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MoonPop: Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon Trailer December 15, 2010

Posted by Nick Azer in : MoonPop, poll , 1 comment so far

As we get ever closer to regular commercial access to the moon, Luna figures to be making more and more appearances in the pop culture as interest waxes back into the public eye.

Lunar miners, mall developers, and aspiring villainous owners have made big Hollywood appearances over the past couple of years, but now it’s a heavyweight franchise’s turn to take the trip: Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon!

Here’s the Transformers 3 trailer, which plays around with some Apollo history…something a lot bigger than an Eagle landed, apparently:

The clever setup of the trailer has generated some buzz (excuse the pun), and seeing a Michael Bay budget’s worth of lunar CG should be a blast (rather literally).

What do you think of the trailer? Do you think this’ll be good to stir up some space interest, or will the history rewrite confuse people on details? Vote below, and take your takes on it to the comments :)

What do you think of the Transformers 3 Trailer?

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A Review of "Moon", Part 1: The Film July 20, 2009

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This is Part 1 of 2 of my review of  Duncan Jones‘ film “Moon“, starring Sam Rockwell. Part 1 looks at the film, while Part 2 discusses the lunar colonial topics that the film brings up.

I recently was able to catch in a local Portland theater Duncan Jones’ directoral debut, “Moon”, a sci-fi film about an isolated helium-3 miner on the far side of the moon who begins to encounter some unusual problems near the end of his three-year contract.

Being both a blogger on moon colonization and someone that was initially a screenwriting major in college (and a film buff to this day), this movie from the getgo is uniquely aligned with my interests.

The film has garnered wide critical acclaim (90% on Rotten Tomatoes), and for good reason. A rock-solid and refined piece of existential cinema, it manages to be thoughtful while still accessible. A very human film, it rides a great performance (or two) from Sam Rockwell to creating a very human connection to some fairly unusual characters.

Made incredibly with a $5 million budget, the movie dazzles—utilizing techniques such as miniatures (a la The Lord of the Rings) to create a convincing and intruiging landscape. In particular, the shots of the giant helium harvesters and their raining spew of expunged regolith (soil) struck me as impressive for any film, nevermind one with such a limited budget.

A great film for any movie lover, and pure goodness for a sci-fi or moon geek like myself. An emotional film with a deeply human touch, it’s a story that should resonate with virtually any viewer.

The film brings up a lot of interesting topics and questions regarding moon colonization, and in particular the ethics that could be involved. Check back here on Tuesday the 21st for Part 2 of my review, where I take a look at these ideas and the other fine lunar-colonial details of the film…

"Moon" Opening in Many More Cities Today! July 3, 2009

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Moon“, the film starring Sam Rockwell as a helium-3 miner, opens today in many more cities than it had previously.

Now that I’m all moved in to my new place and my life is back to a degree (hence it being unusually quiet here for a week or so), I can get out to catch it, and I’ll have a full analysis back shortly :)

The film is sitting pretty on an 88% (!) rating at Rotten Tomatoes so far, so it’s garnered outstanding critical acclaim.

Click here to see if it’s out in a city near you (it’s kind of an odd, semi-limited release schedule), and keep an eye here for my complete MoonPop feature on it :)

"Moon" In Theaters Today in LA/NY! June 12, 2009

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Today is the New York/Los Angeles release date of the movie “Moon”, starring Sam Rockwell as a helium-3 miner that goes through a series of strange experiences.

“Moon” has a healthy 84% on Rotten Tomatoes so far (38 positive reviews, 7 negative; from the press), with some pretty hefty praise:

“Director Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie), working from a script by Nathan Parker, pulls off sci-fi miracles on a $5 million shoestring. Moon is a potent provocation that relies on ideas instead of computer tricks to stir up excitement.” -Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“Why don’t we see movies this mesmerizing more often? ” -Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

As far as public awareness of the current outlook of moon colonization (and of fusion power), this film could be monumental. Sounds like a great film, too, which will definitely help.

