Reel Reviews | Moonfall

by Charles Kirkland, Jr.

Roland Emmerich returns to what he is best at, destroying the world, in his latest apocalyptical thrill-ride, Moonfall.

When the moon loses its lunar orbit and starts hurtling toward the Earth, the impending destruction of the world forces NASA head honcho, Jocinda Fowl (Halle Berry) to re-hire disgraced former astronaut (and work-husband) Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) and launch an ill-advised mission to the moon to fix its orbit by destroying the unknown force that has taken it over and thereby save the world. 

Written by Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser, and Spenser Cohen and directed by Emmerich, Moonfall stars Berry and Wilson along with John Bradley, Charlie Plummer, Michael Peña, Kelly Reilly, and Donald Sutherland.

Roland Emmerich returns to the genre in which he works so well. Or maybe it’s just he works so often.  Unlike disaster movie king, Irwin Allen who produced some of the most torturously heart-stopping films including The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno where you could just avoid going on cruises or high rises until your fear subsided, Emmerich makes these grand-scale world destructing events where it makes you fear just leaving your home.  Eventually, in his previous films, there is some socio-political agenda message that is communicated, and life goes on.  Not so with this feature. This film’s subtext is a lunatic conspiracy theory that is so far gone that only a bunch of stoners can accept it, a fact that Emmerich comically recognizes in the film.  The theory is so insane that it will not even be addressed in this review.

While it is always great to see Halle Berry on screen, both she and co-star Patrick Wilson are upstaged by the work of John Bradley as KC Houseman.  Bradley who is best known as Samwell Tarley from Game of Thrones channels a very different manic energy as the first person to notice that the moon is out of orbit but is ignored by almost everyone he contacts.  Bradley is lovable, like Tarley, in this film but for very different reasons.  Hopefully, Bradley can find other movies like this to put his abilities on display and remove the GOT stigma from him.

Like all of Emmerich’s work, visually, this is an epic apocalyptic event.  There are tidal waves and gravity waves, shuttle launches, and flying boats.  There are fires and meteors and even an avalanche.  Even Michael Bay has to be impressed by the number of explosions, car chases, and car crashes that occur in this film.  Emmerich knows how to document the end of the world spectacularly. There are potentially edge-of-your-seat moments and moments that are way over the top. 

Here is the problem.  There is just way too much crazy for this movie to even be fun.  Emmerich borrows a little from his previous work in 2012, The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day mixes in a little Interstellar and some of The Matrix, The Man of Steel and I, Robot with a dash of Prometheus and Space 1999 for good measure. (For those who don’t know, Space 1999 is a delightful little show about the moon being blasted out of its orbit and traveling through space and carrying the people who live on its moonbases throughout various space adventures.)  With a total of three credited writers on this movie and a number of producers and executive producers, someone should have told Emmerich that there was too much going on in the story. 

Rated PG-13 for violence, disaster action, strong language, and some drug use, Moonfall is a mess full of insanity.  The story is far past science fiction and leans into conspiratorial science full of theory and no substance.  It’s not boring but you will definitely feel sillier for having watched it.

Moonfall can be seen in theaters. 

Grade:  D