Director: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Pena, Donald Sutherland, Charlie Plummer, Carolina Bartczak
Written by: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser and Spenser Cohen
Running Time: 130mins
Release date: 4th February 2022
Roland Emmerich must hate the Earth. All he wants to do is destroy it, and he has tried everything from alien attacks to the new ice age to the actual end of the world. Emmerich has now decided to drop the moon from its orbit, causing a total catastrophe. Moonfall is the latest from the new master of disaster, and as his movies go, this is possibly the most nonsensical, most ridiculous, most awful film he has produced. And for all its faults, it’s also a blast.
During a routine satellite update, the small crew of a space shuttle are under attack by a mysterious black goo, killing a crew member. No one from NASA believes astronaut Brian Harper, causing him to lose his job, home, and family. Years later, KC Houseman, a conspiracy theorist, discovers that the moon has moved out of its orbit and is heading closer to Earth. NASA need to find out what is happening, and it has something to do with the same material that attacked the space shuttle. It’s now up to Harper, Houseman and NASA space expert Jo Fowler to save the planet before the American military uses nuclear weapons.
Emmerich’s film follows the usual pathways of a disaster movie: characters who have a past have caused them to lose everything, only to be brought back to be a hero; a family on the run from certain death; a major corporation lacking belief of the events until the last minute. We start with a Gravity style opening as Harper and Fowler encounter the mysterious form, leaving the satellite destroyed, the other crew member dead and a case that leaves Harper a lost man.
Ten years later and the subplots start to arrive. We have Houseman, a conspiracy theorist who has been bugging NASA for years but becomes the first to find the moon is out of orbit. He also believes that the large satellite is a megastructure created by aliens. We have Harper’s wayward son, who is in prison for joyriding. His wife is married to a car salesman loaded with money but no connection for the boy. Then there is Fowler, who has moved up the ranks of NASA to a position of importance, who just so happens to have an ex-husband working for the military.
We are then treated to over 2 hours of mayhem and chaos. The key characters are brought together to save the Earth as the gravitational pull becomes a mess. The sea starts to rise, and pieces of the moon are crashing down to Earth. All the time, the script explains absolutely everything as it goes along, just in case the audience haven’t a clue what is going on. When a group of thugs are firing guns at a car, and the back windscreen is shattered, we are told that the passengers are being shot at!
Nothing in this film makes any sense. Why would you have a conspiracy theorist who has done nothing but annoy NASA over his previous theories, anywhere near the building, let alone send him into space to save the world? Would you use a relic like an old shuttle that has been used as a museum piece to go into space without anyone checking that it can fly? Worst of all, the idea of the moon being a megastructure built by aliens millions of years ago.
Emmerich throws everything he has at the screen as the moon gets closer. Explosions, floods, meteors and, of course, the rising sea. All these things are going on while our heroes manage to get to the moon in less than a day. Then Emmerich decides to throw some curveballs by adding strange philosophies, looking to be the new 2001 or even Interstellar. So we get a slice of Star Wars, while all his previous films, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, are just the tip of the iceberg as far as disasters go.
The cast seems to be having a good time, delivering lines that even a child would be embarrassed to write. Halle Berry is given a role that hardly stretches her acting talents, while Patrick Wilson looks like the rugged All-American hero. John Bradley, Samwell Tarly from Game of Thrones, is the comic relief as Houseman, although there is no need for actual laughs as the film is funny enough.
Moonfall is terrible. It is a mess of a movie that doesn’t seem to care one bit. The laughable script, chaotic visuals, and a film that thinks loud will stop you from questioning the plot. Yet it’s a hoot for all the wrong reasons. If you go in looking for intelligent filmmaking, forget it. If you leave your brain in the foyer, you are in for an enjoyable piece of hokum.
3 out of 5