Moon (film)

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Moon
Moon (2008) film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDuncan Jones
Produced by
Screenplay byNathan Parker
Story byDuncan Jones
Starring
Music byClint Mansell
CinematographyGary Shaw
Editing byNicolas Gaster
StudioStage 6 Films
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release dates
  • 23 January 2009 (2009-01-23) (Sundance)
  • 17 July 2009 (2009-07-17) (United Kingdom)
Running time97 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget$5 million[1]
Box office$9,760,104[2]
 
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Moon
Moon (2008) film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDuncan Jones
Produced by
Screenplay byNathan Parker
Story byDuncan Jones
Starring
Music byClint Mansell
CinematographyGary Shaw
Editing byNicolas Gaster
StudioStage 6 Films
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release dates
  • 23 January 2009 (2009-01-23) (Sundance)
  • 17 July 2009 (2009-07-17) (United Kingdom)
Running time97 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget$5 million[1]
Box office$9,760,104[2]

Moon is a 2009 British science fiction drama film co-written and directed by Duncan Jones. The film follows Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a man who experiences a personal crisis as he nears the end of a three-year solitary stint mining helium-3 on the far side of the Moon. It was the feature debut of director Duncan Jones. Kevin Spacey voices Sam's robot companion, GERTY. Moon premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was released in select cinemas in New York and Los Angeles on 12 June 2009. The release was expanded to additional theatres in the United States and Toronto on both 3 and 10 July and to the United Kingdom on 17 July.

Plot[edit]

Sam Bell nears the end of a three-year work contract as the sole resident at Lunar Industries' largely automated lunar mining base "Sarang". Sam oversees automated harvesters and launches canisters bound for Earth containing the helium-3 they have extracted. Chronic communication problems limit him to occasional recorded messages to his wife Tess, who was pregnant with their daughter Eve when he left. His only companion is an artificial intelligence named GERTY, who assists with the base's automation.

Two weeks before he is to return to Earth, Sam suffers from hallucinations of a teenage girl. One such image distracts him while he is out recovering a helium-3 canister from a harvester, causing him to crash his rover into the harvester. Rapidly losing air, Sam puts on his helmet, but loses consciousness.

Sam awakes in the base infirmary with no memory of the accident. He overhears GERTY receiving instructions from Lunar Industries not to let him outside the base and to wait for the arrival of rescue team "Eliza". His suspicions aroused, he manufactures a fake problem to force GERTY to let him outside. He travels to the crashed rover, where he finds an older Sam Bell, unconscious.

He brings Old Sam back to the base and tends to his injuries. The two Sams start to wonder if one is a clone of the other. After a heated argument and physical altercation, they together coerce GERTY into revealing that they are both clones of the original Sam Bell. GERTY activated New Sam after the rover crash and implanted the memories of the original Sam Bell.

The two Sams begin searching the base, finding live communications jammed by transmitters located beyond the outermost perimeter of the base. They also discover that four previous clones all started to physically deteriorate three years after awakening. Told they would hibernate briefly for the journey home, they were actually incinerated after being put to sleep.

The two newest clones also find many more unconscious doubles in a secret hidden vault below the main level. Old Sam drives past the interference radius in a second rover and calls Tess on Earth. However, he instead makes contact with Eve, now 15 years old, who says Tess died "some years ago". He hangs up when he hears her father, original Sam, talking in the background and coming toward the screen.

The two Sams realize that the incoming Eliza "rescue" team will kill them both if they are found together. New Sam suggests sending the other to Earth in one of the helium-3 transports, but Old Sam, already badly deteriorated, knows that he will not live much longer. He suggests New Sam leave instead, and alert the public to Lunar Industries' unethical practices. Old Sam plans to die by the crashed rover so Lunar Industries will not suspect anything until it is too late.

New Sam orders GERTY to revive a seventh clone to greet the rescuers, then programs a harvester to crash and wreck a jamming antenna, thereby enabling live communications with Earth. On the advice of GERTY – and to prevent the ELIZA team from discovering their plan by examining its memory archives – New Sam then reboots GERTY, erasing its records of the event. Old Sam, back in the crippled rover, remains conscious long enough to watch the launch of the ship carrying New Sam to Earth.

As the credits roll, the helium transport is depicted entering Earth's upper atmosphere, while news reports describe how "a Sam Bell clone's" testimony on Lunar Industries' activities has stirred up considerable controversy, with the company's shares dipping by a considerable margin.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

This is the first feature film directed by commercial director Duncan Jones, who co-wrote the script with Nathan Parker.[3] The film was specifically written as a vehicle for actor Sam Rockwell.[4] The film pays homage to the films of Jones' youth, such as Silent Running (1972), Alien (1979), and Outland (1981).[5]

Jones described the intent: "[We] wanted to create something which felt comfortable within that canon of those science fiction films from the sort of late seventies to early eighties."[6] The director spoke of his interest in the lunar setting: "for me, the Moon has this weird mythic nature to it.... There is still a mystery to it. As a location, it bridges the gap between science-fiction and science fact. We (humankind) have been there. It is something so close and so plausible and yet at the same time, we really don't know that much about it."

