With this intriguing trailer, a score by Clint Mansell (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain), and Sam Rockwell starring as technician Sam Bell, I will admit to having some expectations. I would also say that most people intrigued by this film are going to be sci-fi nerds familiar with notable scif-fi movies.
Therein lies the problem with Moon: if you’ve seen Blade Runner, you’re just getting a rehash. Yes, the set design and CGI are great, especially when find out they did with a 5 million dollar budget. Clint Mansell’s score adds depth, tension, and excitement. Sam Rockwell playing two different characters: wonderful, he does a great job.
However the story falls flat after the first twenty minutes as you then predict the entire plot of the film and it doesn’t help that they reveal a major plot point in the trailer.
SPOILER ALERT (scroll down till you hit SPOILER ALERT OVER to read the conclusion)
Because after I saw the trailer I immediately predicted the film’s twists based on my knowledge of Blade Runner: Rockwell plays a clone created by a mining corporation who have implanted false memories of a life he’s never lived. The film further rides the Blade Runner band wagon when Sam looks sickly and starts coughing up blood… Surprise, surprise, the clones have a shelf life of three years!
The only part of the film in which you benefit from seeing previous sci-fi films is the send up to 2001: A Space Odyssey. During the film you wonder if the Kevin Spacey robot, Gerty, is going to be another whacked out HAL 9000: is he trying to hide the truth from Sam? Will he kill him for knowing too much? The filmmakers play with this expectation and is an upside for the film’s story. Since it is not the focus though, it still can’t make up for the Blade Runner fleecing.
And on a final spoiler note, the ending felt weak: as Sam Bell (at least one of them) is re-entering Earth’s atmosphere we hear radio broadcasts of his story being told.
One, the audience doesn’t really need to know if he got to Earth safely to feel good about the film. The fact that he escaped the Moon base at all is the payoff: he got free and there’s hope. So to clarify the point, and to do so with such casual briefness felt like both a disservice to the audience and the character.
SPOILER ALERT OVER
If you’re just getting into sci-fi movies, this is a great introduction. I will admit, even if you’re a veteran, it isn’t necessarily horrible either, as I mentioned the acting and technical achievements are evident. Just don’t expect any surprises.