Friday, September 18, 2009

Moon (Rhoades)

“Moon” Madness At the Tropic

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

We recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s landing on the moon. (Can it have been a half century ago that we took one giant step for mankind?) So perhaps it’s time to revisit the moon in sci-fi films ….

Sam Rockwell does that in “Moon,” the new space opera playing at the Tropic Cinema.
Space opera may not be an accurate description, but “Moon” is somewhat retro in its approach to this man-on-the-moon adventure. A small movie with a limited cast (Sam Rockwell, Sam Rockwell, and Sam Rockwell … plus Kevin Spacey voicing the robot), it’s more of a psychological thriller than an Armageddon-style SFX extravaganza.

Rockwell is a miner working on the dark side of the moon, a company man coming to the end of his three-year contract. He job is to extract a form of helium from the lunar soil, a product that is required to keep earth’s power sources humming. A lonely occupation, allowing only intermittent communication with his wife and child back on terra firma.

In this respect, it’s mindful of that little-known science fiction classic, “Silent Running.” Man alone in space with his robot(s).

But a few weeks before his scheduled return to earth, he starts seeing things – a teenage girl wandering the lunar surface. Impossible, right? He’s certain that he’s all alone up here, other than his watchdog robot.

But then he encounters another worker … who looks familiar.

Co-scripter and first-time director Duncan Jones says he intended “Moon” to be an homage to those sci-fi films of his youth like “Aliens” and “Outlander,” hard-edged stories that are unlike “E.T.” or “Star Wars” or “Star Trek.”

In some ways it reminds me of a Ray Bradbury fantasy, like a lost chapter from “The Martian Chronicles” or “The Golden Apples of the Sun.”

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of working with Bradbury, a Fiction Advisor to The Saturday Evening Post. At 89, recovering from a stroke, I deal mostly through his daughter Alexandra. I think he’d enjoy this movie.

You’ll enjoy the twists and turns, too. The screenplay was written with Sam Rockwell in mind. He makes the movie his own. But that’s not hard when you’re practically the only guy in the cast.
[from Solares Hill]

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