Friday, August 15, 2008

Fly Me to the Moon

It's pretty rare that an animated feature is released that isn't made by one of two animation behemoths--Pixar or Dreamworks. But that's about to change. Summit Entertainment bills Fly Me to the Moon as the "first ever animated feature created for 3D." What this means is that the movie is the first computer generated feature conceived and produced in 3D for a 3D only release. All other 3D movies were filmed in 2D and converted into 3D later. It's actually the "first ever" 3D movie I have seen, so although I have nothing to compare it to, I must admit the 3D was pretty impressive.

Fly Me to the Moon is also unique in its use of "parallel cameras" where the frame is exploded around the picture to create space rather than the traditional convergence technique which results in a flat, window effect. Technical effects aside, the movie tells the story of the Apollo 11 space flight and lunar landing--as seen through the twelve eyes of three young houseflies: Nat, IQ and Scooter. There are some great moments of visual whimsy as the filmmakers give us a "fly's eye view", but the movie lacks the all ages wit and charm of a Shrek or a Toy Story.

No matter--it's perfect for the young ones. The screening I attended was filled with kids who were completely transfixed throughout. It's a cute and clever way to give youngsters--whose parents probably aren't even old enough to remember the 1969 Apollo mission--a bit of a painless science and history lesson. Featuring the vocal talents of Christopher Lloyd, Kelly Ripa, Ed Begley Jr. and Buzz Aldrin as himself, Fly Me to the Moon offers a "fly on the wall" perspective to a major historic event. And with its use of ground-breaking 3D technology, makes a bit of history itself!

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