Moonfall Review: An embarrassingly cavernous spectacle with a galaxy


For movies like Roland Emmerich’s moonfall ostensibly dealing with mysteries meant to leave you guessing, it’s never a good sign when the studios behind them more or less spoil their own plots with overcrowded trailers. If you caught one of them moonfall‘s bombastic TV spots or some of the busier print ads, you’ll probably see each of the film’s uninspired twists and turns coming long before any of the characters do. But that may not be enough to prepare you for how breathtakingly bad moonfall — a movie that feels like it could have been great — eventually becomes.

Like many of Emmerich’s much better action/disaster stories, moonfallThe story revolves around a small group of combative heroes who rise to the challenge of saving humanity when no one else does. During a routine space station repair mission, years before the moon begins its titular destruction, astronauts Jocinda Fowler (Halle Berry) and Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) become the only two survivors of a seemingly accidental encounter with a mysterious force sweeping through the void. like a conscious cloud reminiscent of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfers galactus. Because Fowler was knocked out almost immediately when a wave of debris caused their spacecraft to spin wildly, she has no real memory of what happened or how Harper managed to stabilize them safely using only their ship’s booster thrusters.

Harper and Fowler's space shuttle orbiting Earth with the moon in the background.

Harper and Fowler’s space shuttle in orbit around Earth.

Although Berry and Wilson don’t convey it very well in their performances, moonfall vaguely gestures at the idea of ​​how their ordeal in space derailed their lives after their eventual return to Earth, where they were faced with confusion and questions to which they simply had no real answers. if moonfallToday’s central story begins, Fowler is still working with NASA and Harper has become the kind of disgraced space hero who lives right next to observatories so he can get to scheduled performances late to talk to school kids.

Under all other circumstances, the two astronauts would have toiled into oblivion without any understanding of their connection to the impending danger Earth faces when the moon’s orbit begins to shift. However, their fate changes when Harper is approached by KC Houseman (John Bradley), a SpaceX stan and amateur astronomer who literally wonders, “What would Elon do?” at one point in the movie and is somehow able to access classified information about what happens to the moon while slacking off his day job at a drive-through deli.

By the time moonfall begins to bring the central trio of characters together to ensure that they become its heroes, the initial perilous consequences of the moon’s descent have already begun, and for a brief moment it almost seems as if the film is on the brink of itself to set the right course. The moon’s new proximity to Earth and the altered gravitational pull between the two celestial bodies begin to manifest as alarming and promising Emmerichian scenery, such as the sudden inundation of the coasts of North America as the seas rise and become unnaturally erratic. But whenever moonfall gets too busy being interesting, stops repeatedly to introduce multiple thin characters such as Harper’s quirky son Sonny (Charlie Plummer) and Fowler’s military general, ex-husband Doug (Eme Ikwuakor), who serve no other purpose than pompous lines that drawing attention from what the audience actually shows, to these kinds of movies to see.

Moonfall’s blood moon rises again.

Like a movie about the moon seemingly deciding to ram itself into the Earth and humanity struggling to save itself from destruction, moonfall is surprisingly light on lingering sequences that make you feel how dire and fundamentally hopeless those kinds of situations can actually feel. While you might come in moonfall expecting it to be an almost Majora’s mask-as always present feeling of fear, it ultimately has more in common with Breath of the Wild: A game where you can stand and do nothing until the evil moon comes back on an accelerated timeline to ruin your peace and quiet.

In his final third, moonfall almost seems to take on a new level of self-consciousness about how shabby his internal sense of logic is. But instead of going to the trouble of correcting of course, Emmerich and co-writers Harald Kloser and Spenser Cohen’s script pile on even more nonsense that doesn’t work as stupidly fun because of how hollow and airless the movie is as a whole. While budding conspiracy theorists might get a kick out of the handful of bones moonfall throwing them in its pursuit of subreddit stardom with the anti-scientific set, it’s fair to say the movie is a miss and then some, which is wild given how easy a target this should have been to hit.

moonfall opens in cinemas from February 4.

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