I haven’t had a chance to check it out myself (I live in Portland, Oregon, where the film will be released July 3rd—click here for the full list of release dates), but I’ll have an extensive report (as part of my ongoing MoonPop series on moon colonization in pop culture) once it’s come around to the Northwest–I’m a film buff myself (even studied screenwriting briefly), so I can give multiple perspectives on the content :)

Here’s the trailer for the film, via The Film Stage on Youtube (and be sure to check out director Duncan Jones’ Twitter feed @ManMadeMoon):

MoonPop: Trailer and Poster Now Up for This Summer's "Moon"! (Sam Rockwell as a Helium-3 Miner) April 16, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in : MoonPop , 2comments

The poster and trailer (embedded below) for the upcoming movie “Moon” were released last week.

The movie stars Sam Rockwell as a helium-3 miner trying to get through the end of a long, lonely haul out on the Moon:

My MoonPop series here covers the Moon and lunar colonization in pop culture—and this film is a doozy.

I personally meet very few people in the general public who have heard anything at all about the ‘base race’ back to the Moon, or about the commercial efforts to go there (the Google Lunar X PRIZE, etc.); so to even have just this trailer talking about ‘clean energy’ (fusion power) from the Moon is going to vastly increase public awareness of the subject. And, it seems, the film itself is going to be a great one—it’ll stick around, and it’ll be known.

For a solid recap on helium-3 mining, fusion power, and why they matter, check out my Youtube video intro on the subject (the first “Luna C/I film” :) ).

“Moon” is set for release in New York and Los Angeles on June 12th, with other cities to follow “soon”. Can’t wait, as both moon blogger and film buff :)

MoonPop: Sam Rockwell as a Helium-3 Miner in "Moon" (2009) March 8, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in : Helium-3, MoonPop, private sector , add a comment

It’s time for another in my running series of features on the Moon and lunar colonization in pop culture, and today’s is as related as pop culture could possibly be: the upcoming film “Moon“.

Having premiered at the 2009 Sundance Festival and slated for wide release June 12th, “Moon” stars Sam Rockwell (IMDB) as a helium-3 miner (!) stranded at his private-industry mining outpost for three years.

To have a wide summer release than even mentions helium-3, never mind is largely about it, is going to be some amazing PR for the base race.

The movie is directed by Duncan Jones, son of David Bowie; Bowie’s first big hit was, of course, Space Oddity (a previous MoonPop feature here itself).

Below is a clip from the film (via a Teaser-Trailer.com Youtube video), involving an accident Rockwell has with his helium-mining vehicle:

Keep an eye here for coverage of the film, and the impact it has as a landmark of the Moon in pop culture.

MoonPop: "Space Oddity" September 30, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in : Apollo, MoonPop, Youtube , 1 comment so far

It’s time for another session of MoonPop (my ongoing series of features on Moon colonization and integration in pop culture), and while this one has a few asterisks, often the interpretation of pop culture is just as signicant as the pop culture itself.

Today, in honor of the first-ever Chinese spacewalk, we take a look at the David Bowie classic “Space Oddity“, first released in 1969 (supposedly to coincide with the 1969 moon landing, and also supposedly after his seeing the 1968 film release “2001: A Space Odyssey“, itself in part a previous MoonPop feature). The video of the A-side version of Space Oddity annoys me to such a great deal (too much drugs, not enough competency on that one…) that I’m going to feature a more palatable user-made animated video instead (congrats, Gonetia):

Check out the end of this post for a neat, rare 1969 video of the B-side version of the song.

The song, while inspiring to anyone thinking about space and (as noted) generally thought to be inspired by space’s place in the pop culture of the 1960′s, is also concurrently about something else entirely. The song was featured by the BBC during their coverage of the 1969 moon landing, despite the drug-trip symbolism, which itself is confirmed in Bowie’s follow-up to “Space Oddity”, “Ashes to Ashes“:

“Do you remember a guy thats been
In such an early song
Ive heard a rumour from ground control
Oh no, dont say its true
(…)
Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know major toms a junkie
Strung out in heavens high
Hitting an all-time low”
-”Ashes to Ashes”, David Bowie, 1980

The BBC’s usage of “Space Oddity” was surprising, given the rather negative tone of the song. In fact, this song outright gave me the creeps when I was a kid growing up (though technically, at 24, some older segments of the population may still consider someone my age to be a ‘kid’).

