Moon (2009)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 23-Feb-2010

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Audio Commentary-with Duncan Jones, Gary Shaw, Gavin Rothery & Tony Noble
Audio Commentary-with Director Duncan Jones and Producer Stuart Fenegan
Short Film-"Whistle" - a short film by Duncan Jones
Featurette-Making Of-The Making of Moon
Featurette-Creating the Visual Effects
Featurette-Science Center Q&A with Director Duncan Jones
Featurette-Filmmaker's Q&A at the Sundance Film Festival
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Bluray demo,Terminator Salvation,Angels&Demons,Impact, 2012
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 93:15
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (83:23) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Duncan Jones
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Sam Rockwell
Kevin Spacey
Dominique McElligott
Rosie Shaw
Adrienne Shaw
Kaya Scodelario
Malcolm Stewart
Robin Chalk
Case Amaray-Opaque-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Clint Mansell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Catalan Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Spanish
Spanish Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Hindi
Catalan
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Three years in solitude can send any man crazy, especially when you are up on the moon, working for a mining company mining helium-3, a rare resource on Earth, but more abundant on the moon, and a viable source of clean energy. Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell, the lone inhabitant of the Sarang lunar base, owned by the Mining company, Lunar Industries. At the beginning of the film we find Sam two weeks away from the end of his 3-year contract, and he is exuberant about the prospect of being re-united with his wife Tess and his baby daughter Eve. We only get to see Sam's family via recorded video messages as the lunar base has a problem with live communications. This is the first clue in the film that everything is not quite right in the situation we are presented with.

    Sam starts to hallucinate, firstly seeing a teenage girl and then seeing himself on monitors on the base. While going to retrieve some ready-made helium-3 canisters from one of the four harvesters used to mine helium-3, Sam sees the teenage girl again. He crashes the lunar rover due to this distraction, passing out just after activating his life support unit. He wakes up in the infirmary to the voice of his only other companion, the computer GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey) to be told that a rescue team is coming and his work on the base is finished, the company has issued strict orders that Sam is to be confined to the Sarang lunar base. Sam, being impulsive and tempered, cannot accept this course of events, so he conspires to create a gas leak on the station, whereby GERTY is forced to let him investigate. He finds the crashed lunar rover, and then he is shocked to find a survivor, himself, or a man that looks like himself. At this point of the film the audience is left to work out what is going on, and the wonderful thing about the screenplay, adapted by Nathan Parker from Duncan Jones' original story, is that we only begin to find out the truth as the main characters of the film find it out.

    The amazing thing about Moon is the acting of Sam Rockwell to pull off playing two characters, and the ingenuity of the production team to create a realistic science-fiction film on such a low budget of £2.5 million. This was done using lighting, perspective and models and it's interesting to know that Duncan Jones' directing background involves working with visual effects. There was also the need to utilise CGI effects for Sam Rockwell's scenes where he plays both characters of Sam Bell sharing dialogue. These were effective in that the action scenes where the two Sams fight and play table tennis against each other for example look seamless. Clint Mansell's bare piano-themed soundtrack helps to evoke the aura of isolation in space and the use of classical music for scenes showing long shots of the moon's atmosphere and of space remind the viewer of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    There are other references to other science-fiction films in Moon, such as Alien, Outland and Silent Running. For me, the strongest references are to 2001: A Space Odyssey and the haunting themes of Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris and the struggle for survival in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. This is a very strong directorial debut by Duncan Jones, the son of musician David Bowie, and as a result of its success, Jones has been commissioned to direct Source Code, coming out in 2011, and Mute, a film set in Berlin where Sam Rockwell will reprise his role of Sam Bell.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The film has been stacked with extras which are all presented on one disc. Thankfully Sony has produced a single DVD-9 dual layered disc which is 7.95gb in size, allowing good space for the main presentation and the extras.

    The aspect ratio of Moon is 2:40:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

    The main feature is 93 minutes in length. It takes up a little bit over one side of the dual-layered disc. The average bitrate is 5.59 mb/sec which is better than it sounds because the movie has many dark contrasts and use of blacks which bring the average bitrate down. There is some mosquito noise in the opening credits and some slight grain in the transfer, although the main transfer does not have compression issues to the point of displaying macro-blocking effects in dark scenes.

