Be Aware! In order for me to properly write about this movie, I need to write about the plot; which will contain some major spoilers!
Directed By: Duncan Jones
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
If you’ve ever thought about what it would be like to have “Cabin Fever” or being alone for years, then I’d suggest watching this movie. Sam Rockwell does an amazing job portraying the effect. I would say that this movie and Cast Away (2000) were pretty effective at portraying how humans are affected when left alone. The effect of being by yourself is exemplified more in this film when we see the before and after effect of each clone side-by-side. We’ve all thought about what it would be like if we were to be alone for years at a time. Tom Hanks in Cast Away (2000) started talking to a Volleyball and Sam Rockwell learns how to play Ping Pong well. However Rockwell plays a character far from a Fed Ex Employee stranded on an island. His character works voluntarily by himself on the Moon. He is an employee of a multi-national corporation called Lunar Industries that gives Earth all the power that it needs. This power is called Helium-3 fusion (I know, it sounds like a product that Gillette makes), and surprisingly this type of power has been purposed. If you know anything about chemistry or physics, you can look up the Wikipedia article on Helium-3 and read all about what has been suggested. Here is a Scientific American article that provides an overall explanation that is understandable to someone that hasn’t studied chemistry or physics.
Let’s just say that it actually was possible. Okay, so we learned how to induce two Helium-3 particles to fuse together to make Helium-4 and release energy. A huge corporation controls this whole process and provides 70 percent of the Earths power. I think I would be correct in saying that this corporation would probably make a decent amount of money. So why would a company go through all the trouble to clone and genetically engineer hundreds if not thousands of said clones to die after three years just so they wouldn’t have to go through the trouble of training new people? I mean come on! Make a bunch of clones, sure! But train a new guy every three years, now that’s ridiculous! My sarcasm aside, here is a graph portraying the only feasible option to use clones:
I would’ve liked to have known which clone he was, or what cycle of clones the base was on. I thought about it a little bit, and judging from the original Sam being there for three years, and his daughter being born while he was there, we can extrapolate which clone he was. So when Sam called his daughter near the end of the movie she was 17 years old (the actress who played her was that age). If we say that his daughter was born near half-way through his contract, then 15-16 years had passed since the original Sam left the moon base. Now here is the tricky part. How long do these clones really last? We could say three years, however GERTY wakes them up and they think that they’ve been in an accident while they’ve been on the base. The point is that we don’t know how long these clones last. For closures sake, let us say that they last for two years. That would mean that the Sam that is dying would be the eighth clone and the Sam that heads to Earth is the ninth. In the scene where GERTY lets him log on to see his contract, we can see videos of previous clones getting “disposed of”. I have yet to count them and see how many different clones I can see on the screen, but it’s all just food for thought.
Like I have said before, if you don’t like Science Fiction, then I wouldn’t say that this movie isn’t for you. It focuses more on the depressing nature of Sam Rockwell’s character more than the fact that the setting is on a moon base. If you liked Sam Rockwell in other movies like Choke (2008), then you’ll enjoy his acting in this movie as well.