Moon Man

Moon Man - trailer

Film Title: Moon Man

Director: Stephan Schesch, Sarah Clara Weber

Starring: Katharina Thalbach, Tomi Ungerer, Michel Dodane, Pat Laffan, Michael McElhatton

Genre: Animation

Running Time: 95 min

Fri, Dec 27, 2013, 00:00

   

Bored with life on his lonely satellite, the Moon Man hitches a ride to Earth on a passing comet. Overstimulation soon ensues. While Moon Man marvels at new colours and sensations, the children of Earth, deprived of his moonlight, are unable to sleep. Can they get him back into the sky before a hawkish president – alarmed by this invasion from space– captures the titular tourist?

Just in case your interest is piqued, this animated adaptation of one of Tomi Ungerer’s most enduring children’s books arrives hot on the heels of the splendidly entertaining documentary portrait, Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story. Working from the artist’s original illustrations, animators Fabian Erlinghauser, Sean McCarron and Marie Thorhauge from Kilkenny’s Cartoon Saloon, have crafted a very sweet, quirky movie.

Sometimes the same unpretentious animation style, which worked so well for the Celtic-inspired abstractions of Cartoon Saloon’s Oscar-nominated The Secret of Kells, doesn’t quite gel with the illustrator’s fluid flights of fancy. And there are translation issues. Set almost entirely in darkness, the black that looks silky and expansive on a page, is oppressive on a big screen. The otherworldly sensibility, while beautifully maintained, works to preclude very young viewers. At 95 minutes, the simple story is overstretched.

Against this, there’s a refreshing lack of snark to recommend Moon Man: this is a movie that has heart and imagination where most animations are happy to make do with a hippo in a tutu twerking to Kanye West. For this, and for the chance to see some of Ungerer’s fascinating work, we are eternally grateful.