Moon (2009 film)

Moon won the 2010 Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, beating District 9 (which won the Bradbury/Nebula), Up, Star Trek and Avatar. It was actually only third in terms of nominations, and won the award by only 15 votes on the final count, its lead over District 9 having steadily narrowed. I have not been keeping track, but I think that is one of the closest results in this category.

IMDB users rate it 17th and beneath the other four nominees on one system, and 26th and behind all but District 9 on the other, which is surprisingly low for a winner. I have not yet seen District 9, but I must say that while I enjoyed Moon, I would probably have voted for Star Trek myself. It looks like a strong field – I’d have certainly nominated Watchmen and Children of Earth too. (The End of Time would have been a better fit for the following year.)

There’s one returnee from a previous Hugo winner: Sam Rockwell, playing the protagonist Sam Bell in all his versions, was Fleegman the publicist in Galaxy Quest ten years earlier.

Kevin Spacey, the protagonist of American Beauty, is the voice of the computer GERTY, but we don’t see him so no pics.

Sam, our hero, whose surname ends with -ell and is played by an actor whose first name is Sam and whose surname ends with -ell, is mining Helium-3 on the far side of the Moon. He encounters his double and realises that they are just the latest in a series of clones of the real Sam, who are activated in sequence by the evil Lunar Industries and then casually disposed of. His wife, who he thinks he is speaking to on Earth, turns out to have died some time ago; his little daughter is now a teenager.

It’s not so different in concept from The Sixth Sense, but I liked it a whole lot more. It’s a modest plot, with the core concept of discovering that your identity is not what you thought it was, and the desperation of trying to work out what is going on when all available facts seem unreliable. There are some silly bits as well – why mine Helium-3 on the far side? Is animating clones by remote control really less expensive and more reliable than just training and sending new astronauts? But I think it succeeds by not trying too hard.

The effects are convincing – actually I was reading the novelisation of Moon Zero Two while watching this, which reminded me that it’s part of a long tradition. The music is great as well. So I’m putting it exactly half way down my list of Hugo/Nebula/Bradbury winners, in 25th place out of 49, below Young Frankenstein and above Howl’s Moving Castle, which is still a pretty good ranking.

Next up: District 9.

One thought on “Moon (2009 film)

  1. >>The effects are convincing << I particularly liked the set design – it looks very used future, like people have actually lived there.

    (I think I'd rate it above Star Trek – first of the new ones, and Watchmen, not sure where I'd put it vs. Children of Earth)

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