Moon Discussion Thread **SPOILERS**

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Lapis Exilis, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Okay, judging from the other Moon thread, enough people have seen this to actually discuss it. There will be spoilers in this thread - you have been warned...


    The way I figure it there are 5 Sams. Sam Bell returns home, as Sam-3 discovers when he reaches his (Sam's) daughter. She's fifteen, it's been twelve years at the station - 3 years for Sam, 2 clones (Sam-1, Sam-2) and Sam-3 has just finished his 3 years, rounding out the 12.

    Does Sam Bell know about the clones? This is one of the big questions that I think hovers over the film. When I first realized he got to return home, I felt relief, and then terrible despair as Sam-3 realizes he has no place at all, that he is truly just a disposable copy of a real person. He doesn't ever seem to quite grasp that the clones only have a three year life span, but the files Gerty reveals to him were a brilliant way to show this to the audience.

    The delineation Rockwell brings to Sam-3 and Sam-4 and the subtle writing that indicates how the three years on the station change(d) Sam was truly fantastic. Did all the Sams change in this way? The model keeps being added to, so perhaps they do. This brings up interesting existential questions. Is each of the Sams really a separate entity, or is it predetermined how their short lives will go? Do they follow the same path intrinsically, or is it because they are each placed in the exact same environment?

    Sam-5 destroys the jammer. Does Sam-5 then wake up to not live the illusion? Or does the repair crew thwart Sam-4's efforts? What happens to all the other clones in cold storage?

    I understand the next movie Jones is discussing is not actuallya sequel, but a story set in the same universe, though he says Rockwell has agreed to do a cameo in which we learn Sam-4's fate. The radio voice over questioning Sam-4's identity on a call-in show was brilliant.

    Whew - I've been dying to get those observations and questions out for ages!! One of the great strengths of this movie is the number of questions it provokes.
     
  2. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    One of my favorite things about this movie is the way these questions hover over it without being answered, as you've said. This movie could have been a Bradbury story.

    It's disturbing to think of Sam-1 knowing about the clones. Imagine if you knew that there was an endless supply of your clones living and dying every three years. Even with them so distant and out of sight, the awareness would be haunting. Even on his deathbed, Sam-1 wouldn't be able to help but think that on the other side of the moon, there's a copy of him waiting to see his baby girl. Ugh. :p

    Sam-3 was a pretty gentle character by the end of his life, but Sam-4 was a newborn, and flaws and all, Sam-4 had his bout of conscience at the end in regards to the fate of future clones. So that means that Sam's clones were more compassionate than he was.

    Great movie, and it provides a lot to think about.
     
  3. Daneel

    Daneel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's if the original Sam knew about the clones. If that is the case, then yeah, that's more than a little disturbing. I personally don't think the original Sam knew about the plan to replace him with clones of himself once his contract was up, but you never know.

    I agree, this is definitely a very thought-provoking film, and I found myself wondering what I would do in Sam's place (or rather, both Sams' places).

    BTW, was there an explanation as to the identity of the dark-haired woman that Sam-3 was hallucinating about? If there was, or if there were some strong clues about it, I must have missed them.
     
  4. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Wasn't it his daughter?
     
  5. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    I'd forgotten that part until Daneel mentioned it, then I jumped to that conclusion.

    It doesn't make much sense, however. Unless it's supposed to show some sort of unconscious, psychic link between the Sams and the original. But that seems a little odd in a movie that's otherwise more-or-less hard SF.
     
  6. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    How many Sams did we see get vaporized in the security footage? I'm thinking at least three. Given that GERTY says some of the clones don't develop properly and the huge stores under the base I'd say there might have been even more iterations.

    That really is one of the great subtleties in the movie. There's a period where you don't know what the newly awakened Sam is going to do to save himself. They make a point of saying the clones can be imperfect and violent and that the original Sam had a problem with anger.

    What's really interesting is that it ultimately takes both Sams working together to get out of the situation, the younger Sam who's more energetic and rebellious and the older Sam who's more patient and thoughtful. Neither of them quite has what it takes to get the job done alone.

