Moonfall is a 2022 science fiction disaster film co-written, directed, and produced by Roland Emmerich. Starring Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Peña, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, and Donald Sutherland, the movie follows two former astronauts alongside a conspiracy theorist who discover the hidden truth about Earth’s moon when it leaves its orbit and set to collide with the Earth.
S P O I L E R S
Overall, it’s fair to say that Moonfall is a typical B-grade movie, stealing tropes from superior films to deliver familiar plot points but updated to a certain extent for a modern context. A sharp movie goer will easily pick up references to Armageddon, Interstellar, The Matrix trilogy and Emmerich’s own filmography (viz. Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow) throughout this heavy effects-laden scifi-inflected disaster film.
Thus the plot on Moonfall comes across like a hodgepodge with the first act moving an incredible pace, packing in as much exposition as is possible for the unwary viewer to absorb. What we get first is a backstory from 2011, where astronauts Brian Harper (Wilson) and Jocinda Fowler (Berry) survive an attack by a mysterious swarm during a space mission, which kills one of their team members. Harper is blamed for the mishap – his account is discredited and when Fowler fails to defend him during the investigative hearings, Harper is fired.
A decade later, KC Houseman (John Bradley) – a conspiracy theorist – believes that the moon is a megastructure and is about to collide with the Earth, seeks to enlist the aid of Harper (a disgraced ex-astronaut) and Fowler (now, NASA deputy director) but is rebuffed. When what Houseman predicts come to pass, it seems already too late as the Earth suffers the destructive effects of the moon falling out of orbit.
Yet somehow – all rather conveniently – the trio hatch a plan to destroy the mysterious swarm, despite virtually having no support from the US government whatsoever! Their mission fails but while encountering the mysterious swarm, they gain access inside (!) the moon which proves Houseman’s hypothesis. Now, here’s where everything gets trippy. The moon was built by our ancestors billions (!) of years ago to save humanity in a war against artificial intelligence (AI) that turned on its own creators. Thus, by the third act, the (good) AI made by our ancestors provide our heroic trio with the means to destroy the evil AI (the swarm, of course). Talk about deus ex machina!
Utterly preposterous but Moonfall is so bad it’s good is the most accurate way to describe the experience of watching this visually-rich narrative mess of a movie. Once can certainly imagine the possibilities for sequels but considering that Moonfall was a colossal box office flop, that is highly unlikely. But definitely catch this movie disaster for (unintentional) laughs.
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