The director described the lack of romance in the Moon as a location, citing images from the Japanese lunar orbiter SELENE: "It's the desolation and emptiness of it.... it looks like some strange ball of clay in blackness.... Look at photos and you'll think that they're monochrome. In fact, they're not. There simply are no primary colours." Jones made reference to the photography book Full Moon by Michael Light in designing the look of the film.[7]

Moon's budget was $5 million.[1] The director took steps to minimise production costs, such as keeping the cast small and filming in a studio.[6] Moon was produced at Shepperton Studios, in London,[3] where it was filmed in 33 days.[8][6] Jones preferred using models to digital animation.[5] Jones worked with Bill Pearson, the supervising model maker on Alien, to help design the lunar rovers and helium-3 harvesters in the film.[9] The Moon base was created as a full 360-degree set, measuring 85–90 feet (26–27 m) long and approximately 70 feet (21 m) wide. The film's robot, GERTY, was designed to be bound to an overhead rail within the mining base since its mechanical tether was critical to the story's plot.[6] The visual effects were provided by Cinesite, which has sought cut-price deals with independent films.[10] Since Jones had an effects background with TV advertisements, he drew on his experience to create special effects within a small budget.[6]

Release[edit]

International sales for Moon are handled by the Independent sales company.[11] Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group acquired distribution rights to the film for English-speaking territories.[3] Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group was considering making Moon a direct-to-DVD release; however, after Moon premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in January 2009, Sony Pictures Classics decided to handle this film's theatrical release for Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group.[12]

Sony Pictures Classics distributed the film in the United States in cinemas,[13] beginning with screenings in select cinemas in New York and Los Angeles on 12 June.[14] The film's British premiere was held on 20 June 2009 at the Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh as part of the 63rd Edinburgh International Film Festival. Jones was present at the screening along with other key crew members. The full UK release was on 17 July,[15] two days after the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.[16] The Australian release was on 8 October.[17]

Box office[edit]

Moon grossed £700,394 from its domestic release,[18] $3,370,366 from its North American release and $9,760,104 worldwide.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Moon received critical acclaim. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 89% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 185 reviews, with an average score of 7.4/10. The site's consensus states: "Boosted by Sam Rockwell's intense performance, Moon is a compelling work of science-fiction, and a promising debut from director Duncan Jones."[19] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the film has a score of 67 based on 29 reviews, considered to be "generally favorable reviews".[20] Damon Wise of The Times praised Jones' "thoughtful" direction and Rockwell's "poignant" performance. Wise wrote of the film's approach to the science fiction genre: "Though it uses impressive sci-fi trappings to tell its story—the fabulous models and moonscapes are recognisably retro yet surprisingly real—this is a film about what it means, and takes, to be human."[21]

Duane Byrge of The Hollywood Reporter applauded screenwriter Nathan Parker's “sharp [and] individualistic” dialogue and the way in which Parker combined science fiction and Big Brother themes. Byrge also believed that cinematographer Gary Shaw's work and composer Clint Mansell's music intensified the drama. Byrge wrote: “Nonetheless, "Moon" is darkened by its own excellencies: The white, claustrophobic look is apt and moody, but a lack of physical action enervates the story thrust.” The critic felt mixed about the star's performance, describing him as “adept at limning his character's dissolution” but finding that he did not have “the audacious, dominant edge” for the major confrontation at the end of the film.[22]

Empire magazine praised Rockwell's performance, including it in '10 Egregious Oscar Snubs—The worthy contenders that the Academy overlooked' feature and referred to his performance as "one ... of the best performances of the year".[23]

Roger Ebert gave the film 3½ stars out of 4, saying: “"Moon" is a superior example of that threatened genre, hard science-fiction, which is often about the interface between humans and alien intelligence of one kind of or other, including digital. John W. Campbell Jr., the godfather of this genre, would have approved. The movie is really all about ideas. It only seems to be about emotions. How real are our emotions, anyway? How real are we? Someday I will die. This laptop I'm using is patient and can wait.”[24] Moon also received positive reviews at the Sundance Film Festival.[25]

Reception from the scientific community[edit]

