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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Moon



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#1 of 32 Richard Gallagher

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Posted January 08 2010 - 04:31 PM

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Moon


 

Studio: Sony Pictures Classics

Year: 2009

Rated: R

Program Length: 97 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 1080p

Languages: English, French, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA; Spanish 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese

 

The Program

 

Moon is an unusually original and intelligent science fiction film; one which is in many respects is reminiscent of some of the best episodes of the original Twilight Zone television series. The film is set at an indeterminate point in the future, at a time when the world is no longer dependent upon fossil fuels for energy. Science has developed a method of collecting energy from the sun on the surface of the moon, where it is harvested and converted into a substance called Helium 3. A corporation called Lunar Industries has established a harvesting station on the moon, a station which is manned by one human and a robot known as Gerty (voice by Kevin Spacey) who attends to the human’s needs. The human is a Lunar Industries employee named Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), who is nearing the end of a three-year contract, during which time his only contact with other humans has been through satellite transmissions. Sam is married to a beautiful wife and has a young daughter he has not seen in person since his contract began.

 

As Sam counts down the days until his return to Earth, Gerty notices that three years of isolation seems to be taking a psychological toll on him. While filling a cup with hot water, Sam becomes distracted by the vision of a gorgeous woman sitting in his chair and he burns himself. Then, while driving a lunar vehicle to check on one of the mechanized harvesters, Sam imagines that he sees someone standing in his path and he crashes into the harvester. Sam is not seriously injured, but the accident has consequences which he could not possibly have anticipated. He gradually comes to learn that much of his life has not at all been as it seemed.

 

Sam Rockwell is positively brilliant in what is almost a solo performance. Kevin Spacey’s reassuring and placid voice is perfect for Gerty, the empathetic robot whose mood is expressed by a smiley face which changes in accordance with his emotions. There are many surprises along the way as the true nature of the manned moon station gradually unfolds. Moon also benefits from extremely realistic sets and seamless special effects. Briskly directed by Duncan Jones, Moon has nary a single dull moment. Fans of thoughtful science fiction are sure to enjoy it immensely.

 

The one perplexing thing about Moon is its R rating. The explanation is that it is rated R for language, but at most there is some mild profanity, nothing that any high school student has not heard before. The film rating system continues to be puzzling and wildly inconsistent.

 

The Video

 

Moon is properly framed at 2.40:1, and the 1080p Blu-ray transfer is superb. The picture is very sharp and colors and flesh tones are spot-on. The lunar landscape is generally dark, but shadow detail is excellent. Blacks are deep and inky. As noted, the special effects are seamlessly integrated and the distant shots of the moon and stars are very realistic. We have come to expect first-class Blu-ray transfers from Sony, and Moon is no exception.

 

The Audio

 

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is excellent. This is not a science fiction film with explosions or outer space warfare, so the surround effects are on the subtle side but very evocative and effective. The dialogue is mostly confined to the center channel and it is delivered without distortion and ever word of dialogue is clear and understandable. The film also has a very effective music soundtrack which is nicely reproduced.

 

The Supplements

 

All of the supplements are presented in standard definition and English stereo.

 

The extras include two commentaries. One, by writer/director Duncan Jones and producer Stuart Fenegan focuses largely on the film’s content. The alternate commentary features the director again, along with director of photography Gary Shaw, concept designer Gavin Rothery, and production designer Tony Noble. The alternate commentary places more emphasis on the technical aspects of the film.

 

The featurette “The Making of Moon” pretty much speaks for itself. Another featurette goes into some detail about how the visual effects were created.

 

Also included are a Science Center Q&A session and another Q&A session which was conducted at the Sundance Film Festival.

 

BD-Live features will be activated on the release date.

 

The Packaging

 

The BD disc comes in a standard Blu-ray keep case inside a cardboard slipcase.

 

The Final Analysis

 

Moon is one of the more original and thoughtful science fiction films to appear in recent years. As noted, it made me think of some of the more impressive episodes from the original Twilight Zone series. Moon boasts high production values and a remarkable performance by Sam Rockwell, and it is highly recommended for fans of the genre.

 

Equipment used for this review:

 

Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player

Panasonic Viera TC-P46G15 Plasma display, calibrated to THX specification by Gregg Loewen

Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver

BIC Acoustech speakers

Interconnects: Monster Cable

 

Release Date:



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#2 of 32 Ron-P

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Posted January 08 2010 - 06:39 PM

Rented this but won't be able to watch it for a couple of days, but am really looking forward to it, looks excellent.

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#3 of 32 Dale MA

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Posted January 09 2010 - 12:29 AM

 Already got the identical UK BD. One of 2009s best films, everyone needs to check this out. 

#4 of 32 Ron-P

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Posted January 09 2010 - 04:14 AM

I see it's R for language but is there anything else that'd make it innapropriate for a pre-teen? My daughter really wants to see it but she's 12. She's seen a select few R films after I've screened them first.

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#5 of 32 Dale MA

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Posted January 09 2010 - 04:33 AM

There's a short sex scene in there (no real nudity) and a fair bit of "bloody vomiting".

#6 of 32 Ron-P

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Posted January 09 2010 - 04:41 AM

Thanks Dale.

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#7 of 32 Richard Gallagher

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Posted January 09 2010 - 09:12 AM

The sex scene is Sam and his wife, as Sam is dreaming about her. I've seen far steamier and more revealing stuff on network TV.

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#8 of 32 Vincent_P

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Posted January 09 2010 - 01:08 PM

I'm surprised there's practically zero buzz about Sam Rockwell perhaps getting an Oscar nomination for his superb performance.  This film was extremely well reviewed but seems to have fallen by the wayside now that it's "award season".  At the very least it deserves a nomination for Rockwell's great work.

