Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Moon

I saw 2012 and Moon on the same weekend. I wonder if, just maybe, the reason I was so hard on the former is because the latter set the bar so high. Moon is not a perfect movie but it shares something in common with more recent fare like Knowing and The Box in that, unlike 2012, it is serious, thought provoking science fiction. I've been a science fiction fan my whole life and I hardly ever see anything that can truly be described as such. Sure, in the technical sense, 2012 is science fiction. The science, after all, is completely fictional.

I don't want to give away too much of Moon's plot. I went into it not knowing too much so I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

I suppose I can say that Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, a technician pulling a lonely three year tour of duty on a Lunar Mining Station. His three year contract is nearing its end and he's looking forward to going back to Earth to once again be with his wife and the daughter he's never met, at least not in person. His only company is GERTY, a robot voiced by Kevin Spacey. Clearly no one 50 years in the future has ever seen the movie 2001 because GERTY looks and talks a lot like the homicidal computer HAL from that movie. In fact, the station in which Sam Bell resides looks a lot like the 2001's spaceship Discovery One. That's probably intentional as is GERTY'S resemblance to HAL. I will say this: GERTY is not HAL, but GERTY is also not exactly what it appears to be.

Anyway, Sam only has two weeks to go when he starts hallucinating. This leads to an accident. When Sam wakes up, he's back in the station being tended to by GERTY who won't allow him out of the station. When Sam does manage to get out, he finds a man who looks exactly like him.

I love that there turns out to be an intelligent and logical reason for everything that's happened up to this point. I'm not going to say what it is, of course. I wish more people had seen Moon as it's entertaining as well as intelligent. This isn't a huge cerebral acid trip like Knowing. Moon is just a decent science fiction story told simply and well about a man who think he's losing his mind and finds out that what's actually happening is much worse. First time writer/director Duncan Jones can rest assured that I'll be first in line for his next movie.

I suppose no one is reading this because you're all out watching 2012. If so, you probably won't be mentally healthy to watch anything again until January which is right around the time Moon comes out on DVD. And yes Twilight fans, I intentionally fucked with you by titling this New Moon. Deal with it.

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