For all its snazzy 3-D visuals (the element earning the film its half-star), FMTM is the kind of garbage that might’ve been cranked out during the Cold War era if the UNIVAC had run Maya animation software: The enemies of freedom are evil but dumb, the womenfolk worry and faint, and there’s an old-fashioned moral lesson to be learned, by God. When three baby-faced flies stowaway on the Apollo 11 moon mission, they aren’t just out to gain parental approval by running away from home (which they do), or even to become famous heroes by hitchhiking with dangerous strangers (which they also do), they prove once and for all that even U.S. insects are better than their Soviet equivalents. And how! Not only does the hilariously named head fly-boy Nat McFly (Gagnon) make his naysaying mom eat her “dreamers get swatted” speeches like so much horse dung, he foils some offensive Russian stereotypes in the process and even guilts his fatty friend (Gore) into dieting. Now, ain’t that America to you and me?
And before you think this is just the opinion of some jaded child-hater, let me stress that the kids in the theater with me — the same sort of kids who think Hannah Montana is a comedic and musical genius, the brats snorting out milk at those feature-length fart jokes from Dreamworks — weren’t laughing either. This is a bad movie, folks. So bad it’ll have your kids ditching their astronaut dreams in favor of becoming exterminators and flyswatter salespeople. So bad, it’ll have you wishing for a sequel in which Nat & Co. sneak onboard the Challenger shuttle, tentatively titled Fly Me to the Moon 2: Your Fly Is Down.