Moon – The best movie of the summer or the best movie of the summer?

July 21, 2009

All Moon miners should be required to wear Aviators

I want a pair

The questions about morals raised in Moon are more hard hitting than those in the film adaptation of The Watchmen. It has more science in its fiction than the new Star Trek did. The human drama contained in five minutes of this film is unreachable by anything done in Wolverine or Transformers 2. As of right now, Moon might be my favorite movie of the summer (it’s a tough call between this and Star Trek).

I've got nothin

I've got nothin

Moon stars Sam Rockwell as a moon miner named Sam Bell. The part was written specifically for him by first-time director Duncan Jones, and the movie is a throw back to hard sci-fi films such as Alien and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Sam Bell is in a lunar mining base at the tail-end of his three year contract when things take a turn for the weird. His only company out on that lonely piece of real estate is the base’s robotic caretaker Gerty, voiced by Kevin Spacey. One of the great things about Gerty is that he expresses his emotions through emoticons on a screen. This little trick does so much to add to the robot’s character.

O, Gerty

O, Gerty

Sam Rockwell also does an amazing job as a blue collar guy who starts losing his cool when things start going wrong on the moon base after three years of isolation. The film is carried by his excellent performance since he’s the only character on screen for ninety-eight percent of the movie.

This movie deals with some deep themes. What does it mean to be human? What’s real and what isn’t? What can being isolated for so long do to a person? I saw similar questions raised in I Am Legend, but a weak second half and a botched ending prevents those questions from being answered. No such problem exists in Moon. High Five.

Two other things in this film bear mentioning: the music and the special effects. The soundtrack was composed by Clint Mansell, and it ranks right up there with his work in The Fountain. Gosh the music was good. Hauntingly good. I bought the soundtrack off of iTunes when I got home and I listened to it the whole time I wrote this review. How many times do you have to hear me say it’s good?

The special effects are spectacular. Looking at them, you could not tell this movie was shot on a 5 million dollar budget. The outside of the moon base and the rovers all look very industrial and cool. They’re not cgi though, they’re all done in miniature. Something about using miniatures just looks good, and I enjoy seeing movies where film makers go this route.

Look at that view

Look at that view

Moon is the kind of science fiction movie that you don’t see anymore, the kind that makes you think and brings a healthy dose of realism to the table. That unto itself is impressive. Even better is that the film is pulled off so well, with an amazing performance from Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey’s lovely voice (it really is quite smooth). Unfortunately, Moon is in limited release, so it might not be playing in your town. If it is, and this is the kind of sci-fi that gets you all hot and bothered, don’t hesitate to see this film. I’m looking forward to buying it on DVD and watching it again.

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