The 2009 movie Moon was ahead of its time thanks to its approach. It wasn’t only focused on being a sci-fi movie, though it does a great job capturing an entirely new narrative and world. No, it was also focused on a deep psychological study of a man named Sam (Sam Rockwell) in isolation, greatly anticipating the day he gets to go back to Earth to see his family. As the story pushes forward, we soon learn he’s trapped in a horrific situation where his very identity is put into question.
Moon won various awards, including the BAFTA for best director, and considering the budget was only $5 million one could surmise it was a great success in more ways than one. It’s a big reason why I just had to read and review Making Moon: A British Sci-Fi Cult Classic which is out this week in celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the film.
This book is broken up into 11 sections opening with a foreword by Duncan Jones who has a bit of a Q&A with Gerty. It’s a cute way to ease us into the book and is a nice creative touch. Even the production itself was creative, from financing to miniature work, so it feels fitting. The book covers everything from those miniatures to the score (complete with some notes to play yourself), a focus on Sam Rockwell, visual effects, shooting, the set, and of course the idea of the film. This is a making-of book that will have you reading and paying close attention to the narrative more than the images of the production.
That isn’t to say the images in the book aren’t great, though, because they are. From the cover, with its subtle grooves giving the book an expensive feel, to the various photography, CGI, and copies of scripts riddled with Jones’ notes, there’s a lot to take in. There are sketches too and some shots from scenes not used in the film. I can’t imagine a single thing was missed.
The financial struggle it took to get the film made is probably the most interesting aspect of the book. Simon Ward asks the right questions and probes the process so damn well — there’s plenty of tidbits and interesting reveals to take in. The film is an incredibly creative and interesting tale, but getting the production off the ground was as creative. From the way the production had backers who could write off the film’s losses if it failed as a tax write-off to the touch-and-go nature of locking Rockwell in, there’s so much drama to read over.
I’ve read and reviewed quite a few movie books such as this and this one might have been the best researched. Every aspect of the production is captured and cataloged with such detail I imagine this could serve as a helpful guide to future filmmakers. After reading this I’m even more excited to see what Duncan Jones does with a graphic novel follow up to his Moon trilogy. Pick this up and know you’re in for a wild ride almost as wild as the production going from the first take to Sundance in just a year.