Director: Zhang Chi Yu
Cast: Shen Teng, Ma Li
Runtime: 2 hrs 3 mins
Released By: Encore Films
Opening Day: 15 September 2022
Synopsis: A team of astronauts are deployed to the moon to prevent an asteroid impact on earth. However, the asteroid comes early and the whole crew has to evacuate. Due to an accident, maintenance worker Yue misses the evacuation notice from the leader Xing and left alone on the moon. When the plan fails, Yue becomes the "last human in the universe" and began his life on the moon as a self-indulgent man.
Have you ever imagine what it would be like to live on the moon?
Based on Korean illustrator Cho Seok’s comic series called “Moon You”, “Moon Man” is about a team of astronauts who end up leaving the moon with the entire crew earlier than usual due to an oncoming asteroid, only to accidentally leave behind one of their crew member, who ends up living on the moon and tries to survive, while finding a way to contact Earth and seek his other crew members to get him, the last man on the Moon, back to Earth.
The film, which runs at slightly more than 2 hours, is packed with surprises and has so much to offer. While it does look somewhat promising and exciting, it is also rather questionable and dubious in some ways.
“Moon Man” generally feels like a work of art from a very repressed individual whose set of ideas have been caged for so long, that any first opportunity to release them out to the world is seized tightly. And this hunger and desire to express through various aspects carves out the direction of the film.
For a start, it is very apparent that humour forms the basis of the film’s core. And humour of all sorts (but mainly slapstick) is not lacking. From eccentric visuals to wordplay to slo-mo frames, every opportunity is used to push the audience to laugh their heads off. While the film does well in entertaining the viewer, it does feel overwhelming and overly exerted, to the point of it being forced. Perhaps the direction was to capture the attention of every member of the audience and to ensure that every single person is entertained and satisfied.
The film’s effects are visually entertaining and arresting. Like the humour in the film, every opportunity is taken to capture the audience. Bright visuals, contemporary comic-like illustrations, bombastic sound effects; they are just a few of many different types used in enhancing the film’s eccentricity and vibrance. But it feels like the team behind the visuals, animations and editing has multiple ideas and planted them all into the film without realising that the audience is ‘attacked’ by various conflicting styles that clashes erratically.
The plot almost seem slightly ridiculous and chaotic with slight lapses in continuity. Yet, it is creative and imaginative at its best, capturing the audience’s heart through its talented cast, whom made the film more enduring and bearable, alongside good makeup and costume designs.
What is also applaudable is the character development in the film. Despite the ‘noise’ from the overloaded sensory of humour, effects and visuals, each and every main and significant character in the film is given time to fully develop himself or herself smoothly, making each and every character relatable and believable.
Overall, “Moon Man” is promising and possibly heartwarming. But with its complex nature filled with uncertainty, the film struggles to carve a name for itself, juggling between wanting to be like a classic Hong Kong slapstick comedy or a Hollywood action film.
But in the end, perhaps our rather suppressed hearts could do with a little humour, however gaudy it might be. And perhaps that glimmer of hope is what we really need for us to heal and recover from the trauma of 2 years of pandemic, consisting of lockdowns and scares, making the categorisation of the film much less important.
And maybe it is no wonder that an outrageously outlandish film like “Moon Man” can make waves in the box office, because what the world [possibly] needs now is to be able to laugh out at the absurdity of things, and yet reflect upon the possibility of a brighter future.
(Fun and entertaining, but probably only if you been really stuck at home for too long and have not been to the cinema for a while. Possibly a good mindless film for those who needs to let go)
Review by Ron Tan