DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Moon - Blu-ray Review



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</script></div>{/googleAds}What are the chances of making a sci-fi film with a low budget, with virtually non existent CGI, with just one actor playing out most of the plot? Furthermore, what are the chances of that film doing exceptionally well at the Sundance Film Festival after having been filmed by a rookie director?

Co-written by Duncan Jones in his directional debut, this is one such film that goes on to prove that expensive budgets and mind numbing effects are not always a sure fire guarantee in the sci-fi genre. What works for Jones is the simplest yet best formula there is in cinema story telling, which in this case happens to be a well written script matched only by the actor it is written for. And that actor is Sam Rockwell, perfectly cast as the only human being on the surface of the moon. Due to the current energy crisis on planet Earth, Sam Bell is an implant on the moon with a sole purpose of mining lunar soil for harvesting helium-3, a clean energy source he sends back to Earth. Assisting him in this solitary project is an artificial intelligence controlled robot called GERTY aptly voiced by Kevin Spacey. GERTY is also Sam's only companion, programmed to monitor his tasks while vigilantly watching over his health and daily supplies. Nearing the end of a three year contract, Sam is eagerly anticipating his return to Earth, more to reunite with his wife who was heavily pregnant on his departure than to get away from this isolated existence. But due to a communications satellite failure, live video conferencing between home and the moon are limited to recorded messages sent both ways occasionally. Now with just two weeks left for his return, GERTY does not recommend fixing the satellite relay, but maintains priority in extracting energy. It is at this point when Sam's health starts to fail with unexplained hallucinations. On a routine mining trip, he sees a young girl in his direction and crashes the rover in distraction. Awakening in the infirmary, Sam overhears a live communication feed between GERTY and headquarters on Earth, arousing his suspicion that all is not as it seems. But before he can investigate any further, Sam is shocked to see another person in his bunker, a person in his own likeness, another Sam Bell. Only this time, he is not hallucinating; arriving at a startling conclusion that he may have never been alone all along.

MoonFor a sci-fi thriller that lacks any of the grand splendors we have grown to expect from the likes of Star-Trek and Star Wars, Jones adopts a technique most currently active directors would easily avoid only for its retro feel. But in a year full of sequels (is it Star Trek 6 already?) Jones has the definitive edge in terms of originality of content and fluidity of context. Having said that, Stanley Kubrick fans are in for a nostalgic trip down memory lane with certain similarities to 2001: A Space Odyssey. GERTY, eerily voiced by Kevin Spacey more than pays homage to HAL 9000. Then there is the disorientation and hallucination associated with solitude as last seen in Steven Soderbergh's Solaris. But Jones isn't done yet, in fact by the time we start to unravel his diabolical twist towards the end, he has only just begun to narrate how unique we as humans really are. And by the time he's done, there awaits a shocking lesson in corporate ethics versus human identity; homework if you will, for us to mull over long after the credits go up. This again, is masterfully penned into Nathan Parker's screenplay adapting from Jones' original story. Two other aspects seamlessly blending in are Clint Mansell's score and Gary Shaw's believable cinematography. Remember, CGI is at a bare minimum, yet that sinister feeling of being the only person living on the moon is well rendered. Ironically, sometimes you even feel Sam's claustrophobia when there is everywhere to run, but no where to hide. And this is when Mansell's score heightens that alarming sensation.

For a film that starts slow, it sure packs a stinger of a blind-sided punch in the end, one that will have viewers reeling in thought and drooling for more. Good thing then, that Jones is already planning a prequel and a sequel, thus broadening this narrative into his own sci-fi trilogy. If he stays on course as he does here, I'm betting hands down that the sci-fi genre is about to witness another colossal battle; Duncan Jones as David versus J. J. Abrams as Goliath.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
4 stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Screen Formats: 2.40:1

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish.

Language and Sound: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Portuguese: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Supplements:

Commentary

  • Feature-length commentary track with Writer/Director Duncan Jones, Director of Photography Gary Shaw, Concept Designer Gavin Rothery, and Production Designer Tony Noble.
  • Feature-length commentary track with Writer/Director Duncan Jones and Producer Stuart Fenegan

Featurettes

  • The Making of 'Moon' (480p, 16:18)
  • Creating the Visual Effects (480p, 11:09)
  • Science Center Q&A With Director Duncan Jones (1080i, 20:48)
  • Filmmaker's Q&A At the Sundance Film Festival

Previews - Moon theatrical trailer (1080p, 2:08); District 9, The Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day, Michael Jackson's This is It, Black Dynamite, Zombieland, It Might Get Loud, The Damned United, Coco Before Chanel, Snatch, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Blood: The Last Vampire.

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