Review: 'Moonfall' (2022) Dir. Roland Emmerich
A new science-fiction disaster focuses on what happens when the Moon leaves its orbit. And it clocks up as one of the most expensive indecently produced films ever...
A decade after a NASA space mission sabotaged by a mysterious space swarm that was covered up by the authorities, conspiracy theorist KC (Bradley) discovers the Moon is falling from its orbit and heading for a collision with Earth.
Disgraced astronauts Brian Harper (Wilson) and Jocinda Fowler (Berry) are the only two willing and able to launch a mission to detonate an EMP and push the Moon back into orbit as Earth starts to feel the effect of the change.
But upon discovery that they are facing a much more intergalactic threat than expected, Harper, Fowler and KC must race against to time to not only prevent the Moon from being destroyed, but also save man-kind from a hidden threat that is launching a galactic war of its own...
Director Roland Emmerich has a love for inflicting the apocalypse on Earth and its inhabitants. From alien invasion in Independence Day to climate change in The Day After Tomorrow, he now goes interstellar to bring the Moon itself crashing down on Earth causing am abundance of tidal waves, earthquakes, freak storms and everything else included in the countdown to a potentially planet-ending catastrophe. It's science fiction action at it's disposable best, doing everything we've seen before and ticking all the boxes for the genre. Yet, somehow, it's nothing but entertaining like a disaster movies should be.
It's total fluff but something about these endearing disaster films just make them easy to watch for popcorn entertainment. We have rousing speeches, lots of technical data and simulations and jargon, CGI destruction, hope against the odds, broken families brought together in the face of certain doom, big bombs and bangs, the underdog proving he still has what it takes to save the world against the odds....you know the drill.
If you're a fan of the CGI chaos that Roland Emmerich treats us to wrapped up in B-movie thrills and grandeur, then 'Moonfall' isn't going to disappoint in the grand scheme of things.
Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson are our (former) NASA astronauts brought back from semi-retirement to take on a mission that involves having to tackle a conspiracy theory that the Moon itself is actually a man-made megastructure and falling out of orbit. Only our two disgraced heroes can prove their worth to doubting NASA bods and generals by blowing the Moon back into it's orbit. But it's never that simple when we have galactic space swarms in the mix, looking like a Venom symbiote causing trouble in the stars.
Berry and Wilson take their roles for all their worth, whether discussing the lyrics to Toto's Africa or fighting to survive solar flares. A surprisingly watchable duo who do what all reluctant heroes do best. They are joined by John Bradley as the English conspiracy theorist / comic relief who plays a role clearly modelled on Simon Pegg or Nick Frost in their early days of comedy. It's the tick-box of characters who appear here, none of them surprising when they appear - including Donald Sutherland's Apollo 11 astronaut or Charlie Plummer's troubled teen - but they are harmless enough and played decently.
The story itself is a semi-simple one, but as we take the second half up into space, things start to feel padded out with the inclusion of the kids on Earth doing what they can to help save man-kind, along with the adults up in the shuttle doing what they can. Again, it's very familiar with lots of focus on how humanity copes with a looming apocalypse, but just about held together with the CGI disaster happening all around. It's actually the exploration of what the Moon truly is in the wider scheme of things that makes for the most entertainment, delivering all that Emmerich does well in his disaster movies by adding crazy, out there theories and galactic jibberish.
Throw in some Interstellar-esque paranormal dreams and visions that expand on what we think we know, and fantastical spaceships and chases across space stations like your prequel Star Wars films, this certainly goes above and beyond a simple disaster flick. We begin to explore the source of mankind and what our galactic history is made up of, and something you can't say you expected from the outset! Again, total nonsense but it's silly, entertaining stuff for a quiet weekend's watching.
Only Emmerich could have a space shuttle take off as a tsunami swallows up the world below, and then blast through the tsunami itself in a blaring symphony of brass. This is cinematic B-movie cheese at it's most pungent.
'Moonfall' is a co-production between Huayi Brothers International, Huayi Tencent Entertainment International, Centropolis Entertainment, Street Entertainment and AGC Studios