Hit-and-miss disaster movie-monger Roland Emmerich sadly churns out the latter – in this ‘bonkers’ sci-fier.
For every (fairly) well-received Independence Day, Day After Tomorrow and The Patriot in his directing library, he has an Independence Day: Resurgence, Midway or 2012 to bring down the quality of his CV.
And unfortunately, Moonfall brings it down even more.
First hearing about the movie there was seemingly an interesting premise if something ‘naturally in space’ had made the moon move out of its orbit and slowly come careering towards the planet – ending life as we know it. Something mildly more realistic.
But no, it’s actually one of the most far-fetched movies of Emmerich’s career – and that’s saying something – as some alien element had to get in on the action.
The movie starts with best friend astronauts Brian Harper (The Conjuring’s Patrick Wilson) and Jo Fowler (Oscar-winner Halle Berry) apparently experiencing some ‘dark alien matter’ on a satellite recon mission on the far side of the moon a decade ago. Which led to Harper being discredited – causing his life to fall apart in the process – when their shuttle malfunctions and another fellow astronaut dies in the process.
Jump forward ten years and crazy space conspiracy theorist KC Houseman (The Game of Thrones’ John Bradley) has spotted the orbit of the moon changing - even before NASA do - with its new trajectory sending it crashing to earth in a matter of weeks.
Then in the usual stereotypical Emmerich formula, a space crew – led by now NASA director Fowler, the formerly disgraced Harper, and civilian Houseman – head on a totally incomprehensible mission, while a group of people including Harper’s son (Charlie Plummer), his Mum (Carolina Bartczak), Step-Dad (Ant-Man’s Michael ‘what the hell are you doing starring in this?’ Pena), Fowler’s son and his nanny (Kelly Yu) fight for survival on the ground.
So very Independence Day-esque. But just nowhere near as much fun as that 1996 ‘guilty pleasure’.
What conspires is the leads – particularly Wilson and Bradley – trying to do their best to not only battle the bewildering anarchy all around them, but copious amounts of formulaically bad dialogue. Which is mainly left for Berry to deliver.
Even a token Donald Sutherland cameo seems embarrassingly shoe-horned in for credibility. Hardly like his legendary token role in JFK.
So despite pockets of entertainment, it simply doesn’t come off – and doesn’t even end up in that ‘so bad it’s good’ category.
And after being one of the most expensive independently-funded films ever made combined with its massively underwhelming box-office opening weekend – this is sadly an epic disaster movie for all the wrong reasons.
Quite the fall from grace Mr Emmerich...
ESP Rating: 2/5
Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Halle Berry, John Bradley, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, Michael Pena, Eme Ikwuakor, Carolina Bartczak & Donald Sutherland
Running Time: 2 Hrs 10 Mins
Director: Roland Emmerich
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