Fly Me to the Moon – REVIEW

Fly Me to the Moon - Do the stars align with Scarlett & Channing ?

The story of man landing on the moon is one of the greatest of achievements so when Fly Me to the Moon starts with the voiceover stating that, ‘This is a real story’ before quickly adding ‘mostly’ and consequently like many Hollywood true life tales there’s a feeling that this is going to play fast and loose with the facts. That the whole film is pitched as something of a rom-com only serves to underline that feeling.

It starts off well with the background to the mission to put a man on the moon having tragic origins when the three astronauts in Apollo One are incinerated alive. It’s horrific and head of the project Cole Davis (Channing Tatum) is understandably haunted by the tragedy. But with Kennedy’s promise to beat the Russians and put a man on the moon it was a shaky start to the project and as the years went by and budgets ballooned bit by bit the project found its funding cut and was on the verge of being scrapped altogether.

So it is against that background that a genius advertising exec Kelly Jones ( Scarlet Johansson) is bought in to work her magic in getting the public on side, sponsors money rolling in and political representatives to support the projects funding. To what extent that aspect of this is true is not really known when the film has stated ‘This is a true story…. mostly’. And of course the ongoing conspiracy theory that lasts to this day that man never landed on the moon anyway but it was all shot on a soundstage is covered here. But again this is played for laughs with a  camp cut rate prima donna commercials director Lance Vespertine (Jim Rash)  bought in to direct the whole episode. Mincing about around the secret moon surface film set and seemingly channelling Stanley Tucci he is something of an irritating stereotype of creatives. And playing alongside all of this is a developing romance between Johansson and Tatum and yet despite being a beautiful on screen couple their love story never really sparks as might be hoped.

The Apollo 11 mission story is a well known one and has been filmed numerous times but the angle of the Johansson’s ad exec is far less well known and deserved a more thorough retelling but the stuttering light comedy doesn’t serve it well. Fly Me to the Moon is not without its moments – the Apollo 11 lift off is still as exhilarating an experience as it ever was and the climactic moment where the real life landing and the simulated scene on the soundstage filmed  simultaneously to fool the world should something have gone wrong is nicely played with the danger of a stray black cat potentially ruining the whole illusion that they’re trying to pull off but Fly Me to the Moon breezes along but never really takes off.

related feature : Clinton Baptiste, Phoenix Nights psychic, is actor Alex Lowe and we chat about his fave films

related feature : ‘First Man’  director Damien Chazelle’s man on the moon film reviewed

Here’s the Fly Me to the Moon trailer…..


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