and Ken Jeong. and MVHS '13 alumnae Cathy Ang. The film marks the directorial debut of legendary animator Glen Keane, who worked on such iconic Disney animated films as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Tangled . It not only successfully brings the charm of Disney and Pixar to Over the Moon, but also gives the film a unique personality. The film was co-produced by Netflix, proving that the streaming service has become a strong contender in the animation industry, and Pearl Studios, the Chinese film production company responsible for "abominable', which brought Asian representation to the big screen in late 2019.

The film follows 14-year-old Fei Fei, voiced by Ang, who is distraught after finding out her father plans to marry a woman named Mrs. Zhong, voiced by Sandra Oh, four years after Ang's death, his mother marry. He decides to build a rocket to fly to the moon in hopes of finding Chang'e, voiced by Phillipa Soo, the mythical Chinese moon goddess that Fei Fei's mother, voiced by Ruthie Ann Miles, told her stories about, when she was little.

'Over the Moon' shines in its graphics, soundtrack and narration (1)

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As the ancient myth has it, Chang'e once loved a man named Houyi on Earth, but became separated from him when she consumed aElixir of immortality that took her to the moon and made her a goddess. He has only one jade rabbit to keep him company on the moon and he hopes to meet his true love. Fei Fei believes that proving the goddess's existence will remind her of her father, played by John Cho, her late mother, and the idea of ​​"eternal love" that will prevent her from marrying again. She is joined by Chin, voiced by Robert G. Chiu, Ms. Zhong's 8-year-old son; Chin and Bungees pet frog, Fei Fei's white rabbit.

On the moon, they meet Chang'e, who is very different from what they expected, and various glowing creatures, such as Gobi (voiced by Ken Jeong), a green orb that looks like a pangolin and reminds of Olaf from Frozen. shredded with Bing Bong from InsideOut” (the Disney inspiration is strong). Fei Fei is sent on a mission to find a "gift" for Chang'e that will bring Houyi back. The adventure takes viewers through moving lessons, catchy musical numbers and electrifying visuals.

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What sets "Over the Moon" apart from many of its predecessors in Asian representation on the big screen ("Crazy Rich Asians", "Abominable" and "Mulan") is that the film delves much deeper into Chinese culture by emphasizing the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon or Moon Cake Festival. youThe Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional Chinese festival, the second most important holiday after the Chinese New Year, that emphasizes and is closely related to family reunificationdealt with the myth of Chang'e. A significant amount of time in the film is devoted to building the story, giving viewers a glimpse of Fei Fei's dynamic with her father and extended family, as well as her tradition of making moon cakes. The first quarter of the film also gives viewers a glimpse of modern China, as evidenced by the high-speed monorail under constructionPatio dance practice, which is particularly popular with the older Chinese population. It brings a new dimension to on-screen representation: rather than creating Chinese characters through looks alone, family dynamics, cultural traditions and legends are also explored throughout the film.

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Although Fei Fei's reaction to her father's remarriage may seem a little over the top, it's important to note that she's still a grieving young teenager, and this is fantasy animation, after all. . Fei Fei's character development in the second half of the film is also touching to watch, mainly ddue to his new friendship with Gobi as well as the heartbreaking conversationHe has Ion with Chang'e, captured by a moving musicalpiece. el fiThe film teaches viewers of all ages an important lesson about how to deal with grief and move on, which was exactly the intention of Audrey Wells, the film's screenwriter. Wells, who was also a mother, battled cancer and then succumbed mid-production on the film, and according to producer Gennie Rim, the story was a "Love letter to her daughter and her husband.” Personally, the film has moved me to tears more than once, from the warm interactions between Fei Fei and Chang'e, Fei Fei and Gobi, and Fei Fei and his father, to feeling my own family through the traditions and culture to see dynamics. encapsulated in Fei Fei's family reunion.

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The musical aspect of the film surprised me as I was expecting something similar to "abominable' but it was a wonderful way to add even more sincerity and originality to the story. Phillipa Soo's voice is absolutely gorgeous, as one would expect from the "Hamilton" star, and she plays incredibly well in her character's diverse repertoire, seen through the contrasting styles of "ultraluminario', a catchy pop hit and 'love someone new', a slower, soulful duet with Fei Fei. New to the film industry but no stranger to musicals, Ang Fei brings incredible dimension to Fei with her strong, heartfelt voice full of hope and longing in "rocket to the moon' and a sincere and sad tone that reflects Fei Fei's mixed feelings in 'Love Something New'. Seemingly goofy and shallow, Gobi shows the audience a deeper side of himself as he sings, "If you let go of the past you will move on and finally blossom, heart grows knowing you can shine." you are wonderful" in the number "Fabulous' to clearly communicate the core message of the film.

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'Over the Moon' shines in its graphics, soundtrack and narration (5)What struck me the most was the exceptional artistry and detail of the graphics. I've never seen animation as visually stunning as Over the Moon, from the colorful cosmic galaxy at the beginning of the movie, to the cinematic where Fei Fei builds his rocket and then shoots it at the moon, to Chang Es the Bright neon moon city. Every screenshot from the film is gorgeous and Chang'e's beauty shines through each of her outfits, hairstyles and makeup looks, giving different accents to her personality. For example, she wears a reinterpreted traditional Chinese robe, but also effortlessly dons a dress inspired by C-pop idols during her pop concert number, as well as a sporty outfit with Chinese decorative touches for her ping-pong match. Sony Pictures Imageworks, the animation studio that worked on the film, brought to life the magic and enchantment of each character, creature, and piece of architecture, as well as Chang'e's transcendent luminous abilities and modern personality, without preserving the essence. the famous legend.

'Over the Moon' shines in its graphics, soundtrack and narration (6)'Over the Moon' shines in its graphics, soundtrack and narration (7)

Behind the scenes, this film is a huge asset to Asian representation. Unlike Disney's live-action"Mulan', we're dealing with a predominantly Asian cast and production team, and as a result the film is a much better example of how Chinese people really think and act. Although I cannot fully credit this film as a testament to Hollywood's own progress as it was presented at Pearl Studio and co-produced by Pearl Studio, a Chinese film production company that invests specifically in large Asian-themed projects.a commendable milestone. It may have been a spur to foreign investment, but the film's high quality and charm proves that Asians can take center stage on screen and will continue to shoot for the moon.

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