Moon Zero Two

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Moon Zero Two
Moonzerotwo.jpg
Directed byRoy Ward Baker
Produced byMichael Carreras
Written byMichael Carreras
Martin Davison
Frank Hardman
Gavin Lyall
StarringJames Olson
Catherine Schell
Warren Mitchell
Adrienne Corri
Music byDon Ellis
CinematographyPaul Beeson
Edited bySpencer Reeve
Production
company
Distributed byWarner-Pathé
Release date
  • 26 October 1969 (1969-10-26) (UK)
Running time
100 min
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget£500,000[1][2]

Moon Zero Two is a 1969 British science fiction film from Hammer Films,[3] produced by Michael Carreras, directed by Roy Ward Baker, that stars James Olson, Catherine Schell, Warren Mitchell, and Adrienne Corri.

Moon Zero Two was filmed at the ABPC Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England. The screenplay was by Michael Carreras from an original story by Gavin Lyall, Frank Hardman, and Martin Davison. In the U.S., the film was billed as a space Western[4] with the phrase 'The first moon "western"...'

Plot[edit]

In the year 2021, the Moon is in the process of being colonized, and this new frontier is attracting a diverse human population to lunar settlements like Moon City, Farside 5, and others.

Two denizens of this rough-and-tumble lunar society are the notorious millionaire J. J. Hubbard and former-astronaut-turned-satellite-salvager Bill Kemp, the first man to set foot on Mars. He left Space Corporation because he wants to explore space, while his former employer only wants to operate commercial passenger flights to and from Mars and Venus.

When Hubbard hears about a small 6000-tonne asteroid made of pure "ceramic" sapphire that is in a low lunar orbit, he hires Kemp to capture it with Kemp's old "Moon 02" space ferry. Kemp is to transport it down to the surface of the lunar farside, even though doing so would be against Space Corporation law. Kemp, however, has little choice because he learns from Hubbard that his flight license will soon be revoked due to protests from Space Corporation. Hubbard also reveals that he plans to use the giant sapphire for building much improved rocket engine thermal insulators, profiting from the need for even more powerful rockets to colonize Mercury and the moons of Jupiter.

A young woman named Clementine arrives looking for her brother, a miner working a distant patch of moonscape at Spectacle Crater on the lunar farside. Unfortunately, the trip from Moon City on the nearside would take six days by a lunar vehicle. Since Kemp can go there much more quickly using Moon 02, she convinces him to help her learn if her brother is still alive. The terrain around his camp is not suitable, so Kemp and Clementine land and travel the remaining distance using a lunar transport buggy. The two discover that Clementine's brother is dead, and that he was murdered for his discovery: a large vein of nickel that would have made him a rich man. They are shot at by some of Hubbard's men, who have followed them to the camp. Kemp takes them out one by one.

Hubbard was unhappy to learn that Kemp was leaving to assist Clementine, because Hubbard was responsible for Clementine's brother's death. Hubbard needed the claim to be abandoned, so he could to take control of it and use it as the isolated landing site for the sapphire asteroid. Hubbard blackmails Kemp into completing the asteroid job by threatening his and Clementine's lives. Kemp kills the millionaire and some of his men in a shoot out and strands the rest on the asteroid, as it collides with the Moon. Because Clementine is her brother's next of kin, Kemp informs her that she now has legal ownership of the nickel vein and soon the "crashed" sapphire asteroid, making her a very wealthy woman.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Special visual effects for the film were created by a team headed by visual effects artist Les Bowie, who worked on numerous Hammer productions and other British-made science fiction features.

The "Moon 02" Spacecraft in the film is described as being 'quite old'.

Among the futuristic set decorations are several famous "Ball Chairs" created in 1966 by Finnish designer Eero Aarnio.

A dialogue reference to Neil Armstrong becoming the first man on the Moon was inserted, and a lunar monument erected on the landing site was added to the production. The film was released three months after the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Reception[edit]

Variety wrote that the film "never makes up its mind whether it is a spoof or a straightforward adventure yarn and the uneasy combo comes adrift even in the normally capable hands of producer Michael Carreras (who also wrote the script) and director Roy Ward Baker. It may provide some mild amusement for easygoing audiences but overall it's a fairly dull experience, despite some capable artwork, special effects and lensing by Paul Bessen".[5] The Monthly Film Bulletin stated, "It's all just about bad enough to fill older audiences with nostalgia for the inspired innocence of Flash Gordon, or even the good old days of Abbott and Costello in outer space".[6]

The film was shown and parodied in its entirety on Mystery Science Theater 3000 Episode 111, originally airing on January 20, 1990.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bruce G. Hallenbeck, British Cult Cinema: Hammer Fantasy and Sci-Fi, Hemlock Books 2011 p216
  2. ^ Marcus Hearn, The Hammer Vault, Titan Books, 2011 p114
  3. ^ Westfahl, Gary (28 March 2012). The Spacesuit Film: A History, 1918-1969. McFarland. pp. 132–133. ISBN 9780786489992.
  4. ^ Smith, Gary A. (1 January 2006). Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976. McFarland. pp. 185–186. ISBN 9780786426614.
  5. ^ "Film Reviews: Moon Zero Two". Variety. October 29, 1969. 28.
  6. ^ "Moon Zero Two". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 36 (430): 241. November 1969.

External links[edit]

Mystery Science Theater 3000[edit]