Lunarcy! (2012, dir. Simon Ennis) is a quirky and charming documentary about people who are obsessed with and inspired by our closest galactic neighbour, the moon. For these people, the idealism and aspirational drive of the Space Race of the 60s never ended. Its synopsis is as follows:
With wry humor and affection, Simon Ennis’ “Lunarcy!” follows a disparate group of dreamers and schemers who all have one thing in common: they’ve devoted their lives to the Moon. From the young man who’s resolved to depart for Luna (permanently) to the ex-ventriloquist who’s made millions selling Moon lots.
This is one strange film. Above anything else, Lunarcy! is a really interesting character study and exploration of obsession. All of the people in this film have an obsession about the one thing, but it manifests in different forms for each person. Christopher Carson is driven by his desire to live in a place called Luna City, located on the moon, often crying out “Luna City or bust!” when spruiking his cause. We meet Dennis Hope, who, through a suspicious United Nations loophole, is able to sell land on the moon, and boasts customers such as George W. Bush and Clint Eastwood. Then there’s Peter Kokh, who builds models of what civilisations on the moon should look like, and wouldn’t mind living on one himself. Finally, we also meet Alan Bean, who was the fourth person to walk on the moon, and now makes art that conveys his experience as an astronaut.
Lunarcy! boasts some quite impressive visual elements, with really fresh and punchy typography and use of notations on screen for comedic effect. Overall, its construction is undoubtedly humorous, taking a light-hearted view on what all of the subjects would consider an extremely important facet of each of their lives. The graphic design and visual composition of the film is generally really interesting. It looks like your typical ‘Sundance documentary’, but it feels less aware of itself. There’s a good mix between ‘talking head’ interviews and observing the subjects in their environment. One of my favourite elements of this documentary was its use of music, which sounds like something Philip Glass would compose (but probably isn’t). That style of dreamy and serene, yet mathematical and repetitive music was definitely the perfect accompaniment to the spacey story and subjects of this documentary.
My criticism of this film is mostly that its flow can be quite choppy. Some of Lunarcy!‘s subjects clearly carry more of the load of the documentary than others, and as a result the other stories that surround it can feel like excess information that causes the story to lag. There also isn’t necessarily a narrative or motivation for each of the people involved. It’s more a story of, “Look at these people and what they believe in at the moment”, instead of, “Look at these people working towards their goal in the space of the film”. In a way, the flow of the film can feel slightly stunted as a result, even though learning about each of the subjects’ passion is wholeheartedly fascinating.
Lunarcy! is about the different things that the moon symbolises to different people, and the ways in which its importance manifests in their lives. It’s ultimately quite an interesting documentary, particularly if you have an interest in space exploration, or in living on the moon one day. Even though I do have criticisms of its flow and structure, it’s still one of those documentaries about unique people that has to be seen to be believed. Oh, and if you want to buy some property on the moon, here’s the place to do it. One acre of land on the moon for only US$19.99! That sounds like one ace deal. It also sounds crazy, but who’s going to look like the crazy one when everyone but you is leaving Earth for their new lunar home?
Watch the trailer here.
Watch this film on Amazon!