Moonfall Review: It’s Raining Moon

Patrick Wilson portrays astronaut "Brian Harper" surrounded by a mysterious force in the sci-fi epic MOONFALL. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate

Moonfall is a $146 million sci-fi disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Godzilla) and written by Emmerich, Harald Kloser (2012, 10000 BC), and Spenser Cohen (Extinction, The Expendables 4).

On January 12, 2011, during what is referred to as routine outer space maintenance mission (it’s a thing), an unidentified technological swarm caused significant damage to the astronaut’s shuttle; killing one of them and incapacitating the surviving two crew members. Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) maneuvers the shuttle back to earth with no power while his navigator Jocinda Fowl (Halle Berry) is unconscious. Brian takes the fall as he’s labeled incompetent despite previously being an acclaimed hero and he loses his job with NASA.

Ten years later, the moon suddenly begins changing course as a hole 26-kilometers deep is discovered in the center of it. People on earth have three weeks before the moon begins falling to earth in city-sized pieces. While NASA scrambles to discover a solution, an orbital megastructure aficionado and conspiracy blogger named K.C. Houseman (John Bradley) knew about the moon’s shift in course before NASA and may end up being the savior of mankind. 

The opening scene of Moonfall lets its audience know that they’re in for an excruciating two hours. Patrick Wilson and Halle Berry argue over the lyrics to Toto’s “Africa” as Wilson musically screeches the 80s rock ballad to annoying results. The film does a few things right like earth’s gravity being a complete dumpster fire and the ocean literally being at the foot of everyone’s door like Bo Burnham talked about in Inside. But then introduces the aspect of orbital megastructures in an attempt to not adhere to believable physics while lethargically committing to it.

John Bradley portrays Moon conspiracy theorist “K.C. Houseman” peering out the window of the Endeavor Space Shuttle in the sci-fi epic MOONFALL. Photo Credit: Reiner Bajo

Flooding, earthquakes, and birds falling to the ground due to gravity alterations are the culmination of the insanity in Moonfall. The moon coming closer to earth also apparently means humans can lift trees above their head and jump over gaps left by fallen bridges with little effort.

There’s also an awkward car chase between some redneck looters and the main characters of the film. It’s awkward due to the fact that it’s really funky visual effects (literally everything taking place on the road and in the background) with green screen (the actors driving the cars), but it’s difficult to distinguish what’s what in a bad way.

The CGI and special effects in the film are that peculiar blend of not necessarily being bad, but are just off-putting enough to look weird in some capacity. It’s a high speed chase involving a gravity wave, which is mostly just cars and debris floating in the air as the sky turns red. Coincidentally enough, the disaster effect sequences are the best part of the film mostly because they do what they’re supposed to do without overstaying their welcome.

Halle Berry (“Jocinda Fowler,” left) and Patrick Wilson (“Brian Harper,” right) as stranded astronauts in the sci-fi epic MOONFALL. Photo Credit: Reiner Bajo

The dialogue in the film is atrocious and Halle Berry is a filter for most of the bad lines. Some of her gems include, “I don’t work for you, I work for the American people and I don’t like keeping them in the dark,” “I am…(the longest pause ever between one word and another)…thinking about our son,” and something overwhelmingly corny about earth’s hourglass and our time running out. Donald Sutherland can barely stomach a brief cameo appearance shared with Berry’s character before excusing himself to the loaded gun he left back in his room (yes, this actually happens).

Jocinda Fowler becomes the lead director of NASA during the film and her ex-husband (played by Eme Ikwuakor) works for the military. Ikwuakor does nothing but squint like French Stewart the entire time.

Fires, looting, and destruction across the Los Angeles skyline and Griffith Observatory as the Moon falls to the Earth in the sci-fi epic MOONFALL.

The evacuation route in Moonfall seems to involve fleeing to Colorado. What is in Colorado and why that’s important is never really explained other than because everyone else is there.

NASA wants to survey the activity of what’s transpiring on the moon, fly inside of its new fancy made hole, and come up with a plan to save earth in the process. The military just wants to blow up the moon with nukes; screw the consequences, this is America!

Astronaut Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) peering into space insde the Space Shuttle in the sci-fi epic MOONFALL. Photo Credit: Reiner Bajo

The Verdict

With Moonfall, Roland Emmerich has essentially made an even dumber version of Michael Bay’s Armageddon. There’s not a lot to enjoy here apart from K.C. Houseman’s house cat being named Fuzz Aldrin. With its idiotic premise, hammy dialogue involving some of the most exaggerated emotional speeches ever, stiff acting, unfunny humor, and purposely distorted CGI, Moonfall features an overwhelming amount of frenetic nonsense and has no excuse to be as boring as it is.

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