This is a bit of an odd one. It’s a Spanish animated film but the English dub was released courtesy of the Irish Film Classification Office, and the story takes place in America.
Mike Goldwing (Lorraine Pilkington) is a young surfer whose family is deeply entwined with NASA and their moon missions. A rich billionaire, Richard Carson (Dani Rovira) decides to fund his own mission to the moon and steal the Apollo XI flag (the one planted by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969). On hearing this the US President (Jennifer Wiltsie) resurrects NASA’s moon landing programme in a bid to beat Carson to the moon’s surface.
Meanwhile Mike is trying to get his dad Scott (Adam James), a promising NASA astronaut himself, and granddad Frank (Paul Kelleher) back on speaking terms. They’ve not spoken since the latter was scrubbed from his moon mission at the last minute. To get everyone talking again, Mike sneaks aboard the Saturn V rocket. But this is then launched early following Carson’s sabotage attempt. On board with Mike are his grandpa Frank and his friend (possibly more) Amy (Phillipa Alexander).
Not only are they in a race to the moon against Carson, piloting a ship that Buzz Lightyear would yearn for (or perhaps the evil Emperor Zurg would be more appropriate), but on arrival they must also stop him from mining the moon for Helium 3. His plan is to use it as an ultimate energy source/evil money making weapon. Standard villain fare.
It’s an enjoyable enough adventure, but there isn’t much depth to it. Thematically this is a story about family and friendship first and foremost. There is a distinct undertone of the writers wanting to stick it to the moon landing conspiracy theorists who say we never went in the first place. A nod and a wink to the possibility that Stanley Kubrick directed the moon landing footage is in there (even if it turns out to be a janitor called Jose), and a brace of scientists who bear more than a passing resemblance to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates show up, albeit briefly.
There are massive flaws in logic throughout, as if the script was drafted a few times and elements that should have been removed were kept instead. A subplot about robot servants is introduced late in the day and isn’t developed. The constant bashing of Marty (Rasmus Hardiker), the ginger kid, for his hair colour and clumsiness feels mean spirited and against the major themes that play out elsewhere. His involvement seems to be as the plucky technical genius and comedic foil and little else. Even his pet chameleon, the obligatory pet sidekick, doesn’t like him. But it’s fine because Marty’s a constant bundle of joy and positivity. If he wasn’t, there would be more to complain about.
The main positive is that the story moves at a fair pace, even if the bit you’ve been waiting for – the moon mission – is a long time coming. This section works well until it descends into hammy Bond villain territory, and the return to Earth is covered in a thirty second montage for the inevitable happy conclusion. Enjoyably, if mostly forgettable, family entertainment.
As an extra note, I saw this at the cinema with my four year old niece. She sat through most of the film and enjoyed the silly action sequences, but insisted that the next cinema trip we go and watch Frozen. On the strength of this, I would have to agree.