MOONFALL review

by Taylor T. Carlson


MOONFALL is directed by Roland Emmerich. It stars Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Pena, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, and Donald Sutherland Many years ago, astronaut Brian Harper lost his job with NASA following a mysterious encounter with an extraterrestrial entity during a Space Shuttle mission. When strange phenomena involving the Moon leads to what could spell the end of the world, Harper must team up with one of his former fellow astronauts and an eccentric amateur scientist to go into outer space, stopping the threat before it’s too late. How many times is Roland Emmerich going to put the planet in an apocalyptic situation? It’s a question that’s gone through the mind of many a moviegoer, and the execution of these cinematic experiences has always been a hit-and-miss one. MOONFALL is what it is. It’s a big, dumb sci-fi popcorn movie that delivers what it promises with solid effects and casting. If you want a more cerebral time at the movies, find another film, but if you want two hours of what Roland Emmerich does best, MOONFALL fits the bill. I’ll give Emmerich’s film credit for some solid casting, including Halle Berry as a former astronaut becoming a director at NASA, and Patrick Wilson as an astronaut who lost his gig following a scandal involving mysterious circumstances in outer space. The true standout of the film is John Bradley, who brings the movie much of its comic edge; the amount of laughs he generates is truly astonishing, and while I think this character would’ve been better off in another film (preferably a straight-up comedy), he was easily the best part of this film nonetheless. Sadly, Michael Pena is wasted in a role that doesn’t take advantage of his comedic talents, and Donald Sutherland is limited to a single scene where he does basically nothing; talk about a waste of a great actor! Roland Emmerich movies are big, dumb, and obvious, but they look and sound amazing. MOONFALL succeeds here, no questions asked. I saw the movie in the IMAX theater at AMC Town Square, and I won’t deny that it’s a treasure to look at and listen to, but should you choose to experience MOONFALL, you’ll want to do it with the biggest and best screen, as well as the best possible audio. The action sequences and scenes of an Earth being impacted by the events at hand look fantastic, and even if the movie’s anything but cerebral, it’s still plenty to look at and see. Of course, if you’re expecting anything off the beaten path when it comes to a Roland Emmerich film, MOONFALL won’t offer any real surprises. Some of the sequences of public paranoia in the wake of a potential apocalypse are relatable particularly with recent world events, but it’s ultimately a big loud mess, and the revelations and plot points brought about in the movie’s third act climax are a bit much to follow, even by Emmerich’s standards. You know what you’re getting here with MOONFALL if you’ve ever seen a Roland Emmerich film. It’s a popcorn movie, first and foremost. Science and space exploration play a role in the film, but it’s all smoke and mirrors. Whether you'll like MOONFALL or not depends on what you want in a film. If you want something scientific and thought-provoking, take your business elsewhere. But if you want a fun popcorn movie, it fits the bill.