Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Sam Rockwell--isn't he awesome? (Correct answer: yes.)

I love him mostly for his work in Box of Moonlight and Galaxy Quest, two of my favorite underrated movies of all time. Guy and I just rented Moon, a low-budget science-fiction movie that came out last year. The story was pretty interesting, and the effects look amazingly good for such a cheap movie. It successfully conveys that crisp, clean, "cold" feeling of classic science-fiction, but Sam Rockwell's performance is affecting (and also funny). He plays a homesick astronaut filled with anguish and confusion when he stumbles upon his own clone:

"Moon is the first feature film directed by commercial director Duncan Jones, who co-wrote the script with Nathan Parker. The film was specifically written as a vehicle for actor Sam Rockwell. The film pays homage to the films of Jones's youth, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Silent Running (1972), Solaris (1972), Alien (1979) and Outland (1981). Jones described the intent, "[We] wanted to create something which felt comfortable within that canon of those science fiction films from the sort of late seventies to early eighties."

"The director spoke of his interest in the lunar setting, "For me, the Moon has this weird mythic nature to it... There is still a mystery to it. As a location, it bridges the gap between science-fiction and science fact. We (humankind) have been there. It is something so close and so plausible and yet at the same time, we really don't know that much about it." The director described the lack of romance in the Moon as a location, citing images from the Japanese lunar orbiter SELENE, "It's the desolation and emptiness of it... it looks like some strange ball of clay in blackness... Look at photos and you'll think that they're monochrome. In fact, they're not. There simply are no primary colours." Jones referenced the photography book Full Moon by Michael Light in designing the look of the film.

"Moon's budget was $5 million. The director took steps to minimise production costs, such as keeping the cast small and filming in a studio. Moon was produced at Shepperton Studios, London, England, where it filmed for 33 days. Jones preferred using models instead of digital animation. Jones worked with Bill Pearson, the supervising model maker on Alien, to help design the lunar rovers and helium-3 harvesters in the film. The moon base was created as a full 360-degree set, being 85–90 feet (26–27 m) long and approximately 70 feet (21 m) wide. The film's robot, GERTY, was designed to be bound to a rail within the base since the tether was critical storywise. The visual effects were provided by Cinesite, who sought cut-price deals with independent films.Since Jones had an effects background with commercials, he drew on his past experiences in creating effects under a small budget.

"Damon Wise of The Times praised Jones's "thoughtful" direction and Rockwell's "poignant" performance. Wise wrote of the film's approach to the science fiction genre, "Though it uses impressive sci-fi trappings to tell its story—the fabulous models and moonscapes are recognisably retro yet surprisingly real—this is a film about what it means, and takes, to be human."

"Roger Ebert gave the film 3½ stars out of 4, saying, "'Moon' is a superior example of that threatened genre, hard science-fiction, which is often about the interface between humans and alien intelligence of one kind of or other, including digital.

"Moon was screened at NASA's Space Center Houston at the request of a professor there. The screening was part of a lecture series. "He'd been reading online that we'd done this film about Helium-3 mining and that's something that people at NASA are working on," says Jones. "We did a Q&A afterward. They asked me why the base looked so sturdy, like a bunker, and not like the kind of stuff they are designing that they are going to transport with them. I said 'Well, in the future I assume you won't want to continue carrying everything with you, you'll want to use the resources on the moon to build things' and a woman in the audience raised her hand and said, 'I'm actually working on something called Mooncrete, which is concrete that mixes lunar regolith and ice water from the moon's polar caps.'"

From Wikipedia.

No comments:

Post a Comment