Moon was screened as part of a lecture series at NASA's Space Center Houston, at the request of a professor there. “He'd been reading online that we'd done this film about helium-3 mining and that's something that people at NASA are working on”, says Jones. “We did a Q&A afterward. They asked me why the base looked so sturdy, like a bunker, and not like the kind of stuff they are designing that they are going to transport with them. I said 'Well, in the future I assume you won't want to continue carrying everything with you, you'll want to use the resources on the moon to build things' and a woman in the audience raised her hand and said, 'I'm actually working on something called mooncrete, which is concrete that mixes lunar regolith and ice water from the moon's polar caps.'”[26]

Accolades[edit]

Awards
AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryRecipients and nomineesResult
Athens International Film Festival[27]27 September 2009Golden AthenaMoonWon
Austin Film Critics Association Awards15 December 2009Austin Film Critics Award for Best FilmNominated
BAFTA Awards[28]21 February 2010BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or ProducerDuncan JonesWon
BAFTA Award for Outstanding British FilmStuart Fenegan, Trudie Styler, Duncan Jones, Nathan ParkerNominated
British Independent Film Awards[29]6 December 2009BIFA Award for Best British Independent FilmMoonWon
Douglas Hickox AwardDuncan JonesWon
BIFA Award for Best DirectorNominated
BIFA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent FilmSam RockwellNominated
BIFA Award for Best ScreenplayNathan ParkerNominated
BIFA Award for Best Technical AchievementClint MansellNominated
Tony NobleNominated
Central Ohio Film Critics Association[30]7 January 2010COFCA Award for Best Overlooked FilmMoon2nd place
Chicago Film Critics Association[31]21 December 2009Most Promising FillmmakerDuncan JonesNominated
Chlotrudis Awards21 March 2010Chlotrudis Award for Best ActorSam RockwellNominated
Chlotrudis Award for Best Production DesignTony NobleNominated
Edinburgh International Film Festival[32]28 June 2009Best New British FeatureMoonWon
Empire Awards[33]28 March 2010Empire Award for Best Sci-Fi/FantasyNominated
Espoo Ciné International Film Festival[34]29 August 2013Grand Prize of European Fantasy Film in GoldDuncan Jones, Stuart FeneganWon
Evening Standard British Film Awards[35]8 February 2010Evening Standard British Film Award for Most Promising NewcomerDuncan JonesNominated
Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Technical AchievementTony NobleNominated
Fantastic'Arts[36]31 January 2010Jury PrizeDuncan JonesWon
Special PrizeWon
Gaudí Awards[37]1 February 2010Gaudí Award for Best European FilmNominated
Hugo Awards[38]5 September 2010Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation - Long FormNathan Parker, Duncan JonesWon
Irish Film & Television Awards[39]20 February 2010IFTA Award for Best International ActorSam RockwellNominated
London Film Critics' Circle Awards[40][41]18 February 2010ALFS Award for British Director of the YearDuncan JonesWon
ALFS Award for British Director of the YearNominated
ALFS Award for British Film of the YearMoonNominated
National Board of Review of Motion Pictures[42]12 January 2010NBR Award for Best Directorial DebutDuncan JonesWon
NBR Award - Top Independent FilmsMoonWon
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards[43]22 December 2009Overlooked Film of the YearWon
Saturn Awards[44]24 June 2010Saturn Award for Best ActorSam RockwellNominated
Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction FilmMoonNominated
Seattle International Film Festival[45]14 June 2009Golden Space Needle Award for Best ActorSam RockwellWon
Sitges Film Festival[46]11 October 2009Best ActorWon
Best FilmMoonWon
Best Production DesignTony NobleWon
Best ScreenplayNathan ParkerWon
Writers' Guild of Great Britain[47]22 November 2010Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award for Best First Feature-Length Film ScreenplayDuncan Jones, Nathan ParkerWon

Sequels[edit]

