Mr. Movie

A perfect launch for 'Moon'

In the future Earth’s energy crisis is solved by the discovery of an unidentified metal found on the dark side of the moon. It is so pure that only one mining station is needed to get the ore to Earth and just one person and a computer run the place.

The man is Sam Bell. He’s signed up for a three-year stint that is a couple of weeks from ending.

His companion is GERTY, an omnipresent computer programmed to anticipate and meet his every need. Sam has cabin fever big time and is struggling with his sanity.

An early twist in Moon means I can’t tell you much about the story. Though it’s a dark drama, most of the fun for you and for the actors is found in the plot pivot.

Duncan Jones — son of rock singer David Bowie — directs and developed the story. He and first-time screenwriter Nathan Parker pack Moon with excellent — but not really real-looking — special effects. Jones doesn’t spend a lot of money on the sets or push them in your face. They are simple toy trucks on a gray moonscape with a picture of the Earth sometimes posted in the background.

Here, less is more, and they work brilliantly.

Jones also gives Sam Rockwell’s Bell and Kevin Spacey -- voicing the computer -- a creative, complicated, and best of all, intelligent plot to play with.

Other than The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, most of his work has been limited release in art houses, and Rockwell has seen very little exposure to mainstream audiences.

Few can do a character with quirks better than Rockwell. If you didn’t see it, a great example is to check out last summer’s Choke, a dark little ditty about mental illness and sex addiction.

Moon gives Rockwell another opportunity to stretch, and he bounces off Spacey’s dry menace perfectly.

Their fun is yours.

Fans of sci-fi should not miss Moon. See it early because it won’t be here long. Non-fans of the genre ought to give this one a shot, too.

Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars

Rated R for mature themes but could even pass for PG-13. It opens Friday, July 10 at the Carmike 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.