With a simple story and a huge amount of imagination, this gentle animated adventure feels like a blast of fresh air when compared to entertaining but formulaic Hollywood studio animation. Based on the children's book by Tomi Ungerer, it's a French-German-Irish coproduction aimed at adults as much as the kids. Youngers will enjoy its sense of whimsy, but the humour is definitely grown-up.
Over the years, the Moon Man (voiced by Thalbach) has grown bored watching over the Earth. So he grabs the tail of a passing comet and rides it to the surface. As he explores the wonders he discovers, he is chased by the President (McElhatton), a megalomaniac who has conquered the entire planet and now has his sights on the moon. So he hires brainy inventor Bunsen (Laffan) to get him there. But Bunsen soon meets Moon Man, and realises that it's more important to help him get home, because children on Earth are unable to sleep without him in the sky keeping them company.
The film has a relaxed tone that effortlessly carries us through the story, using evocative songs (including, of course, Moon River and It's Only a Paper Moon) and simple but gorgeously rendered animation. Refreshingly free of the usual digital look, the animators inventively use textures, light and colour, plus a number of sharp visual gags (watch out for the moonwalk). And while it feels like a bedtime story, the humour is definitely more sophisticated than that. There's even an implied off-screen sex scene between the President and his conniving wife (Helen Mooney).
Continue reading: Moon Man Review
Oskar (David Bennett) is a young lad in 1920s Germany, and at the age of three he realizes that as he gets older, the attention he's given will rapidly wane. He decides to quit growing and hurls himself down the cellar. He achieves his goal. Ten years later, Hitler is on the rise, and Oskar is still romping around with his precious tin drum, physically unchanged since that day but deeply affected by life experience nonetheless.
Continue reading: The Tin Drum Review