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Moon - the spoiler thread - BEVARE! BEVARE!
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Author:  JamesGifford [ Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:36 am ]
Post subject:  Moon - the spoiler thread - BEVARE! BEVARE!

I don't think more than one or two onboard have seen Moon, but I wanted to get these spoiler discussions down while my impressions are still fresh. The DVD will likely be out by the holidays.

Basically, I agree with the critical consensus that his is a gem, a true classic, and an amazing piece of old-school, pre-CGI, story- and performance-driven film art. If it doesn't garner an Oscar nomination or two, it will be a crime. (Best Actor, at least. Contender for Screenplay. Maybe Editing.)

But it has some... flaws. Let's discuss.

1) As Dan pointed out, there is no attempt to replicate lunar gravity in most scenes. The exterior sequence are as faithful as practical sets and every filmic trick in the book except CGI can make them. But the interior shots - not even a sop to low gravity. Okay, has to be excused for budgetary reasons and never really affects the story.

2) The bit with the signal jammers is total McGuffin. If they need to isolate the base from outside contact, it seems like it could be done with a simple switch somewhere or the programming of the hardware. Giving Sam fully functional comm equipment (and, probably, complete training in its use and repair) and then setting up enormous jammers all around him is just... stupid. If GERTY can turn them off (apparently), then they make even less sense. It seems like they are set up entirely to provide a gosh-wow-what's-that? moment in the film and a more dramatic event at the end. But the absurdity bothered me once I realized what was going on. Giving Sam less training or understanding, or putting in foolproof cutouts under GERTY's control (which apparently exist but are not explained), would be more sensible.

3) In the end, there's absolutely no reason for the base to be manned. Sam does nothing but sit around in case there is an anomaly - and since one harvester is mysteriously out of action for the whole film, he clearly can't do much - and move the energy capsules from the harvesters to the launching pod. The latter would be well within the capacity of an automated, AI-driven system. Since some sort of rescue/repair/fix-it team is only a few hours away, there's no need to maintain a human presence at the base.

4) If there's no need for a human, there's no need for the... extremely complex support system portrayed in the film.

5) The ending - the last minute - could go any way at all. I can think of four or five perfectly seamless, logical endings from the time Sam hits the launch button. The one chosen seems excessively... happy happy. As tired as I am of films with grim, dirty, depressing endings, and as much as they might have had to cram a complex ending into a few minutes, I think a more satisfying ending could have been crafted.

The film also has one aspect that some viewers may overlook. For a time, we don't know what's going on with... the other person. Is Sam just nuts and hallucinating? Is it some kind of nasty trick by the company? We don't know, and the clues are ambiguous.

The director does something brilliant with this. Watch the duo scenes carefully as the film progresses. Early on, the two characters never touch, never get close to each other - something that could be done with the simplest matte technology. It sets up a notion like A Beautiful Mind, Fight Club or Sixth Sense , where the second person turns out to be the figment of the viewpoint actor's imagination, or otherwise "not there." You never notice that the second person never moves an object, touches the actor, etc. but it sets up a distance, a "something's wrong here" perception.

Then the director starts to yank the chain. The interaction gets closer, and closer, and more involved, and the notions of a simple matte dissolve in scenes where the two characters struggle, knock things over, and even tussle over objects like the ping-pong paddle. They start crossing into each other's territory and all of a sudden you're scratching your head and rethinking both the film process and the story. Holy smokes, the second guy is REAL! Beautifully and subtly done, and one reason I think an Editing Oscar might be in the cards.

Author:  PeterScott [ Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Moon - the spoiler thread - BEVARE! BEVARE!

Okay, saw it last night (it's been playing at a major theatre in Victoria for some time... no shortage of love here).

Definitely a thinking man's film. Something of a 'B' movie due to the fairly undramatic arc. I saw the clone farm coming from quite a way off - the movie felt like an homage to a classic short story that doesn't actually exist (... or does it?).

Plot holes, inconsistencies, anachronisms, etc, aren't what makes a movie bad, as I've said before - they're just garnish on the main course of criticism if a movie sucks. If a movie rocks, it can have as many of those kind of flaws as it wants and the viewer won't give a damn. It occurred to me that if the company is so profit driven as to do this to someone, it ought to be able to find a cheaper alternative, but I didn't really care. Likewise - if each clone lasts 3 years (they were evidently up to about #4), why the need for so many? You don't have to stock the place for the next hundred years. But no big deal. I do have a couple of questions:
  • How did Sam know there was someone in the damaged crawler?
  • Why was he hallucinating women?

I wasn't blown out of my moccasins like Jim - I thought it plodded a bit and left too many dramatic opportunities on the table (What happened to Gerty after Eliza arrived? Wasted potential there for cybernetic character development - we never got inside Gerty's mind, and he was a major character.) I am glad that it had the happy ending, because it was on such a downer up until then that I needed that to find the energy to get up. Ten gets yer one that they shot the other five endings you're postulating and tested them in front of audiences.

It's not weird enough to become a cult movie and not brave enough to get popular acclaim, so I fear it will quickly be relegated to the shelf of also-rans. Still, we can have fun enumerating the distinguished predecessors it gives nods to or inherits from. Here's a start:
  • 2001
  • Silent Running
  • Blade Runner
  • Alien (think about it)
  • Outland

Author:  EdHEdH [ Wed May 12, 2010 3:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Moon - the spoiler thread - BEVARE! BEVARE!

