A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Moon Zero Two

June 17, 2010

Moon Zero Two

Amanda and I own a lot of MST3K. I’ve probably mentioned that. We go to sleep every night with one episode or another playing in our DVD player. This movie is given the MST3K treatment way back in season two, but it’s one of our favorite episodes, and we’ve long maintained that the movie itself is actually really good, so when we had a chance to snap it up (in a two-movie set with When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth) we couldn’t resist. This movie is a hard sci-fi bit of speculative fiction made way back in 1969 just after Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon. The “futuristic” moon fashions they wear in the movie are hilarious, and for the sake of simple film making they have gravity generators, but most of the science in the film is fairly accurate. Several EVA scenes take place (using wire work and upside down cameras to depict movement in free fall) and all of them take place in relative silence except for radio communication between the characters.

The year is 2021 and William Kemp (who, it transpires later, was the first man on Mars) is flying a broken down old space ferry from his base in Moon City because he doesn’t want to be a regular Corporation man. He dreams of exploring unexplored worlds, not doing safe passenger flights, but there’s no profit in it, so he’s stuck on the moon. When the pilot of another ferry of the same model of his experiences technical difficulties and crashes the Corporation wants to ground him lest he crash as well and give space travel a bad name (thus cutting into their passenger business.) So when he gets a contract to illegally land a solid sapphire asteroid on the far side of the moon for an eccentric millionaire he doesn’t really have a choice – he has to take the job. He needs the money to get a new ferry.

I should note that Bill’s ferry is very derivative in design of the Apollo lunar landers. Except that it has multiple floors and cargo space. There are also domed complexes on the moon where people live, and hilarious rotund moon buggies for driving around on the surface. And rubbery space suits galore. But for a movie featured on MST3K this film has a pretty significant budget, what with all the sets and props. And I’m glad I bought the un-Misted version too, because there’s actually a pretty cool scene near the end that was cut for time on MST where the chief villian explains that his plot doesn’t simply involve profit, but involves outfitting a new set of exploratory missions to lay claim to all those planets that the Corporation doesn’t fly to. He tries to tempt Bill with the promise of being able to explore again as he ought, and become governor of one of the new colonies.

The DVD packaging declares that this is “the first space western” and I don’t know if it is the first, but it certainly does have western roots. There’s a tavern bar brawl, a plot involving claim jumping, and the buggies, rather than coming from Wells Fargo, come from Moon Fargo. It makes me want to watch Outland. Which we don’t own, more’s the pity.

My favorite part f the whole movie, however, is its great jazz soundtrack. It’s all catchy tunes and blares of horns, and it really gets caught in my head. Particularly when I’m drifting off to sleep accompanied by trumpets and the melodious voices of Josh, Joel and Trace.

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June 17, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Outland! With the single greatest line in all cop fiction: “Think it over.”

    Comment by David | June 18, 2010 | Reply

    • It’s on the list. Maybe do it back to back with Total Recall and do movies featuring explosive decompression.

      Comment by tanatoes | June 18, 2010 | Reply


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