Saturday, June 20, 2009

Moon - One of the best Sci Fi movies of the year

Moon is one of those movies that was written and directed by a true fan of science fiction. Duncan Jones, the director and writer of this excellent movie has paid tribute to some great science fiction movies made in to late sixties, seventies and eighties. We're talking about 2001 A Space Odyssey, Doug Trumbull's Silent Running, Blade Runner, Alien and even a little bit of Stephen King's The Shining. Filmed as a low budget independent movie, all of the money shows up on the big screen, money wisely spend on miniature models blended with state-of-the-art visual computer special effects. The set pieces look realistic enough and the shop-worn industrial designs are very reminiscent of the first Alien film. I will not give away any spoilers as this movie deserves to be seen fresh as the payoff is well worth the wait and is most satisfying. I believe the story is brilliantly crafted and told with spot-on pacing and editing. The main character is played by Sam Rockwell and he gives a bravura performance that is wide-ranging and sympathetic as the dedicated astronaut/worker that is facing the end of a 3 year long work assignment with hallucinations and deteriorating physical and mental health. His job is to repair anything that breaks down with the Helium 3 automated Harvesting Machines. Helium 3 is a powerful energy source that is found in the Moon's soil and needs to collected and processed to create concentrated amounts to satisfy the earth's energy requirements. Lunar Industries owns and operates this industrial moon base and appears to control most every aspect of the astronaut, Sam Bell's life. He is assisted by a robot (Voiced by Kevin Spacey) named GERTY and seems to be a first cousin of the 2001 robot HAL though not anywhere as sinister. This robot does in fact assist Sam to solve the dark mystery of the Lunar Industries Moon Base and their extreme (to the nth degree) contingency plans.
This 97 minute movie will keep you glued to your seats and will definitely challenge you to figure out what is really going on. It pretty much toys with your mind and opens up a ton of ethical questions regarding how far we've gone in pursuing technology and applying it with sinister motives to practical but morally questionable applications.

Kudos to the director and producer of this film as they were able to achieve a big-budget look with a pretty small budget. This movie is very similar to the movie Terminator in the way it got made. The director's vision translated directly to the screen. It was made on a shoestring budget. Buzz about the emerged early on and continues to spread (viral-marketing wise) in a grass-roots fashion. You are witnessing the very beginning of a what will become a long and successful movie directing career for Mr. Jones. In my opinion, Duncan Jones has achieved the same impressive debut that James Cameron achieved when he released Terminator in 1986. If you are a Science Fiction fan, you owe it to yourself to see this movie as it has earned immediate street cred as a classic must-see sci fi movie. In fact Moon is so impressive (as his very first commercial movie) that one can't help but wonder what his next movie project will be.

I also learned that Duncan Jones is David Bowie's son from reading another review of Moon. My review would have remained the exactly the same if I did not know that little piece of trivia.

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