The robot GERTY explores Artificial Intelligence in the context of realism. GERTY falls into a strange place in the uncanny valley. He is toy like, similar to R2D2 or Wall-E yet the ultra human voice of Kevin Spacey anthropomorphes GERTY to an unsettling degree. As soon as he appeared onscreen I expected a sinister HAL 9000 rip off. Man vs machine alone on a moon base is the perfect set up for a space thriller. We even get a few creepy glimpses of GERTY telling Sam’s superiors about the clones self awareness. I was pleasantly surprised to see that moon went a different route. GERTY repeatedly assists Sam. He provides a password without him asking and releases a new clone so one of the others can escape. Though GERTY’s programming is to control Sam, he genuinely seems to care for Sam and is upset when one of them dies. Unlike other scifi stories which make robots into soulless kill bots or metal humans Moon takes a different approach. GERTY isn’t a person but he isn’t simply the moon base’s computer. He’s more than the sum of his parts, and somewhere with the layers of code he might have a degree of humanity.
Within moon’s context what’s done by Lunar Industries IS illegal, and generally regarded as immoral. Through we are a long way off from the cryogenic assembly line Sams portrayed in Moon, human cloning is a a controversial issue today. Moon raises some of the ethical implications of cloning. Because Sam Bell has the right mental and physical profile he is turned into a replicable cog in a machine. It’s not far of a logical leap for a person cloning themselves for a bone marrow or organ transplant. What is the value of a human created in such a manner? Each Sam is a unique and legitimate person. They have real feelings for their family, and develop their own personalities and quirks. When Sam watches the video of his predecessors each has a different style, and point of view. They’re even capable of nobility and self sacrifice. When turned into one of many Sam is disposable to Lunar Industries but as a person his life does have value. If human beings can be cloned to provide compatible tissue matches does that lessen the value of human life? If a person is to be cloned, then said clone must be entitled to the inalienable rights all human beings are given.
Hard Science Fiction is hard to come by, and Moon is a brilliant example of it. It creates a small vision of a world we may one day face and forces the viewers to think while being entertained. It is a film about scientific ideas set in story format, creating a cool vision of the future.