Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nog On Moon!

Duncan Jones' Moon has received a fair amount of praise as a (rare) serious science-fiction film, and I went in hoping for a visually stunning mindfuck (given the fact that all reviews reference 2001 and the thing is directed, after all, by David Bowie's son!). And it's a pretty good film, all things considered, with a nice look for its low-budget, a creepy and claustrophobic vibe, and a strong performance(s) by the almost always interesting Sam Rockwell. But it proved to be a little plot-heavy for my taste, struggling to explain away its weirdness instead of just relaxing and reveling in it.

With its eerie computer voice (the soothing sounds of Mr. Kevin Spacey), I suppose 2001 is the obvious touchstone for Moon ("Open the pod bay door, HAL!"). And there's a little Blade Runner and Solaris tossed in for good measure (although I have to admit not having seen the Tarkoskvy original, only Soderbergh's remake). Moon never feels totally original in the way that it should, but at the same time it accomplishes certain things very well, primarily in capturing a really stifling and spooky combination of the loneliness and timelessness of space, which would almost certainly unravel many of us, much less a sole guy on a three year contract in a lunar mining outpost.

Worth a look!

11 comments:

  1. SWEET. I caught part of the original SOLARIS on TCM late one night -- but I was really tired and I couldn't make sense of anything, and I sure as shit didn't see any activity in space. The small section I caught was all terrestrial. I need to Netflix the Criterion edition. You know, I'm always amazed at how really unpopular 2001 is. I swear by this film -- it's like my second favorite film of all time. But a lot of people really don't dig it -- and a reccuring criticism is that it's sterile -- in fact, wasn't Tarkoskvy actively reacting to this charge against Kubrick? I think I've even heard Sigourney Weaver knock 2001. (Which broke my heart more than a little bit.) But. Yeah.

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  2. IMO, don't worry too much about seeing the original SOLARIS. If you want to see what you've missed, get on the I-70/I-35 interchange and go around a few times. It's okay, but you could almost read the book (and get better value out of it) in the time it takes to watch the movie.

    2001 gets both undeserved criticism and undeserved praise. To call it the best SF movie of all time (or even 1968) is a commonly made overstatement. Some bits of it are brilliant, but as a whole it just isn't that great.

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  3. I sense a sci-fi showdown brewing between Matthew and Dr. C over 2001! (I haven't seen it in awhile, and thus will just sit back and listen politely!).

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  4. I'm still exhausted from the great BLADE RUNNER debate on Beth's blog. . .

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  5. Ooh, that was a fun debate!

    --beth

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  6. Ah well...Nog On Film may not spark intense debates.

    But it does roll on with reviews of movies that no one sees!

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  7. Haha! Your stuff is fun and rewarding to read even if one hasn't seen the film. But I'll wait on the new Woody Allen because I actually plan to see this one. And it seems AWAY WE GO is at Liberty, so maybe I can catch that one, too. I've lost faith in summer blockbusters, but need to get my ass to some indies.

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  8. Yeah, we need to support the indies during the summer season!

    With any luck The Hurt Locker will finally appear in a few weeks, but my understanding is that it needs to be seen only in a multiplex with amazing sound!

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  9. Concerned movie patronJuly 20, 2009 at 9:08 PM

    - Charming murals. . .check.
    - Fiberoptic ceiling. . .check.
    - Alcohol. . .check.
    - Amazing sound. . .eh. . . . . . . . . . .FAIL.

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  10. Agreed. The alcohol makes up for a little bit, though, especially if you're only watching something half-assed...like Whatever Works!

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  11. I finally saw this one. I thought it. . .okay. Once I realized that this was a movie about ______, I sort of said, "Oh. . . . . .so this is a movie about ______." Which is fine, because -- it's an interesting subject. But somehow I think outer space and the moon is compelling enough without grounding the material in a conflict that is so. . .terrestrial, indeed tangible.

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