'Moon' shines brightly in the picture quality department too with its fine 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed as it is in the widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio.
Skin tones are of the realistic variety, reflecting the ambient lighting of the moonbase. The image is sharp considering the general use of soft lighting within the pre-lit studio set. Contrast is good throughout although it's not lit like a Hollywood movie. It captures the look and feel of the environment nicely. Everything has a well used and lived in appearance. The lunar landscape looks great with outer space not being depicted as the deep black that we've become accustomed to on other Sci-fi movies as there's always a lens flare caused by light from the Sun just out of the field of vision.
I wasn't aware of any visible grain in the picture and there were no defects like ringing due to over sharpening. There was no evidence of DNR on view either. Overall, a very good transfer.
The audio on 'Moon' comes in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. Speech is locked firmly to the centre channel and is clear throughout. The surrounds are used mainly for ambient hums or 'atmos' within the moonbase which helps place us within the environment sonically. Clint Mansell's score plays gently in the background, delivering a sense of anticipation combined with foreboding while at other times it provides a heartbeat for the movie.
The mix dovetails with the pace of the on screen action to make us relax into the surroundings while allowing us the tranquillity to think about why things may be happening. A very good mix that does not attempt to be the star of the show.
- Audio Commentaries
With 'Moon' we get two interesting audio commentaries.
The first features Director Duncan Jones, Director of Photography Gary Shaw, Conceptual Designer Gavin Rothery and Production Designer Tony Noble. It's clear that Duncan Jones' enthusiasm for the project is infectious as there is incredible team spirit here, and they all appear to have tremendous respect for each other's abilities. They discuss many facets of the production and each has useful input to provide covering their own area. With some good anecdotes we get a great insight into the making of the movie. Great for all film buffs and Sci-Fi fans.
The second commentary features Duncan Jones and Producer Stuart Fenegan who have obviously been working together for some time as each seems to know what the other is going to say. Their working partnership helps provide us with an overview of the production at a different level to the previous comm. Track - and between the two we're given a fairly comprehensive summary of the production.
- 'Whistle' - A short film by Duncan Jones (SD, 29 mins)
Exactly what it says on the tin, this gives us the chance to see another piece of work by the Director. The story revolves around the use of 'eye in the sky' technology to assassinate targets around the world. The clinical coldness of the operation is threatened when the assassin has a twinge of conscience and wants to talk to the widow of a target, thereby endangering security and so becomes a target himself.
Another thoughtful story from Duncan Jones - again with a strong human emotional element.
- The Making of Moon (SD, 16 mins)
This short opens in March 2008 on the soundstage at Shepperton Studios where an unshaven Duncan Jones and Sam Rockwell tell the story of 'Moon' before moving on to cover the background detail such as the inspiration for the script, the casting of Sam Rockwell in the main role and the use of model miniatures to create a look that would satisfy a modern audience. We hear the lengths they had to go to in order to persuade Kevin Spacey to be the voice of Gerty. Together with on set footage and interviews with cast and crew, we are given an enticing behind the scenes view of the production.
- Creating the Visual Effects (SD, 11mins)
Simon Stanley-Clamp, Visual Effects Supervisor at Cinesite who spent a year doing the compositing and CGI used on 'Moon' takes us through the various complex steps involved. The use of a motion control rig, a breakdown of composited shots, augmenting model work and an unusual fight scene are all explained in a clear and lucid manner.
- Science Center Q&A with Director Duncan Jones (SD, 20 mins)
Before and after a special screening of 'Moon' at the Science Center, Houston Duncan Jones fields questions raised by the audience and moderator Ben Longmier.
Surprisingly unoriginal and non-technical questions are asked here, but Mr Jones displays a good natured humour throughout.
- Film Makers Q&A at the Sundance Festival (SD, 11 mins)
'Moon' was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and here we have Duncan on stage answering a barrage of questions that are largely covered in the 'Making of' short. For a bit of company he drags Sam Rockwell and Producer Trudie Styler up to join him.
- Theatrical trailer (SD, 2 mins)
For a movie that relies on the element of surprise, I felt the trailer gave too much of the game away - but here it is anyway.
'Moon' is the best movie of 2009 without a doubt - and it's the feature film debut of Director Duncan Jones, a talented lad who I'm sure we'll be hearing more of in future.
With a very good Region free 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed at 2.40:1, this movie not only features an engrossing thoughtful story it also looks good with fine colour, contrast and no digital artefacting to offend the eye.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio features crisp, clear dialogue with use of the surrounds reserved for ambient hums, while Clint Mansell's score provides the heartbeat for the piece.
Sam Rockwell turns in a first class performance as the lonely moonbase technician looking forward to the end of his 3 year contract. Will the remaining few weeks pass uneventfully?
A couple of useful comm tracks, a short film, a featurette and some Q&A sessions provide us with fascinating background to the production. Stop what you're doing! Go out and buy a copy of 'Moon' now.
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