    It was great (and a bit too realistic). I also liked how at some point one of the Sams crossed out "Luke's" name on the harvester monitoring console and wrote in "Judas". :lol:
     
  7. Hermiod

    Hermiod Admiral Admiral

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    What a relief. After sitting through Terminator Salvation and the god awful Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen I am so pleased that people haven't forgotten how to make a good science fiction film.
     
  8. Level 2 Diagnostic

    Level 2 Diagnostic Captain Captain

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    I liked the movie, but the premise doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you think about it. Is it really that much easier to create dozens of fully-grown clones and keep them in suspended animation for years, than it is just to hire someone else and send that person up to the moon? Especially considering that we see the Company send other people up to the moon towards the end of the film, so it can't be that difficult.
     
  9. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    It's basically free labor, right? The company tells the Sams that it's paying them, but they're obviously not.

    It just has to be cheaper than continuing to pay, train and transport an employee every three years. In a way, that makes it even worse. If the company is only saving, say, $100,000 every three years or so, they'd still implement it.
     
  10. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Anybody wanna drive me to Atlanta to watch the movie?
     
  11. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Moon was a pleasant surprise after a year so far of muddling disappointments in genre films (the exception being another sci-fi entry, at the other end of the sci-fi spectrum, with Star Trek).

    The film is just superbly well-made, from every corner of its production. The concept is solid and fresh, the script is smart and well thought-out, the production design sleekly retro yet evocative, and the score simply affective. I was so-so regarding Sam Rockwell as an actor before seeing this but afterwards... He gave a truly tour de force performance, definitely worthy of Oscar consideration. In fact, I hope the film makes it to Academy voters because I think almost every area is Oscar worthy, and with the Academy opening up the Best Picture category from five slots to ten, I think Moon has a real strong chance at the Best Picture nom.

    Storywise, I was impressed at how it really takes a turn halfway through, and yet all the twists and turns feel so natural and seamless. I was honestly expecting another "twist" at the end but thankfully director Duncan Jones and his writer let the story follow its natural course allowing closure for not only the audience but for our main character-- well, one of our main characters at least. Sam, whichever designation you want to give each one, began the story wanting to go home, and by the end of the film "he" achieved that goal, but it is only the beginning for "him". Will society accept him? How will the real Sam Bell react? So many questions left unanswered and dangling. You could certainly set the sequel entirely on Earth and show how "Sam" tries to integrate into his new surroundings.

    Which leads me to my one complaint of the film: the "Sam's" were so persist in returning home, yet neither of them for a second realized the consequences of this action. And if each new "Sam" has a three year lifespan as the film suggests, surely the "Sam" that journeys back to Earth will suffer a similar fate? I would have liked to have seen a bit of fear for the "Sam" going home about how radical and uncertain things will be once he reaches Earth. What does he expect to accomplish? Besides ratting out Lunar Industries, which needed to be done, but he could have done that from the moon... Or could he have?

    This just shows the film's brilliance, where weeks after seeing the film and a viewer is still asking countless, seemingly never-ending questions.
     
  12. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I sort of gathered that space travel isn't that difficult or expensive so here's the real crux, I think. The question that dogged me the first half of the film was how in the world did it make sense to have one person alone on the station? What if he had an accident? Got sick? Went whacko from the isolation? I thought the whole story was terribly far-fetched to postulate anyone would ever put a person in so isolated a situation - until the twist was revealed and then it all came clear.

    The clones make financial sense because you can run the operation with only one of them at a time, whereas if you brought real people up, you would have to have more than one person at a time, just for redunduancy and to avoid lawsuits, since a worker could easily sue for hostile conditions, unsafe conditions, etc, etc. The company saves tons because they can use one "person" rather than two or more. Sam Bell probably didn't work alone, but was simply the one chosen (or paid) for cloning.
     
  13. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Lapis, I was almost hoping you would respond to me.

    You never respond to me.
     
  14. Level 2 Diagnostic

    Level 2 Diagnostic Captain Captain

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    We have no way of knowing how much it would cost to clone a person, especially not in a hypothetical future of cheap, limitless energy. But articles I see online peg the cost in the millions of dollars. And supposedly the Company in this film cloned a person dozens of times over. I really don't see how that could possibly be cheaper than simply hiring one extra person.

