Thursday, April 15, 2010



Remember when they made movies for grown-ups? Back when nothing was over-sanitized, everyone could take a joke, and some Hollywood Necktie wasn't assuming the entire cinema-going population of planet Earth couldn't possibly have two brain cells to rub together? Well, Hollywood shows no sign of improving, and that's why we have Indie Films. And that term should always be capitalized.

Oh yeah, buy "Moon" instead of renting it. This kind of science fiction film hasn't been crafted for many years. The tagline for the film was: "250,000 miles from home, the hardest thing to yourself." That's really all you should know before you watch it.

When I saw the film last year, little had been written about it, as it suffered a small release window in very few theatres (in fact, I had to make an hour drive to find one!). Now, there are spoilers and synopses everywhere. Avoid them. It's a much more engrossing experience if you watch the film cold, with no foreknowledge, and allow the events to unfold.

Sam Rockwell in MOON
One man, Sam Rockwell, resides on the Sarang Lunar Base, collecting and refining Helium-3 (fuel for a form of energy being used on future Earth). The film hypothesizes that large rovers bake regolith to release H3 gas, which the lone laborer sends back to Earth in canisters.

Kevin Spacey provides the voice for his only companion, a tranquil robot who initially gives the impression of being much like HAL-9000, but turns out to be quite a different A.I. character than we've ever seen before!

It's certainly not the first or only science movie to tackle human nature, politics or corporate evil, nor even the first to examine the effects of extended isolation in an extreme environment, but I'm calling it the best one so far. The musical score was dreadful. That was my only dislike.

Duncan Jones MOON Movie
The "Extra Features" on the DVD include a screening at Space Center Houston, where director Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie, though he keeps that rather quiet) described his first film as an homage to the 1960s-80s sci-fi he loved while growing up, and all these influences are apparent: 2001, Silent Running, Solyaris, Outland, Alien, etc.

His most humorous moment was when he said sheepishly to the crowd, "This has to be the most intimidating audience I've had to show my film to!"

Despite his nervousness, I thought he answered questions from the space geek contingent quite well, especially since he had expected NASA Houstonians to give him a hard time about accurately faking lunar gravity, or where on the moon one might actually harvest Helium-3 (the mining of which is still only theoretical). Duncan also gives tantalizing clues to a possible sequel, where we may see what happens to Sam when he returns to Earth… can't wait for that!