Dueling Film Reviews: WHayes on "Moon"

Posted 11/06/2009 by WHayes in Labels: , , , , , , ,

Hello friends,

This week, JDub and I are duking it out over Duncan Jones' Moon, starring Sam Rockwell as a lonely astronaut trying to keep sane (and alive) on the final days of his three year term mining Helium 3 residue from moon rocks. If there was any consensus amongst the sci-fi bloggers this summer, it was that Jones' directorial debut could potentially be both a brilliant stand-alone film, as well as an amazing homage to major sci-fi benchmarks which preceded it.

While "Moon" wasn't the self-referential game of Where's Waldo? that, say, Wes Craven's "Scream" was, it kowtows pretty hard to the genre that fostered it. Jones' big three influences, of course, are "High Noon" (1952), "Outland" (1981), and "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968). I'll pair "Outland" with "High Noon," since its story of a mining colony marshall out to round a posse before the big killers arrive is effectively just High Noon in Space. "2001" hangs heavy in the robot Gertie, the AI-gifted superintendent a la HAL 9000.

"Moon" largely succeeds at all its goals. Rockwell's performance is solid, and Jones does wonders with his sub-indie budget and attention to pacing. The real question for me, then, is why does Moon get so much love if it pulls so heavily from the genre parts bin? In the decade of really, truly shitty parodies (Meet the Spartans), remakes (Fame), and "re-imaginings" (Transformers 1 and 2...shit), should this pastiche get a pass?

Artists rip each other off all the time. Most people know about Monet vs. Manet, and literary critic Harold Bloom explicitly advocates in his essay "The Anxiety of Influence" that if you see something that inspires you, then give nary a second thought to unoriginality:

"weaker talents idealize; figures capable of imagination appropriate for themselves."

Translation: take that shit.

I'm not denying "Moon" its status as a great film. I love the damn thing, and I'm going out for the DVD as soon as its available, but what if -- playing devil's advocate -- this is what we've been afraid of this whole time? If the indies could find a way to do a pastiche so well, what happens when Hollywood finally does? Then they'll truly give up any desire to create new and original product. Shit, even "Avatar" -- James Cameron's magnum opus, "the likes of which we've never seen before" -- reeks of "Fern Gully." Maybe we have a moral obligation to ignore "Moon" from this point forward, if only to guarantee our children have a future before the silver screen that isn't dripping with 3D CGIgasms that clearly just photocopy Pixar movies (hey, Dreamworks), minus the wit, humor, heart, and quality?

What's a man to do?

0 comment(s) to... “Dueling Film Reviews: WHayes on "Moon"”


Free Blog Counter