A bored Man in the Moon hitches a ride to Earth on the tails of a passing comet and starts to explore the fantastical creatures and sights of a new planet. But all is not well - the Moon ... See full summary »
A bored Man in the Moon hitches a ride to Earth on the tails of a passing comet and starts to explore the fantastical creatures and sights of a new planet. But all is not well - the Moon Man's absence from his post means that all the world's children are unable to sleep. Before the President can capture him, they must join forces to return him to his rightful place in the sky. Written by
You'll hardly find a German animated movie (if you even find one, there aren't too many sadly) with at least one or two interesting factors which are rather uncommon for the genre. They're clearly different to American animation movies, but certainly not worse. Many of the German animation films are aimed either exclusively at grown-up audiences or at least preferably and "Der Mondmann" is another example just like "Die Drei Räuber", "Felidae" or the Werner Beinhart films. The story here can be summarized quickly. There's a man living on the moon, but he's alone, gets bored and makes a trip to the Earth where he meets children, a strange scientist and a megalomaniac politician. The latter has conquered the whole Earth and looks out for new areas that aren't his already. As he comes across the man from the moon, he sees him as a dangerous alien force that needs to be liquidated.
The central character is voiced nicely by Katharina Thalbach and even if he's not exactly talkative, the way she does it adds a lot to the (positively) haunting atmosphere of the whole film. The cast is top-notch too, which is a great thing about this film, but also German children films in general. There's always big names in there. Here we have Ulrich Tukur, Corinna Harfouch and Ulrich Noethen among others.The narrator is voiced pretty uniquely by Tomi Ungerer, who already was in Loriot's early show "Cartoon" 45 years ago, a true legend of the business. Another highlight are the visuals. There's a whole lot of shadow/light play involved, great black-and-white contrasts, but also bright colors occasionally who truly shine on the dominantly night-time setting. The audio is pretty convincing too. The score includes the all kinds of genres and instruments always fitting the situation accurately and there's a quite surreal sequence when "Moon River" is played.
If there's anything to criticize, it may be that the story does not really justify a runtime of much more than an hour. But even there, the film has its moments such as the opening and closing at the drive-in cinema, which is almost as mysterious as the film itself, the way the children get nightmares when the man on the moon is not watching over them or the Conquistadora and the President getting busy. The child commenting afterward how everybody knows where babies come from, but wonders where grown-ups come from was one of the funniest parts for me. The humor fit the overall tone very nicely. It's often truly subtle and that's why it's also not really a mere kids film that makes children laugh all the time. Also the characters are not animated as spectacularly as the settings, but still with admirable focus to detail. The real heart of the film is the way the story is narrated and progresses. As a whole, I recommend the film. Make sure you watch it at night when there's full moon shining into your room and you will have a pretty good experience and maybe also learn an interesting lesson on friendship.
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