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Moon

Blu-ray Five Stars
I really enjoyed Moon (Filmstalker review) when I saw it, Duncan Jones crafted an excellent film that could have gone disastrously wrong, after all it concentrates on just one main character, and when a film does that for it's entire length, it has to be good and that character rich and hugely interesting. Everything relies on the writing and performance of that character, and no matter what is around them in terms of effects and story, if that character fails, the film fails.

What was so great about the film is that everything about the film works really well, and the strong lead actor and character are superb. In fact everything about the film is superb. It's no wonder that some are saying this is the best science fiction film of the year.

Now Moon is on Blu-ray, and the offering is really good. It boasts an excellent picture transfer, great sound, two audio commentaries, a short film from the director, a couple of Q&A's and some strong featurettes that take us into the making of Moon.

Plot.pngMoon-Poster.jpgSam Rockwell plays the miner alone on the Moon, looking after the almost totally automated mining facility with the artificially intelligent computer system called Gerty, voiced by Kevin Spacey. He's coming to the end of his three year stint, kept going by recorded messages back and forth to his wife and family at home and regular updates from the company.

With his three year stint almost complete he's counting the days down of his last few weeks before he heads back home to Earth and his replacement arrives. However there's something going wrong, and he starts seeing things and having lapses of concentration. Then, after a small accident, he discovers someone else on the base.


TheFilm.pngI've already reviewed the film of Moon which I saw at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year, so to cover it all here's the summary I wrote from that review, just to give you a sense of the film. For the full, detailed, and I promise spoiler free review, leap over to the Moon review right here on Filmstalker.

Moon is an excellent film from the scripting to filming to scoring, it hardly puts a foot wrong and delivers great pacing and keeps the confines of the story perfectly controlled when it could have ballooned into something much bigger on a number of occasions, but it doesn't, and it's that restrained story and story telling that really helps Moon become such a great film.

Sam Rockwell's performance is a great addition, and he too manages to restrain his performance to great effect, and with Kevin Spacey's voicing the cast is spot on.

The indoor and outdoor (even without an atmosphere!) sequences are very well shot, and the film looks like it carried a huge budget, and coupled with the excellent script and concept, I think we have a lot to see from Duncan Jones, for on Moon he's done an excellent job.

On the second viewing of the film I had forgotten just how sad and moving the film is, as well as how much it makes you think about the topic in hand. Unlike many Hollywood films which skirt over issues, this does present some very thought provoking moments and gives you that wonderful feeling of wanting to contemplate and talk about a film and story after the credits has ending.


Picture.png2.40:1 1080p
I had wondered what effect the Blu-ray detail and definition would have on the Moon picture, whether it would show up the model miniatures used in the effects sequences, or if it would expose some of production choices that were limited by the cheaper budget. However there's a huge surprise, it looks fantastic.

After listening to the audio commentaries you hear that there are two shots that Duncan Jones is less than enamoured with, and these are the shots that he used light flare and clever post production techniques to cover up, and yet it looks like there was no need to, the shots he was concerned about look great, as do all the outdoor shots.

That also goes for the indoor shots, the sets and the CG work look fantastic, boosted by the fact that there was as much practical effects work done as possible leaving the CG to a minimum and that helps the film with the levels of detail applied in Blu-ray.


Audio.pngDTS 5.1 HD MA, DD 2.0, Thai DD 5.1
I listened to the DTS 5.1 HD MA track, the closest to the audio master from the studio as you're likely to get, and it complimented the high definition picture superbly. There was good use of the rears made through the film, even though there isn't a great deal of need for it and the film could have easily played out without making so much use of the other speakers, but it does for the outdoor scenes and those where the score ramps up, and it's a superb score to boot, something else that came to the fore during the second viewing. The audio track really drew me into the film and the story, particularly during these score moments.


