Bottom line: I dug it.
I saw Star Trek. I saw The Watchmen. And IMO, Moon is the movie to see this year.
But I can’t review it without spoilers, so only click here if you don’t mind spoilers…
To me the best science fiction engages us in examining and questioning our own humanity, as Moon does. Moon raises a lot of interesting questions.
Moon is set in the future. A future in which humans have mined the moon for energy source helium 3 that has resolved our current energy crisis. At the beginning of the film, we’re introduced to Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a tech with a three year contract to process helium 3, and return it to earth. Alone. His only companion is Gerty (voice of Kevin Spacey), a robot there to assist him and ensure his safety. The film begins at the end of Sam’s three-year stint, and we’re introduced to his wife & daughter by the video messages that he uses to communicate with them. The family can’t wait to be reunited.
But Sam begins to hallucinate, causing him to fall victim to an accident in his rover. After the accident, he presumably awakens in the infirmary with memory damage. But we soon learn that this isn’t the same Sam. Despite Gerty’s efforts to keep this Sam inside the base, he gets out and discovers the crashed rover with the first Sam still inside. This is where it gets interesting.
The two Sams recognize each other and realize that at least one of them is a clone. Ironically, they don’t get along very well at first, which raises the question:
If you met yourself, would you like you?
The first Sam confronts Gerty, who confirms that he too is only a clone of the original Sam, and that the video messages from his “family” are merely recordings intended for the original Sam. Lunar Industries has been cloning the original Sam Bell to work in three-year intervals, at which time the old Sam expires and a new one is awakened. I was heartbroken for the Sam clones.
What if you found out your whole life – your parents, your spouse, your child – weren’t real, but actually belonged to someone else? If you could go back to earth, would you be totally lost?
I’ll stop there with the spoilers.
In some ways Moon is similar to The Matrix, in which humans were unknowingly living in pods, bred as batteries for the AI that had programmed the matrix to make them believe they were living normal lives. In Moon the clones were being bred to do work, this time for an energy company, and were being misled about their pasts, futures, and purpose for existence.
And speaking of similarities, I read that there was some controversy over the extent to which director Duncan Jones had paid homage to Sci-Fi films of the past (e.g., 2001 A Space Odyssey, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). He intended them as homages, but some perceived them as theft. Moon has its own character(s) and fresh storyline, and the homages are made very obvious and don’t add anything of significance to the storyline, so I don’t think they are offensive at all.
Overall, Moon was enjoyable, with a storyline that engaged me not only in the plot, but also in further thought. Win.
For further reading…