Moon Man (U)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner26/12/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Utterly delightful children's story with gorgeous storybook-style animation, a warm-hearted script, quietly quirky characters and a superb soundtrack.

What's it all about?
Directed by Stephan Schesch and Sarah Clara Weber, Moon Man is an animated Irish/French/German co-production based on the 1966 children's book by Tomi Ungerer (a contemporary of Maurice Sendak, who championed his work). The deceptively simple tale begins with a bored Man in the Moon (Katharina Thalbach) hitching a ride to Earth on the tail of a comet, whereupon he begins to explore the planet, becoming fascinated by the sights, sounds and textures that surround him.

Meanwhile, the planet-conquering President (Michael Dodane), egged on by his seductive colleague Conquistadora (Frédérique Tirmont), schemes to capture the moon, so he enlists the aid of eccentric scientist Bunsen van der Dunkel (Pat Laffan) to build him a rocket. At the same time, the children of Earth realise that they can't sleep without the Moon Man in his rightful place, so they try to help him return home.

The Good
The storybook-style animation - by Irish animators Fabian Erlinghauser (who made The Secret Of Kells), Sean McCarron and Marie Thorhauge – is utterly gorgeous throughout and stays commendably faithful to Ungerer's original artwork, perhaps unsurprisingly, since Ungerer himself is credited as a consultant on the film and also serves as narrator.

The warm-hearted script is deceptively simple (there's a subtle message about appreciating the smaller things in life and also about finding your place in the world), but there are also plenty of nice satirical touches as well as some charming nods towards films like E.T. (Moon Man proves to be a fast learner of English and his first words are “Gooooo hooooome”). Similarly, the film may be slow-moving compared to the likes of Frozen or Moshi Monsters: The Movie, but its sleepy pace feels entirely in-keeping with the source material's bedtime story status.

The Great
Moon Man is a charming and likeable central figure and the roster of quietly quirky supporting characters includes an inquisitive moose, an owl with a flashlight, a dog called Laika (another nice reference) and a young girl (Lou Dubernat) and her father (Paul McLoone), who spend their evenings in his convertible watching drive-in movies (or perhaps Moon Man itself). There are also a number of wonderful touches, such as the topknot of Conquistadora's hairstyle, which is constantly in the shape of a seductive woman.

On top of that, the film has a superb, carefully chosen soundtrack, which includes tracks from the likes of Louis Armstrong and Iron Butterfly.

Worth seeing?
Moon Man is a beautifully animated, utterly charming children's adventure that perfectly creates the feeling of reading a great children's story. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 21/07/2018 20:40

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