John A. Douglas

Living Passionately In the World of the Moving Image

John A. Douglas John's life in pictures


August 9th, 2009 · No Comments · Movie Reviews

Directed by Duncan Jones; produced by Stuart Fenegan and Trudie Styler; screenplay by Nathan Parker; story by Duncan Jones; director of photography, Gary Shaw; edited by Nicolas Gaster; music by Clint Mansell.
Sam Bell……………….Sam Rockwell
Voice of GERTY………Kevin Spacey

What in the world has happened to science fiction? It’s almost impossible to find a paperback book in the science fiction section of a bookstore that doesn’t have a wizard and/or a unicorn on the cover and as far as I’m concerned any story about a unicorn and/or a wizard is not science fiction.

Science fiction on television is also a problem. While they do have science fiction programs, most of them are space operas looking like nothing more than a clone of “Star Trek.” (Hasn’t Hollywood milked the “Star Trek” franchise dry? I think so.)

Science fiction in the movies often looks like no more than a sample reel for a computer graphics geek. In most science fiction movies, good stories and the sense of wonder are tossed out in favor of massive special effects sequences.

There’s nothing wrong with wizard films, space operas and special effects run amok but we friends of Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein need more once in awhile. We want content and substance. That’s why I want to tell you about “Moon” which is currently playing at Celebration at Woodland Mall. “Moon” is as good a science fiction movie as I have seen in many a moon. It’s no “2001: A Space Odyssey” but it will do until something better comes along which is not likely to happen in the next couple of weeks.Sam Rockwell

In “Moon” there are no monsters and no intergalactic space battalions bent on destroying the Earth and there are no wizards sending some hapless troll named Poo Poo or Wee-knuckle on a mission to discover the secret of how to set things right in the country of the galoots.

“Moon” is the science fiction story of Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a man who lives on the moon all by himself. He is employed by a mining company and he lives and works inside buildings that have a controlled environment. Sam’s job is to watch over an automated mining system as it digs up moon stuff for shipment to Earth. As we are being introduced to Sam, we learn that he is nearing the end of his three year shift on the moon. Sam’s preparing to go home to his family but all of a sudden there’s a complication – Sam is not alone. A man appears on the scene that looks a lot like Sam.

That’s all I can tell you about the plot of this film which I found to be very rewarding.

Of course the story could have been told in a shorter amount of time but no matter. And also no matter that the filmmakers made a major mistake in giving Sam’s robot helper a voice and a vocal delivery style that makes him sound exactly like HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Every time it speaks, with Kevin Spacey supplying the soothing voice, it reminded me of “2001: A Space Odyssey” and no science fiction film, no matter how good it is, should invite a comparison to the Stanly Kubrick film which is only one of the best movies ever made.

Sam Rockwell, who you might remember from his wonderful portrayal as Chuck Barris in George Clooney’s “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” gives a fine performance in the difficult situation of being essentially the only character in the film.
So if you like science fiction like I like science fiction then you should begin a countdown for your trip to “Moon.”


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