Tuesday, June 08, 2010

MOON


This was a movie I wanted to like, expected to like, but didn't. And I think it points out my main problem with most science fiction. The entire film rests on a premise that was clear early on. Perhaps I was meant to be touched by the character's plight due to the premise, but I wasn't. A similar premise in NEVER LET ME GO had me sobbing, but not here. Maybe I need words to get points across. Or dialogue. I'm not sure. Or, as I really think, I needed to see it on the big screen rather than at home.

Anyone watch it? What did I miss? Because I truly do feel that I missed something.

22 comments:

David Cranmer said...

I did see it after James Reasoner reviewed it on his blog. I liked it but felt it was overlong and the ending was obvious from the get go. I give it high marks for trying. Say, two and a half stars outta four.

George said...

Patrick saw MOON and liked it. But I've read too many negative reviews of the film. And now, your reaction. I think I'll skip this one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Phil liked it more.

Todd Mason said...

No, as you might remember, I've been loud and long in my condemnation of this one. I saw it with Kate Laity, who liked it, I think, even less than I did, and I fell asleep (albeit only for a minute or two).

This is NOT an item to judge sf by. It's cutesy and derivative (of other stupid films, as well as of better work) and, as you note, obvious.

The most intelligent fan of it I've heard from thought it was an interesting metaphor for stages of life, and liked the sequence in which the protagonist comforts "himself"...but he gives it Way too much credit thus.

Todd Mason said...

I'll note, as I usually do, that the only aspect of it I genuinely liked was that the protag lives the life of a 1970s slacker living in his parents' basement and watching 1970s tv repeats, eating tv dinners...except that he's employed on the Moon and alone except for his ridiculous robot. But no more emotionally isolated for that.

And, as I told my intelligent, too-kind friend, metaphors have to work on the surface level if they are to be grounded in reality, as this film does its sad best to do, and at the surface level, the metaphor makes No sense whatsoever. Cute Kevin Spacey robots, or even non-cute ones, would do the job Much, much better and much less expensively than our protag, just to start. But then we wouldn't have the Rilly Rilly deep metaphors, and the Evulll corporation! Hoo boy!

Todd Mason said...

And by intelligent fan of it, I mean someone who has applied intelligence to make an enthusiastic argument for it (even more for it as a metaphor for finding one's identity--hence another aspect of its self-indulgence, given it's an "autobiographical" metaphor by the Space Alien's son, the former Zowie Bowie), as opposed to the sort of one cheer/it passed the time OK response it seemed to get from James and Bill Crider...and David, just now.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Well, they certainly spilled the beans on the premise too early for that to remain interesting. And watching him "slack" only goes so far. I well remember my son's teenage years when it was sleep, watch Cubs games; go out with friends and not much else. You're right it was like this.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And do all space movies have to concentrate on the boringness of the routine--and in effect be boring. Why does life in space have to be routinized. Have we been programmed to think this? So we don't venture into space for fear of this boredom and isolation.

Todd Mason said...

Well, I gather that was the autobiographical grounding for younger Bowie...it's when he Goes In Search of His Identity that the film gets ridiculously ponderous and tendentious (the latter a real problem of sf, since it lends itself to this flaw more readily than any other sort of fiction or drama). I thought that was amusing, as far as it went, but that was an attempt to find any genuine good in the film (aside from the nice evocation of the Moon itself).

Well, often the metaphor that is being reached for is that astronaut programs, and certainly a mining outpost, is a job more fit for a machine than for a person, as are too many other jobs we all have, entirely too much of the time. However, this metaphor is also Rather Old News, and needs to be handled cleverly to not be simply a bore, as this film is...at least in 2001, which helped to introduce this motif, the astronauts in question were allowing themselves to be cogs, when various folks weren't simply taking space travel for granted as we now or in 1968 might've taken air travel for granted.

Rather more intelligent and advanced sf dealing with such matters, such as Edmond Hamilton's story "What's It Like Out There?" or, much moreso, some of Barry Mazlberg's novels and other fiction including BEYOND APOLLO and THE FALLING ASTRONAUTS, deal rather more explicitly and fruitfully with the effects of letting or forcing people to become cogs when facing such things as the majestic terror of off-planet travel and exploration.

Quite aside from easy criticism, the blase approach to space travel or residence also contrasts with the GOSH WOW! approach of most space-travel films, and to a much lesser extent the fiction (even the worst of the fiction is usually no less unsophisticated than a whole lot of the worst of the films and television), wherein everything was an adventure rather comparable to Kitty Hawk...or sometimes to dogfighting with the Red Baron--you know, the STAR WARS bibble-bibble approach--which isn't how such things are going to work, at least not as presented. And while such things can be fun, and even have their strengths, when, say, Leigh Brackett is writing them and isn't rewritten by George Lucas and/or Lawrence Kasdan, the tendency to go Klunk is more prevalent.

Todd Mason said...

Most earlier space-travel films, that is...up through the '50s, anyway.

Todd Mason said...

And the worst of the fiction is no more unsophisticated, no less sophisticated, than the a/v cousins. Gotta slow down...

Todd Mason said...

Judging sf fiction by the a/v work is comparable to attempting to take the pulse of crime fiction via CHARLIE'S ANGELS and HART TO HART and the film career of Joe Don Baker.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, I am under-read to say the least in these stories.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I didn't see it either, like George. But at the moment I'm off Sam Rockwell after his annoying performance in Iron Man 2, which I thought he was channeling Dana Carvey doing Poppy Bush.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

HA!

le0pard13 said...

I agreed with author John Kenneth Muir's dissection of it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I believe that in order to appreciate this, I needed to see it on the big screen. To be completely immersed it it. That's why I hate watching movies at home. Actually I'd prefer to watch TV at the movie theater, too. Somehow some of his interior feelings escaped me. Thanks for finding my explanation.

Todd Mason said...

"It's one that -- like Silent Running, Solaris, Blade Runner, etc. -- asks important questions about what it means to be a human being."

Um, no. SILENT RUNNING does absolutely no such thing, it and OUTLAND, and ALIEN being precisely the kind of stupid psuedo-profound where not simply antiprofound film that I referred to before. I must admit, this is precisely the kind of babble that has put me in quite a mood about this film's reception more than the meager qualities of the film itself.

Todd Mason said...

I'm sorry that these concerns, as much as they are expressed, eluded you in your viewing...sorrier still that anyone finds their expression in this film sufficient to elevate it above self-indulgent pap. A Bergman film it isn't.

The review has actually angered me. Mostly because I know so much the worthier work that actually deserves such close consideration that actually has something to say about the human condition that isn't far less than what has been said previously...though Muir is correct, even the less than stellar subtext of BLADE RUNNER is a much more elegant expression of the basic dilemma than anything here.

Todd Mason said...

(Harkening to SILENT RUNNING and SPACE: 1999 is to harken to stuff actually Worse than CHARLIE'S ANGELS and HART TO HART. I wish I was kidding. Wish Muir was, too.)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I haven't seen this one, Patti, but like you, I feel I should have...

Todd Mason said...

OK. If you find Richard Bach's books searching and fully realized explorations of what it means to be human, you have quite a ride waiting for you in MOON.

Night, folks.