Science fiction, movies & 5 reasons why Duncan Jones

If you’re a science fiction fan, the last little while has been crazy: good crazy, but crazy. There’s the new Star Wars stuff coming out, there’s news that there will be a new Star Trek TV-show, and then the new World of Warcraft teaser trailer dropped. It’s like Christmas in November!

The most interesting thing about that Warcraft movie is not really that it’s based on a computer game, but that it’s directed by Duncan Jones. I’ve been a Duncan Jones fan-girl since I saw his movie ‘Moon’ in 2009, and if you haven’t heard of him yet, there are at least 5 reasons to get better acquainted with this British director.


1. Moon

The movie ‘Moon’, directed by Duncan Jones and starring Sam Rockwell came out in 2009. It is a staggeringly good movie, and in my opinion Sam Rockwell should have won the Oscar that year (instead, he wasn’t even nominated).

A short synopsis: Sam Bell has been overseeing a mining operation on the Moon for three years, helped only by an advanced computer system. Just when he is about to go home, he has an accident and things get seriously weird. More than that I won’t say, because there is a twist in the story, and even if the movie is some years old now, it’s nicer not to spoil it here.

So why do I like it? Because it’s that rare thing: a perfect movie. Story, writing, dialogue, acting, atmosphere… everything works together perfectly. The role of Sam Bell was written specifically for Sam Rockwell and his performance is flawless. I always love me some Rockwell, and he was hilarious in the very funny and underrated movie Galaxy Quest, but in ‘Moon’ he shows some serious, dramatic acting chops. There is a scene towards the end of the movie when he has a conversation with his daughter on Earth, and in that scene there is a moment when his reality pretty much shatters. The look on Rockwell’s face and the understated way he manages to convey how completely devastating and lonely that moment is for his character is Grade A acting. That he wasn’t at least nominated for an Oscar is a mystery (and a travesty).

Duncan Jones both co-wrote the script (with Nathan Parker) and directed this movie. The story is original, intelligent and suspenseful. And while it moves at a slower pace than more action-oriented science-fiction fare, it’s never boring.

Finally, on a 5 million dollar budget, Jones and his crew crafted a completely believable world that pays homage to old-school sci-fi like 2001, Silent Running and Solaris, without being derivative. It truly is an outstanding movie.


2. Source Code

After ‘Moon’, there was Source Code. Not as good as ‘Moon’, but still one heck of an original scifi flick. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a US Army pilot who suddenly and inexplicably finds himself on board an American commuter train, rather than flying missions in Afghanistan. He also finds himself in a different body than his own. Then the train blows up… and that’s all in the first few minutes of the movie. By the time you figure out exactly WHAT is going on, your mind will just about twist into a pretzel. Another must-see if you’re a science fiction fan.


3. World of Warcraft

I wouldn’t even be all that interested in the WoW movie, if not for the fact that Jones is directing it. I do consider myself a gamer, and I did play WoW for a while some years ago, but I’ve been more interested in other games in the MMORPG genre.

The new teaser trailer is hugely promising, and I do believe that Duncan Jones is one of the few directors who has the chops and the geek-cred to actually make a really good movie based on an MMORPG.


4. Mute

Hot on the heels of the new teaser trailer for Jones’ World of Warcraft movie came the news that his dream-project ‘Mute’ is about to become reality. This is a story set in the same fictional future-verse as ‘Moon’ (yes, Rockwell will be in it), and it will star Paul Rudd and Alexander Skarsgård. To quote the info from io9:

Berlin. Forty years from today. A roiling city of immigrants, where East crashes against West in a science-fiction Casablanca. Leo Beiler (Skarsgard), a mute bartender has one reason and one reason only for living here, and she’s disappeared. But when Leo’s search takes him deeper into the city’s underbelly, an odd pair of American surgeons (led by Rudd) seem to be the only recurring clue, and Leo can’t tell if they can help, or who he should fear most.

Jones himself tweeted about the project:

That’s enough to get me all excited in a science fiction kind of way.


5. He’s a lot of fun on Twitter

Just follow him. You’ll see.

Also, he used to be known as Zowie Bowie. But Duncan Jones is a good name, too.

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