"Moon Man" Is Worth The Trip Review

Despite audiences’ well-established love of Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks, animated movies that haven’t rolled off of the studio conveyor belt are often quite refreshing. Moon Man is no exception. A colorful and quirky film based on the 1967 children’s book by beloved author Tomi Ungerer (who also narrates the movie), it is very German and so occasionally very strange, albeit in the great tradition of strangeness to be found in international animated movies like The Triplets of Belleville. The visual style is not fancy and computer-generated, but startlingly flat and retro, yet it is no less vivid than the average high-budget Hollywood hit. Rather, it manages to bring the charming illustrations of the book to life to tell the story of the titular extraterrestrial and his adventures on Earth.

Of course, the Earth of Moon Man is not the one we know. It is a seemingly timeless place ruled over by the unpleasant President of the Earth, who has just succeeded in conquering every last speck of the planet. Crowing about his achievements to his high-society friends, the President realizes that there is nothing left for him to take over--that is, until the seductive Conquistadora points out the bright white moon in the sky and convinces him to try and be the first man to land on it. Meanwhile, the Moon Man has grown bored of being curled up in the night sky all by himself, and decides to hitch a ride on a passing comet to Earth for a change of pace. Inspired by the comet’s fiery streak across the sky, the President enlists the old, antisocial “inventor of everything,” Bunsen van der Dunkel, to build him a rocket so that he can achieve his quest. While doing so, Bunsen befriends the lost, lonely Moon Man, and realizes that aiding the President in his attempt to conquer his new friend’s home may be a big mistake.

Moon Man is a sweet little story about friendship and the importance of appreciating those who give it truly and without demanding anything in return. The scenery and characters are beautifully designed, and the film’s inspired song choices aid the dreamy quality of many of the scenes; a touching sequence of the Moon Man delightedly floating down a flowery, psychedelic stream to the tune of Louis Armstrong crooning “Moon River” is a particularly stand-out. It might not be as flashy as Frozen, but it is definitely worth checking out.

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES

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"Moon Man" is on sale February 4, 2014 and is not rated. Animation. Directed by Sarah Clara Weber, Stephen Schesch. Written by Stephen Schesch, Ralph Martin, Tomi Ungerer. Starring Katharina Thalbach, Thomas Kastner, Ulrich Tukur.

Mar
04
2014
Lee Jutton • Staff Writer

Lee attended NYU for Film & TV Production, but she now works mostly in PR. Her primary obsessions in life are Doctor Who, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Arsenal F.C. When not writing about things she's watched, she's running or kickboxing in preparation for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 

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