Written by: Carson McKnight, Special to CC2K
This SPOILER-FILLED review explores the old-fashioned charm of this new sci-fi tale.
It’s been almost exactly 40 years since man first landed on the moon. It was a momentous occasion and one which many of us weren’t alive for. The new movie Moon presupposes that in the future we will get all of the Helium-3 ions we need from moon rocks to run fusion generators that will power the world. But how will we get this moon rock? It turns out that a station will be built on the moon that needs only one worker, and he will take care of all of the machinery necessary to do so. The problem is it’s a three year contract. That’s three years essentially alone, especially when the live-link communication satellite goes down. (Thanks solar storm!) And so we have the setting for the movie starring Sam Rockwell as the lone astronaut.
It’s pretty difficult to talk too much about this movie without giving away plot points that many, including myself, would consider to be spoilers, so I’ll save my really in-depth discussion for below that SPOILER WARNING sign down below. But here I will tell you that this is a fantastic little film. It’s sci-fi that really gets back to what I think the genre is all about: people. Sam Rockwell gives a fantastic performance. The script is fairly tight and has just enough allusions to pop culture, moments of irony and wit, and nods to 2001: A Space Odyssey (can you imagine the ship’s robot/computer calmly voiced by Kevin Spacey?) to make it a really great film to watch and enjoy. It doesn’t have the explosions and breakneck-paced action of other summer films, but it more than makes up for it with its story and its real emotional center. It is a story of dealing with solitude and returning home after a long absence. Now, let’s get to the good stuff.
WARNING!!! SPOLIERS AHEAD!!! SERIOUSLY, IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE YET YOU PROBABLY DON’T WANT TO READ THIS!!!!
OK, everybody good? Yeah? You sure? Last chance to turn around and keep that grand naiveté that the director, producers and actors probably wanted you to have when you entered the theater. OK, here we go. So the story takes an interesting turn when Sam (played by Sam Rockwell) starts to see things that aren’t there. He seems to be losing his mind. This leads to him being burned while making coffee and to him crashing one of his lunar rovers. When he awakes in the infirmary, Gerty (the robot on the station voiced by Kevin Spacey) informs him that he’s had an accident and he should rest. But something seems off and as Sam starts to get better he notices that something is wrong. Gerty won’t let him outside anymore to check on the malfunctioning mining machine. Be he convinces Gerty to let him go and what does he find? The lunar rover that he crashed. And inside? Yep, it’s him. It turns out that in order to keep the station staffed the company has created clones of Sam and when one of them finishes his three year assignment he gets in a tube, is told he’s going home, and is incinerated. Gerty then wakes a new clone and that clone stats the process all over again. The company keeps Sam from knowing this is happening by making sure he can’t contact Earth directly. But now that the two Sams have seen each other they figure it all out. This leads to an excellent scene where our “original” Sam does find a way to contact Earth and starts talking to his now 15 year old daughter (who he has believed was three) and you just can’t help but feel for him. I’m not going to tell you how this all ends, but there is an Earth ship on the way to the moon to check on everything you can imagine what they will do if they find two Sams awake at the same time.
Like I said, this movie does a great job of dealing with the issue of being alone and then trying to return home. The old saying is “you can’t go home again” and for Sam this is really true. What he thought was three years is actually 15 years later. His life has on Earth has pasted by, in fact the original Sam actually DID return home so who is this clone? Who are any of the clones? It’s a question the film raises and answers to a degree but also leaves in the minds of the audience to mull over. I really enjoyed this film and I would highly recommend you see it. There will be moments of confusion, but ride them out and eventually it all makes sense. And it’s worth it to see Sam Rockwell as basically the only character in the film and him really handle the assignment well. It’s a pretty big challenge to play opposite yourself but he pulls it off masterfully. Just a great overall movie.