Theatrical reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Tisbury Audio Mini Passive Review
Denon AVR-S700W& Envaya Bluetooth Speaker Reviews
CLONES Audio 25p Power Amplifier Review
Audioengine A2+ Desktop Speakers Review
Darwin Truth Silver Cable Review
10 Most Recent Theatrical Reviews
Latest AV News
Blu-ray Software Forum Topics:
Most Popular Blu-ray Reviews
 
Moon (2009)  Print E-mail
Theatrical Movie Reviews Theatrical
Written by Daniel Hirshleifer   
Thursday, 16 July 2009

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful

Film Rating:
4.5
Was this review helpful to you? yes     no
There are generally two strains of sci-fi films. One is thought provoking and puts an emphasis on "hard science" (2001: A Space Odyssey being the most famous example, but others are Solaris, Gattaca, and The Fountain). This is often referred to as "hard sci-fi." The other is an action film disguised as science fiction, commonly known as "space opera" (Star Wars, The Fifth Element, etc.). While there are a few properties that have straddled both fences (episodes of the various Star Trek series tended to vaccilate between the two poles), space opera is by far the most prevalent sort of sci-fi to be found in the United States today. That is why, when a hard sci-fi film is released, it's always worth investigating. And, in the case of Duncan Jones' (son of famed musician and actor David Bowie) Moon, the investigation proves that there's plenty of life left in the hard sci-fi genre.
 
Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is the sole crew member of a mining operation on the dark side of Earth's moon. His only companion is a sympathetic robot named Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey), who expresses emotions through smiley face emoticons. He's two weeks away from the end of his three-year contract, and it can't come soon enough, as he's really starting to get lonely. Due to a downed transmitter, Sam can't have a real-time conversation with other humans. Instead, he can only send and receive video messages, including ones from his wife, Tess, and baby daughter Eve. But even though he's almost out, Sam is starting to see some weird things. Glitches in videos and even what may be another person on the station. Is Sam going crazy or is there more to the moon station than meets the eye?

Moon is definitely different than most movies. Aside from the self-contained setting, the way the story is told is very atypical. There is a twist that occurs at the end of the first act which would normally only be revealed at the end of the picture. But Jones, being the smart filmmaker that he is, turns conventions on their head and uses the twist to delve into Sam's psyche. Jones' direction is immaculate, turning the piece into a slow burn that unfolds at its own pace. While there is undoubtedly CGI used throughout the film, it's very well integrated and the extensive use of models sells the illusion that Sam is really on the moon. In terms of design, the film wears its influences on its sleeve. Alien and 2001 references pop up constantly (Alien in the "truckers in space" feel of the moon base and 2001 in the constant presence of Gerty), but luckily Jones uses these elements to again defy the audience's expectations.
 
Sam Rockwell does a spectacular job as Sam Bell. He has to support the film almost single-handedly. We see a few clips of other people from their video messages, and obviously there's Gerty, but Sam is the heart and soul of the piece. This is Rockwell's most impressive performance to date: Nuanced, subtle, and measured. This is Oscar-worthy stuff, but knowing the Academy, will probably be overlooked in favor of an actress with a prosthetic nose.
 
Kevin Spacey is also a treat as Gerty. While at times he echoes HAL 9000 from 2001, the resemblance is only passing. The use of smiley faces to convey emotion was a stroke of genius, making Gerty simultaneously more likeable and more alien. And yet, do we not communicate in those same symbols when we talk online, an increasingly common form of connection between people? It makes sense that a robot designed to be the only companion for a lonely human would use such simple but effective methods of anthropomorphism. Truthfully, I'd like a Gerty of my own.
 
It's a little hard to discuss Moon in full without delving into the major twist, as that informs the last two thirds of the film. But suffice it to say that Moon is intelligent, thought-provoking, and never tries to fool or second guess the audience. Duncan Jones' debut directing gig is satisfyingly solid and original, even when its influences are on full display. I can eagerly recommend this picture as one of the best of the year to date, and hope that the vague nature of this review will only serve to entice you into seeing the film to discover exactly what it's all about. And, as Pink Floyd would say, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon.







Like this article? Bookmark and share with any of the sites below.
Digg!Reddit!Del.icio.us!Google!StumbleUpon!Yahoo!Free social bookmarking plugins and extensions for Joomla! websites!
 

 
  home theater news  |  equipment reviews 
  blu-ray reviews  |  dvd  |  theatrical reviews  
  music download reviews  |  music disc reviews
  contact  |  about-us  |  careers   |  brands 
  Subscribe to Us   |   RSS   |  AVRev Forums
  front page  |  virtual tours  |  dealer locator
  how to features  |   lifestyle & design articles
  Want Your Home Theater Featured on MHT?
   CE Partners: HDD  |  HDF  |  VGT  |  SD  |  DVD
   
  Advertise with Us | Specs | Disclaimer
  Sponsors | privacy policy | terms of use
  909 N. Sepulveda Blvd. El Segundo, CA 90245
  Ads: 310.280.4476 | Contact Us
  Content: 310.280.4575 | Mike Flacy