Lazy, uninventive, and absolutely absurd, Roland Emmerich’s latest big budget, world-is-ending outing is a disaster in and of itself due to uninspired writing and a sci-fi leaning plot that never for a moment attempts to be serious.
When the Moon is knocked from its orbit and starts heading toward Earth, a NASA executive (Halle Berry), a disgraced astronaut (Patrick Wilson), and a conspiracy theorist (John Bradley) head into space representing humanity’s final shot at identifying what has caused the phenomenon and stopping it before it’s too late. Emmerich has had some wild films in the past that have ridiculous, but fun concepts, from Independence Day to The Day After Tomorrow to 2012. At the core of these bonkers films have been action-packed scenes built upon plots centered around ideas found in modern-day society. What if aliens visited? What if the world froze over? What if the Mayans are right at 2012 is the end? There is an absurdity to each of these that is acceptable and allows the audience to simply have fun. Moonfall is not one of those films, opting to take a scientific idea (what if the moon fell out of orbit?) and combining it with outlandish, inconceivable sci-fi twists that are obnoxiously childish.
Berry, Wilson, and Bradley are left out to dry with a concept and dialogue that makes your brain hurt. Each are playing into such antiquated stereotypical roles (strong female nobody is listening to, disgraced professional who may have been right, chubby conspiracy guy people laugh at) where there is nothing new to be explored. Michael Peña and Charlie Plummer are also there, but blink and you’ll miss them. This is plug-and-play filmmaking by Emmerich, a filmmaker who has had his share of clunkers, but seems to be unable to learn from them and offer anything even remotely fresh or intellectually complex. Sure, some scenes have incredible visuals, but there are just as many that are noticeably weak in their presentation. There is not an ounce of fun to be had, but you sure will laugh a lot, just not in the way that was likely intended. In the end, you’ll feel dumber for having sat through this absolute calamity of a film.
Moonfall hits theaters Friday.
Photo from Entertainment Weekly