This came up in my Netflix so you can get it on Blueray. I liked it OK, but the science was terrible not only the gravity issues most people noticed (the treadmill should have put him through the wall). The outside scenes were just all wrong.
I did like the launch tubes, can we say catapult?

Author:  JamesGifford [ Wed May 12, 2010 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Moon - the spoiler thread - BEVARE! BEVARE!

EdHEdH wrote:
I liked it OK, but the science was terrible not only the gravity issues most people noticed (the treadmill should have put him through the wall).

I honestly didn't see any grievous violations of science other than generalities about objects falling, etc. - which I am willing to overlook in the telling of a good story. If I want hyper-accuracy, there are any number of lunar exploration videos, both real and staged. They're pretty boring, though. :)

As for the treadmill... well, you know there's one on the ISS. If one can be rigged to work in microgravity, one-sixth would be trivial. I can overlook the minor flaws in this portrayal, too.

Quote:
The outside scenes were just all wrong.

I thought they were spectacular, especially given that they were done almost entirely without CGI. What did you think was so wrong? Even the debris from the harvesters was reasonably well done, I thought.

Author:  EdHEdH [ Fri May 14, 2010 8:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Moon - the spoiler thread - BEVARE! BEVARE!

My wife gets upset because I tend to pick on the technology in movies, even when I enjoy them. Anyway the outside shots are what you would see on earth outside well away from lights. You would not see all those stars in the sky (going from what pictures I have seen taken on the moon). A real nit: I don’t think they could simulate at all, but shadows would appear completely black.
Yes they have designed exercise equipment for space missions, but they do not look anything like what you would see on earth
I agree, when you really think about it; if they are that good with robots you would not need a human in the station at all.

Author:  DanHenderson [ Fri May 14, 2010 8:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Moon - the spoiler thread - BEVARE! BEVARE!

EdHEdH wrote:
You would not see all those stars in the sky (going from what pictures I have seen taken on the moon).

The pictures are misleading:
Quote:
Bad: The first bit of actual evidence brought up (to the claim that the moon landings were a hoax) is the lack of stars in the pictures taken by the Apollo astronauts from the surface of the Moon. Without air, the sky is black, so where are the stars?

Good: The stars are there! They're just too faint to be seen.

This is usually the first thing Hoax Believers (HBs) talk about when discussing the Hoax. That amazes me, as it's the silliest assertion they make. However, it appeals to our common sense: when the sky is black here on Earth, we see stars. Therefore we should see them from the Moon as well.

I'll say this here now, and return to it many times: the Moon is not the Earth. Conditions there are weird, and our common sense is likely to fail us.

The Moon's surface is airless. On Earth, our thick atmosphere scatters sunlight, spreading it out over the whole sky. That's why the sky is bright during the day. Without sunlight, the air is dark at night, allowing us to see stars.

On the Moon, the lack of air means that the sky is dark. Even when the Sun is high off the horizon during full day, the sky near it will be black. If you were standing on the Moon, you would indeed see stars, even during the day.

So why aren't they in the Apollo pictures? Pretend for a moment you are an astronaut on the surface of the Moon. You want to take a picture of your fellow space traveler. The Sun is low off the horizon, since all the lunar landings were done at local morning. How do you set your camera? The lunar landscape is brightly lit by the Sun, of course, and your friend is wearing a white spacesuit also brilliantly lit by the Sun. To take a picture of a bright object with a bright background, you need to set the exposure time to be fast, and close down the aperture setting too; that's like the pupil in your eye constricting to let less light in when you walk outside on a sunny day.

So the picture you take is set for bright objects. Stars are faint objects! In the fast exposure, they simply do not have time to register on the film. It has nothing to do with the sky being black or the lack of air, it's just a matter of exposure time. If you were to go outside here on Earth on the darkest night imaginable and take a picture with the exact same camera settings the astronauts used, you won't see any stars!

It's that simple. Remember, this the usually the first and strongest argument the HBs use, and it was that easy to show wrong. Their arguments get worse from here.

Author:  beamjockey [ Fri May 14, 2010 9:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Moon - the spoiler thread - BEVARE! BEVARE!

One striking thing about this movie was the utterly relentless use of Microgramma Bold on all signs, control panels, vehicles, etc.

I didn't spot anyplace where a different font appeared. I guess this supports the Sixties-SF aesthetic of the film.

Author:  JamesGifford [ Fri May 14, 2010 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Moon - the spoiler thread - BEVARE! BEVARE!

EdHEdH wrote:
I agree, when you really think about it; if they are that good with robots you would not need a human in the station at all.

That's the real flaw in the film: in the end, there's absolutely no reason for a human, original or copied, to be there at all. When something breaks, send over the rescue team.

Author:  JamesGifford [ Fri May 14, 2010 10:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Moon - the spoiler thread - BEVARE! BEVARE!

beamjockey wrote:
One striking thing about this movie was the utterly relentless use of Microgramma Bold on all signs, control panels, vehicles, etc.

I didn't spot anyplace where a different font appeared.

I guess they only had one box of Letraset. :D

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