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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover



Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey and Dominique McElligott
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 15
Available 16 November 2009

With the usual ingenuity of the human race, the world has solved its energy problems with the use of Helium-3. The only problem with this is that it can only be mined on the moon. So it is that Sam Bell finds himself coming to the end of his three year mission, stuck on a moon base tending the automated mining crawlers. His pleasure at going home is tempered by his continued frustration that the live link to Earth seems to be constantly down. Although his wife can send him video messages they haven’t talked in person since his arrival, this leaves Sam spending most of his time talking to Gerty, the base's robot. With his time nearly up Sam heads off across the moon, to investigate why one of the crawlers has stopped, and ends up being involved in an accident which he cannot survive. Then Sam wakes up back in the base...

Moon (2009) is the debut, full length, science fiction film by Duncan Jones, from his own original story. The film has won ten awards with a further seven nominations.

It is difficult to discuss the film without giving away the movie's first twist, so look away now. The film presents its central conundrum when Sam rescues himself from the fatal crash. This obviously creates a problem for both Sams, who at first cannot decide which of them is a clone. Both have identical memories although crash Sam is in a far worst physical state than the Sam who only just remembers waking up. The rest of the film spends its time not trying to work out what had happened, but why.

It’s a brave man who will carry a whole film on his own, especially when he plays both parts. The Sams had to be similar enough to convince the audience that both are the same person, yet different enough so that the audience doesn’t spend its whole time trying to work out who is who. Sam Rockwell is more than up to this task and turns in a superb performance as both Sams.

Aesthetically the film has gone right back to its seventies roots with the use of miniatures and interiors which would not have looked out of place in Kubrick’s 2001.

This is not a criticism, it’s been a long time since anyone tried to make a truly intelligent science fiction film. Moon will draw in an audience which likes to think, rather than one which is impressed with the effects heavy, but story light movies of today. Even Gerty - voiced by Kevin Spacey's dulcet tones - the base's computer is an amalgam of previous seventies robots with bits of both HAL 9000 and the robots from Silent Running, any aficionado of science fiction films will discover that Moon resonates a little bit of all the great films which preceded it.

The Blu -ray is presented with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. Given the limited budget of the film the picture is pretty perfect. Whites are bright and strong and the image is free from grain, thankfully the film does not suffer from a preponderance of edge enhancement making the best transfer your likely to see.

The master audio track does a good job at showing off Clint Mansell score, though as this is not an action film the overall effect is effective if not spectacular.

For a small independent film the extras are pretty good with two full length commentaries, the first featuring Duncan Jones, Gary Shaw the director of photography, Gavin Rothery concept designer and Tiny Noble Production designer. The second track features Duncan Jones and producer Stuart Fenegen.

Next up is a short film by Duncan Jones - called Whistle (2002) - about a high tech assassin who remotely kills his victims from his home in Switzerland, when a hit goes wrong he travels to London to make amends only to find himself the next target. It’s an interesting film and shows Jones’s attention to detail; which he would further display in Moon.

Next up is the inevitable ‘Making of’ featurette. This is a good look behind the making of the film, including some of the green screen work. All the extras are presented in standard definition.

Creating the Visuals pretty much does what it says on the tin and the disc is wrapped up with a couple of Q&A sessions from the Sundance Film Festival and the NASA Science Centre.

It’s a fine start for this debut film maker and the presentation of the disc is faultless, definitely a good addition to and science fiction fans collection.


Charles Packer

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