    Colour is somewhat monochromatic as all the action is on the moon, and the dominant colours are grey, white and black. There are deliberate uses of flared lights to distinguish action in some scenes. This was done to compensate for the films bland colour scheme.

    There are no discernible film artefacts.

    Subtitles are provided in English, Spanish and Hindi. The two audio commentaries are also subtitled in English and Spanish. You can also choose Catalan subtitles 'on-the-fly', these were not available as an option from the menu.

    RSDL change occurs at 83:23 during a scene change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack to Moon, done by Clint Mansell, is similar to Mansell's previous score for The Wrestler, subtle, yet immersive when required.

    The main soundtrack in English is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 448 kbps. There are two tracks in Spanish and Catalan which are Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 384 kbps. The two audio commentaries are Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded, encoded at 192 kbps.

    The dialogue is clear and audio is synchronised.

    The music score was done well on a low budget. It evokes the aural atmosphere of the moon setting on which the film is based.

    Surround channel usage is also subtle and infrequent.

    The subwoofer is used to emphasise scenes such as the lunar rover crash. It is not used to over-emphasise bass sounds and in fact it is not needed often. The audio production of the film was really well done to create a eerie yet melancholic mood.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio Commentary by writer/director Duncan Jones, director of photography Gary Shaw, concept artist Gary Rothery and production designer Tony Noble

The first commentary involves the production team. There is much laughter and 'in-talk' in this commentary. I found it hard to follow at times. The team mainly discuss the production challenges they faced while making the film and how they overcame those issues. If you are okay with overlapping dialogue (as in a Robert Altman film for example) then you will enjoy this commentary.

Audio Commentary by writer/director Duncan Jones and producer Stuart Fenegan

This commentary by the director and producer of the film gives more background to the shooting of the film and more information behind the screenplay. I enjoyed this commentary more than the production commentary, it was good to learn about Sam Rockwell's acting performance, budgetary constraints, shooting on set at Shepparton Studios outside London and the use of doubles in scenes that were later updated in post-production.

Short Film - Whistle (28:47) (1:85:1, not 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions)

This short film, done in 2002, deals with a high-profile assassin who has to deal with a hit gone wrong.

Featurette-Making Of Moon (16:18) (1:85:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions)

Duncan Jones, Stuart Fenegan and Sam Rockwell provide information on the performances in the film, sets, production design, and various effects. Quite a bit of the information has already been provided in the two audio commentaries and there are spoilers also, so make sure to watch the film first!

Featurette - Creating the Visual Effects (11:09) (2:35:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions)

Visual Effects Supervisor Simon Stanley-Clamp provides added background information on the models, lighting and sets used to create the effects in the film.

Featurette - Science Center Q&A With Director Duncan Jones (20:49) (1:85:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions)

This featurette has director Duncan Jones answering questions following a screening of Moon on March 16, 2009 at the Houston Space Center.

Featurette - Filmmaker's Q&A At the Sundance Film Festival (10:48) (1:85:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions)

This featurette has director Duncan Jones again fielding questions from an audience after the Sundance Film Festival screening.

Theatrical Trailer (2:06)

This is the film's original theatrical trailer.

Trailers

Trailers are included for the films Terminator Salvation, Angels and Demons, Impact, 2012 and a demonstration for Blu-ray.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 United States release of Moon includes all the extras found on the Region 4 release except the short film, Whistle. The Region 2 United Kingdom release is identical to the Region 4 version. The Region 2 Scandinavian release has the wrong aspect ratio of 1:78:1 and no extras at all! The Region 4 release from Sony is therefore the best release for Region 4 consumers.

Summary

    Moon is a quality independent debut for writer and director, Duncan Jones. You will not be disappointed by this homage to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Sony, who produced the DVD, must also be credited for their inclusion of many quality extras on this disc, making Moon a good purchase for DVD consumers. Sam Rockwell's acting performance must also be mentioned because he carries the whole film. He is in every scene and his acting will leave you gripped right up to the final scene. Moon, therefore, is an obvious recommendation for your DVD library.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Monday, March 08, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE