February 8, 2022

Review: “Moonfall” Misses Every Mark

Let's all be honest here…was this anything less than we expected?

Moonfall is the latest from Independence Day director Roland Emmerich, and if his recent track record was any indication, we were in for a wild ride. Maybe not a fun ride, or a rewarding ride, but a crazy one nonetheless.

John Bradley (Game of Thrones) stars as K.C. Houseman, a conspiracy theorist who discovers that the moon is slowly edging out of its orbit, bound for a collision course with planet Earth. Former NASA astronauts Jo Fowler (Halle Berry) and Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) team up with Houseman to figure out exactly what is wrong with the moon as disasters on Earth get worse and worse (and more Emmerich-friendly).

Ever since seeing the trailers played to death in theaters, I have been skeptical of Moonfall, and seeing it actually play out is only further proof that this movie was a terrible idea. The script was apparently worked on for four years, and yet the dialogue is still bland and unfunny. At a little over two hours, it’s somehow far too long, and is exhausting to sit through, especially in its second act. There are major reveals in the third act that come out of literally nowhere, and prove that this film would have been far better had it stuck to its extremely simple premise. But no — the unwelcome and underdeveloped lore is here to stay!

I will admit, though, that Moonfall is far from the worst movie I’ve ever seen — it’s not even the worst of 2022 (for those curious, that dishonor still belongs to Netflix’s sexless sex thriller Brazen). Some of the action is fun to watch, and the visual effects are proof that there was at least a bit of money behind this thing — actually, scratch that; Moonfall is one of the most expensive independent films of all time. How truly unfortunate.

Not to mention Moonfall wastes a potentially incredible cast by giving them absolutely nothing to work with. Berry, Wilson and Bradley are given nothing more than shells to inhabit, and Michael Peña has absolutely no business even being here at all. Donald Sutherland shows up for one scene and somehow steals the entire movie.

I still hold true to the fact that Moonfall is what would happen if somebody asked me to write a Roland Emmerich action film. On paper, there are some interesting ideas and potentially cool concepts, but it all feels so disjointed and jumbled together with some truly horrendous performances that nothing works — even what would have worked otherwise is rendered useless here by an abundance of elements that are simply painful to watch. An epic disaster movie should be earth-shatteringly fun, but Moonfall isn’t even earth-shattering. It’s hardly worth watching at all, which is the sad truth that I had initially hoped against. 
[Grade: D]

Director: Roland Emmerich

Writers: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser, Spenser Cohen

Starring: John Bradley, Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson

Rated: PG-13 for violence, disaster action, strong language, and some drug use

Available: Theaters
Fun Fact: Josh Gad was originally cast as KC Houseman, but dropped out of the film due to scheduling conflicts.

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