“Moon” – Flicks To Hold You Over
In the motion picture “Moon,” Dean Stockwell stars as “Sam Bell,” the lone worker on an outpost on the other side of the lunar surface. Sam might be going crazy because he is out of contact with the rest world due to a malfunction of the communications satellite, there is has no “real-time” connection with his wife or child who remained on earth. Besides his work the only thing he has to live for is the model of his home town he’s building in the rec-room and counting down the days when his three-year contract is over and he can go home. His sense of reality continues to fall apart after a series of inconstancies, mistakes, accidents and mysterious visions. During his investigations around the moon base and overhearing a live-chat between GERTY (the stations built-in robot voiced by Kevin Spacey) and two executives of the company he’s working for, he finds out that the situation isn’t what he was lead to believe. He’s not even sure of who he is, who are the people he’s working for, or if his memories of where he’s from are real.
During his ordeal, Sam asks some fundamental questions that we’ve all faced. What’s the point of living? What is the actual reward we’re striving for? Why do we love the people in our lives? Are these feelings real, or are they what we’re told or programmed by society and the media what we’re supposed to feel? What’s the point of what we do; besides simply stay alive and perpetuate the species and consume products? How can any one of us be sure we are who we think we are and not some figment of some higher power or Supreme Being's imagination? How can anyone know for sure that “reality” is real?
By the end of “Moon” we know who Sam Bell really is as we’re left with some lingering questions of what does it mean to be alive and should that definition be changed or altered to suit technology in the future. What are the ethical obligations for bringing new life into “the world” and at what point do people become property? Or at what point does a biological organism that we created or reproduced stop being a “product” and becomes something with human rights? These are heavy questions that might have seemed answered after the Emancipation Act after the end of the Civil War, but with the emergence of new technologies every year I’m not sure that the definition of what it means to be a “person” and not property has been clearly defined.
Science Fiction is at its best when it takes normal people like you and I and puts them in extraordinary circumstances and teaches something about ourselves. Otherwise, without that aspect SF films are simply adventures that might bring in the huge box-office bang, but aren’t memorable for very long. Combine the “teaching us about ourselves” aspect with a great outer space adventure, you have the makings for a movie empire… but isn’t that another rant?
If “Moon” isn’t a good morality play, it is at the very least a very intriguing mystery; One of which I hope I haven’t spoiled. This flick is exactly the kind of SF that many of us hope to see when we go to the theaters or chose from the ever-growing list that's available for on-line streaming. I encourage everyone to watch it at least once as a sign of support and hope that studios will take notice. To the movie studios I ask - Give us space adventures, but also allow them the opportunity to make us think. Give us more "Moon."