With Toy Story (1995), a studio called Pixar blew the lid off of animated movies as we knew them. Thirteen years later, the other studios have yet to even approach that early level of excellence, let alone match the advancements Pixar has made since. Oddly similar to the most recent clunker Space Chimps, the new Fly Me to the Moon looked infinitely more promising in that it was based on an actual idea: the 1969 Apollo 11 mission as seen through the eyes of three stowaway flies -- in 3D! But sadly it proves itself as technically dull and as creatively stifled as Space Chimps as well as nearly every other non-Pixar movie.
After a totally useless, noisy black-and-white prologue, we get a very cool establishing shot. The camera flows smoothly through the back lots behind Cape Canaveral in Florida. It swoops into a patch of dirt and a tangle of weeds, through some bits of discarded junk, to the world where our little flies live (like humans, in little dollhouses). During this and other traveling sequences, the 3D works beautifully, engulfing us comfortably in this tiny world. But as soon as we meet the characters, the movie starts to sputter. In real life, houseflies can zip across the kitchen pretty darn fast relative to their size, but these flies drift lethargically from place to place, and the movie bogs down in their lackadaisical pace.