Extras.pngAudio Commentary with Writer/Director Duncan Jones, Director of Photography Gary Shaw, Concept Designer Gavin Rothery and Production Designer Tony Noble; Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Duncan Jones and Producer Stuart Fenegan; Short Film: Whistle; Making of Moon; Creating the Visual Effects; Science Centre Q&A with Director Duncan Jones; Q&A at Sundance
Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Duncan Jones, Director of Photography Gary Shaw, Concept Designer Gavin Rothery and Production Designer Tony Noble
The audio commentary has plenty of funny moments through it, not specifically related to the film itself, but from the interactions between those involved in the commentary, even if they do play the product placement card a little too much - they should have asked for something better than an Audi!

Fun aside there are plenty of behind the scenes reveals and discussions on how certain aspects of the film came about, especially when they discuss the sets and effects. It's a hugely informative commentary, and entertaining too.


Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Duncan Jones and Producer Stuart Fenegan
There are quite a few moments in this audio commentary which are covered in the previous one, but then there are plenty of new aspects to the film too. Here though the focus is on the detail of the film and far less on the comedy.

Short Film: Whistle
Whistle is an interesting short film that shows a story about a hit-man trying to deal with his guilt and balance that against his family life. More surprising is just what his wife knows. However it does make things a little different with the high-tech aspect and the distance it puts between the hit-man and his target, turning it into more of a video game than anything. It's an interesting, but unsurprising tale that could do with a faster edit to keep things moving. It does seem like a first time short from some of the directing, location shots and the effects, but it has two surprisingly recognisable cast members, and some nice ideas. What I particularly liked about it is the way it ends and what the title alludes to. It's a nice addition to the Blu-ray and helps showcase the writer/director.

Making of Moon
This is a good little featurette that explores the making of the film and has plenty from the writer/director Duncan Jones and the actor Sam Rockwell. It gives some good insight into the behind the scenes of the film, although we're always left asking for more, this does a good job of giving us more than we've heard from the audio commentaries, and it adds some images to what we've heard. Overall a good featurette.

Creating the Visual Effects
Simon Stanley-Clamp talks about some of the visual effects in the film and takes some key scenes, splitting the footage between the pre, during and post effects work and talks us through how they were built up. This is the best way to do a visual effects featurette and really does take you right into the heart of how they made the scenes work, particularly as you can actually see the stages in front of you.

Science Centre Q&A with Director Duncan Jones
A very interesting and in-depth Q&A in front of a very discerning audience that reveals a lot more about the thoughts behind the film, the story and the lead character thanks to their interesting questions.

Q&A at Sundance
Okay the Sundance Q&A is a little bit of back slapping and congratulating, but it does have some good questions and answers, not quite as strong as the ones in the previous Q&A, but it's still good. The Oscars aren't here yet although I think Sam Rockwell should be in the running, and here the pitching really starts.


Overall.pngHaving already given the film five stars out of five Moon on Blu-ray was already in a strong position for review, and it keeps that strength going with the offering on disc. The picture and audio are strong and compliment the film wonderfully without compromising it, something that I was concerned about with the effects.

Add on the extras and a double round of commentaries, both featuring the writer/director, and the disc is well worth getting hold of. Let's face it, it would be just for the film itself.

I do think it's slightly disappointing that we didn't hear anything from Kevin Spacey, and much more so that there isn't an appearance from Sam Rockwell on either of the audio commentaries, for me that's a big miss because he really does make the film work and his performance is superb.

However, despite missing the lead from the rest of the disc, the Blu-ray is a great offering, bolstered by the strong transfer of a superb film. Hugely recommended.



Buy from Amazon.com
Buy or rent from Lovefilm
Filmstalker at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2009
UK IMDB Film Details





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Comments

Spot on Richard. A real gem of a movie and it looks/sounds ace on Blu-Ray.

Originally I watched this on compressed Divx and it was one of the very rare movies that I wanted to own as soon as I saw it. Given I have a PS3 I made this my first blu-ray purchase. It has completely sold me on the format. Cracking audio and great visuals even with the grainy look of the film.

Oh, and I wasn't crying. That was the onions. Honest guv.

Did you see Duncan Jones at the BAFTAs? Bless him, he was rather emotional.

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