Starring: David Gore, Christopher Lloyd, Kelly Ripa
Directed by: Ben Stassen (“Wild Safari 3D”)
Written by: Domonic Paris (“The Sleepless”)
While films like “WALL-E” and “Kung Fu Panda” have impressed this year, there’s always another end of the animation spectrum.
This year, it will be hard to do worse in the genre than what “Fly Me to the Moon” has accomplished. Penned as the first ever animated movie created specifically for 3D, “Fly Me” follows three young houseflies who stowaway on a NASA spaceship so they can be the first insect to reach the moon.
The hitchhiking bugs – Nat (Trevor Gagnon), Scooter (David Gore), and IQ (Philip Bolden) – dream to one day fly farther than any fly has flown by jumping about the Apollo 11. Nat’s Grandpa McFly (Christopher Lloyd, who the studio was probably ecstatic to cast so they could link his character to “Back to the Future”), lives vicariously through his pubescent grandson and his friends and encourages the boys to go on an adventure while they’re still young.
Nevermind that these flies look nothing like the pestering winged-insects Mr. Miyagi once snapped at with chopsticks (although the baby larva would make fun plush toys), “Fly Me” is stagnant animation, from its cliché plot to its lifeless characters.
Reminiscent of Jerry Seinfeld’s boring “Bee Movie,” director Ben Stassen and screenwriter Domonic Paris chose an insect to revolve an underdog story around without thinking things through. They also failed to realize the hokey result that was bound to happen after dozens of puns are tossed out like their lives depended on how many references they could make back to the word “fly.” When Nat’s mother (Kelly Ripa) utters the phrase, “Oh my Lord of the Flies,” you know things aren’t going to get much better.
If this is all the imagination animators outside the realm of Pixar and DreamWorks can deliver, there’s really no reason for them to keep trying. What’s next? A story about earthworms journeying to the center of the earth? What about a cute termite who feels his eating talents are stifled by only destroying wooden homes? These are stupid ideas that should never get a green light for production. The same can be said for “Fly Me to the Moon,” a generic, computer-generated catastrophe that you have to watch with shades.