So anyway there was some slim pickings this weekend. There was no way I was gonna see the chick-feast that is Julia and Julie (nor the torture porn horror film Paper Heart). And I took pride in controlling my pop addiction enough to draw a hard line on GI Joe. And yadda there was some other floaters roaming the theaters but nothing was shoving me out the door. So I dug deep locally and found that Moon was playing at the arthouse lone theater in Brooklyn Heights. It's like a mile away on foot. I struggled with motivation so I called a friend who was around and he agreed to join in to venture along. We met up along the way. I'd eaten dinner so didn't snag any food but he picked up a thing of blueberries from the local fruit stand. So the two of us sat in this half-empty theater to watch a movie neither of us were particularly excited about--- weirdly sharing a thing of blueberries.
I was surprised that I ended up seeing this particular movie in an art house outpost (this place was also playing 'The Beaches of Agnes' and 'Tony Manero'-- that's how far out.) because when the trailer hit the net I was kinda excited about this movie. It seemed hardcore SF. Creepy crazy. I figured it would get a decent shake at promotion and marketing. At least on the level of Solaris or Sunshine. Then all of a sudden it was released to the world and nobody on this planet cared. It's been drifting untethered and unwanted and untalked about for weeks. A mystery to me. Why the lack of love? Was it too SF geeked to deal with? Did it simply suck? Or try to fly too close to 2001 embarrassing itself like a cheatering flounderer? In any case, I was proud to be sitting staring at this flick rather than lumbering through GI Joe mindlessly picking out rolly-eyed forehead slappy flaws.
Unfortunately this movie stepped out of the gate right on my big toe-- and never fully recovered. Immediately I was annoyed by the opening credits. I'm snobbish and sensitive about opening credits. And I feel like any film that is going to strive for artsy immersion has got to forsake the precious egos and ditch opening credits altogether. We're on the Moon. That's that. I don't need to know how we got there. Plus, this flick non-cleverly slapped the long list of opening credits all over the opening scene in a 'creative' way. Like some name would be placed on a door as someone walked past. Or like up a wall. Or sideways on a hatch. Yuck. Plus there were two names that I was unhappy to see. Kevin Spacey and Trudy Styler. For some reason it made me assume that this geeky SF movie did not grow out of organic nerdified passion. Like more likely it took initial root at a boring Level Vodka sponsored charity event DJed by Chloe Sevigny's brother.
And I never got over Kevin Spacely's miscast presence in this spacey flick. His voiceover is so friggin familiar that it was literally stupid to cast him as the 'Hal 9000' computer character. His soft soothing voice did this movie zero favors. Him alone was a dealbreaker. Every time he spoke up I was like, 'Kevin Spacely! Yup. That's sure him alright.' And the dialogue he was handed was often awful. Plus, in computer terms there were some hard rules that were broken. It was too conversational. For example, Sam Cockwell's character at one point wanted to go outside and walk around on the moon. The computer tells him it's been given a direct order from homebase not to let him outside. Fine. But Sam Cockwell gets angry and yells that he really wants to go outside! He starts reasoning like, 'I just to check the one thing! Jeez! C'mon pleassse...'' The computer was like, 'Okayy... if you promise just to check that one thing, ok?' No computer in its right mind is gonna buckle against a direct order because the 'human is upset'! There was alot of fouled up computer logic throughout this flick. All so tragically blatantly voiced by Kevin Spacely. (I won't even mention the terrible emoticons the computer 'Gerty' had. Sad smiley face when sad? Worried face when worried? Teardrop when upset? Really? All that technology and we're still stuck on AOL IM 1.0? And no, it wasn't not cute nor retro smart.)
But in the end I gotta admit there was some glue in this flick that held my attention til the end. I thought Sam Cockwell did a good job. Some of the moon shots were cool to look at. And I did leave the theater thinking twice about what I saw. But in the end I realized what was wrong with this movie--- it was really about nothing. At least nothing interesting. There was nothing techie cool to latch onto and geekily bonerize out about. There were no trippy lingering after ripples as I walked away. And unfortunately, this movie answers way too many questions and drops the ball on the most important one-- Why does it exist?
Three Good Things About this Movie
- The Kevin Spacely computer wasn't a huge presence.
- I liked the Clint Mansell music alot.
- The overall idea carried stuff longer than I thought it could.
Three Bad Things About this Movie
- At its core it made no sense.
- Where was the weird?
- The last two minutes were terrible.
All in all, (although I admit I'm not a real hardcore Sci-Fi geek) I'm suspecting most Sci-Fi (all media included) never fails to disappoint on some level. And I'd say a healthy 85% of Sci-Fi flat out sucks. It either tries to do too much. Or too little. Or it's too 'romantic'. Or it's just ripping off something else that did it better. Or the characters don't seem real at all. Or the technology or logic is flawed. To me, the real juicy sci-fi is simply venturing out into space (or the human mind) and finding something uncontrollably new. And I think it's been far too long time since we've gone where no man has gone before and returned to rivet the tale proper.