Moon (2009)

Moon, DVD Cover

Moon, DVD Cover

The problem with Science Fiction movies is that so many of them are complete and utter shit. Hollywood doesn’t really understand this genre well, and usually uses it to stage their special effects intensive summer action flicks. The hallmarks of a popular SF movie is a non-existent plot, cgi explosions, fast paced, cut intensive editing and cringe worthy dialogue. Either that, or they veer in the direction of gory futuristic space based horror.

Every few years though they manage to release something decent. I’d even say exceptional. An example of such inspired production is Moon. And please don’t confuse this fine film with “New Moon” which is nothing but a visual diarrhea devoid of all meaning or value.

Moon is clever, well made and intriguing science fiction story about astronaut Sam Bell – the sole operator of a corporate lunar mining station. His 3 year mission involves maintaining and supervising a fleet of automated harvesters which process the dust on the dark side of the moon to recover precious He3. Unfortunately to contact Earth, he has to bounce a radio signal of a lunar satellite which malfunctioned shortly before he arrived. Sending a repair team is a very low priority, since the base can still call home via a “Jupiter” link with only few hours of delay, and live communication is not necessary to accomplish Sam’s mission.

Three years without talking live to a person is a long time, and it does take some toil on the hero. His only companion on the base is a robot (voiced by Kevin Spacey) who is basically a mobile version of Hall from Space Odysey. It’s basically a box with a camera eye that rides on network of ceiling mounted rails. Despite being somewhat loopy at times however, Sam is holding up well. At least until he has a tiny accident on the surface, after which, everything changes.

I know what you are thinking – I had the same reaction when I started watching this movie. At first I assumed this is going to be a “Dude goes crazy from loneliness and has vivid hallucinations” story – but it is not. It is also not a story about the AI going crazy and/or rebelling against it’s human operator. The rail mounted mechanical dude is actually a good guy in this film.

What is is it about then? I’m not going to say. It would ruin the twist – and yes there is a fairly well executed plot twist there. I recommend not reading any spoilers before watching it. In fact, I may have already said to much in this very post.

Being mostly a one-man-show the quality of this film hinged mostly on Sam Rockwell’s acting ability, and I am pleased to say he delivers a stellar performance. This was a very demanding role, and pulling it off was not a small task so he deserves a lot of credit for doing this.

If you are game for some high quality, smart, well written science fiction you should put Moon on your “too see” list. If you are craving action, explosions and something fast paced then avoid it at all cost. Hollywood will be releasing something right up your alley any day now.

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11 Responses to Moon (2009)

  1. I will have to check Moon out. Looks like it will fall into the same category as Cube. Every now and then a great movie slips in there and we miss them until someone trips over it.

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  2. I agree. It’s a great film!

    It wasn’t playing in any theaters in my state when it was gradually being released, but I had really wanted to see it. In October I managed to torrent acquire a copy (searching around is annoying when there is “Moon 2009” and “New Moon 2009”). I was not disappointed! I had already guessed part of the twist from the trailer*, which unfortunately gives a lot of it away. It wasn’t enough to ruin the movie, though.

    My only complaint would be the unexplained gravity situation in the station. He seemed to be under normal Earth gravity in there. Outside the station seemed to have Moon gravity, as indicated when he was carrying … ahem … someone.

    Sam Rockwell does a lot of these low profile films. If you liked him in Moon, check out Choke sometime. I traveled an hour to catch that one in a theater. (And then if you like it, read the book, since it’s better of course. :-P)


    * My guess before seeing it was that there were multiple clones working in parallel on the moon, but unaware of each other. The real situation is much better than this. :-)

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  3. I agree as well. I left the theater saying, “Now that was real science fiction!”

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  4. tash UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I really liked Moon too. At first, I thought it was just going to be a low-budget sci-fi film .. which it was actually if I remember right. It was good though, with a lot of good story that would be hard to describe without spoiling the whole thing.
    Pandorum is another movie I watched recently that I was really impressed that you should check out if you haven’t already!

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  5. Ricardo BRAZIL Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Excellent tip, Luke!

    I have just finished watching it and couldn’t be more pleased. You get the twist fairly early in the movie but the way it unravels is very well done and catchy.

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  6. freelancer SWEDEN Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Yeah, thanks for this tip! Watched it yesterday and it was really good. In my opinion there were several smaller twists after the big one. Unfortunately I can’t say pretty much anything without spoiling too much :P

    But yeah, if you watch sci-fi for more than just the special effects, definitely check out this movie.

    @ Chris Wellons: I considered the working in parallel theory too =)

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  7. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ Craig A. Betts:

    Yeah, I saw a trailer for it a while ago and wanted to watch it for a while. But it turned out to be completely different from what I expected. It turned out to be better!

    @ Chris Wellons:

    I put choke on my to watch and to read list. :) But you are right about the gravity. I didn’t think of that. And I’m usually pretty good about noticing issues like this.

    Grant Robertson wrote:

    I left the theater saying, “Now that was real science fiction!”


    @ freelancer:

    Yeah, there were several smaller twists there. Not as important as the big one though.

    @ tash:

    I put Pandorium on my “to watch” list. The trailer looks promising.

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  8. copperfish Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    Thanks for this. Would never have picked it up if you hadn’t mentioned it.

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  10. IceBrain PORTUGAL Mozilla Firefox Debian GNU/Linux Terminalist says:

    @ copperfish: Ditto.

    I’ve just seen it, and I really liked it. Thank you very much for the suggestion, Luke.

    And it’s refreshing watching a movie where the robot actually follows Asimov’s Laws :)

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