Review by Adam Donato
King of disaster movies Roland Emmerich is still at large and this just might be his dumbest entry yet. Moonfall is a movie about what the title suggests. There is some kind of space entity that causes the moon to change its orbit and threatens to make an impact on the Earth. This story was written with longtime partner Harald Kloser and no it is not known what they were on when they concocted this idea. With heavy hitters like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Morbius fleeing the box office scene in light of the surging COVID-19 cases, Moonfall looks over at Jackass Forever and proudly declares “hold my beer!” Is there any justification for this movie to be relevant today?
It's funny that this is sharing the weekend with Jackass, when last week saw no new releases. It’s understandable to be as far out of range from Spider-Man: No Way Home as possible, but the target audience for Moonfall and Jackass Forever is a Venn diagram that looks dangerously like just one circle. Both movies have the appeal of watching something that’s dangerous and stupid. The only difference is teens can go see Moonfall without their parents. With the quality of the movie being as such, maybe the studio wouldn’t mind if this movie flew under the radar. As the real world faces a pandemic, maybe a moonfall apocalypse would really put things into perspective. Hate wearing a mask? Well, one of the characters dies in the movie because their mask stops working.
The movie is a mess. Classic Emmerich writing a movie where there’s too many unnecessary characters to focus on. The main characters having their own individual families for the audience to separately follow makes this movie way longer than it needs to be. Imagine cutting the family’s subplots in favor of bolstering the main characters. Too bad Emmerich is only capable of producing the most stereotypical characters. The only character that held any type of emotional weight was KC played by John Bradley, the crazy rogue who blogs about conspiracy theories. His jokes are corny and he’s rather annoying, but by the end of the movie he’s the only character who really felt like they had an arc. Brian and Jocinda, played by Patrick Wilson and Halle Berry respectively, were both just on a mission, whereas KC’s entire life changed.
Speaking of the cast, this movie really gives off the vibe that these were not the first choices to headline this movie. Patrick Wilson is actually a good actor, but this role feels like it was written for Chris Pratt. Halle Berry is a shell of the star she used to be. The role feels like something that could just as easily been done by a more relevant actress today like Zoe Saldana. This theory is punctuated by the fact that one of the three current entries on the IMDb trivia indicate that the role of KC was intended for Josh Gad. Not to mention, Emmerich is already a dollar store version of Steven Spielberg. It might be more accurate to describe one of Emmerich’s movies as a Spielberg movie directed by Michael Bay. Big dumb action, coupled with boring and obnoxious characters, throw in some kids and a divorce situation, science mumbo-jumbo, sci-fi adventure, and cringy jokes. It’s a bad movie that is desperately trying to be a crowd pleaser.
That being said, all audiences want from this movie is to revel in its stupidity. They don’t mind if the characters aren’t interesting and prefer the more obnoxious ones. It’s a disaster movie so there better be a bunch of city-destroying natural disasters. This movie delivers exactly what it advertises. Want to see something insanely dumb? Here’s a movie about the moon falling. Make sure not to put too much thought into the title by the way. It’s not too excessively long. Crazy disasters are happening left and right. It’s a movie made for the “turn your brain off” or the “so bad that it’s good” crowds. Whoever wins, we lose.
While disaster movies deserve to be a genre, seldom so are they of any real substance. Have a couple drinks and laugh every time they cut to the moon with this impending doom music. Nothing in this movie matters at all. It’s trash, but there’s an audience for that. Just hope the box office is lackluster enough to justify not making a sequel.
Moonfall hits theaters on February 4.