Posted on: January 15th, 2010 [BLU-RAY REVIEW] Moon
Duncan Jones loves and understands good science fiction. This is apparent almost immediately with Moon, Jones’ original and unique love-letter to classic sci-fi genre films. Moon is most definitely this year’s “little film that could”, though it pains me that this film will almost certainly never receive its proper accolades. Quite frankly, this is sci-fi story-telling at its best in a long, long time.
I’ll keep this review spoiler-free, as the film does present a rather high-concept reveal midway through the film that defines where it goes from there to its thrilling conclusion. In the future, 70% of the Earth’s energy comes from helium-3, extracted from lunar soil affected by solar rays. Sam Bell, assisted by his robotic aid GERTY, is the sole engineer on the lunar base handling the helium-3 extraction. Sam has been stationed there for three years in solitude and nearing the end of his contract. But then, something bug-nuts crazy happens – and there’s that big reveal I was telling you about – and Sam is not only fighting his sanity, but fighting to get back to Earth, a seemingly impossible task.
Moon is proof that budget is an afterthought. For a mere $5 million, Duncan Jones and crew have created a film with equal parts flawless narrative, gorgeous visuals and an Oscar worthy performance from actor Sam Rockwell. A far more accessible science-fiction tale than 2001: A Space Odyssey, Moon is not of aliens and fantasy, but of character and atmosphere. Stanley Kubrick would surely be proud of his lasting inspiration on Jones and perhaps a little jealous. I almost regret labelling it as sci-fi, as the film is infinitely more emotional and human than most romantic comedies.
Moon is the complete package for any level of cinephile; there’s just too much good to sell one factor of the film alone. Granted, Sam Rockwell’s performance(s) is worth a viewing on its own, the entire film is a feast to be consumed, from the set-design through to Clint Mansell’s inspired score.
The blu-ray, just released by Sony Pictures Classics, is a release worthy of any film geek’s shelf. The picture quality is of demonstration calibre in 1080p, and even looks naturally crisp with 120Hz turned on (which a lot of people still can’t get used to with non-sports viewing). The colors pop and the blacks are sharp, even in those very few scenes with an intentional film-grain (though there aren’t many). The audio quality is fantastic; even with a very basic sound setup, you’re sure to get solid, beautiful audio. The sound design in the film, and again the film’s score, is amazing.
While the blu-ray itself isn’t overflowing with special features, this is a decent release far from “bare bones”. Notable are two commentary tracks featuring director and co-writer Duncan Jones, a behind-the-scenes featurette, and two Q&A’s with Jones – one at a science centre, one at the Sundance Film Festival 2009 where the film premiered. This blu is definitely worth a blind-buy if sci-fi and stellar storytelling is your thing.
All this praise is still bittersweet however, as Sony continues to give Moon the shaft. The studio has done little to nothing to promote the film, regardless of its absurdly positive word of mouth (the film currently sits at an impressive 89% at Rotten Tomatoes). Many online movements have started in order to get the film some much needed recognition, and even lobbying for an Oscar nomination for Sam Rockwell (deservedly so). On that note, get out there and see the flick, buy the blu and tell your friends.
3 Responses to “[BLU-RAY REVIEW] Moon”
Dale Pidlisny Says:
January 15th, 2010 at 5:43 pm
I was lucky enough to catch the flick during the film festival and loved everything about it, but I refuse to believe it was made for a fraction of some actors salaries. For such a great film, getting it done on that sort of budget is an accomplishment in itself.
Ryan Ferrier Says:
January 15th, 2010 at 5:50 pm
True that, Dale. $5 mill is what it cost to make. If anything the lower budget forced them to make it better; I liked the look of the environments and effects because of what they were, lo-fi sci-fi, if you will.
January 15th, 2010 at 9:37 pm
Agreed, it definitely has an aesthetic I haven’t seen for a long time and would like to see more of.