"Sam Bell reporting to Central"
Coming to the end of his three-year contract, astronaut Sam Bell (Rockwell) was looking forward to leaving the Moon behind and returning to the woman he loves, his wife Tess (McElligott). Spending every day overseeing the automated mining and sending helium-3 back to Earth for Lunar Industries, Sam’s only interaction is with GERTY (Spacey), the base’s computer system. When one of the harvesters breaks down, Sam heads out to fix it but crashes the lunar rover. Awaking in the base’s sickbay, Sam asks GERTY how he got back to the base and why there is a faint life sign coming from the crashed lunar rover?
Every now and again a movie comes along that instantly becomes a classic of the genre and ‘Moon’ is just that.
There was a time when the British film industry and British filmmakers set the standard when it came to science fiction on the big and small screen. Cult hits like ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Blake’s 7’, ‘The Quatermass Experiment’, ‘The Prisoner’, ‘The Tripods’, ‘Day of the Triffids’ and ‘Village of Damned’ made Britain a hotbed of Sci-Fi during the 60s, 70s and 80s. While the stories pushed the genre forward, the limited budgets, sometimes hammy acting and the wobbly sets made British science fiction the definition of cult. Now, in the new millennium science fiction is making a comeback and Britain has once again risen to the challenge and delivered a film that will be considered not just a cult classic but a classic of the genre.
Writing his own original story and directing his first feature length film, Duncan Jones is set to become a huge name. While he may have been touted more as the son of music legend David Bowie, his first foray into filmmaking will make him stand alone on his own talent, as ‘Moon’ is such an accomplished debut picture. What makes the movie stand out from the current wave of Sci-Fi films is that it captures the spirit of the more intelligent science fiction that graced the 1970s. ‘Moon’ is clearly influenced by films like ‘Silent Running’, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, ‘Solaris’ and the first ‘Alien’ movie, films that rely on storytelling and characters and not just visual effects.
To talk about the performance of Sam Rockwell in the leading role does mean that a plot point has to be spoilt. After the accident in the lunar rover and after Sam awakens in sickbay, he makes the realisation that there is a life sign within the crashed vehicle. The shocking reveal is that when he investigates the crash site, he finds a badly injured version of himself. What this means to the plot will not be revealed here but it does mean that Sam Rockwell spends the majority of the film acting with himself. For a movie with a small budget of only $5 million, this was a giant undertaking, pushing visual effects to their maximum. The movie quickly becomes a tour-de-force for Rockwell, who proves again that his is a fascinating actor who can command your attention. His only support is Kevin Spacey as the voice of the base’s computer GERTY, meaning that the film relies on Rockwell completely.
From the look of the film you would think that the budget is much bigger. The set design of the moon base is superb, giving it a futurist but realistic look that makes it believable. The same can be said for the creation of the moon base’s lunar rovers and helium-3 harvesters, with Jones and his creative team using model-based designs instead of CG. Even with all the advances in computer generated visual effects, a model can look just as good, if not better than anything that is draw on a monitor.
‘Moon’ is quite simply one of the best science fiction movies to be released in a very long time. Capturing the essence of the ‘intelligent’ Sci-Fi of the 70s and not relying on flashy action sequences or fancy visual effects to tell a story. With a simply astonishing performance from Sam Rockwell and a storyline that really gets you thinking and will stay with you for a very long time, the movie introduces you to an up-and-coming filmmaker in Duncan Jones who is going to be a shining star of the British film industry.
PICTURE & SOUND
The Blu-Ray disc presents the movie in High Definition wide screen 2.35:1 up to 1080p, with Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound.
Commentary with writer/director Duncan Jones, director of photography Gary Shaw, concept designer Gavin Rothery and production designer Tony Noble
The main people behind the production of the movie gather together to reminisce about the making of ‘Moon’ and reveal some fascinating insights into how the movie was made.
Commentary with writer/director Duncan Jones and producer Stuart Fenegan
The director and his producer provide an informative and chatty commentary about working together and bringing ‘Moon’ to the silver screen.
‘Whistle’ A Short Film by Duncan Jones (28.46 mins/SD)
Made in 2002, here is your chance to see Duncan Jones’ earlier work that clearly shows that he is destined to become a great British filmmaker.
The Making of Moon (16.18 mins/SD)
Writer/director Duncan Jones, producer Stuart Fenegan and star Sam Rockwell take you behind the scenes of ‘Moon’. Showing the Moon Base set at Shepperton Studios and revealing how the difficult shoot was achieved, this is a good featurette that shows how an Indie film can be made.
Creating Visual Effects (11.09 mins/SD)
Go behind the scenes of the creation of two Sam’s, the Moon Base and the lunar rovers and harvesters.
Science Centre Q & A with director Duncan Jones (20.48 mins/HD)
A special screening of the movie to NASA scientists and personnel at the Science Centre in Huston, Texas
Filmmaker’s Q & A at the Sundance Film Festival (11.15 mins/HD)
After the premiere of the movie, the audience got to talk to the director, writer, producer and star, Sam Rockwell about the movie.
Previews of ‘2012’, ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘Julie & Julia’ and ‘Angels & Demons’
The Blu-Ray presentation of ‘Moon’ is one that fans will enjoy. For a low budget movie this is an excellent package, with excellent commentaries and some interesting and informative featurettes that fans of the film will enjoy watching.
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