Moonbase (1997)


My entire page of notes for this movie is questions. It’s not so much that none of it makes sense, but that no thought whatsoever was put into any aspect of its creation. It’s got fun moments, I suppose, but it’s really frustrating.


There’s a space prison somewhere floating about, built with breezeblocks and normal wooden doors. A large group of prisoners manage to escape in a garbage pod destined for the large rubbish dump on the Moon, and when they get there they quickly overpower most of the crew. Unbeknownst to the criminals, a ship full of marines is on its way to the moon to pick up a bunch of experimental nuclear warheads that were left there after being banned by some treaty. Oh, and the boss of the dump’s ex-girlfriend, now climbing the corporate ladder, is with the marines too, for some reason.


I let slip with one little “why?” moment in the paragraph above, but it’s a movie absolutely chock full of them. First up, do you think that when we get to deep space, we’ll be creating quite as much garbage as our future Earth society is? You can’t just pop down the shops for whatever you need. It’s not like the dump on the Moon appears to be recycling anything, it’s just sat there. Secondly, how did no-one notice about 10 people falling out of the garbage pod? And the criminals are shown in sort of home-made vacuum suits, but how lax is the security in the prison that they were allowed the materials to construct them?


The cast is mostly fine, although you might notice there’s a fair few people who are on screen a lot and don’t say a word (probably some cost-cutting measure, as you have to pay more to people who talk). Apart from, oddly, the two leads – Scott Plank as dump boss John, who apparently caused some environmental disaster on Earth which led to his demotion to the Moon (although it’s utterly obvious he’s hiding something); and Jocelyn Seagrave as Dana, his ex. They’re bland and a bit wooden and the lack of any tension regarding the reveal of what went on back on Earth just makes their scenes drag. But anyway, we’ve got a lot of fun performances from the crew of the Moonbase, including a great turn from Kurt Fuller, one of my favourite “That Guy” actors. There’s even a link to “Samurai Cop 2” with a tiny bit-part for Mel Novak; and to “Star Trek: The Next Generation” with Robert O’Reilly, who memorably played Klingon badass Gowron, here as a German-sounding villain (it’s nice when we Brits get a movie off from “evil guy” duties).


As the plot develops, and you’ve got the criminals, the crew, and the marines, it not only gets implausible but boring. See if you can figure out why the military took Dana to the moon, because I certainly can’t; or if you think Kurt Fuller would go from disgruntled employee to mass-murderer quite as quickly as he does, and why anyone in a movie ever trusts a criminal mastermind to keep his word. People run about, projectile weapons are fired in an environment where one stray bullet could pierce an outer wall and kill them all, you know the drill. There’s one fun idea (the remote control that contains a hologram of a hot woman) but about a hundred annoying ones.


We’ve obviously seen a lot of bad movies here. I feel like an extra day or two of thinking about the consequences of the script would help so many of them – just work out if the stuff you’ve done is logical, or sensible. Being able to make movies is such an enormous privilege, it’s a real shame to see so many people treat it as a quick way to make a few dollars. Lazy is the best word to use to describe “Moonbase”. Or if you want more words “why would you be watching this when “Moon” exists?”


Rating: thumbs down


3 thoughts on “Moonbase (1997)

  1. Pingback: Assault On Dome 4 (1996) |

  2. Pingback: Sci-Fighters (1996) |

  3. Pingback: Incoming (2018) |

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