Roland Emmerich is a very divisive director. He has made some movies most people consider good such as Independence Day, Stargate, and The Day After Tomorrow, and he’s directed a lot more films that people aren’t that fond of like Independence Day: Resurgence, Godzilla (1998), and 2012. Let’s just say he’s had a lot of ups and downs in his career. He’s hoping for another positive response from fans and critics for his latest film Moonfall.
After a space anomaly kills one astronaut and causes the shuttle to be landed without electricity, astronaut Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) is put on trial by the NSA. His co-pilot on the mission, Jocinda “Jo” Fowler (Halle Berry), doesn’t support him and he’s kicked out of NASA and becomes a disgrace to his country. When something happens that causes the moon to shift orbit, he is contacted by conspiracy theorist KC Houseman (John Bradley, Game of Thrones) to help him figure out what’s going on.
Like a lot of Emmerich’s films, Moonfall revolves around an almost implausible idea to tell its story. Not the story of all the people in the film, but the sci-fi elements it tries to wrap around those human characters with real dramatic stories to go along with not so real destruction of the Earth by the moon. The title says it all. Nothing else could explain this preposterous film better.
Emmerich tries to ground the film with human stories involving domestic troubles for Wilson’s character, and separating the main characters from their loved ones causes real drama. The film splits everybody up into two groups: one on Earth trying to get to a shelter in Colorado, and the other trying to stop the moon from falling into earth’s orbit destroying the entire planet. Both groups are fighting for their survival. The film works on that level.
Sometimes there are films that you need to take your brain out of your head and forget the logic of how or why this is happening. And the most important part is why this is happening. This film answers those questions, but they are very ridiculous answers that aren’t very scientific or intellectual. As film fans, we just want to be entertained and Moonfall does that in spades. It’s just a big dumb spectacle and we are along for the ride.
The film obviously relies on massive amounts of visual effects to help explain its implausible preposterous story. Those visuals by over a hundred people were serviceable but not great — they had a few problems that made them look a little odd. In a big-budget film such as this, a few minor problems involving the visual effects can be overlooked. The reason is the film is filled with so many of the people who would miss a couple of wonky shots.
Moonfall wants the viewers to suspend their disbelief quite a bit. That’s fine. Other films have done this with world-ending scenarios such as this and so has Roland Emmerich. It’s all about whether you want to go along with this far-fetched idea and if you care about these characters or not. I did care about them and the film. Yes, I preface this by saying it’s so ridiculous and preposterous, but I still liked it because I could take my brain out and sit back and enjoy all the craziness on-screen in IMAX!
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Boelman Founder/EICdisappointment media