TL;DR – An interesting premise let down by a desperate need for at least another script pass
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a screening of this film
Moonfall Review –
One genre that I am always here for is the Disaster Movie. I like the exciting scenarios you can create, the engaging stories you can tell, or even just the wholesale destruction you can depict. Every part of this genre allows you to swing for the fences and create something interesting. Unfortunately, today, we got a film that took the safe option at every moment.
So to set the scene, on January 11, 2011, astronaut Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) was in space helping repair a satellite while Jocinda “Jo” Fowler (Halle Berry) watches on from the Endeavour as both engage in the banter that only happens from long-time colleagues. However, the mission is interrupted by an electrical interference as a presence attacks the shuttle before making a beeline to the Moon. Ten years later, Brian has been booted out of NASA for insisting it was an alien entity that damaged the mission. However, at the University of California, Irvine, Dr K. C. Houseman (John Bradley) made a terrible discovery that the Moon’s orbit has changed and heading towards Earth.
Well, look, there is a lot about this film that I didn’t like, but that is not to say that everything was a waste. First, the possibility that the Moon might not be the benign satellite it pretends to be is a fantastic idea. It takes something that is an unchanged constant in the world and makes it menacing. When the Moon gets closer to Earth and starts messing with gravity, it does lead to some exciting moments. I would have liked to see them do a bit more with it, but what it does is quite good. I did enjoy most of the third act, and I just wish the rest of the film had supported it as well as it could have been. Also, it was good that at least John Bradley knew what sort of film he was in.
Unfortunately, while this film is playing in an exciting space, it takes almost every safe option it can think of, leading to a dull presentation. At the very least, you can tell that the script desperately needed another pass. The dialogue in this film is a frustrating mess at times like people are talking past each other rather than at each other. This is particularly bad in the first act, which is also waylaid with the pacing of a snail. We know that the Moon is coming, and it will be bad, so all the faffing around before we got to that point felt like a waste of time, and there was a lot of it. Add to this a cast that feels mostly miscast or at least is acting for a different film, or in some cases straight up wasted. Overall, you feel frustrated by almost every decision throughout the film, which is not where you want to be in a movie like this.
In the end, do we recommend Moonfall? Unfortunately not. I honestly really wanted to like this film, for its interesting premiss if nothing else. However, as I walked out of this film feeling more frustrated than anything else. They took an interesting premise and then did nothing with it until almost the end. If you liked Moonfall, we would also recommend to you Geostorm.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Moonfall
Directed by – Roland Emmerich
Written by – Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser & Spenser Cohen
Music by – Thomas Wander & Harald Kloser
Cinematography by – Robby Baumgartner
Edited by – Adam Wolfe & Ryan Stevens Harris
Production/Distribution Companies – Huayi Brothers International, Huayi Tencent Entertainment International, Centropolis Entertainment, Street Entertainment, AGC Studios & Roadshow Films
Starring – Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Peña, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, Donald Sutherland, Eme Ikwuakor, Carolina Bartczak, Maxim Roy, Stephen Bogaert, Azriel Dalman
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: na; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13