Jones is planning a follow-up graphic novel, titled Mute, which will serve as an epilogue to Moon. Should the project progress to a film, "Sam has agreed to do a little cameo in the next film", says Jones, who ultimately hopes to complete a trilogy of films set in the same fictional universe.[26][48]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Spelling, Ian. "How David Bowie's son wound up making an indie movie about the Moon". SCI FI Wire. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Moon (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 4 July 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Siegel, Tatiana (5 May 2008). "Sony lands 'Moon' rights". Variety. Retrieved 27 December 2008. 
  4. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (14 January 2009). "U.K. co-productions storm Sundance". Variety. Retrieved 15 January 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "News Etc.". Empire. February 2009. pp. 20–21. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Douglas, Edward (23 January 2009). "Sundance EXL: Duncan Jones & Sam Rockwell on Moon". ComingSoon. Retrieved 24 February 2009. 
  7. ^ Macnab, Geoffrey (23 October 2008). "Moon rising: Two new lunar movies are taking viewers back into orbit". The Independent (London). Retrieved 27 December 2008. 
  8. ^ Scott, A. O. Movie Review: Moon, New York Times, 12 June 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
  9. ^ Marshall, Greg (16 January 2009). "Sundance goes sci-fi with 'Moon'". Park Record. 
  10. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (7 November 2008). "London's CG houses share digital wealth". Variety. Retrieved 27 December 2008. 
  11. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (11 March 2008). "Independent flies to 'Moon'". Variety. Retrieved 27 December 2008. 
  12. ^ Goldstein, Gregg (23 January 2009). "10 Days of Sundance: Moon waxes Theatrical With Sony". MCN Blogs. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  13. ^ Swart, Sharon (23 January 2009). "Sony Classics nabs 'Moon'". Variety. Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  14. ^ "MOON: A Film by Duncan Jones". Sony Pictures Classics. Retrieved 11 June 2009. 
  15. ^ Clarke, Cath (29 May 2009). "First sight: Duncan Jones". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 11 June 2009. 
  16. ^ "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Global Release Dates". WarnerBros.co.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  17. ^ Stratton, David. "At the Movies: Moon". ABC. Retrieved 5 November 2009. 
  18. ^ http://www.screenrush.co.uk/films/film-136189/box-office/
  19. ^ "Moon (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Moon". Metacritic. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  21. ^ Wise, Damon (24 January 2009). "Poignant tale of starman waiting in the sky". The Times (London). Retrieved 24 February 2009. 
  22. ^ Byrge, Duane (26 January 2009). ""Moon" a well-assembled sci-fi thriller". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 June 2009. 
  23. ^ White, James. "10 Egregious Oscar Snubs". Empire. Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  24. ^ Ebert, Roger (17 June 2009). "Moon". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  25. ^ Flynn, Gaynor (24 January 2009). "Brits in the thick of it at Sundance". The Independent (London). Retrieved 24 February 2009. 
  26. ^ a b Stewart, Ryan (11 June 2009). "Duncan Jones (a.k.a. Zowie Bowie): Moon". SuicideGirls. Retrieved 11 June 2009. 
  27. ^ Grivas, Alexis (30 September 2009). "Moon scoops Golden Athena as 15th Athens Film Festival wraps". Screendaily. EMAP. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  28. ^ "Film Awards Winners in 2010". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. 21 February 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  29. ^ "Nominations 2009 : BIFA". The Moët British Independent Film Awards. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  30. ^ "Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) - Awards". Central Ohio Film Critics Association. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  31. ^ "2009 Chicago Film Critics Awards". Chicago Film Critics Association. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  32. ^ Child, Ben (29 June 2009). "Moon shines as best British film at Edinburgh". theguardian.com. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  33. ^ Reynolds, Simon (25 February 2010). "In Full: Empire Awards 2010 nominees". Digital Spy. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  34. ^ "Index". Espoo Ciné International Film Festival. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  35. ^ "Bond Girl Eva Green to present top Evening Standard movie award". London Evening Standard. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  36. ^ "Gerardmer Fantasy Film Festival 2010". Le public système cinéma. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  37. ^ "Nominated - II Gaudí Awards". Gaudí Awards. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  38. ^ Wallace, Lewis (5 September 2010). "Moon Lands Hugo Award for Best Sci-Fi Movie". Wired. Condé Nast Publishing. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  39. ^ "Sam Rockwell | Spirit Awards 2014". Independent Spirit Awards. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  40. ^ Nemiroff, Perri (21 December 2009). "The London Film Critics' Circle Awards Quentin Tarantino Their Top Honor". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  41. ^ "Colin Firth named best British actor by 30th annual London Film Critics' Circle Awards". 19 February 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  42. ^ Karger, Dave (3 December 2009). "'Up in the Air' wins National Board of Review". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  43. ^ "Phoenix Film Society Names "Inglourious Basterds" Top Film of 2009". Phoenix Film Critics Society. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  44. ^ Pacheco, Jared (20 February 2010). "Nominees for 36th annual Saturn Awards! Moon, Zombieland & More!". Arrow in the Head. JoBlo.com. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  45. ^ Knegt, Peter (15 June 2009). "25 Days Later, "Dynamite" and "Cove" Tops With Seattle Audiences". IndieWire. Snagfilms. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  46. ^ "Sitges Film Festival". Sitges Film Festival. 11 October 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  47. ^ "Writers' Guild Award winners". Writers' Guild of Great Britain. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  48. ^ "Sam Rockwell Will Have A Cameo In Moon’s Quasi-Sequel". SFX. 11 December 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 

External links[edit]