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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Movie Review (Spoiler Alert)

We "Netflixed" the movie Moon this weekend. Here is a synopsis and some thoughts:

A mining company has set up base on the moon. It needs one human worker on site. These workers are given 3 year contracts. The film opens with worker "Sam" getting a bit squirrely with his 2 remaining weeks until he gets to go home. He gets video messages from his wife and employer occassionally; but his days are mostly filled with solitary hobbies and the base computer "GERTY" (voice by Kevin Spacey mirroring the calm cadence of "HAL").

Sam isn't doing so hot. The movie doesn't come out and say it, but it appears to be radiation sickness (not wholly unexpected for someone that long outside Earth's atmosphere). One of the autopiloted mining vehicles has a problem, Sam drives out to it, hallucinates, and crashes.

In the next scene Sam is in the medical area back on base with GERTY taking care of him. GERTY explains that he was in an accident and he needs to rest a few days. Sam looks in oddly good shape again. Sam is restless and doesn't like being trapped on base by GERTY so he quickly figures a way out and drives to the crash site to see what happened (the company had launched a repair ship to come grab the vehicle he crashed in, but it hadn't gotten there yet). Sam finds another Sam unconscious in the crash.

So Healthy Sam brings Sick Sam back to GERTY to fix him up as best possible. Sick Sam is obviously disturbed by these events (the Sams in general are pretty calm guys, though). GERTY seems especially attached to Sick Sam (perhaps Sick Sam is the only Sam to have lasted this long?)and decides to show him a video of the previous Sams being incinerated in what they thought was the return vehicle to Earth. And shows him the bank of Sam clones waiting for their turn to be awakened. The rest of the film is the Sams working to save themselves.

Some elements I liked were the quiet "2001" feel, the fact that you assumed GERTY was HAL but really turned out to be kind to its human pet (at least after a few generations), the interaction of clones ("I can't kill so I know you can't kill"), and the interesting fact that the clones apparently had identical neural mapping when they woke up (their kid was just born, etc.).

You know, I really don't remember this filmed being released last year. Odd.


Debra said...

I suggest that you get your hands on Dune, and read, or reread it, all six or seven volumes of it.
You will have to wait for volume 2 or 3 to get into the clone reflexions but they are amazingly well thought out, and keep getting better as Herbert progresses in his opus.
Very sophisticated stuff, if you have the patience for it. It sounds somewhat more sophisticated than the movie...

Thai said...

Deb, Dink has told us on several occasions that he has read the series already.

Dink, if you were going to give the film 0-10?

I read somewhere that the direct to DVD market is what we can expect for the future of sci fi.

Marketing costs are pretty large for a lot of these films and with the fracturing of the entertainment market into its component sub markets, getting these types of films to geeks like you and I is getting easier and easier.

... I saw an add on the sci fi channel but I was not planning on seeing the movie unless you give it a high number.

Debra said...

In my memory, Thai, it was SS who was a big Dune fan.
Dune was before Dink's time, I think.
If Dink has read the series then this film's use of the clone theme will not impress him, I think.

Dink said...

"I was not planning on seeing the movie unless you give it a high number."

Well..... its slow. So if its on sometime when you're sick and just lounging around, sure. But to actively seek it out and spend time that could otherwise be spent usefully, nah.

Also, I suppose the more Hollywood tailors to us geeks without having to please the non-geeks, the better.

Dune clarification:

I've read the 1st book (and own some of the others somewhere...). And:

1) More than one person is allowed to create stories about clones, Missy ;)
2) Herbert is more refined and imaginative than many writers so I am intrigued, though.

Some guilty part of me was thinking how pleasant it might be to hang around clones for a while. I mean, diversity can be fun and useful, sure. But it takes energy. With clones you'd all like the same restaurants and TV shows. You could get team projects done quickly since you'd already be on the same page about goals and methods. It'd be relaxing and efficient.

From a spychoanalytic angle it might be interesting as well. Deb might argue with herself. How would Thai treat his own fractal? Ponderings ;)

Debra said...

I'm not contesting the fact that there is more than one writer out there who has treated the clone question.
But... Herbert was a genius. (Even smarter than me... ;-), and he is really worth reading.
His clones... get smarter and more human as time goes by, and as they are successively killed and resurrected.
If you've only read one book of the series, then you have missed the best part. God Emperor of Dune should be required reading for all political science majors.
Herbert is not really literature, even though I adore him.
He is better at fictionalized social and political science.

The Most Fabulous Objects In The World

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe trilogy
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Flight of the Conchords
  • Time Bandits