Unable to attend the fantastic double bill of MOON and 2001: a space odyssey at the Prince Charles Cinema in London last night (4th August 2010). Had a table tennis tournament with GERTY. Luckily we had our old friend CaptainDisco in attendance to tell us a bit about the evening…
Moon vs 2001: The ultimate face-off.
Well not quite. The ultimate face-off would be Mother Theresa vs Hitler, Kim Jong Il and Maggie Thatcher in some ninja star infused battle to the death for the future of mankind. But this will do for me!
Prince Charles Cinema, in Leicester Square, is one of the UK’s few (and definitely one of the UK’s finest) independent cinemas which uses, when ever possible, original film prints over digital projections. It’s been a supporter of independent films since its inception and runs a number of events linked to indie and classic cinema. In addition to these, the PCC runs a number of seasons; Films to See Before You Die, an astoundingly fantastic Vintage Season and my personal favourite, the Sci-Fi Season. On the 4th of August, proving just how good they are, they screened Moon and 2001: A Space Odyssey back to back as part of this season. Obviously their intention was to show how the two compliment each other and, I would also hazard to guess, to use Moon as an example of how influential 2001 is. For me, because I still have the mental capacity of a 12 year old gamer from Rotherham, this was a battle. Which film will win my heart?
Well the answer is easy. 2001 is a true masterpiece of cinema. The minimalist cinematography, the faithfulness to the spirit of the book and the way Kubrick weaves a tapestry of sound and music over his imagery make this a work of art that I think will justifiably be praised for decades to come as a work of genius. I don’t think there is anything really to say about 2001 that hasn’t already been said, so many people agree that it is a fantastic work of art.
Yet it pales into insignificance when compared to Moon.
Yes, I know many will disagree and will think I’m pandering to an easy audience, but quite honestly Moon affects me to a personal level far more than 2001 ever has. If anything, 2001 has always left me cold. I can appreciate and enjoy its art but I cannot love its beauty like I do Moon. For me the perfect analogy is to think of 2001 as the quirky hot girl at school with a bit of depth to her that everyone wanted and Moon as the woman that you fall in love with, know intimately and want to spend the rest of your life with.
For me there are certain traits that make Moon “my film”. I spotted and registered these moments when I first watched it at the Enfield Cineworld and they still resonate just as strongly with every subsequent viewing. The opening titles are interesting and far apart from your standard dull titles (I always enjoy that for some reason). As well as being a humorous nod to the plot, the use of Chesney Hawkes’ “The One and Only” always cheers me as in 1991, Chesney Hawkes was to me what Bowie was to our favourite Unkle, Rupert (disclaimer: I was 10). The Tennessee Titans poster makes me smile as I am a self-confessed Titans fan thanks to an ill-fated relationship. Aside from these touches, there are two scenes which leave me so raw, vulnerable and open that I’m close to blubbing like a Baby Boomer watching Toy Story 3. These scenes cemented in me a deep love for and affiliation with Moon that will no doubt stay until my deathbed. More importantly, looked at together, they perfectly show why Moon beats 2001 for me.
First up: the moment where Sam is told the truth by GERTY. The pain and grief in Sam Rockwell’s performance is heart breaking and I can honestly say that there is no performance in 2001 that comes close to evoking even slightly a similar feeling. 2001 is an example of a director in his prime but a cast trying and, in my opinion, failing. To be honest, Sam Rockwell was the reason I first wanted to see Moon; I am a huge fan of all his performances. But in Moon, Rockwell isn’t an actor and he isn’t performing. He’s much more than that and this scene demonstrates that and also highlights 2001’s greatest flaw.
The second scene that gets me is the call home. I won’t wax lyrical again Mr Rockwell, he’s clearly perfect here again, but it’s the direction and the writing that gets me. The words “I want to go home” are made far more emotive when Duncan Jones pans out to show him on the Moon looking down on a desperately distant Earth, ultimately alone. This shot creates a paradoxical emotion in me: huge yearning for him to make that distance home to be happy but also great remorse that he doesn’t want to accept that he is already “home”. One could say it even questions the concept of where home is, where you’re made or where you want it to be. Coupled with that line, this shot can be picked apart so many ways and surely justifies Duncan Jones being on the same bill as Kubrick.
I tweeted afterwards my opinion that Moon outstrips 2001 completely and expected a backlash but got support, so maybe I won’t get lambasted for anything more than my pretentious analysis of both films Regardless to whether you agree or disagree, I hope I’ve managed to show you just why I think Moon is far superior to 2001, why I love Moon and why, only slightly mind, I also love both Duncan Jones & Sam Rockwell.
No pressure for the next film, Duncan! 😉
Thanks CaptainDisco (if that IS your real name).