I like seeing damage and destruction in my movies, but, man, does this film make me wonder how some screenwriters have jobs.
Following two scientists, Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) and Jocinda “Jo” Fowler (Halle Berry), a conspiracy theorist named K.C. Houseman (John Bradley), and some random civilians and military personnel as they try to save the world, Moonfall is a movie whose title says it all. Realizing that the moon is quite literally about to fall to Earth and mess up a whole lot of people’s days, K.C. takes it upon himself to try and convince Brian, and by extension Jo, that this is a situation that can’t be taken lightly. And when the reason for the moon’s fall is revealed, our protagonists are thrust into a dangerous predicament that sees them come face-to-face with something from the depths of space that isn’t exactly friendly. What follows is a race against the clock as K.C., Brian, and Jo team up to find a way to stop the moon’s descent, destroy the cosmic evil that started it all, and escape with their lives — and the lives of the entire planet — intact.
Sounds like a pretty cool setup, huh? That’s because this movie’s hook is probably one of the most intense things I’ve ever come across in my many years of watching films. And regardless of how bad I initially figured the final cut would turn out, I had hope that much like Roland Emmerich’s other disaster films, Moonfall would hit some kind of B-movie sweet spot or at the very least be entertaining enough at a base level to help level out some of the decidedly less great parts of the script. Boy, was I wrong.
Let’s get the good stuff out of the way first. Say what you will about the material they have to work with, but the cast is actually kind of stellar. Patrick Wilson, Michael Pena, and Halle Berry are always fun to see onscreen (plus Sam from Game of Thrones!), so coupling them with an idea that I honestly think is top-notch and some truly entertaining scenes of disaster and destruction, and the baseline for a Roland Emmerich movie is front and center for all to enjoy…until everything else surrounding these elements came up as complete crap, that is.
The way this movie is acted, scripted, edited, and even directed at times left me so annoyed that my eyes were almost stuck rolling in the back of my head for most of this film’s runtime. I don’t need a movie like this to knock my socks off — I don’t even need it to be all that good in the grand scheme of things — but at its worst, this should have been a dumb yet still explosively fun sci-fi romp akin to any of Emmerich’s other disaster films. Instead, Moonfall takes maybe a page or two from those better films like Independence Day or The Day After Tomorrow, subtracts any semblance of competence or B-movie feel from it, throttles audiences with idiot characters, terrible dialogue, far too short destruction driven scenes, and unworthy sci-fi tropes, and then tops it all off by making me dislike an idea that by all intents and purposes is basically the perfect excuse to make a movie like this.
Listen, Roland Emmerich is a fine director for the types of movies he makes — I’m a fan of most of his films including the guilty pleasure that is his Godzilla — but for the love of everything that’s holy, give this fucking guy a screenwriter that can match his wild ideas with some kind of coherent and legitimate scripting. Because as it stands, Moonfall is a wildly interesting idea that’s wasted in more ways than I can comprehend, and that’s a shame. Stick around for a few cool scenes if you want to see some fun destruction, but otherwise, stay away from this one.