In keeping with the increasing specialization of entertainment media, seniors who want to bond with their 4-year-old grandkids now have their very own film, the 3-D non-spectacular Fly Me To The Moon. The crudely made CGI effort follows three adventurous young flies who stow away on Apollo 11's 1969 moon shot, hoping to be the first insects in space. But the computer animation looks 20 years old, and the story's crass Cold War stereotypes feel even older.
Fly Me To The Moon at least makes interesting use of 3-D: Startling jabs at viewers' eyes are replaced by long tracking shots that venture deep into the screen. Director Ben Stassen (fresh off the likes of Haunted Castle and Wild Safari 3-D) is playfully specific about what it might be like to sleep inside a rubber glove, get trapped inside a test tube, or just be a tiny fly on a human-scale wall. And the carefully detailed sequences of the multi-stage Apollo launch, landing, and moonwalk add some you-are-there veracity to the nostalgia aimed at folks who were glued to the TV when it was all happening.
But the film still suffers from cheap plasticky design, a klutzy overall look, dim preschooler humor, and a nearly impact-free story that thinks it's clever when it steals cues from 2001. There are exactly two "jokes": The fat fly-kid talks about food nonstop, and the lead fly-kid's mom faints incessantly. And then there's the sheer eye-rolling intellectual laziness of the smart character named "I.Q." and the set of competitive, Yank-hating Russian flies with Boris-and-Natasha accents and broken-English lines like "How heppin this to us?" and "No wash brain—I get smart!" The high-pitched voices, simple dialogue, easygoing story, and mild gross-out humor (with plenty of creepy pink maggot characters) all point at entertainment for very young kids—this film would fit fine on PBS' Sprout network. But it's the cinematic equivalent of safety scissors—all softened edges and no real point.