Fly Me To The Moon Review

Scarlett Johansson charms in this lighthearted flick about the moon landing that will make you question what REALLY happened.

Fly Me to the Moon review

PLOT: Marketing maven Kelly Jones wreaks havoc on launch director Cole Davis’s already difficult task. When the White House deems the mission too important to fail, Jones is directed to stage a fake moon landing as back-up.

REVIEW: The 1969 space landing was often the subject of various conspiracy theories. Did we really go to the moon? Did Stanley Kubrick direct a fake moon landing? Why is physics a bit loopy in the video footage? These questions have inspired countless movies and TV shows, so it’s not a shocker that yet another one has been produced. Fly Me To The Moon tells the story of a marketing guru who has been given the task of promoting the Apollo program. The end goal is to get to space before Russia and declare American superiority on a national level. It’s not a shocker that this is a 4th of July release. However, you need to settle your expectations if you’re expecting a truthful tale.

Scarlett Johansson carries the film as Kelly Jones, a marketing genius and con man who uses her unique set of skills to help sell the Apollo to the American public. There’s a fun quick-witted nature to her that really helps to sell her “never sit still” demeanor. Her romance with Channing Tatum’s Cole Davis is well done and makes the story feel like it’s constantly progressing towards something. Though I’m convinced she could have chemistry with a rock at this point. I also enjoyed Woody Harrelson‘s slimey Moe Berkus, a government employee who forces Jones to film a fake version of the moon landing. The film is packed with recognizable faces, the funniest moment being been Johansson’s own husband, Colin Jost appearing as a senator.

Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum in Fly Me To The Moon (2024).

The romance between Kelly and Cole makes this feel very “rom-comy” at times. Their chemistry helps make it charming but it’s hard not to feel like it’s a bit cliche. Unfortunately in trying to tell a romance story along with this very conspiracy-laden space mission, the film can feel a bit disjointed. The movie’s first half is essentially about funding the project and making the general public care. Then the second half is about the conspiracy theory regarding filming a fake moon landing. Because of this, it feels like the main plot doesn’t actually start progressing until almost an hour in. There are merits in both halves of the film, but the crux of the story resides in the second half, so I’m not sure why it wasn’t more built around that. At times, it feels like it could have had 30 minutes cut, while also having enough going on that this could have easily been a miniseries.

At its core, Fly Me To The Moon is about truth. It’s about the line we walk between transparency and our ultimate goal. Because as much as we’d like to think that astronauts like Buzz Aldrin or Neil Armstrong would have been legends regardless, this film shows the importance of marketing. You can have a great product/event but if no one knows about it, then it may as well not exist. The perception of an event is almost as important as the event itself, especially when NASA was struggling for funding (though honestly, when aren’t they?). And by following fictional characters based on real people, the dramatic stakes can be a bit more layered.

Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum in Fly Me To The Moon (2024).

I thought it was interesting for them to frame the events against the war in Vietnam. Because yes, as the general public, it’d be really hard to care about sending a few people into space when we had our men dying every day on the other side of the planet. Though, they just kind of gloss over this point, and it’s never really focused on. I loved the usage of old footage, interspersed with new. They did a great job of blending the two and it gives a bit more texture to the film. By the time the rocket launches into space, it’s easy to stare at it in absolute wonder, much like those in the 1960s.

Fly Me To The Moon is ultimately a very light and fun experience. Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the subject isn’t likly to glean anything new, but it’s nice to humanize so many folks who have been lost to time (even if many of them and the story are fictional). Their accomplishments can live on in celluloid. Plus, it’s not so bad to say that you were portrayed by Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum. Much like the UFO files, one has to wonder if we’ll eventually find more about what really happened once they’re declassified. Till then, we have this light-hearted approach with some of Hollywood’s best.

FLY ME TO THE MOON IS PLAYING IN THEATERS ON JULY 12TH, 2024.

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Tyler Nichols is a horror fanatic who resides in Michigan and is always on the hunt for the next great film. When not scouring the internet for movie news, he is usually off watching something dark, writing nonsensical musings, or playing in some fantastical video game world. While horror takes up most of his time, he still makes time for films of all types, with a certain affinity for the strange and unusual. He’s also an expert on all things Comic Book Cinema. In addition to reviews and interviews here on JoBlo.com, Tyler also helps with JoBlo Horror Originals where he’s constantly trying to convince viewers to give lesser-known horror films a chance.