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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Moon [Blu-ray]


(Duncan Jones, 2009)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Liberty Films UK

Video: Sony Pictures



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:37:09.824

Disc Size: 39,978,767,753 bytes

Feature Size: 27,097,030,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.66 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: January 12th, 2010



Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2883 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2883 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 2880 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2880 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Portuguese 2883 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2883 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround



English, English (SDH), French, Portuguese, Spanish, none



• Commentary with Writer/Director Duncan Jones, Director of Photography Gary Shaw, Concept Designer Gavin Rothery and Production Designer Tony Noble
"Whistle" a Short Film by Duncan Jones (28:46 in SD)
Commentary with Writer/Director Duncan Jones and Producer Stuart Fenegan
The Making of Moon (16:18 in SD)
Creating the Visual Effects (11:08 in SD)
Science Center Q&A with Director Duncan Jones (20:48 in HD!)
Filmmaker's Q&A at the Sundance Film Festival (11:15 in HD!)





Description: Duncan Jones writes and directs this critically-acclaimed space isolation drama starring Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, a worker for Lunar Industries who is nearing the end of a three-year contract to mine the moon's surface for the precious gas Helium 3, the solution to Earth's energy crisis. As he approaches his return to Earth, Sam reflects on the lessons he has learned during his prolonged isolation and looks forward to his reunion with his wife and young daughter. But a fortnight before his departure he starts seeing and hearing strange things that lead him to suspect that his employers intend to replace him in a far more sinister way than he imagined. Kevin Spacey provides the voice for Sam's only companion, a small robot called Gerty.



The Film:

Is "Moon" evoking "2001," or does its mining outpost on the far side of the moon simply happen to date back to the "2001" era (which was of course eight years ago)? I lean toward the second theory. After the mission carrying Dave Bowman disappeared beyond Jupiter, mankind decided to focus on the moon, where we were already, you will recall, conducting operations. In "Moon," the interior design of the new lunar station was influenced by the "2001" ship, and the station itself is supervised by Gerty, sort of a scaled-down HAL 9000 that scoots around.


At some point in the future (we can't nail down the story's time frame), this station on the far side is manned by a single crew member, Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell). He's working out the final days of a three-year contract and is close to cracking from loneliness. Talking to loved ones via video link doesn't satisfy. The station is largely automated; it processes lunar rock to extract Helium-3, used to provide Earth with pollution-free power from nuclear fusion. My guess is, the station is on the far side because you don't want to go gazing at the Man in the Moon some night and see a big zit on his nose.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE



Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Moon appears to have an adept dual-layered transfer to Blu-ray. The film doesn't show much aside from a few strong space and lunar shots. We are almost exclusively grounded at the lone space station and while the effects do an excellent job of instilling the claustrophobic atmosphere - the 1080P resolution doesn't shows any exemplary visuals though everything seems to be replicating the original source very well but we aren't offered any abundance of grain. Colors are rarely brilliant and there is an intentional grey haze over the proceedings. Detail rises to some appropriate occasions with a few telling close-ups and vast moonscape vistas. Lighting is a bit dampened with intentional high contrast flares. This Blu-ray has a nice realistic feel but probably won't 'Wow' you often with its relatively flat look although it seemed easy to determine that it is hi-def and a healthy step beyond what SD-DVD could produce.


















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2883 kbps handles the film's soundtrack with relative ease. The film is more audibly sterile and contemplative than verbose with no aggressive action jumps and explosions. This lossless audio is assured and probably replicating the film as exactly as the video rendition. Clint Mansell's score is passive and supports the films moods very well. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.



Extras :

We get two optional commentary tracks - a, more scattered, group effort with Writer/Director Duncan Jones, Director of Photography Gary Shaw, Concept Designer Gavin Rothery and Production Designer Tony Noble which expands on production details in each of the participant's selective areas. The second commentary with Writer/Director Jones and Producer Stuart Fenegan has a more specific focus and imparts healthy knowledge on all fronts regarding the film's story development and various homage's to old sci-fi works. We get "Whistle" a 30-minute short film by Duncan Jones in SD which harkens to the main feature. It is quite good. There are also some production related featurettes entitled "The Making of Moon" for a little over 15-minutes with Rockwell and Jones giving input and another on "Creating the Visual Effects" for just over 10-minutes. More interesting, in my opinion, were they two Q&A sessions - both in HD. At the Science Center is quite friendly with Director Duncan Jones and at the Sundance Film Festival for a lot of glad handing.



While I wouldn't extol Moon to the same extent of some critics - it is a decent, thought-provoking, science fiction tale. Its simplicity works in its favor and the minimal effects pull-off the aura - a highly important characteristic to enjoying the protagonist 'predicament'. We've tried to leave out spoilers and for first time viewing this is most definitely worth a spin for old hands of the genre. The Blu-ray does its job well without resorting to expanding on the film's meager visuals with unnecessary filtering. Extras support the presentation and overall this is a highly positive viewing experience. Certainly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

January 6th, 2010





About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze








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