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Moon (2009): Rod's take

01/12/2009. Contributed by Rod MacDonald

Buy Moon (2009) in the USA - or Buy Moon (2009) in the UK

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Region 2 DVD: pub: Sony Picture Classics CDR60350. 93 minute film with extras. Price: 19.99 (UK). Stars: Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey.

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I reviewed this movie in a recent edition of SFCrowsnest (September 2009). To recap the plot, Earth's energy requirements have been met by nuclear fusion which uses helium 3 obtained from the Moon's surface as fuel. This is a bi-product of solar wind from the Sun. Enormous automated machines harvest helium 3 from the lunar surface and the operation is overseen by a solitary miner.

Sam Rockwell is the Moon miner on a three-year stint. Communications are not working properly and haven't been since the start. He lives a lonesome existence on the Moon base, accompanied by a robotic computer by the name of GERTY voiced by Kevin Spacey.

Diversion for nitpickers: the mining operation is supposed to be on the far side of the Moon, yet it clearly shows operations taking place on the side facing Earth. Also, Earth is shown in the lunar sky so obviously this can't be the far side of the Moon.

Overall, this is an excellent movie. It was made on a $5 million budget, which is nothing these days, doesn't use a lot of computerised special effects and relies on models. It is adult Science Fiction with David Bowie's son as director.

There are elements of '2001: A Space Odyssey', 'Outland' and 'Silent Running' but it has its own identity. It is a lonely situation, a loneliness only space can impart and there are moments of deep despair when the realisation of the true reality of the situation materialises. Saying much more would definitely be a spoiler.

As mentioned, the movie has been reviewed before but this is the DVD version. I'm pleased to say the review copy was the actual product for sale and it contained all the extras, something that many review copies fail to include. Coming in a nice little box, neatly presented in black and Moon gray, it represented an excellent value for an average costs of under 10. So, what exactly do we get with this DVD?

Well, this DVD comes with more extras than a Soho brothel.

There are a couple of commentaries. Sometimes commentary with a DVD is just a lot of waffle but in this case you get a multitude of useful information about the characters and the making of the movie.

The first commentary involves the writer and director Duncan Jones, director of photography Gary Shaw, concept designer Gavin Rothery and production designer Tony Noble. It is quite entertaining and chatty, mentioning lots of aspects and anecdotes relating to the movie.

The second commentary was by writer and director Duncan Jones and producer Stuart Fenegan. This was my favourite. It was more serious and gives lots of information about the budgetary aspects, for example, their reasons for using models instead of computer graphics and also the use of studio materials in creating the set.

There is also 'Whistle', a short film by Duncan Jones. Lasting for about 30 minutes, it is set in Switzerland (very nice scenery) and involves a family man who is also an assassin. By remote control, he kills people from his chalet in the mountains. A mistake is made when a child is killed along with the victim and he becomes full of remorse.

The list of extras goes on and on.

We've also got a short movie about 'The Making Of Moon'. Then there is a piece about 'Creating The Visual Effects'. Following this, there are two question and answer films, the first involving the scientific aspects of the movie and the second which deals with filmmakers queries. These are quite long and in-depth in the amount of detail produced. By the time you've gone through these extras, you will be very much more informed and educated as to the making of a Science Fiction movie. You will also be entertained.

Finally, there are a couple of trailers to 'Moon'.

The DVD is a very good buy not just for the movie alone but for all the additional material which combines to make this an excellent purchase. I think the production team has gone out of its way to make a very good package! This is the best DVD I've seen some time and it is definitely recommended.

Rod MacDonald

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