“Space Oddity” is deeply rooted in both the events (the moon landing) and the pop culture (“2001: a Space Odyssey”) of that time, and as we enter into two decades (2010-2020; 2020-2030) that are going to have both a likely private space boom, and then the full swing of the ‘base race’, we should expect to see more pop culture creations like “Space Oddity” come around in vivid form. Hell, Bowie himself is still kickin’ (as Tesla, no less), so maybe we can lobby him for a tune to fit this new era (perhaps about an internet junkie this time?).

As promised, as a wrap-up for this edition of MoonPop, here’s that rare B-side version video of the song. Enjoy:

MoonPop: "Fly Me to the Moon" August 11, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in : MoonPop, South Korea , add a comment

This song has been stalking me as of late (today it was the song on the music player of my favorite–and totally not moon-related–coffeehouse’s website…my first time at the website, and it’s that song of all the possible choices for me, moon blogger/frequent patron…weird), and so without further adieu, here’s a little spotlight onto the lunar entry into pop culture made famous by Frank Sinatra: “Fly Me to the Moon”.

The song, written as a pop standard by Bart Howard in 1954, was actually orginally titled “In Other Words”, but that oh-so-catchy first line eventually became the title. It was first recorded by Kaye Ballard, and after numerous others had recorded versions, Sinatra recorded his own iconic whirl on it in 1964.

Since then, it has been covered by countless more artists, inspired punny movie titles, and (of course) actually been sung in space.

I’ve got a whole playlist of moon tunes that I swing to while blogging away here, that I’ll share as soon as I figure out a practical way for it to be more interactive (e.g. listenable) right here at the blog…:) But, for now, enjoy that video above and the litany of links I’ve provided for ya as per usual :)

MoonPop: "WALL-E" (News) July 13, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in : Apollo, Current News, Fusion Power, Google Moon, Helium-3, lunar land use planning, Mare Tranquillitatis, MoonPop , add a comment

“Outlet Mall, coming soon!”
-A ‘Buy N Large Corp’. billboard on the Moon, next to the American Flag at Mare Tranquillitatis, in the film “WALL-E


I had a chance last week to finally catch Pixar’s latest masterwork, “WALL-E”. Much like with “Iron Man” earlier this summer, a movie that a whole heck of a lot of people ended up seeing happened to also be a movie with a look at the Moon; and in WALL-E’s case, a look specifically at the Moon colonization and the potential outcomes of it.

It’s a simple, and brief, moment in the film, but a memorable one: In a fly-by of the Moon, the site of the American flag in the Sea of Tranquility is seen as having a billboard adjacent to it advertising a future outlet mall (which, given the circumstances and setting of the film, the builders apparently never did get around to).

The placement of the sign directly next to the flag site could suggest that the fictional Buy N Large Corporation in the film was intending to plow right over the site for their new mall; or that they simply plopped that sign down there for attention.

The strange thing about all of this is that this isn’t really that far from the truth, as things are developing now. The Sea of Tranquility is rich in Helium-3, a resource extremely rare on Earth but plentiful on the Moon that could be valuable for fusion power. So within 15-20 years, we could very well be seeing mining operations going up right next to the Apollo landing sites.

With the generation of kids seeing WALL-E today being the ones who will have the newscasts of their lives dominated by Moon colonization, it should be interesting to see how this one moment in an extremely visible film gets referenced and remembered, as commerical development of the Sea of Tranquility and the rest of the Moon becomes an imminent reality (and potentially, a major public debate).

Picture of the Week: Fetch, Rover July 3, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in : Google Lunar X Prize, Integration, Mooncast, MoonPop, Odyssey Moon, Picture of the Week, private sector , 1 comment so far

In a little toss to WALL-E‘s opening this past week, the Picture of the Week is a mock-up of what a Google Lunar X Prize rover might end up looking like (EDIT: See comments for the full skinny, but the good folks at Odyssey Moon Ltd. note this is an actual prototype, with the photo being from their media conference about being named the first Lunar X prize team. Thank you Mr. Richards for the comment and the further details :) ). Such a rover would have to be capable of completing a ‘Mooncast‘, consisting of 360º photos, both HD and near-real time video, and transmission of specific data in order for the competing group to earn the $20 million prize. Additional $5 million prizes can be earned by coming in second and/or completing additional challenges, such as roving certain distances and surviving a frigid lunar night.

I personally find the giant model of the moon there to left of it almost as exciting as anything else. Put me in the same room as that thing, and I’d be all over it.