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#9 of 32 Zack Gibbs

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Posted January 09 2010 - 02:53 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent_P 

I'm surprised there's practically zero buzz about Sam Rockwell perhaps getting an Oscar nomination for his superb performance.  This film was extremely well reviewed but seems to have fallen by the wayside now that it's "award season".  At the very least it deserves a nomination for Rockwell's great work.

Vincent
Without a studio paying for your "buzz" you're not going to get much. Sony has little interest in paying for an Oscar campaign for Moon, even refusing to pay for academy screener copies.


"Because he's the hero that Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now... and so we'll hunt him... because he can take it... because he's not a hero... he's a silent guardian, a watchful protector... a DARK KNIGHT."

#10 of 32 Ron-P

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Posted January 09 2010 - 05:43 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent_P 

I'm surprised there's practically zero buzz about Sam Rockwell perhaps getting an Oscar nomination for his superb performance.  This film was extremely well reviewed but seems to have fallen by the wayside now that it's "award season".  At the very least it deserves a nomination for Rockwell's great work.

Vincent
That's because the Oscars are about money and politics, not about real talent.

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#11 of 32 Vincent_P

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Posted January 10 2010 - 04:36 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron-P 




That's because the Oscars are about money and politics, not about real talent.
 

There are plenty of worthy movies, actors, filmmakers, etc., who have won Oscars and/or been nominated.

Vincent

#12 of 32 Zack Gibbs

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Posted January 10 2010 - 06:51 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent_P 
There are plenty of worthy movies, actors, filmmakers, etc., who have won Oscars and/or been nominated.

Vincent
Of course there are, at one point in time the oscars were probably reasonably fair. Things change.

To be in the oscar race today you still have to have a product of 'worthy talent', but that doesn't mean you'll get there without the cash to back you up.

Why doesn't Sony want Moon to garner recognition? Well maybe they've another film they want in the running, so fronting for Moon does them no good.

The whole thing is a joke at this point, everyone involved knows it, and more of the audience catch on every year-- thus their declining ratings. Though I still thinks it's fun to watch and there's no reason it has to be taken as seriously as they want you to in the first place.


"Because he's the hero that Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now... and so we'll hunt him... because he can take it... because he's not a hero... he's a silent guardian, a watchful protector... a DARK KNIGHT."

#13 of 32 Sam Posten

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Posted January 12 2010 - 07:34 AM

Best movie of '09, hands down!

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#14 of 32 Aaron Silverman

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Posted January 12 2010 - 07:54 AM

Once was rated 'R' for "language" as well.  I think I'd allow my 4-year-old to watch it (the accents would mask what little swearing there is anyway! ;) ).

The rumor is that more than one F-bomb used in anger gets you an 'R' automatically.  Who knows. . .


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#15 of 32 Chris S

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Posted January 12 2010 - 09:54 AM

Great review!  Thanks!  Will definitely be giving this a rental in the next week or so.

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#16 of 32 TonyD

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Posted January 13 2010 - 10:52 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Silverman 

Once was rated 'R' for "language" as well.  I think I'd allow my 4-year-old to watch it (the accents would mask what little swearing there is anyway! ;) ).

The rumor is that more than one F-bomb used in anger gets you an 'R' automatically.  Who knows. . .
 
Hmm odd. I just rented Once and Moon yesterday, are you following me?

BTW moon was great, should be on top 10 lists for the year.
Also there is a short film included in the special features that is directed by Duncan, started watching it but didn't do anything for me.


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#17 of 32 Aaron Silverman

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Posted January 14 2010 - 04:37 AM

No, I rented Once probably a year ago.  I just think of it whenever I hear someone question an 'R' rating.  :)



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#18 of 32 JoshuaB.

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Posted January 14 2010 - 04:51 AM

Moon was one of those small films that really impressed me when I saw it in an arthouse theatre (it ran for only a couple of weeks)--it's easily in my top ten list of films for 2009. I've always liked Sam Rockwell (from his early days in Tom DiCillo films), so I'm happy he's given a great performance in a spectacular film. It's a shame he won't get much public recognition from this picture (I have no interested in the Oscars), but there are still many directors who want to work with him.  

#19 of 32 Southpaw

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Posted January 14 2010 - 05:25 AM

There are more than a few F-bombs in the movie so I agree with the R rating.

As for the movie, truly outstanding. This should go down as one of the better science fiction movies of all time. Just an amazing story, amazing performance by Sam Rockwell, amazing direction, amazing score. Why Sony Classics isn't promoting this for awards season is beyond me.
I was so enamored with the film, I looked up Duncan Jones on IMDB and it looks like he's about to start filming a new movie called "Source Code", which he described as "a spiritual Blade Runner" on one of Moon's Q&A featurettes. I will certainly be following his work for some time to come. 

Edit: After further review, it appears that Source Code is not the spiritual Blade Runner film that Duncan Jones was referring to. That film is called "Mute" and will hopefully be his next film after he wraps Source Code.


#20 of 32 Stephen_J_H

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Posted January 14 2010 - 07:54 AM

The "more than one f-bomb will get you an R" legend is just that: a legend. Although I simply do not trust the MPAA for various reasons (I prefer the Alberta Film Review Board's ratings for clarity), the f-bomb rule goes like this: the MPAA is generally more lenient when the f-bomb is used in a non-sexual context (are you f-ing nuts, for example), whereas if it is used in a sexual context (f you, motherf-er, etc), you are more likely to get an R. I have not seen Moon yet, but am looking forward to it. FWIW, it got a 14A in Alberta, which means under 14 must be accompanied by an adult; that seems far more appropriate.
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