LUNOPOLIS. Many conspiracy theories, or a fictional science fiction documentary
Mockumentary is a very skillfully crafted format suitable for all kinds of playful explorations of a chosen topic. This must have been the thinking of the people behind Lunopolis because, for their little film, they decided to pack in a seriously large amount of stereotypical conspiracy theories circulating in the world. What’s not here: government conspiracies, time travel, UFOs, Roswell, Area 51, men in black, Scientology, the Mayan calendar, parallel worlds… they even made room for Atlantis.
And it all starts with two filmmakers picking up on a certain lead in the form of a suspiciously old Polaroid photo and a set of numbers that turn out to be coordinates leading to a suspicious place. Conclusions are drawn quickly, and initially uncertain assumptions eventually prove to be true: the Moon is inhabited by people. We don’t know about them because their presence is effectively covered up by government organizations. However, they not only know about us but are among us, directly influencing events worldwide.
Lunopolis has some interesting ideas that are developed quite effectively, but the production also suffers from the usual ailments of a low-budget, amateur film. The documentary format effectively masks the fact that, besides a few cameras, the filmmakers apparently had only good intentions, sincere enthusiasm, and a supermarket computer on which the entire thing was edited, adding some effects here and there, a bit generously labeled as special.
As long as we are dealing with “interviews,” animated reconstructions, and models illustrating the theoretical foundations of the presented world, it’s hard to find fault, and it’s quite enjoyable to listen to.
However, when the cameras go into the field, shortcomings become apparent, and the quite amusing film becomes unintentionally funny and, at times, disarmingly awkward. “Unconvincing” is the most diplomatic word to describe the efforts of most actors, especially when it comes to the achievements of the men portraying menacing and intimidating agents in black suits. Their facial expressions end with putting on sunglasses. It’s worth mentioning that the debut of Dave Potter as the informant of the main characters, the owner of a cult-like Lee van Cleef mustache, turned out “well.” Yes, “well” might be a slight exaggeration, but it must be said that the guy is trying. Also, technically advanced, compact time-travel contraptions assembled from a bicycle frame, an aluminum bowl, a pair of suspenders, a bundle of colorful wires, and a few switches look quite charming. Adam Słodowy would be proud.
Does Lunopolis have a serious underlying theme, and do its creators want to share their own insights and reflections with the audience? I don’t think so. At first glance, however, it is evident that they had the idea and passion to make the most of the conspiracy convention, and that’s what matters most. Even if not everything played out as it should. I bet there’s a poster with a flying saucer and the words “I want to believe” hanging over the director’s desk at home, just like in Agent Mulder’s office.