DVD Rating: ****1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Tony Sullivan's film review of Moon
Sam Rockwell in Moon

Editor's note: This DVD review contains spoilers

Given that Moon is an indie film shot on a - for a scifi movie - miniscule budget of just £2.5million, the DVD package put together by Sony is incredibly impressive and puts the extras on many much bigger budget releases to shame. The attention to detail is even evident in the packaging, which features a nice slipcase.

Copy picture

There are not one but two commentary tracks on the disc - and both of them are well worth a listen. Although a little of the same ground is covered they are very different in terms of tone and act as an enjoyable counterpoint to one another.

The first features director Duncan Jones, Director of Photography Gary Shaw, Concept Designer Gavin Rothery and Production Designer Tony Noble. The men are clearly all good friends of long-standing and bring a lot of banter to their dissection of the action. Rothery is the comedian of the bunch - and his remarks see him branded 'poo expert' by the others - but all of them have a high-energy, if slightly laddish, approach to the film that's infectious. Examples of their banter include gems such as, in reference to the lunar surface models: "I've never seen so much cat litter in my life." "You should have seen the size of the cat we had to get rid of!"

Despite having a light tone - which also sees them discuss the artistic merits of Sam Rockwell's "hung cock"/"strangled chicken" tattoo - there is a surprising amount of technical detail also included. They talk about the difficulties of shooting on a claustrophobic set, the acquisition of props (think, cutlery drawer from Ikea, chair from Shepperton Studio's conference room) and reveal how forced perspective rather than CGI was used in some shots. The track is incredibly British in tone and features a lot of colloquialisms, which may see US listeners reaching for a dictionary, but for a UK viewer this only adds to the charm. The use of the phrase "fannying around" on commentary tracks is, I think you'll agree, an all too rare event. The second track is more 'traditional' and features Jones and producer Stuart Fenegan talking about more technical aspects of the production and, of course, the money constraints.

The Making Of Moon (17 minutes) is, again, surprisingly comprehensive given that this was a low-budget shoot. It's impressive to think that the filmmaker's were so convinced of the strength of the film that they took time to shoot footage of Jones, Rockwell and others on the set. The interview snippets are, probably as a result of this, much less 'stagey', and there is a firm emphasis on on-set footage as opposed to the usual clip-fests that frequently accompany Hollywood blockbusters.

Creating The Visual Effects is another well-constructed short, which packs a lot into its 11-minute runtime. Simon Stanley-Clamp, the visual effects supervisor at Cinesite, which provided the CGI elements for the film, talks through several of the effects. Although the background music is somewhat intrusive, this is a fascinating run through some of the effects used, particularly where Rockwell is acting with himself - with split screen used to show the various versions of film shot to finally make the composite image. It's also endearingly British to hear that their motion control rig was called "sprog".

Those who may wonder about Jones' other film work, will enjoy the inclusion of his short film Whistle. Running at 26 minutes, it features Dominic Mafham as a sort of futuristic assassin who finds his conscience troubled by family values. It's a rather mournful little piece which, though stretching the sci-fi bounds a little is nonetheless well put together and interesting. As with Moon, although there is a science-fiction edge to the action, this is, essentially, the exploration of human relationships.

Also included on the disc are two introduction and Q&A segments, one in March shot at the Science Centre in Houston and another from the film's premiere at Sundance Film Festival. Both are informative but the Sundance piece is particularly worth seeing for Jones' hyped up and really rather sweet excitement at being able to show his film to an audience for the first time.

Technical specifications on the disc are fine and it is great to see that all of the extras, including both commentary tracks, come with subtitles.

The package is rounded out with the theatrical trailer. It's also worth checking out the page for Sony's trailer reel, which contains a cute Easter Egg - click on Gerty's smiley face and you'll get to see the computer playing ping-pong. The sort of package that should leave fans over the moon.

Reviewed on: 20 Nov 2009
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An astronaut starts to lose the plot at the end of a mission to the moon - but is there something else going on? Plus read our exclusive interview with
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Product Code: 5050630035014

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Commentary with Dunanc Jones, Gary Shaw, Gavin Rothery and Tony Noble, commentary with Jones an Stuart Fenegan, Whistle, The Making Of Moon, Creating The Visual Effects, Fimmaker

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