Roland Emmerich seems to really enjoy putting global destruction, and cardboard characters on the screen, and Moonfall is no different, but unlike 2012 , and Independence Day: Resurgence this one actually like a lot of fun, though there’s a bit of a stumble with the last third of the film, though there may have been no easy way out of that painted corner.
This time around we join a varied cast of characters, some solid actors, some not, to explore what happens when the moon seems to change it’s orbit, and begins spiraling in on the Earth, promising destruction, and most likely an extinction level event.
One disgraced astronaut, Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson), caught a glimpse of something during a doomed shuttle mission. He loses a fellow astronaut, and the shuttle commander, Jocinda Fowler (Halle Berry) was unconscious at the time, allowing NASA to continue a cover-up of something it knew about, and vilify Harper.
But when a conspiracy theorist, KC (John Bradley), following a truly fringe theory, that of the hollow moon, posts data to media platforms, the cat is out of the bag, and it seems Earth’s destruction is assured unless KC, Brian and Jocinda can not only get on the same page, but cime up with a plan to save everyone.
Including their kids, who get their own story thread, as they try to find their way to safety, even as destruction rains down upon them.
Of course, KC is right, and the moon is hollow, a megastructure, which may contain incredible secrets, but also contains an incredible threat to all mankind.
The entire budget for the film must be on the screen, as the effects are solid and enjoyable, and while I enjoyed the stuff with the main trio of actors, everyone else felt less than solid, and seem to barely inhabit their characters, pushing the narrative forward as much as they are able.
I won’t lie, I do like the idea of the hollow moon conspiracy theory ending up as the basis for a major Hollywood film, no matter how out there it may be. The discoveries our heroes make within the moon are kind of cool, but are oversimplified, and made even more so with the suggestion of who our ancestors were.
That’s neither here no there, as Emmerich’s film isn’t being held up for a theoretical debate, it’s being held up as a popcorn film. And for the most part it really succeeds, there are some continuity errors, and plot holes, but if you sign on for most of Emmerich’s films, you’re willing to take all of that in stride.
Say what you will, it does look pretty awesome. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the sense of fun, wonder and menace that ID4 had, it just races from one scene of destruction to the next, instead of letting us enjoy a sense of discovery.
But hell, for what it is, it’s a fun ride.