Film Critic, Movie Blog, Movie Reviews

Moonfall (2022)

Directed: Roland Emmerich  Rated: PG-13 Runtime: 2h 10m Studio: Lionsgate Movies Screenwriter: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser, Spencer Coen 

Cast: Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Charlie Plummer, Michael Peña, Kelly Yu

Some movies are “so bad, they’re good,” which is a polite way of stating ‘it sucks, but not so much I couldn’t sit through it again.’ Moonfall is no such movie.

Watching the trailer for Moonfall, I cringed and snickered while the lines from a Britney Spears song popped into my brain regarding director and writer Roland Emmerich; “Oops!…I did it again!” 

In Moonfall, it’s not an all-out alien invasion, this time out to destroy Earth. No, it’s the ludicrous, deeply implausible manner in which the moon will swing around Earth until it smashes into it completely. 

Emmerich certainly has a genre type he likes to make, but his problem isn’t the genre; he can’t write anything original for it anymore. He suffers from the same issues as director/writer James Cameron; they recycle their past works with new packaging. It’s reminiscent of a bad copy-and-paste job for a word file. We, the audience, see it and the flaws, but why do we keep going to see these? Continuing to see these insults to cinema is (partly) why studios keep green-lighting these projects. We, the movie-goers, must stop this crazy cycle! Other filmmakers are guilty of this too, but it takes a certain level of arrogance and stupidity to keep letting it happen with high-budget projects. How many regurgitations of the same story from the same filmmaker do we need? 

Halle Berry & Patrick Wilson in Lionsgate Movies ‘Moonfall’ via

Besides Moonfall giving off watered-down Independence DayDay After TomorrowArmageddon, and Transformers vibes, in the weakest sense, plot and storyline-wise, is the terrible dialogue! Point of observation, if you, the writer, write lines so frequently, in a non-comedic attempt, that has viewers thinking, “no shit, Sherlock,” or “thank you, Captain Obvious,” so much you could get half drunk a third of the way in, you need to rewrite. Or burn the script and start again. 

Even a good cast couldn’t have saved Moonfall from this poorly-written script, even with a good director. Yet, with Moonfall, the writing is mediocre (I’m being kind), the plot/story is ridiculous…and the acting. They may be lovely people, but when Halle Berry and John Bradley are your prominent cast members, even next to Patrick Wilson, what about that casting choice implies this film won’t be an abject failure? Halle Berry is the top billing for this film; I know it’s going to suck before I ever watch the trailer (totally misleading, BTW) because she can’t act! 

Image from Lionsgate Movie’s film ‘Moonfall’ via

The characters are all just…there. You can tell who’s related, who can’t stand who (and why), and how others are connected. Cool. It’s the end of the world, so who wouldn’t want their families safe? Still, none of them have depth or develop into someone or a subplot you want to root for. Why bother watching if you’re not invested in the characters or the story? 

There are so many plot holes and basic scientific blunders; the moon might as well be real Swiss cheese! How many people are required to launch a space shuttle? Three? Five? Oh, and the arrogance factor! A global catastrophe is occurring, and America is the only country to act or have a say in what to do about the moon. And, of course, there are nukes. At least in Emmerich’s Independence Day, there was communication and cooperation, or attempts at it. Here, no one but NASA is in charge until even they say, “fuck it, I’m out.” It’s a wonder the writers of this film had the balls to think the sequel they set this film up for would ever see the light of day. That will never happen! 

John Bradley in ‘Moonfall’ by Lionsgate Movies via

If Independence Day 3 ever happens, I’d rather see that than watch this film again, let alone a sequel. Comparatively, Independence Day: Resurgence was a far superior film (that Emmerich only directed, thankfully) worth rewatching, or just about any other disaster/apocalyptic movie. 

Moonfall isn’t “so bad it’s good;” it’s a master class on multiple things not to do in a film. Ever. That’s nothing to waste your free time on, so skip placing this movie on your watchlist.

-A Pen Lady

Film Critic, Movie Blog, Movie Reviews

Snowpiercer (2013)

Snowpiercer (2013)

Director: Bong Joon-Ho   Runtime: 2 hr. 6 min   Rated:

Studio: Moho Films Screenwriter: Bong Joon-Ho, Kelly Masterson

Cast: Chris Evans, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Song Kang-ho, Ko Asung, Jamie Bell

Snowpiercer is a French comic brought to the big screen by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho. The year is 2031, and the entire world’s remaining population lives aboard a train that never stops moving, or everyone on it will freeze to death. Just like the rest of the world did almost two decades prior. Humanity is an endangered species, and the train is the Hotel California. You could check-in, but you’re never going to leave.

This train generates energy by constantly moving, and since the great freeze means it can never stop. It does one lap around the globe each year. The train, this snowpiercer, was created by a man called Wilford, who divided the train into three parts. The elite at the front, poorest at the end, and the workers in the middle who service the train. The inhabitants at the back endure much. They live off of gelatin-like “protein bars” and nothing else. They have their children taken, live in squalor, and are executed periodically to reduce the population. These individuals are never allowed beyond the train’s tail. So, surprise, they sometimes revolt. In Snowpiercer, they try again, with a new plan, to make it to the front and control the engine. After all, those that control the engine control the world, such as it is. 

I watched this film begrudgingly. I stopped it mid-film three times and took days in between to finish it. There needs to be more attention to detail for a plot like this to work on screen. Expand upon what’s not in the original material, or ignore it and make it better. He’d hardly be the first moviemaker to do so. This film has a trailer that holds up this movie to be far more exciting than it is. A film shouldn’t create so many questions and not answer them. 

‘Snowpiercer’ staring Chris Evans and Jamie Bell. Image: Moho Films via

The beginning of the film drops the audience into a story in progress. While it’s not difficult to catch on to the plight and goals of the characters, it is a little confusing. Utilizing this tactic is problematic because the viewer isn’t invested yet in the characters. Bong Joon-ho’s choice to cast Chris Evans as Curtis and Octavia Spencer as Tanya aren’t enough. Both are phenomenal actors, but their addition to this cast was to grab more Western viewers, not because actual acting was required. 

Initially, the director didn’t want to cast Chris Evans because he was too fit. Malnourished from living in poverty, it would be hard for anyone to believe he was from the tail car. All the people there are frail. So, instead, he’s covered in clothing to hide his bulk. On that logic, I’d like to point out that he cast Octavia Spencer! No disrespect to her, but she’s a heavy-set woman. It’s the reverse logic of not wanting a physically fit person cast. After almost two decades on a train in squalor-like conditions, she’d be thinner. She’s the only plus-sized person I saw in that section. So back to my point about more Western eyeballs. 

Child labor in ‘Snowpiercer’ Image: Moho Films via the

The logic of this film makes zero sense. The train isn’t that big when you think about it or see shots of it. How is livestock raised or food for so many people aboard a train? How do you maintain the train? Where do the spare parts go, how do you make more? At what point do you run out of clothes, supplies in general, on a ride you can’t stop? How many people have to die every year to sustain everyone else? 

Now, cultures other than mine find eating insects acceptable, okay. What’s not okay is how it’s depicted in this film. Besides being excessively disgusting, where did they all come from? The squalor from the tail and the production/growth of food alone isn’t enough to generate that many insects frequently enough to be used as they are in this film. Remember, they are all dead outside the train. 

Protein bars for every meal in ‘Snowpiercer’ Image: CJ Entertainment via

If I, or you, were boarding this life-saving train on day one, one of the many questions I would want to be answered is, what about the tracks? This train rides around on one gigantic loop around the Earth; what keeps the tracks from freezing so much the train doesn’t derail after months or years? Everyone dies if too much snow blocks a section and stops the train. These are no small questions, and someone could have dreamed up an answer and brought it up with relative ease, but no. Instead, the audience is dropped into a story where the plot is to take the engine car or die trying. In a gritty, difficult to watch (camera work), violent hail Mary to overthrow an authoritarian dictator and his lackeys. 

As dystopian, apocalyptic-like, fate of humanity films go, Snowpiercer is a dull, thinly plotted, implausible train wreck despite the otherwise talented ensemble. It’s not worth the hype many gave it nor a place on anyone’s watchlist. 

-A Pen Lady