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Fly Me To The Moon Review: A Heartwarming Feel-Good Movie That’s More Than A Rom-Com

Greg Berlanti is probably better known these days as one of the key figures behind many comic book and superhero TV shows like the massive ArrowVerse. However, before his superhero days, his background was more focused on comedy and drama. Now that the ArrowVerse is no more, he’s returning to his roots by directing Fly Me To The Moon and it’s a pretty good one.

Let Me Play Among The Stars

Kelly Jones (Scarlett Johansson) and Cole Davis (Channing Tatum) in FLY ME TO THE MOON.

First, let me just say how much of a pleasant surprise Fly Me To The Moon was. From all the promotional material and trailers, I was expecting a conventional romantic comedy or rom-com. Surprisingly, it turned out to be something more than that. Sure, there are rom-com elements in Fly Me To The Moon but it would be more apt to call this movie an inspiring comedy-drama set against the backdrop of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. As much as the relationship between the two lead characters forms the emotional essence of the movie, the rest of the movie feels similar to last year’s Oppenheimer and more.

There’s actually a lot going on in Fly Me To The Moon, even beyond the romance. While the movie addresses the infamous conspiracy theory of how the Apollo 11 moon landing footage was fake and fabricated, that’s not the entire point of the story in the movie. Fly Me To The Moon is more concerned with making you feel invested in how much blood, sweat, tears, sacrifice and work these people put into making the Apollo 11 moon landing mission successful while juggling all the various obstacles like politics and the government. Fly Me To The Moon isn’t technically a biographical historical movie, but there are some elements of that, elevating it further than being just a typical rom-com.

Cole Davis (Channing Tatum) and Henry Smalls (Ray Romano) in FLY ME TO THE MOON.

Of course, any rom-com worth its salt depends on the chemistry of its two leads. Fly Me To The Moon marks the first time that Channing Tatum and Scarlett Johansson are performing as leads together. I’m happy to say that their chemistry together carries the movie’s biggest and most emotional moments. Scarlett Johansson is charismatic as hell as marketing specialist Kelly Jones, but it was Channing Tatum who surprised me most with a subdued and mature performance as NASA launch director Cole Davis. We’ve often seen Channing Tatum play the charming himbo in rom-coms or comedies like 21 Jump Street but this one reminds me of his work from The Vow.

In addition, the supporting cast also delivers strong memorable performances, especially Jim Rash (yes, the guy who played the dean in Community) and Woody Harrelson playing a scummy but likable government dude (who’s sort of the antagonist). Fly Me To The Moon is around 2 hours and 12 minutes long. That’s pretty lengthy for a rom-com, but as I previously mentioned, Fly Me To The Moon is no conventional rom-com. As a result, the pacing doesn’t feel plodding or slow, as you’re invested in seeing these people work on the Apollo 11 moon landing. This movie also has an abnormally large budget for a “rom-com” (a whopping US$100 million), and you can see all of that reflected in its high production value.

Kelly Jones (Scarlett Johansson) and Cole Davis (Channing Tatum) in FLY ME TO THE MOON.

Hello, Houston

Cole Davis (Channing Tatum) in FLY ME TO THE MOON.

Again, Fly Me To The Moon is more than just another generic romantic comedy. Even if you’re not interested in the Apollo 11 moon landing mission, this movie is worth watching for how heartwarming, inspiring and feel-good it can be. Considering how big its budget is, these kinds of movies are really rare these days, especially in the sea of all the summer action and IP blockbusters.

FINAL SCORE: 80/100

We attended a press screening of Fly Me To The Moon courtesy of Sony Pictures Malaysia. Fly Me To The Moon premieres in Malaysian cinemas on 11 July 2024.

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