Scenes from 'Over The Moon' (Photos courtesy of Netflix)

Scenes from ‘Over The Moon’ (Photos courtesy of Netflix)

The trailer of animated musical film, “Over The Moon,” has been unveiled and it shows a girl who blasts off to the moon aboard a rocketship in hopes of meeting there the mythical moon goddess Chang’e.

The Netflix movie is the debut feature of Glen Keane, best known for his works on well-loved Disney movies “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty And The Beast,” “Aladdin,” “Tarzan,” “Pocahontas,” and others.

In an interview, Glen talked about his research trip to China for the aesthetics needed in the movie.

“Going to China and discovering that world was incredible,” he said. “If you saw it, if you heard it, if you felt it, if you smelled it, if you tasted it, it got in our movie. Our time in China really had an impact (on the movie) in every way.”

Glen admitted falling in love with the characters in “Over The Moon,” especially Fei Fei.

“I love this character, I believe in her,” he said. “I love drawing Fei Fei. I will draw Fei Fei for the rest of my life. I know this.”

He talked about this “odd belief” that a character “exists” even before you design them.

“You can keep doing drawings but that’s not them until a certain moment when suddenly, the characters form and you recognize them as if you’ve known them your whole life,” he said.

“It happened that way on each of the characters I designed in different movies, and Fei Fei was no exception.”

What makes Fei Fei special?

“She has this strength in her vision—not just in her eyes, but she sees beyond. She sees what’s not there,” he said. “The eyes of a character are so important. If you’re going to make a mistake in drawing a character, it cannot be with the eyes.”

He thinks “Over The Moon” has extra oomph because it’s a musical.

“Music touches the heart, the emotions and the soul in a way that nothing else can. In this movie, we have eight songs that do that.”


The voices

“Over The Moon” boasts an impressive voice cast that includes Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo, Ken Jeong, John Cho, Ruthie Ann Miles, Sandra Oh, Robert G. Chiu, Margaret Cho, and Kimiko Glen.

Cathy plays Fei Fei, the young girl who builds a rocketship to go to the moon and discover the moon goddess.

She shared what it means for her to voice a young girl so interested in science.

“I love science so much. I grew up in a very STEM-focused high school and I loved biology from a young age,” she said. “My parents were doctors, and my partner wants to be an astronaut. I’m obsessed with all space exploration currently – I actually joke with him because now I’m actually the first person on the moon, so that’s kind of fun.”

Cathy thinks Fei Fei is “brilliant.”

“And she experiments with such determination. She never gives up in the face of failure until she gets what she wants,” she added.

Ruthie Ann plays Fei Fei’s mother.

As an Asian American parent, she cited the importance of providing examples of representations for their own children.

“My husband and I always would say, when it’s time to take a job, what’s going to be the determining factor? What’s going to be the most important to us? Is it the money, is it the creative team, is it location? And the thing we kept coming down to is, if our child can see this when they’re 10 years old, if this is something that they would be proud of.”

She thinks “Over The Moon” will give children “a sense of adventure” and the “tools for imagination and creativity.”

“And to see a version of oneself on screen or on stage or on the television screen, or even on the radio, is so powerful. It inspires you, it can affirm you, it challenges you.

“I think that’s a gift that I get to give my child. It’s a gift that I get to pass on to my nieces and nephews. This is a version of us and there’s a lot to take away from and be empowered by that.”

Phillipa Soo is moon goddess Chang’e.

She admitted to have had no knowledge of Chang’e growing up, although her dad used to read to her the Amy Tan book “The Moon Lady.”

“When I was first approached about this project, I got so excited. Little did I know, that this moon lady—this Chang’e—is a new take on the traditional Chang’e.

“The traditional Chang’e is honored in this story. But also, we get to see through the eyes of this little girl—this modern, imaginative little girl—her experience of Chang’e. Who is larger than life. Who is modern. Who is self-owning.”



Glen said the three are more than just voices in the movie but they are its “DNA.”

“Their faces inspired the way the characters look. It just naturally happens. You hear their voices, you look at them, you find certain moments. We videotape their performances because there’s little gestures that they did that we wanted to make sure the animators captured,” he said.

Although the film centers on a young character, producer Peilin Chou thinks “Over The Moon” should be seen by audiences of all ages, if only for the music.

“In terms of the music, this film is so dynamic, written by our amazing songwriting team. Whatever your favorite style of music is, chances are it’s in this movie,” he said.

Thematically, Peilin said the film focuses on the messages of love within the family, and of love that lasts forever.

“I think people will feel very connected with ‘Over The Moon,’ and the story will resonate with them.”



Source: Manila Bulletin (