Moonfall is a disaster epic by director Roland Emmerich. Emmerich’s work includes Independence Day, Godzilla (the terrible 1990s American version), and The Day After Tomorrow. Based on his resume, you should have an idea of what to expect from this sci-fi blockbuster.
Because, yes, the premise of the moon slamming into the Earth is dumb. It is very, very dumb. It’s also so dumb that it’s absolutely hilarious.
The Moon is Falling!
This is a picture that requires a ludicrously high level of disbelief to accept the very story being told. The moon is thrown off its orbit and is headed directly towards Earth. Perhaps it’s not a moon at all but rather a mega-structure of alien origin! And in an Emmerich movie, it very much is that!
Yes, it’s ridiculous. Yes, it’s a setup for a lot of big and loud sequences of explosions and action in space. Does that make it a bad movie? Well, that all depends on how numb you’ve grown to the Emmerich formula.
It should be noted that the truth about the moon is relayed by Donald Sutherland. If you’re familiar with the actor, you pretty much know the role he plays. If you don’t, think of every film you’ve ever seen him in and why he is usually present, especially in action-oriented pictures.
The Usual Tropes
If you’re familiar with Emmerich-style characters, the ensemble on display will be pretty par for the course. Patrick Wilson plays a disgraced astronaut who swore he saw an alien creature kill his partner on a space mission. He has since struggled with divorce and trying to keep his teenage son out of jail.
Halle Berry plays a NASA director who isn’t believed by the brass until it’s too late. She is also divorced but has a son who is more adorable. He asks such cute and innocent questions during this tough time as “Are we all going to die?”
And then there’s John Bradley as the loser conspiracy theorist who is proven right. He’s struggled with both work and social acceptance but is finally able to become a hero. Of course, he’ll still be awkward about it and make everything weird by mentioning his bodily functions when suiting up for the big mission to the stars.
Overblown Special Effects
The film itself is a laugh riot for how overblown it becomes. As the moon draws closer, the destruction mounts higher. Cities flood, buildings topple, gravity lessens, and oxygen leaves the planet. This leads to a lot of warped fast-and-loose disaster sequences, where space shuttles take off underwater and cars try to outrun the moon’s gravity distortion.
These scenes are intense, sure, but also incredibly laughable for how they’re staged. The wild nature of how physics is treated is enough to make any science professor cackle at the ridiculousness of it all. It’s also just a lot of fun watching Emmerich once more turn the Earth into a playground of destruction on a grand scale.
The Silly Twist
Moonfall comes with an incredibly silly twist that I’m tempted not to reveal despite how much the trailers have already spoiled. What I will say is that it involves aliens, artificial intelligence, and lots of fancy technology encased within the moon. Watching it all unfold is such a hoot!
I think what I love most is that all the exposition for why the moon is the way it is comes delivered from a child hologram. There’s something about making such a laughable third-act twist delivered by a kid that much more enduring. It feels like your offspring trying to spin a tale and make it up as they go along, making last-minute reveals and surprises.
It’s All Silly
There’s a very reassuring moment in such a movie that lets you know it’s not so much trying to make you laugh. In two scenes, John Bradley will praise Elon Musk and a disapproving groan washed over the theater. That’s a moment of comedy that fell so flat on its face.
But think about it! If that scene failed, how many other scenes of great thrills do you think failed at being nail-biters instead of humorous? It’s that little reassurance that makes me love this trainwreck of a disaster picture all the more.
Is it a guilty pleasure? That all depends on your definition and I don’t exactly consider that makes me enjoy myself a guilty experience. I had some of the biggest laughs in the theater at such absurdity and I hope there’s a midnight screening of this movie in the future for everyone else to share in the hilarity again.
Moonfall is a very, very, very, very dumb and silly movie. And I love it! It’s an uproarious, big-budget, overblown, poorly-acted, ridiculously-staged sci-fi disaster flick that is perfect for popcorn chomping.
The cries of the movie being stupid are irrelevant! If a film like this can make me belly-laugh hard and nearly fall out of my seat, that’s a winning formula in my book. What a fun Emmerich movie, proving that the director still has the right stuff to make the right movie that hits all the sweet spots of his filmmaking madness.
Did you see Moonfall in the theater? Was it absurd enough to be a comedy? How does it stack up next to other sci-fi films such as The Matrix Resurrections? Let us know in the comments below.
An absurd sci-fi disaster picture that is a lot of fun in an unintentional way.
- Absurd writing and situations.
- Grand special effects sequences.
- So bad it's good!
- Terrible acting.
- Elon Musk jokes are terrible.