Blu-Ray Review: Spectacular Sci-Fi in ‘Moon’ With Sam Rockwell

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CHICAGO – It truly has been a year for science fiction like no other. Think about this for a moment: “Star Trek,” “District 9,” and “Avatar” are all very possible candidates for the Academy Award for Best Picture. The wave of quality genre product has even allowed for one of the best science fiction films of not just the year but the decade to go tragically underrated in Duncan Jones’ spectacular debut “Moon,” now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

Sam Rockwell gives the best performance of his spectacular career in “Moon,” delivering what is essentially a one-man show. Rockwell plays Sam Bell, a worker on the other side of the moon in a future where that location happens to be the source of the solution to our energy crisis. Bell mines the source and spends most of his time talking to a robot (voiced by Kevin Spacey) and sending and receiving messages from home while he counts the days until the end of his three-year contract.

Moon was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 12th, 2010.
Moon was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 12th, 2010.
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Video

Mere days before he’s supposed to head home to see his wife and child, Sam gets into an accident in the field. When he comes back to the base, he is greeted by another version of himself (Rockwell brilliantly plays both roles, distinguishing them in subtle, amazing ways). This other Sam is younger, stronger, and more together in general. Who is he? What does he want? Aren’t we all worried a bit about being replaced by younger versions of ourselves?

Moon was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 12th, 2010.
Moon was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 12th, 2010.
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Video

“Moon” is an old-fashioned sci-fi film in so many ways. First, it’s a film in which the human dramatic element is much more important than the setting. Rockwell carries the weight of the relatable drama and does so with amazing humanity, selling all of the complex twists and turns of “Moon” as not products of a distant future but as relatable to the present and the past.

Second, “Moon” is a wonderfully rendered film, most notably in use of miniatures, a lost art in science fiction that results in films that look nowhere near as dated as CGI extravaganzas. Go look at some of the miniature sci-fi of the ’70s and ’80s and compare it to the CGI fests of the ’90s and ’00s. “Alien” already looks less dated than “I, Robot”. There’s an art to sci-fi miniature usage that Jones literally had to work to bring back to the big screen. Let’s hope more filmmakers follow his lead.

The excellent Blu-ray release of “Moon” includes a commentary with Jones and Producer Stuart Fenegan, another one with Jones, Director of Photography Gary Shaw, Concept Designer Gavin Rothery, and Production Designer Tony Noble, “The Making of Moon,” “Creating the Visual Effects,” and more. The film has been transferred in spectacular 1080p with the film’s original 2.40:1 aspect ratio and accompanied by a great 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, one that beautifully mixes one of the best scores of the year from the great Clint Mansell.

The technical accomplishments and the scope of films like “Avatar” and “Star Trek” should be admired and rewarded, but there must also be space within the genre for small, wonderful works like “Moon,” a nearly flawless film that has been a bit underrated in 2009 but I am absolutely certain will find an audience on DVD and Blu-ray and become a beloved genre piece in a very short period of time. By the time the next decade ends, this will be a favorite film of many sci-fi fans. See it now.


StarFor more on “Moon,” check out our interview with Duncan Jones.

‘Moon’ is released by Sony Pictures Home Video and stars Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey. It was written and directed by Duncan Jones. It was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 12th, 2010. It is rated R.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Joe Boyle's picture

Moon not given the credit it deserves

Yes I watched this on the big screen a few months ago and I have to say if you ignore the fact that Avatar is 3D,Star Trek (well it was just Star Trek updated wasn’t it?)and District 9 is packed full of CGI and special effects this film is by far the best Sci Fi movie of last year.

It surely is one of the best acting performances this year in any film by Sam Rockwell but some how I feel with the American public judging films by their ability to film the movie theater than any quality the chances of this winning any awards is some what slim.

What is more worrying is with few exceptions the biggest box office hits of 2009 are not by any stretch the best movies lets hope the Academy Awards actually reflect that.

BrianTT's picture

Rockwell

Joe, keep an eye on the site for a Most Underrated Performances of 2009 piece next week. Mr. Rockwell will certainly be on the list.

Brian Tallerico

TJIRISH34's picture

MOON Great Sci-Fi Film

Hey I saw MOON 3 times taking 3 different people back in July here in Indy at Landmark. Most people missed it but film’s budget was so low $5 mil plus that I heard Sony was very happy with it’s limited release box office and film festival awards. It became a show piece for Sony. Film’s such as MOON springboard actor’s, behind scene talent to bigger things… Rockwell has supporting part in IRON MAN 2 along with his other credits. I read Duncan Jones already has secured directorship on a true story about a WW II U-boat film. Insider’s see film’s such as MOON more than public. On DVD Jone’s say’s Spacey was interested in doing voice but wanted see cut. they sent him rough cut and Spacey was blown away and jumped onboard do the voice for Gerty. One of my fav films. A cool sci-fi film. In fact let’s hope that the beginning Lunar Industries commercial actually becomes a realty someday. 5 STARS!!!!

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