    Plus, no company in real life would ever do this. Companies could make a lot of money abducting people from third world countries and using them for slave labor, but the risk of criminal prosecution, lawsuits, bad PR, etc. would definitely not justify whatever money is saved. The only way you can accept the actions of the corporation in Moon is if you accept that all corporations are inherently evil.

    I still enjoyed the film, but it has a few flaws, and the central premise is one of them.
     
  15. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    I don't know, in a future where clean energy can be harvested from the moon, cloning technology might be much cheaper. I don't think it's a huge stretch.

    As for your second point, that was addressed in the film. Sam said they get away with it when you're on the far side of the moon. Provided there's no one else tooling around there for any great length of time, who's going to notice? It would take someone in the loop within the company to blow the whistle. That kind of thing might happen in time, but based on Sam's daughter, it hasn't been too long.
     
  16. The Evil Dead

    The Evil Dead Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I didn't like the movie there wasn't enough space fighting!
     
  17. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't think you have to accept that all corporations are inherently evil, just that this one is willing to do something very morally questionable. Which is born out by the actions of many modern day corporations who are more than happy to use sweat shop labor in third world countries, which everyone is aware of. So long as the consumers don't care what poor conditions workers are in so that they can get cheap clothes and cheap products (and 99% of them don't care), bad PR is minimal and the companies aren't doing anything illegal in those countries so there's no threat of lawsuit. Who knows what the laws are governing what happens on the far side of the moon?

    Don't get me wrong, if you had trouble suspending your disbelief over these issues - you know, a story works for a person or it doesn't and I respect that. But, personally I'd be more likely to get tripped up on the idea that you could get a viable human clone with all the memories of a real person, "born" adult - all mammal clones currently made are cloned in embryo form and undergo a natural lifecycle from infant to adult. Like all SF, it took some liberties with science to tell a poignant human story.

    JA - don't take it personally. When I respond to people, it's generally to argue with them, and I have no arguments with your thoughts.
     
  18. Level 2 Diagnostic

    Level 2 Diagnostic Captain Captain

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    We're talking about creating a person specifically to provide cheap labor, implanting that person with false memories, cutting them off from the rest of humanity, and letting that person believe they have a nice, full life ahead of them with a family that doesn't exist. That's not morally questionable, that's morally abhorrent. I just can't equate that with sweat shop labor.


    I think you missed where I said "I still enjoyed the film, but it has a few flaws, and the central premise is one of them." And yes, the idea of being able to create adult clones with implanted memories is something of a stretch, too.
     
  19. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    I think it was more that whatever the consequences were (including possibly dying on the trip) it had to be better than staying.
     
  20. wamdue

    wamdue Admiral Admiral

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    right I just saw the movie, at first I wondered if Earth was even still populated, and if the whole thing was not just the same system gone over & over hundreds of time, the energy going no where (im going to need to look up on the moon rock generates energy)

    we seemed to have dubbed the Sam I was going to talk about Sam4 (so ill go with that) I did wonder if putting Sam3 in the crashed lunar transport was his plan all along, becasue there was no way Sam3 was going to survive the trip to Earth as was first suggested, but at least he knocked one of the towers down before he left, giving new sam and the company a chance to put things right.

    its questioned in the movie, and I have to wonder why the robot (who appeared to have a coffee cup on it completely at random) told Sam the truth, like said in the movie, im amazed it was not programmed better.

    I dont think the cloning & false memory's are any more a stretch than any other sci-fi movies about cloning, or even the Doctor Who episode "The Doctors Daughter"

    As for was it cheaper to make the clones, well lets assume for a moment this was a major long term investment (only way it could be really) is it cheaper in the long run to clone someone 1,000 times or to fly a new person up their everytime their 3 year shift comes to an end?

    I think the question of the companys action is, will anybody care? people of Earth get free & clean energy to live their lives, they are fed a story about 1 man doing a 3 year shift, its something they can swallow and no one is looking to punch a hole in the story.

    As for the newSam what his life, I assume he wakes up, the robot guides his memory's to the conclusion the company wants, and lives the lie, only with live communication, to earth, until the robot can find a way to change thats, its possible it was all for nothing.