Lunopolis – 3 out of 5
Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy? Probably those who actually believe them because it makes them look even crazier (it's a double edge sword for them). Lunopolis is a film that is all about conspiracy and not in the harmful 9/11 was an inside job and Obama orchestrated the Sandy Hook tragedy in order to take away Toby Keith fans’ guns kind of way but in a “aww, isn’t that cute? He is wearing a tin foil hat and thinks the moon landing was fake” way.
And speaking of moon…
|Glenn Beck's followers seem to be a little more stable than usual...|
Lunopolis is a 2009 Direct-to-DVD mockumentary/“found footage” film about a mysterious phone call that comes into a late night conspiracy radio talk show where a caller frantically spews nonsense about humans living on the moon and how they are in control of our government and how they are responsible for those annoying hard plastic packages that are impossible to open even with a lightsaber and they slice your hands up when you somehow miraculously get them open (that last part might not have actually been stated). After the call is abruptly ended, two filmmakers get involved with the mystery and discover the insanity of the caller may not really be there when it's revealed a
|Like, apparently, a bearded, and very sad, Robin Williams.|
For the most part, Lunopolis is pretty damn interesting and entertaining. The fact the film takes the “found footage” genre (a genre I absolutely hate—with a limited few exceptions) and makes it a documentary-style film and, there by, eliminating a whole mess of unnecessary bits that plague the “found footage” genre and then uses that time and fills it with faux-interviews with fictional experts to help unfold the film’s complex narrative and story. While this still makes the film feel as crazy as anything involving aliens that the History Channel is now airing, it also makes the film have a sense of authenticity in its fantastic Sci-Fi story.
|"This could be radioactive. Better place it next to my genitals to be sure."|
Most interesting in the film is the very obvious parallels it makes between the church (Church of Lunology) and Scientology. Everything from the fact a person belonging to Lunology must pay to gain “awareness” and learn the secrets of the Church to the fact it was started by a man whose name is basically L. Ron Hubbard in every facet but the spelling. It’s actually surprising when you remember that Scientology, and their extreme love of suing all those who talk disparagingly about them, somehow allowed to get this film released without Xenu bringing all his combined powers of a hard-case legal team down on the filmmakers’ collective asses.
|Not to defend Scientology but they clearly have a case.|
However, the film does have a few drawbacks that stop it from being truly great. The biggest detractor is the fact this film has some really bad acting in it. Sometimes a film can have terrible acting but holds such an impressive and interesting/fun story that you are capable of overlooking the barely passable acting (kinda like the film Ink—great movie, weak acting). It’s like when you are hungry and on the verge of starvation and you overlook that you just killed a hobo for a taste of that sweet, sweet hobo meat. The acting in Lunopolis starts off pretty decent and the interaction between the two filmmakers; Matt and Sonny (played by writer/director Matthew Avant and Hal Maynor respectively), comes off very realistic (unlike the interactions in most “found footage” films). However, as the film progresses and the conspiracy of the Church of Lunology starts to come to light (moonlight, I assume) the acting starts to slip and things get less realistic.
|"And this machine will increase my penis size, right?"|
There’s also a character that is the director of the mockumentary and the man who finds the footage of the two filmmakers and starts to investigates what happened to them and he is painfully bad the entire film. The movie could have easily worked without him. His narration provides little insight beyond him saying, “I began to wonder what happened to them, so I investigated more.” About every five minutes or so he comes into the film to remind you he’s trying to figure out what happened to the guys or how they are presumably feeling. However, at this point, I still found the film interesting and, for the most part, was able to look beyond the ever increasingly weak acting.
|"It was at that point I cut to myself and talked about how I needed to investigate|
this mystery even more..."
Unlike the acting, however, the one thing that ended up hurting the film for me was how messy the story started to get as the film progressed. While the heart of it was still catchy, the presentation became about as lazy as the acting. The film started to rely more and more on the documentary style of the film and we see more experts talking about the Church of
|The followers of the Church of Lunology are actually MORMONS!!!|
Mormons with smug smirks on their faces...the worst kind of Mormons.
The hardest thing to overlook in this movie though has to be the poor editing when it came to the music. Since this is a “found footage” film mated with a mockumentary, it's not limited to not having a soundtrack like other "f.f." movies and it’s okay to have mood music for scenes because it would just make sense for a director to edit these bits of footage to some tunes on his pirated editing software. However, it seems they didn’t realize that you have to still make your actors audible when you have tracks playing with them. At times, the music can be so loud or so demanding of attention (to the point it was wearing a Ed Hardy T-shirt) that I couldn’t hear what the actors were saying and feared I was missing important plot points. And since the music sounds like it’s free use mp3’s downloaded from an Angelfire site on the internet anyway, the tunes did little to help the story along. The music is the pure audio equivalent of the film’s director who keeps appearing and doing little for the going-ons.
|The three hours of uncut footage of this older gentleman talking about his grandkids|
seemed a little pointless.
Lunopolis, despite its problems (including a very weak ending that is cool on paper but looks kinda silly in its execution), is still a good movie. The story, even with its problems and convoluted plot, is interesting and compelling and although the acting can be distracting it’s still not bad enough to completely destroy the enjoyment factor. The film had promise and potential it nearly reached (it was within its grasp) and while it didn’t fully reach it, it didn’t fully fall far from it either.