Netflix Nabs Legendary Disney Animator Glen Keane For Over The Moon Feature

Over the Moon is the newest animated feature from Pearl Studio(Abominable), and Netflix. Directed by the Disney legend, Glen Keane(character animator for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan, and Tangled), the film is inspired by the tale of the Chinese Moon Goddess, Chang’e.

The animated musical follows Fei Fei, a young girl who becomes enamoured with the tale of the legendary goddess and passionately seeks a way to the moon to meet her. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that her determination stems from the fact that she sees Chang’e as a surrogate mother, giving this charming tale a bittersweet twist.

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Throughout the trailer, the plot unfolds as a story filled with family, tradition and humour. In the beginning, Fei Fei’s mission seems to be built upon the premise of a fantastical tale and the film remains heavily grounded in realism. However, in the last few seconds, viewers will be treated to a psychedelic spectacle as Fei Fei and her companions are suddenly thrust into a whimsical world beyond the stars.

The script was the last work written by the late Audrey Wells (The Hate U Give). It was said to be a love letter to her husband and daughter. Within the story, Wells pens a heartfelt message about learning how to heal after loving and losing someone.

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Moreover, renowned fashion designed, Guo Pei, designed the gowns for Chang’e. The lavish gowns were created with the Imageworks software. As this was her first time working on an animation, she was thrilled by the idea on making virtual clothes that were not bound by the physical laws of gravity.

The film features the voices of many Asian actors such as, Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo(Moana, Hamilton), John Cho(Star Trek Movies) and Ken Jeong(Community). Original songs were composed by Christopher Curtis (Chaplin: The Musica), Marjorie Duffield, and Helen Park (KPOP), accompanied by the score of Oscar-winner Steven Price(Gravity). 

Chang’e’s tale is a prominent part of Chinese culture and in closely associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival. According to the tragic love story, the Earth used to have 10 suns. Houyi, a brave archer, shot down nine of them was rewarded with immortality pills. However, his apprentice tried to steal them. Desperate to stop him, Chang’e swallowed the pills and was turned into an immortal. She was separated from her lover when she ascended to the moon, where she continues to wait till they can be reunited again.

Having previously directed the Oscar-winning film, Dear Basketball, this will be Keane’s first foray in full-length animated movie directing. The film is co-directed with John Kahrs, who helped develop a revolutionary animation technique for blending 2D and 3D animation his highly acclaimed animated short, Paperman.

Keane’s signature art style can be seen clearly from the character designs down to the expressive facial movements. The film is a cinematic blend of CG Animation with certain key visuals animated in 2D animation. Having released positive rating for originals such as Klaus and The Willoughbys, we can be sure that Over the Moon to be Netflix’s next animated hit. It is set to premiere on Netflix later this year.

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