Netflix Reveals Details, Trailer for Upcoming Animated Musical ‘Over the Moon’
Netflix has revealed the first details and debut trailer for their forthcoming animated musical Over the Moon. And it feels like this is going to be another animated Netflix winner.
The official synopsis for the very charming-looking movie follows: “Fueled with determination and a passion for science, a bright young girl builds a rocket ship to the moon to prove the existence of a legendary Moon Goddess. There she ends up on an unexpected quest and discovers a whimsical land of fantastical creatures.” Cool, right?
But what’s even cooler is who is behind the movie. Over the Moon is directed by Glen Keane, a legendary, Oscar-winning animator who, while at Disney, gave life to characters like Ariel from The Little Mermaid, The Beast from Beauty and the Beast, and the title characters from Pocahontas and Tarzan. (This is, incredibly, his debut feature.) Serving as his co-director is John Kahrs, the Oscar-winning director of Disney short “Paperman.” They’re working from the final script by screenwriter Audrey Wells, who passed away in 2018. And the music is from Oscar-winning Gravity composer Steven Price, with songs by Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield and Helen Park.
Just as incredible as the production team is the voice cast, featuring Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo, Robert G. Chiu, Ken Jeong, John Cho, Ruthie Ann Miles, Margaret Cho, Kimiko Glenn, Artt Butler, and Sandra Oh. Whew, that’s a lot of talent.
The trailer for Over the Moon promises a lot of fun and whimsy, with the clip focusing mostly on our young protagonist Fei Fei (Cathy Ang) as she struggles to build her homemade rocket. The premise is fantastical but everything, at least in the first half of the trailer, is treated with down-to-earth realism. But in the final moments, a whole other world opens up, with fantastical creatures and bright, dizzying colors. Everything is impressively rendered by Pearl Studios in China (they produced the animation for DreamWorks’ recent yeti movie Abominable), with some help from Sony Pictures ImageWorks. Keane’s signature approach to character design, with some obvious attention to posing and facial expressions, is on grand display. There also appears to be at least one sequence that is traditionally animated with hand-drawn, 2D techniques, and it looks absolutely breathtaking.
We were able to sit in on a virtual press conference for the film, and everyone involved seemed absolutely (wait for it) over the moon to be working on the project. Keane talked enthusiastically about visiting China on a research trip and being invited into the homes of strangers in order to get a close-up view at the vibrancy and energy of their lives. It sounded really incredible. And producer Gennie Rim told a story that was as heartbreaking as it was heartwarming about cornering Sandra Oh at Wells’ funeral service at the Writers Guild of America and forcing her to take the role. (Telling the story, Oh started to cry.) It’s hard to classify a film of this scale and ambition as a passion project, but it certainly seems that way from listening to everyone talk about it.
What’s interesting is that, with Netflix’s nebulous “fall” release date, at one point Over the Moon would have competed directly with Keane’s old crew at Walt Disney Animation Studios, who were originally slated to release their Asian-centered epic Raya and the Last Dragon this Thanksgiving. Can you imagine that showdown? Now, Over the Moon will open alongside Pixar’s Soul instead (in theory anyway). It’s going to be a big season for original animation.
Netflix has been making huge inroads with its animated projects, between Over the Moon, The Willoughbys from earlier this year and the Oscar-nominated Klaus and I Can’t Find My Body from 2019. They also have projects in the works with Alex Hirsch, Guillermo del Toro, Jorge Gutierrez, Chris Williams and Henry Selick. It’s an impressive line-up from a diverse, utterly brilliant array of filmmakers, that will showcase the different styles and stories that can be housed underneath the Netflix animation umbrella. Bring it on.
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