This time, we’re digging into Moon from 2009 and along the way we ask, what is on the Moon that humanity needs so badly, how is cloning simplified in this film and was this the beginning of Sam Rockwell’s prominence in Hollywood? Let’s dig in….
Moon Film Cast and Crew
Directed by Duncan Jones: The son of the late musician David Bowie, Moon was Jones’ first foray into major film-making. The success of this low-budget, critically acclaimed Indie film, earned him the opportunity to direct Source Code in 2011 as well as Warcraft and Mute. He may have stumbled a bit with his last two outings but it’s not cause to place him in “director jail” just yet. While his next project remains unconfirmed, we can’t wait to see what he does with his career.
Starring Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell: Rockwell wasn’t always known as the major Hollywood we consider him to be now, he was more known as a comedic actor or manic villain (see our previous discussion on Galaxy Quest) having previously appeared in films like Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, The Green Mile and Matchstick Men, but 2008/2009 is when he started to change those perceptions after appearing in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Frost/Nixon and Iron Man 2. He has gone to win an Academy Award (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) and seems to be nominated for an award every year as he’s appeared in Vice and Jojo Rabbit since 2017.
Kevin Spacey as the voice of GERTY: While Spacey does not physically appear in the film, there are few actors who are able to deliver the even keeled yet chilling performance of Sam’s robot caretaker. Before the sexual assault allegations came to light against him, Spacey was one of the most in-demand actors in the film industry. His credits are too numerous to list here as are his accolades, but his credit on this film adds a certain gravitas and credibility to the production that another actor might not have been able to pull off.
Dominique McElligot as Tess Bell
Kaya Scodelario as Eve Bell (15 years old)
Benedict Wong as Thompson
Matthew Berry as Overmeyers
Moon Visual Effects & Production Design
While Moon itself has received critical acclaim, particular attention was paid to the look of the film including the Moon base where the film is primarily set and the special effects used to enhance the desolate Lunar setting. The Moon base itself was a full 360 degree set measuring almost 90 feet long and 70 feet wide and as our podcast hosts Chris and Sean point out, it looks lived in. Sam’s living space is peppered with photos of his family as well as a Tennessee Titans poster, but the base is not as pristine as seen with other planetary bases in other films.
There are parts of the habitat that are dirty with layers of Lunar soil all over the floor, GERTY is covered with dents as well as the occasional coffee ring and Sam is even left to piece together a table using bins filled up with Lunar soil. His requests for repairs go unanswered as the list seems to be endless for Sam.
For a film of this budget ($5 million), the visual effects are modest, but impressive. Obviously, the filmmakers wouldn’t have been able to afford computer graphics on the same level as a Marvel film. The company responsible for the computer graphics on the film, CineSite, has provided visual effects for blockbusters like Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, The Witcher and Independence Day: Resurgence, but often deals with productions of modest budgets.
There are some obvious moments where the effects are clear such as seeing GERTY’s extra arm maneuvering around to assist Sam at times. The Lunar rovers seen in the film are actually miniatures and as our hosts also point out, it is appreciated when a film production will go the extra mile to add a sense of realism to the experience.
What is on the Moon?
As seen in Moon, Sam is nearing the end of his three year contract for Lunar Industries Limite...