Moon

[Screenshot]Oh, my. Moon is an extraordinary, moody, and breathtakingly beautiful work of sci-fi, and quite possibly the best offering of the genre in several decades. It wears on its sleeves a tonal, structural, and aesthetic similarity to 2001 and Solaris, but I’d say (heretically, I’m sure) that it’s better than them, because it actually makes sense. For the few people who read this and haven’t seen it, I’m reluctant to spoil the plot, but it suffices to say that there are very few characters and that every single one of the actors (including, yes, the disembodied voice of Kevin Spacey) does an excellent job. There is a strong sense of near-future reality and moody universality to this story: we may not all be miners on the moon, but we all feel isolated or sympathetic or expendable or neglected sometimes.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia.

9

[Screenshot]The DVD this was on also had Shane Acker’s short film. Having watched both, I’m not entirely convinced that extending it to feature-length was actually doing justice to the source material. Granted, it’s technologically better, since Acker was a student on a deadline and Tim Burton commands some of the best stop-motion animation skill in the world. However, tonally it feels inferior. The silent ragdolls are effectively alien and, in their alienness, actually quite affecting. And for the first 15 or so minutes, the feature-length film looks like it’ll be similar. But the fleshing out of the individual characters feels in some ways like it cheapens the story. 7 in particular suffers from overcharacterization, as she’s relegated to a position that has shades of love-interest, which is drearily formulaic. That’s the most blatant squeezing of this quirky post-apocalyptic world into the cliches of a standard adventure plot, but all in all, the actual story, tone, and characterization are not up to sustaining the fantastic atmosphere created by the setting and animation, which makes for something of a weakness.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia.