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?
Besides Moonfall giving off watered-down Independence Day, Day After Tomorrow, Armageddon, 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!
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!
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