Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Moon (2009)

Colonizing the moon or another planet won’t be easy.  Any building will probably be designed for function rather than comfort.  You won’t be able to go outside due to lack of atmosphere.  If you’re among the first group to go, there won’t be many others going with you, so you’ll have a limited number of other people to interact with, if you have anyone else at all.

You don’t have to tell Sam Bell that, though.  He’s finishing up a three-year contract on the moon.  Two more weeks of monitoring a mining operation and he gets to go home.  His only companion is an artificial intelligence named GERTY.  Life is pretty boring for Sam.  The only ting of interest, in fact, is when something goes wrong.  For instance, he can’t communicate directly with Earth in anything resembling real time.  (This is due to an equipment failure.)

Things tend to get complicated when Sam notices people on the station.  Is he dreaming?  Are they hallucinations?  Either way, he gets distracted.  He wakes up with GERTY tending to him.  GERTY seems to be communicating with Earth, which should be impossible.  Answers are hard to come by as GERTY won’t let Sam out of the confines of the base.  It’s not clear why until Sam finds a reason to leave the base.

There’s that saying that you’re not paranoid if they’re really out to get you.  It’s bad enough that Sam has to spend three years without human company.  That’s enough to make anyone a little unbalanced.  However, as time goes by, he has more reason to believe that it’s not paranoia.

Take the fact that Sam’s job is to spend his entire three years alone.  You’d think that they’d send up a few other people just in case the AI isn’t enough.  It could be that Sam works for a really cheap company.  It could also be that people willing to work on the lunar surface are hard to come by, no matter how much you paid them.  It’s also possible that something more nefarious is going on.  (At the very least, is it morally right to isolate someone for that long, even if they agree to it?)

There is a certain efficiency to the movie.  You have two main characters, Sam and GERTY, who make the bulk of the story.  There’s even a minimal number of secondary characters.  The only other movie that comes to mind as being similar is Timecrimes.  It’s possible to tell a story well with very few characters and sets.  In fact, I could say that Moon used too many sets.  Having more of the movie take place in the lunar base could have added to the sense of claustrophobia that Sam would have felt.

Most of my issues are technical, though, and are to be expected.  The first one that I noticed was in saying dark side of the moon.  The moon has phases from our perspective, meaning that the dark side rotates.  I know I’m not the first to point out that it should properly be referred to as the far side of the moon, as the moon is tidally locked.  The other issue is lunar gravity.  I could see the structures having artificial gravity, but it seemed like Sam experienced normal gravity outside the base.  I’ll admit that both of these are relatively minor points.

The movie is 97 minutes, which seems about the right time.  It doesn’t feel rushed at all, nor does it seem like there’s a lot of filler.  There are a few cases where I was able to see things coming.  If you watch movies and television enough, you’ll be able to catch some of the foreshadowing.  I didn’t see many of the big plot twists coming, though.  How much you enjoy the movie will probably depend on how much you can let stuff like that go.  If you know someone who likes to ask questions during the movie, don’t watch this one with them.

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