A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Moon Man is a 2012 animated film that preaches the value of true friendship, trust, and service to others, all important elements in constructing a good life. The Moon Man leaves the moon out of boredom, not knowing his absence will be noticed by Earth's children, who take comfort from Moon Man's celestial presence. There are some mildly scary moments, such as when Moon Man is imprisoned by Earth's villainous president and taken away in a prison truck and put in a cell with a ball and chain around his ankle. It appears that the president probably floats off into space to his death. No injury is seen, and his apparent demise is treated comically. People run away when they think aliens are attacking. Some innuendo: A woman unzips the president's space suit,; the two of them disappear behind a partition, and the space suit is thrown over the partition.
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What's the story?
MOON MAN is based on the Tomi Ungerer book of the same name, and Ungerer provides a lilting voice-over narration. His Moon Man looks down on Earth from above, scrunched in the shape of his spherical planetoid, and children all over the world look up to see him every night. His presence up there gives them comfort and helps them sleep without nightmares. But Moon Man feels alone and bored, and when a comet passes, he catches a ride to Earth on its tail. He heads toward an Earth that has been conquered by a power-hungry president now seeking more to conquer. His girlfriend suggests the moon. When Moon Man's fiery comet hits earth, the president declares the planet's been attacked and makes scary pronouncements to the public about threatening extraterrestrials. Despite a worldwide search for him, the peaceful Moon Man stumbles into the lab of the man who invented everything, the solitary scientist Dr. Bunsen Van Der Dunkel. He befriends the harmless Moon Man and protects him from the narcissistic president. Echoing E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Dunkel does not want to lose his only friend, but he returns the homesick Moon Man by rocket ship to his place in the night sky because it's the right thing to do.
Is it any good?
There's much to love here, with a ghostly Moon Man who looks like Charlie Brown and acts like E.T. The messages of friendship, loyalty, and intellectual curiosity will be understood by kids of all ages, and the adults in their lives will enjoy coming along for the ride. The score by Eike Rosenfeld, Moritz Denis, and Tim Stanzel is as engaging and adorable as the animation. Wildlife peek through the vegetation and observe Moon Man in celebration of Earth's natural bounty and beauty. Younger kids may find some parts too intense and scary; they are likely to miss the innuendo in one scene (a woman unzips the president's space suit; the two of them disappear behind a partition, and the space suit is thrown over the partition), but parents should still be aware that it's there. Overall, this is a wonderful movie-night selection for families with tweens and up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between saying you are someone's friend and actually being someone's friend. What does it mean to be a friend? How was Dr. Bunsen Van Der Dunkel a good friend?
Do you ever have trouble sleeping? What helps you sleep peacefully?
What do you like to do to keep from being bored?
What do you know about the moon? How could you learn more?
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