Since when did “2001: A Space Odyssey” become one of the pioneers of the genre? If Duncan Jones‘ “Moon” was first premiered in 2009, then it had passed for 42 years. There were no sci-fi movies like “2001” then. Yes, there are some such as “Blade Runner” and “Alien” which are also directed by Ridley Scott both of them. However, what distinguishes both movies far from just sci-fi films is the story itself. It’s not about how a futuristic background’s far from the impression of the future itself or the CGI. But, it’s about what’s inside.
“Moon” really sounds a lot different and isn’t just a sci-fi movie you wanna enjoy. This is not your typical sci-fi movies. It gives you something a claustrophobic yet terrifying impression. Although it’s not a horror film, this is the one you wouldn’t like it at all. Especially, you as sci-fi movie fans who just want to find a futuristic background or something like CGI. If you understand well about “2001,” “Moon” could be a great recommendation for you.
Indeed, indie movies are so difficult to compete in major events such as the Academy Award. Yet, “Moon” received a BAFTA Awards for Duncan Jones in 2010. This movie is about solitude. You are in a vast environment far from Earth as an astronaut. This is what Sam Jones portrayed by Sam Rockwell experienced. Great performance for this actor. Sam Jones is an operator contracted for 3 years by a Korean company called Lunar Industries. It placed at a station called “Sarang” which means “love.”
Long story short, Earth is on the verge of chaos which is no longer worth living in. Sam’s mission is to take Helium 3 which is an alternative energy source for Earth’s future contained on the moon. Not only him but he is accompanied by an AI named GERTY. You hope he wasn’t HAL 9000 because with the voice performance by Kevin Spacey. As if it’s not your friend and you don’t wanna believe him. A robot who has a duty to accompany him throughout the mission. One day, he experienced a hallucination and resulted in an accident. From here, he got strange things in the station, the biggest secret, including the biggest fact of himself.
Once again, “Moon” didn’t rely too much on something like super realistic CGI. It was able to spoil its audience from beginning to end. This film actually puts forward the story rather than other things but that doesn’t mean the sci-fi is gone. This film reminds me a little about “Girls’ Last Tour” anime. You stuck in a world of post-apocalyptic without someone living from far away. “Moon” is more precisely taking a moon as the background to show something as far as being a strong atmosphere. What if someone is watching you? What if Earth isn’t the same thing anymore? Is it not a coincidence that robot would kill you anytime? Duncan Jones seemed to not want to ruin an impression which far from the simplicity and made it much wider.
We really felt how a person living far from their home which gives you a pity impression to them. We really know space is a very broad place and by sending just one person in certain missions out there creates loneliness, psychology, pity, and a cold atmosphere impression. Duncan Jones cinematography reminds me of “2001” about how he built interiors station and the relationship between a human and an AI but GERTY isn’t as bad and psychopathic as HAL 9000 whose has a feeling far from within.
Kevin Spacey as GERTY is far from HAL 9000 because with its solid yet flat sound, we also never know how it will go at next. But, he is kind of guy who can careless to Sam, who sometimes can hardly believe, can finally draw him to work together. The appearance from Kevin Spacey only from his voice are the best, especially you can look closely at how he describes his feelings through emoji and it’s a cute thing you want to see it.
We have Ryan Reynolds from “Buried,” Tom Hanks from “Cast Away,” James Franco from “127 Hours,” and finally, Sam Rockwell as a claustrophobic person. This is one of the performances for one-man show movie which have ever existed in addition to playing two characteristics, he owns the stage. The main character who experienced loneliness, various pressures and extraordinary confusion always made this film raise more complex questions while other characters have a high temper. Both characters are very good, visible, alive, and accentuate everything the character has.
Even though I think films like this will last for more than two hours, the movie actually creates more confusion. The pace, if you guess it, it’s not too slow if you are more serious about and if you can keep up. And besides, this film will never feel alive if Clint Mansell isn’t one of the composers. This is not like “Requiem for a Dream” or “Pi” which is far from being a horror, but the scoring in this film seems so frightening, it’s like being in a wide but narrow world. I love this score in this film and it has its own memorable impression and pushed the atmosphere in this film.
“Moon” really shows something simple from the beginning, with a promising impression, but it’s more than that. Every twist accompanied in each story always draws many so complex questions and “Moon” is one of the major examples of how to make sci-fi movies and stories as the main point so that the film is in balanced. The film also relies on various emotions and a bit of philosophy.
An extraordinary combination of sci-fi, thriller, mystery, and psychological includes a one-man performance from Sam Rockwell and Clint Mansell’s score as it best. Duncan Jones proves that to make a sci-fi movie, you just don’t need a futuristic background to support the genre which is far from being a realist or a lot of budgets but this movie is so difficult to compare in such a movie. Just like “Donnie Darko,” “Mr. Nobody,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and movies like “2001: A Space Odyssey” and etc.
4.5 out of 5 stars.