Sunday, August 03, 2014

Lunopolis (2009)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

My mother once questioned why I watch so many bad movies for the first-review promotions we had on Epinions.  Mostly, it’s in hope of winning money.  Winning money was nice.  I’ve watched a lot of bad movies and I have gotten some money out of it.  However, not all of the movies are that bad.  I’ve found movies like Adrift in Tokyo, Dream and Doomsday Book.  Lunopolis is one of the better movies that I’ve seen in search of an entry.

The movie is set up as a documentary about The Church of Lunology and some of their strange beliefs.  At the core is some found footage.  (Yes, it’s a found-footage movie.  I’ll explain later why this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)  The story goes that a radio-show host got a frantic call about people from the future living in a lunar colony and controlling our governments.  The caller sends the host a package containing, among other things, a Polaroid picture.  Several people set out to make a documentary based on said Polaroid picture.  (One of the people knows the host and occasionally receives things to look into.)

The picture is simply of a man with ghostly features.  He’s wearing modern-looking clothes, but the picture is dated from several decades ago.  Someone notices that there is a set of coordinates, which they then travel to.  This leads to discovering a bizarre jetpack-looking thing.  One of them tries it on and disappears momentarily.  The decide it’s best to leave it in the capable hands of a professor friend, but they keep a green, glowing gem.

On the campus, they’re approached by these Mormon-looking guys who are part of the Church of Lunology.  Lunology actually comes off more as Scientology, though, with promises of raising your level of awareness so that you can access past timelines.  It’s run by a guy named J. Ari Hilliard who has gone back in time, with others, to correct history.  It’s up to the documentary makers to decide what to do with the green gem.

If you’ve read my reviews of Apollo 18 and The Blair Witch Project, you’ll know I’m not a big fan of found-footage movies.  Part of the problem is that with a limited cast is you get limited interaction.  With The Blair Witch Project, it quickly devolves into three people yelling at each other or into the camera how scared they are.  At least Apollo 18 has training footage in the beginning, but is still three astronauts in a confined area discussing some big conspiracy.
Lunopolis resolves that by presenting it as a documentary rather than just the footage.  You have people being interviewed.  There are experts commenting on the stuff.  We even have fancy graphics showing us what the experts are explaining.  Here, you have a whole mythology.
In fact, I’d say that this movie suffers from the opposite problem.  There’s almost so much going on that it may be too much for someone to take in.  You have government conspiracies, Area 51, alien visitors that are actually humans from the future, alternate timelines, the Mayan Doomsday Prophecy and a major religion/pyramid scheme built around the whole thing.

From what I saw on the Netflix reviews, people seemed to fall into two camps.  There were those that turned it off after 15-30 minutes, saying how hokey/derivative/stupid it was and those that sat through the whole thing, only to realize what a great movie it was.  I fall into the latter group.  I’ll admit that the movie is not without flaws, but it does make you think.  (For instance, the main characters begin to question the chain of events early in the movie.  I don’t want to ruin anything, but if you make it all the way to the end, you should be able to figure it out.)
To be honest, I can see this being hit or miss with most people.  If you tell a group of friends about it, some will love it while the rest will probably turn it off after a few minutes.  I’m going to recommend it, especially if you like shows like Lost or anything else that relies on a complex story.  You do have to pay attention, though.

IMDb page

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