Disgraced after a controversial space mission, former astronaut Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) is tracked down by Moon conspiracy theorist K.C. Houseman as played by John Bradley. -Why? Because the moon has fallen into a decaying orbit and will crash into the earth in less than three weeks. -And that’s not the half of it…
Moonfall knows it’s a B-movie. You know it’s a B-movie and Roland Emmerich has left all that Michael Bay flag-waving nostalgia stuff at home....
In fact, with Moonfall, director Roland Emmerich’s latest we’re-going-to-die ‘B’ movie you get the Independence Day director at his best and all too familiar.
There are good guys, bad guys and nuke-happy American generals and Patrick Wilson and fellow ex-astronaut Halle Berry are following an Armageddon-like of mission to save the world. Donald Sutherland gets a few seconds to wag a conspiratorial finger, but the film’s real charm belongs to John Bradley. In a role that is almost made-to-measure for Hot Fuzz’s Nick Frost, his bonkers megastructuralist waters down any heroism that might contaminate the fun ride vibe.
Sure, oceans rise and the sky catches fire as the moon’s gravity starts to pull the earth apart, but there are subplots aplenty to keep you focused during its two hours plus running time. -And that’s the strangest thing! Because for a Roland Emmerich movie, Moonfall occasionally feels like an intentional self-parody that veers almost towards subtlety. As the tsunamis etc. come and go, Moonfall lands somewhere between Geostorm and 1998’s Deep Impact. Not comic enough to be a full-on comedy and not po-faced enough to be a sci-fi drama, it fills an in-between space between the two.
However, in some ways that level of analysis doesn’t matter. This is because Moonfall is a film where everybody makes mistakes. Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes. Everybody’s doing it. In fact, the mistakes and challenges come so quickly that there’s really no time to get bored as the film barrels along. The special effects get deliberately more cheesy and yet they can be appreciated as the intentional strokes of a doomsday-like brush.
Ending with something akin to The Abyss: Special Edition meets 2001: A Space Odyssey, Moonfall knows it’s a B-movie. You know it’s a B-movie and this time Roland Emmerich has left all that Michael Bay flag-waving nostalgia stuff at home and Moonfall is a much better movie as a result.