The FilmHave you ever wondered just what kind of person takes those jobs situated in the middle of nowhere where they barely see anyone? What kind of person chooses to be so cut off from civilised company, distant from all they love and all whom they care for? Who would choose to go somewhere so far from validation, emotional satisfaction and the reassurance of your image reflected in the eyes of another?
Sam Bell has only Kevin Spacey's voice for company and looks forward to his wife's messages for news of home. Yet he knows that something is wrong and after recovering from a crash in a moon buggie, he escapes quarantine to find that the buggie is still there and that there is a very familiar looking occupant still alive inside it. Soon, Sam's own nature and existence are exposed and we discover that he is the answer to the question that begins my review.
This is quite an achievement for a debut, however. The use of model effects is well executed, the design of Sam's living space is very competent, and to have an actor of Rockwell's talents at the centre of things is a very shrewd choice. This is though a familiar piece more than an inventive one. The music score by Clint Mansell is certainly after the work on Soderbergh's Solaris, Gerty the onboard computer is a flip on HAL 9000 with its conmspiratorial approach, and the sense of an exploitative multinational putting profit before people is any number of sci-fi movies from the last 40 years.
Technical SpecsMoon is transferred at 2.40:1 and presented in the MPEG-4 codec. The image is understandably desaturated with the preponderance of shades, contrast is impeccable, grain is barely discernible and detail is very good. Edge enhancement is not an issue and backgrounds are left as soft as they are meant to be given the mode of shooting. This a strong clean transfer that shows off the film very well.
Special featuresDuncan Jones is present on both the commentary tracks with the collaboraton with producer Stuart Fenegan being much more sober than the one with the DP, concept and production designers. For me I enjoyed the more blokey jokey commentary with Jones being ribbed for his original script - "Sammy and the clones"! There's plenty on each track about how the effects were achieved on a budget of just $5million and how difficult choices were made, alongside some of the improvements made in editing.
Jones' short Whistle is included from 2002. The story deals with a family man and fixer of assassinations whose latest assignment leads to collateral damage and a re-examination of his life. It feels a bit vague and unfinished but there's definitely talent here.
The making of includes interviews, shooting footage from Shepperton and much of blue and green screen work. Rockwell praises Jones' passion and believes "fairy dust" has been sprinkled on the project, and Jones praises the drive of his team. The visual FX featurette is introduced by Simon Stanley-Clamp from Cinesite who did the effects on the film and he reveals the work done with composite shots and the switching between CGI and models for Gerty.
There are two Q&A's with the director included in HD. At Sundance, the questions are from film buffs and at the science center they are from... well you can imagine! The Sundance piece turns into a thankathon which gets a little tiresome. A theatrical trailer in HD completes the film based extras.
Trailers for other Sony product are the final inclusions.
SummaryA fine debut but don't buy that this is an equal to the likes of Alien or Blade Runner. A very good transfer and strong extras await the hi-def viewer
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7 out of 10