Isabella del Nido
Hollywood and big name animation companies, such as Disney, have a history of whitewashing many different rich and beautiful cultures in their films. But the new netflix movie, “Over the Moon” is helping lead a new path in the opposite direction.
The new movie showcases a young girl, Fei Fei (Cathy Ang), as she navigates through the devastating loss of her mother. Years later, her father (John Cho) is reconsidering marrying again and introduces a new woman to his daughter. This infuriates Fei Fei with the memory of her mother still fresh in her mind. She comes to the conclusion she must prove to her father the Moon Goddess (Phillipa Soo) and true love are real. Fei Fei embarks on a journey to the moon where she meets many new friends including Gobi (Ken Jeong) who is very similar to many famous Disney side-kicks.
I find the movie hard to understand as it starts out telling an interesting, realistic and relatable tale but quickly escalates when Fei Fei goes to the moon and plays out a DreamWorks-like story. The movie is very loud and colorful, which overpower the small heartfelt moments.
A good thing about this movie that sets it apart from others is the fully Asian cast that voices the characters. You would think that an ethnic character would have a voice actor of that ethnicity, but sadly in most cases that is not true.
Along with this, film makers will cast a white person for a character that was originally an ethnic character. This is shown in movies such as The Last Avatar, where the actors were white or of Asian descent and the only fully Asian actors played antagonists/ non-leads. This is extremely racist as it ignores the very important and diverse background of the original characters. The cast for “Over the Moon” are all East Asian actors which makes this movie a whole lot better.
A message to the viewers was hard to pick out due to the many things happening at once. Many children’s movies deal with grief as it is a very common thing that comes early in childhood. How to move on and grieve properly was the message I believe the film was supposed to deliver. But due to the clutter and sparkles of it all it was hard to pick out.
Overall, I give the movie two out of five stars. Along with representing Chinese culture, the movie was very colorful and beautifully animated. But the non-fluidity and craziness of the movie makes it hard to deeply understand what the movie was originally made for and the message that was supposed to be given.
The movie is missing a bold statement and a story that can comfort families in this time of great pain and grief. This movie, if toned down, could have been a perfect story that displays culture along with a story many children and families could relate too.