Everyone has genres they're not wild about, and for me, it's sci-fi. Actually, that's not fair. There are some science-fiction movies that I really like. They're just few and far between. I've discovered that the key to enjoyable sci-fi is depth and intelligence. That may sound like an obvious thing to say, but there are so many disappointing movies that call themselves sci-fi just because stuff that blows up happens to be in space, or because the writer injects the script with a bunch of technical gobbledygook.

That's why when a halfway-decent science-fiction movie comes along, I'm always pleasantly surprised, and happily, the 2009 movie Moon gave me one of those pleasant surprises. If you like Sam Rockwell, this one's for you, because he takes up about 99% of the running time. I didn't have much experience with him other than when he's acting goofy, like in Galaxy Quest or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This was my first time watching him in a drama, and he handled it with aplomb.

Moon is about Sam Bell (Rockwell, natch), a one-man mining operation collecting a resource on the lunar surface that has solved a lot of Earth's energy problems. His only companion is a computer/robot named GERTY, voiced by Kevin Spacey. Bell is nearing the end of his three-year contract, and is beginning to go stir crazy with loneliness and anticipation of going home. After an accident on the moon's surface, he awakens after medical ministrations by GERTY, but things are more off-kilter than ever.

He decides to revisit the accident site and makes a surprising discovery, which I won't spoil here. I will say that this twist would be the end of most movies, but in Moon, the story continues, dealing with the fallout of what Bell has stumbled upon. Everything he thought he knew about his mission has to be re-evaluated, and a whole new set of challenges must be faced.

Apologies for how vague that sounds, but I'm being obfuscatory on purpose, because I think this is a movie worth your time. It's not perfect by any means; Bell has some not-quite-realistic reactions to his discovery, and the film can't quite stick the landing. But overall, it was a fun movie to watch, and I hope I get to see more like it. Because if more science-fiction like Moon were being produced, this genre could redeem itself in my eyes in no time.

Moon: B


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