‘Over the Moon’ vs Disney: The Rookie versus a Titan

Regan Marsh

Image courtesy of Netflix

Netflix’s new animated film, “Over the Moon,” follows the otherworldly adventures of Fei Fei, a young girl who just lost her mother. After finding out that her father is going to be remarried, Fei Fei travels to the moon in the hopes of connecting with the Moon goddess Chang’e. Chang’e lost the love of her life, and Fei Fei is hoping to find a connection through shared loss.

Over the years, Disney studios has been the leader for wins for animated films at the Oscars. From “Frozen” all the way back to “Snow White”— which was an honorary award and the first animated feature to have ever won an Oscar— Disney Studios has dominated the animated pack. So, does “Over the Moon” stand a chance against Disney Studios?

“Over the Moon” is a unique film that blends pop culture with traditional values seamlessly. Unlike Disney films, the main characters do not project an aura that they will get exactly what they wished upon a star far. Take main characters such as Anna and Elsa from “Frozen.”  Although their sisterhood is a work of beauty, Anna was destined to make another snowman with Elsa from the beginning of the movie. While this style of film makes the plot line clear, it also makes it predictable. “Over the Moon” offers a different approach. It is never directly clear whether both Chang’e and Fei Fei will get what they originally wanted. This may be due to the fact that Netflix has not adopted a pattern for animated movies yet, or it could possible be because of great writing techniques. Either way, “Over the Moon” will give Disney a run for their money when it comes to storyline.

Yet a victory is not secured. In fact, it may not be even in the books. Disney is well known for their animation style, and it is a bit cleaner and more visually complex than what Netflix has produced. Similarly, Disney is often a powerhouse for original songs, which “Over the Moon” does have but the songs are not as impactful and well-placed as they are in many Disney films. Finally and the heaviest weighing factor is that the voters of the Academy have a demographic of mostly white, older men. Often this means that traditions will be favored, and historically that more diverse films will be disregarded in favor of “safer” options.

The Oscars ended up choosing “Soul” (another wonderful animated feature), but this does not undermine in any way beauty that “Over the Moon” brings into the world of animation.