Friday, August 14, 2009

Moon (2009)

Directed by: Duncan Jones
Written by: Nathan Parker

I’ve always had a deep fascination with science fiction. When I was younger I was enthralled by the special effects, epic storylines, and explosive action scenes. As I grew older I seemed to lose interest in the things that made me fall in love with science fiction as I started to realize that the genre was full of cautionary tales about political and societal issues. I began to focus more on the themes and morals of the stories and started to lose interest in the stories themselves. Because of this, I suppose Moon is the perfect sci-fi movie for how I feel about the genre right now.

Moon tells the story of Sam Bell (played by Sam Rockwell), an astronaut extracting helium-3 from the soil of the moon. He is nearing the end of his three year contract with Lunar Industries, when he begins to experience severe loneliness. His only means of contact with the outside world is limited due to a malfunction of the base’s communications system and his only companion is a robot named GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey). On a mission to pick up some helium-3, Sam hallucinates that someone is outside his rover and crashes the rover. The next scene, Sam awakes finding himself back in the base’s infirmary. He sees the base he crashed at is down, and decides to venture out to see what the problem is, only to find the crashed rover and his body inside the rover. He takes himself back to the base and asks GERTY who the man is, but GERTY refuses to give a clear answer. The rest of the movie investigates who the real Sam Bell is, the limits of corporate greed, and various other questions dealing with existence and reality and some more fun sci-fi topics.

Visually the film is enjoyable as well. Shot on a meager budget of $5,000,000, director Duncan Jones did the best he could to display a realistic depiction of the moon’s surface, opting for models rather than CGI. However, the cinematography seems to suffer somewhat from the low budget set, and it somewhat detracts from the mystical quality most sci-fi films possess. Some mysticism is saved by Clint Mansell’s fantastic score which captures the eerie wonder of space as well as any fan of Mansell’s previous work would expect.

Though the film drags in places and the set feels somewhat empty and hollow, it ultimately satisfies thanks to it’s interesting themes, plentiful ideas, and sympathetic character.




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