After failing to kill himself by jumping off a bridge, the man is washed up on a deserted island in the middle of the river, but within view of the city's high-rises. He attempts to escape, but soon accepts his fate and the challenges in living on the island. A reclusive young woman, who takes close-up shots of the moon and has not left her apartment in years, spies him on the island and comes to think of him as her own alien.Written by
The Koreans saw "Castaway", then proceeded to use the "stranded island" premise to make a surprisingly different film that's 10 times better.
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I would assume that the director of this film saw that Tom Hanks flick and said to himself, "Hmmm, this is a good idea. I think I'll take the same general premise and transform it into a unique romantic comedy that blows away genre conventions." He then proceeded to do exactly that.
Some reviewers will claim that "Castaway on the Moon" (aka "Moon") is a rip-off of the American flick "Castaway", but what exactly are the similarities between these movies? Let me tell you. (1) There's a guy who gets stranded on an island, but that barely counts as a "similarity" because in "Moon" the island is positioned *within the city limits.* A man in massive debt attempts suicide by jumping off of a bridge, but he survives and is washed ashore an uninhabited, tiny island on the Han river. Even though he clearly sees the nearby metropolis, he can't swim across the river to civilization so he just stays on the island for a while. How is this in any way similar to Tom Hanks being stranded *in the middle of the ocean*? Answer: it isn't the least bit similar. (2) There are various day-to-day events that are similar (e.g., starting fires, growing a beard, entertaining oneself in simplistic ways, etc.), but anyone stranded on an island would do these things and people have been doing them for the better part of humanity's existence. These were not invented by a Tom Hanks movie. (3) There's an emotional bond with a few inanimate objects. Yes, this is one element of "Moon" that could be considered a rip-off of "Castaway." But that's quite literally the *only* piece of evidence one could muster. Hardly a compelling case. Heck, it's so thin that it probably qualifies as more of a homage than anything else.
So what exactly makes "Moon" so *different* from "Castaway?" Well, for starters "Moon" is a friggin' *romantic comedy!* This is evident at about the 30 minute mark when a hikikomori is introduced. For those who are unfamiliar with hikikomori, it's a severe psychological condition whereby introverts isolate themselves within a confined area and refuse to interact with other people. What the heck does this additional character have to do with some dude stranded on an island? My dear friends, that's the reason why this film is so fantastic, why it demolishes romantic comedy genre conventions, and why assertions of "ripping off" Tom Hanks movies are short-sighted and ridiculous.
If one really wants to milk the comparisons between these films, "Moon" exposes the romantic elements of "Castaway" as run-of-the-mill and dull. Just imagine a Joon-ho Bong film mixed with Chan-wook Park's "I'm A Cyborg, But That's Okay" (2006) and you might get a feel for just how quirky and engaging "Moon" turned out to be. These characters are carefully crafted by first establishing a certain psychological flaw, then allowing the characters to slowly face those flaws through the introduction of the stranded island theme. But how do these characters bond if they're isolated from each other? Watch the movie and see.
Oh, and the previous reviewer might like to know that it was Hollywood who remade "A Tale of Two Sisters " (2003), "My Sassy Girl" (2001), "Il Mare" (2000), "Into the Mirror" (2003), etc. – all Korean movies. And they're planning on remaking more because it's Hollywood that has run out of ideas. If you think Korean films have no originality, you might want to check out "Welcome to Dongmakgol" (2005), "Save the Green Planet" (2003), "Crush and Blush" (2008), "Dasepo Naughty Girls" (2006), "Forbidden Quest" (2006), "Rules of Dating" (2005), "If You Were Me" (2003), "Iri" (2008), "Oasis" (2002), a Chan-wook Park film, a Joon-ho Bong, a Kim Ki-duk film, or about 50 other films that I don't feel like listing out.
You know what, I'll suggest that everyone watch "Moon" and "Castaway" in the same evening for proper comparison. It's obvious that the former has stronger, more interesting, more *creative* characters. A lot more time and effort was put into the script, and it shows.
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