M is for Moon

Up to the halfway point with the A-Z challenge and we have M is for…Moon.

2009, 8.0 stars. 97 minutes – more or less the perfect running time for a movie. Duncan Jones’ directorial debut which he followed up with the quite excellent Source Code.

Sam: Gerty, is there someone else in the room?

Moon is essentially a two-hander between Sam Rockwell as Sam and Kevin Spacey as GERTY, the moonbase’s computer. The year is 2035 and Sam is coming to the end of his solo three-year contract working on a mining outpost on the moon for Lunar Industries who harvest Helium-3 from the dark side of the moon. Direct comms with Earth aren’t possible, and one day he has an accident in one of the mechanical harvesters and after *that*, nothing is quite the same…

[Here be SPOILERS]

[No, really. GO WATCH THE MOVIE FIRST. It’s only an hour and a half]

[Have you watched it yet?]

[How about now?]

ok then. Assuming you’ve got this far, you’ve either watched the film (yay) or don’t care about spoilers (you monster). On with the synopsis.

Sam wakes up back at the base infirmary with no memory of the accident. He overhears GERTY talking to Earth and discovers that there is a rescue team on the way. He gets suspicious and goes out to find out what’s going on, discovering the original Sam inside the crashed harvester. newSam takes oldSam back to the base where they discover that there are hundreds of Sams stored beneath the complex. At the end of the three-year contract, each Sam is sent ‘home’, but is really put to sleep and incinerated, and a new Sam brought out of stasis ready to start his three year contract anew. Hijinks ensue.

Moon is a superb little film – I say little, it was made on $5 million dollar budget by Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie), who wrote the film specifically for Sam Rockwell. The budget was kept down by having minimal cast and a small set, along with some superb model work for the exterior shots by Bill Pearson, the supervising model maker on Alien.

Rockwell puts in a stellar performance from the off, giving a real sense of how lonely it must be stuck up on the moon with just a computer (albeit Kevin Spacey) for company. It’s when you get the two Sams together that his acting cranks up to 11 – the interaction between oldSam and newSam is mesmerising, and Rockwell deserved an Oscar at least (which he sadly didn’t even get nominated for). Jones did win a BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer though.

The film echoes sci-fi classics such as 2001 – HAL and GERTY share a solitary all-seeing eye – and has a strong feeling to the 1972 film Silent Running in the astronauts stuck in space motif.

Occasionally Duncan Jones has popped up on Twitter (@ManMadeMoon) when Moon has been on TV, and provided a tweet-along commentary, which was wonderful. Chesney Hawkes even croppped up to say hello – Sam’s alarm clock plays ‘The One and Only’ which is somewhat ironic given that Sam is a clone. The song crops up again in Source Code as the ringtone of one of the characters. Mr Jones is developing a signature…

previously, on The A-Z Challenge
A is for Alien
B is for The Breakfast Club
C is for Catching Fire
D is for Die Hard
E is for The Empire Strikes Bank
F is for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
G is for Goldfinger (and GoldenEye)
H is for Howl’s Moving Castle
I is for Inception
J is for Jurassic Park
K is for Kung Fu Panda
L is for Labyrinth

Relax

Sunday, day 17 of Blog Every Day in November. Today’s prompt is ‘how do you like to relax?’

Hmm. With a full-time job and a fairly busy family life, finding time to relax can be tricky. It’s so important though to find a few minutes in the day to yourself, free from the day-to-day chores, running around doing stuff for other people.

coffee and a good book

During the week, I like to get out at lunchtime to a coffee shop with a good book. It’s usually a Starbucks – I know they’re the antithesis of my beloved indie coffee shops, but I don’t feel quite so bad about paying £1.50 for a mug of coffee and sitting for 45 minutes reading my book.

The book of the moment is Scott Lynch’s  The Republic of Thieves, the third book in an ongoing series. It’s really rather good and I’m taking it quite slowly, not really wanting it to end as the gap between book #2 and book #3 was rather a long time! I’ve got a few more books lined up after this one though – Tom Lloyd has an interesting one coming out next week called Moon’s Artifice, and I’ve still got Terry Pratchett’s latest waiting to be read.

So, coffee shop and a good book is one way I like to relax. Others? Sitting down after a hard session down the allotment. Chilling out to some music on my morning commute. Floating in the surf with my bodyboard, waiting for the perfect wave. Sitting outside my tent late at night with a glass of something nicely alcoholic, watching the stars.

How do you like to relax?