Tuesday 28 July 2009

A film that ought to have been so much better.

Just seen the new film 'Moon' directed by Duncan Jones (David Bowie's son) with Sam Rockwell and the voice of Kevin Spacey, which I was looking forward to so much in the light of many positive reviews. But my enjoyment, such as it was, was much diminished by the ever-present irritation of a science fiction film yet again depicting sound in an atmosphere-less environment, in this case the lunar surface, as well as a couple of sequences in space. Why do they always do this? I could never enjoy any of the 'Star Wars' series for this very reason, depite the obvious cartoonish intentions of the film-makers. In fact there have only been a couple of films that got anywhere near the reality - '2001 - A Space Odyssey', of course (my all-time favourite film) - but then Kubrick was working with the brilliant, relatively recently deceased, scientist and author Arthur C. Clarke - and also, I think, John Carpenter's 'Dark Star' a few years later - though I may be wrong about the latter, not having seen it again since that first time in the mid-70s. But now over 40 years on from '2001' and we are still treated to a comic-book style of film-making when there's simply no justification for it. Another thing that bugged me about 'Moon' was this body having the same gravitational force as on earth (apart, oddly enough, for a brief passage towards the end) as well as lunar shadows having diffuse edges, like terrestial ones. The first of these might be forgiven as it would be virtually impossible and very expensive indeed to produce an entire film depicting a gravity force of less than 1g. About all these features maybe it's just me being pernickety - but Astronomy has always been a great interest of mine. In my childhood it was an obsessive passion. I'm sure that if I knew more about, say, chemistry, geology or medicine I'd be tearing my hair out over inaccuracies there too. But with space films the errors such as the ones I've mentioned pervade the entire film rather than for just a few seconds or a passing comment. An especial pity because in other respects I found 'Moon' a significantly superior film. And while we're on the subject of film-makers treating their audience as just too stupid to know - why do all films have sound travelling at the speed of light? Even if we see an explosion taking place miles away the resulting sound of it is always heard simultaneously. I would have thought there'd be real dramatic possibilities in showing the reality of an aural delay, but no, they just have to take the easy way out - as though we were just too 'simple' to understand how things really are! Grrrrrrrr!!!!!
Having got that of my chest I'll just also report that (a) there's been no sound from the dog next door for some days now, so I imagine they were just minding it while the owner was away - and (b) still no neighbour has moved in under me. I like it like that but still a bit apprehensive about the new arrival/s when it happens.


  1. I'm with you, Ray. I don't like films that abandon the laws of physics for dramatic effect. I find myself studying what is happening on the screen and analyzing it, rather than just enjoying the film. That's the curse of being technically apt.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Larry. Makes me feel better to know there are also others around who aren't quite as daft as film-makers like to think we all are. Cheers.