Moon. Directed by Duncan Jones & Written by Nathan Parker.
Preconceptions: There are few movies I love more than Sci-Fi movies (Sci-Fi the genre, not to be confused with SyFy Network Original movies. Heh. SyFy, indeed). Horror movies are one, but they continue to throw me down stairs and promise they've changed. I'd seen very little regarding Moon except the uninformative, mysterious trailers. A few people who know what's what told me it was worth checking out. Being the hard nosed, cynical, non-journalist I am, that's all it took (well that and Netflix).
General Review: Well, Moon leaves me in a bit of a predicament. To talk about much of the plot really gives the main conceit of the movie away (read: I'm going to be even vaguer than usual. Only the general-est of generalities here, folks).
Firstly, let me say that I have been terribly confused about Sam Rockwell (the main character). Here is a typical conversation with me about Sam Rockwell:
Friend: "Oh goody, Sam Rockwell is in this!"
Friend: "Y'know he was the main guy in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind."
Me: "Oh, I didn't see that."
Friend: "YES YOU DID. He's the game show host."
Me: "Nope, who's he?"
Friend: "Ugh. Yes you did. But he was also Zaphod in the new Hitchhiker's Guide Movie."
Yeah. I'm a bit of a dullard about Sam Rockwell. He's one of those character actors that leaves me utterly convinced that he doesn't exist and I've never seen him in anything (I've seen him in SO MANY THINGS). I think his performance in Moon is finally going to make him stick in my memory. It was so good that it has fixed my minor brain damage.
But in my addled raving about Sam Rockwell, I don't want to ignore Kevin Spacey. I can say without ruining anything, that he plays the computer/robot that runs the station that Sam Rockwell is on. What a great choice for a too calm computer voice.
Okay, that's FAR too much talk about the actors (Alfred Hitchcock would be disappointed in me). Lets talk about the movie. It reminded me of an old school Arthur C. Clarke short story. It had that ability of the old Sci-Fi to set up really intricate worlds and themes in a very short amount of time. The brief intro set up everything you need to know about the universe you're in and the way things work there. You aren't STILL being spoon fed why the character is on the moon an hour into the movie (I'm looking at YOU Solaris from 2002 with George Clooney). We get the premise right away and can move right along to stuff happening on the moon.
It's a story that's grand in scope but not grand in sets or cast size. This movie is BARELY a two hander (two people on stage, not a sex act, not this time anyways). There are a few kinda lavish moon sets, but most of the movie takes place in the moon base itself, which is just a couple of rooms. But despite there being not many characters or places, you get that feeling of being stuck in space. The feeling that you are somewhere that's huge but still manages to be cramped. And, of course, the loneliness (though...y'know, not having many character kinda helps with that).
But despite being a small set, small cast movie, the pacing is really really good. Part of this is Spacey and Rockwell keeping your attention by bringing the acting skills, but a lot of it is the strong directing and screenplay. It is tightly scripted and edited. Very little fat to be found anywhere (well, I did find that we were staring right at Rockwell's bum for a good portion of the movie, but other than that...) (Heh, a bum staring two hander. I am a grown up).
It is easily the best Sci-Fi movie I've seen in years. Shoo shoo, stop reading now and go rent it.
Random Thoughts: As an aside, this movie made me think a lot of Mystery Science Theater. Just like Joel Robinson and Mike Nelson, Sam Rockwell had to keep his sanity with the help of his robot friends. Though admittedly, Sam isn't in a Satellite of Love. Sam Rockwell actually reminded me a bit of Joel, and not just for his hinder.
Watching Moon made me go back and enjoy some MST3K, but it also made me check out Silent Running (the 70's Sci-Fi that a lot of the MST3K premise was based on). I'm not going to write a whole review for it but...DON'T BE TRICKED LIKE I WAS. It was endless, unlikable hippie nonsense. With cute robots.
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1 year ago