'Over the Moon' follows Fei Fei (Cathy Ang) as she copes with grief following the death of her mother (Ruthie Ann Miles). When her father, Ba Ba (John Cho) starts seeing Mrs Zhong (Sandra Oh) - who comes with an annoying son, Chin (Robert G Chiu) - Fei Fei doesn't think it's right. She recalls how her parents would tell her stories about the moon goddess, Chang'e (Phillipa Soo), who never gives up on love. And so she decides to go to the moon to bring back proof that Chang'e is real. Only thing is, Chin has snuck into her rocket ship...
'Over the Moon' is a remarkable feature that we possibly need now more than ever. It's not just for children either. Brilliantly cast, gorgeously animated, and surprisingly moving, it's one that all who watch it will be more then impressed by.
Opening with a bedtime story song, followed by a number about making moon cakes, which turns from cutesy to tragic, it's like a proper Broadway musical in the quality of the soundtrack and catchiness of the lyrics. You could see the songs easily translate to a stage version, and the film effectively utilises music video aesthetics too. The number "Extraordinary" has a pop concert feel with Phillipa Soo, renowned for 'Hamilton', just wowing viewers over and over with her stunning voice. Newcomer Cathy Ang gets to shine too.
The design is so colourful and magical, while the plot takes you on twists and turns you never quite expect. It's also an interesting cultural exploration.
Now, naturally, being an animated feature, comparisons to Disney are inevitable, and you can see how they leaning into this with the inclusion of animal companions. Moreover, at one point, they travel to a castle that looks just like the one in Disneyland. One gets the vibe of such Pixar films as 'Up' and 'Inside Out' while watching, given it also has all the feels. But really, this film is something all its own.
In Fei Fei, you have a deeply empathetic protagonist - your heart pours out for what she's been through. Old and young viewers alike will be moved by her plight, and for kids watching it, the movie may teach them that their parents' wants and needs are important too.
In summary, 'Over the Moon' is a spectacular feature and emotional journey that viewers will cherish.
It streams on Netflix from Friday, 23 October.