Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Premise: The moon drifts out of its orbit, putting it on a collision course with Earth. Two astronauts (Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson) team with a quack scientist (John Bradley) in an attempt to save the world.
What Works: Moonfall is Roland Emmerich’s latest apocalyptic extravaganza and viewers who liked Emmerich’s other movies ought to enjoy this one as well. It follows the same pattern, bringing together characters from different walks of life and placing the fate of the world in the hands of a ragtag group of strangers. The movie also features large set pieces of destruction in which our heroes make narrow escapes. A lot of Emmerich’s movies have been terrible and stupid. Moonfall is delightfully stupid. The actors mostly play it straight but many of the characters are likable, especially the scientist played by John Bradley, and the film has an agreeable sense of humor. It’s never self-referential but the creators of Moonfall knew what they were making. There are no pretensions to Moonfall but a genuine and infectious desire to entertain the audience that makes the movie agreeable.
What Doesn’t: Moonfall is a big budget version of a SyFy Channel movie and there is no understating just how stupid the film can be. The screenwriting and filmmaking are shockingly inept. The dialogue is hokey and forced and the characters’ decisions make no sense. At a critical moment, a senior NASA executive dismisses everyone working on the potentially world saving plan, telling them to go home, and minutes later the remaining characters scramble to launch the plan anyway. The story of Moonfall hinges on the “hollow moon” theory and it’s revealed that the moon is inhabited by a malevolent artificial intelligence that attacks electronic devices. Somehow the heroes are able to covertly fly a space shuttle past the danger and even announce that they have shut off the electronics while operating the controls. The special effects are inconsistent. Many of the big spectacle moments look great but some of the dialogue sequences are very poor. Several dramatic scenes were obviously composite shots created on green screen sets; at one point the characters are supposed to be outside in the rain but the actors are completely dry as precipitation falls in the background. This is Ed Wood style incompetence that would be infuriating if the movie wasn’t so much fun.
Bottom Line: Moonfall is not a good movie. It’s really stupid and really badly made but the film achieves so-bad-it’s-good status. Moonfall is cinematic junk food that’s pitched just right.
Episode: #891 (February 13, 2022)