"Moonfall" stars Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Peña, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, and Donald Sutherland. Released on February 4, 2022, the film has humanity facing an unexpected threat in the form of the moon.
The film is directed by Roland Emmerich, who also directed films such as "Universal Soldier", "Independence Day", "2012", and "Midway". When the Earth is on the verge of destruction, it usually means one thing: Roland Emmerich. Following the dreaded snooze fest that was January, we've finally reached the month where the new releases get a little more interesting. By that, I mean a little more destructive. This latest movie sees Emmerich returning to the science fiction disaster genre that made him a household name. While his films centering on Earth's impending doom may not be great (save for "Independence Day"), it's easy to admit that they mostly succeed in delivering mindless entertainment, for better or worse. This film seeks to be no exception as Emmerich plans to wreck stuff up with…the moon. Yeah, as if 2012, climate change, and a giant lizard weren't enough to tear our planet apart. While I did have some concerns going into the film, there's no doubt in my mind that I was in a mood for some blockbuster action and destruction. But are they enough to kickstart 2022 with a bang? Let's find out.
The story centers on a group of characters: disgraced astronauts Jocinda Fowler (Berry) and Brian Harper (Wilson) and conspiracy theorist K. C. Houseman (Bradley). When they discover that the moon is knocked from its orbit and heading towards Earth, they must work together to prevent the disastrous outcome. During their mission, they find that the moon is housing something far more sinister than they thought. The thing to know about disaster movies, especially those from Emmerich, is that they're big, loud, explosive, CGI-heavy, and absurd. They're the types of films that want people to not overthink about their plots and just enjoy the mayhem. Unsurprisingly, "Moonfall" happens to fit into that category. As usual, Emmerich managed to deliver the goods in its destructive sequences and visual effects. The storyline, however, will heavily depend on what you want out of it. If you go into "Moonfall" seeking an award-winning script and strong character development, there's a good chance you'll feel like wanting to launch yourself to the moon. Regarding the screenplay, the film offers little to nothing new to its "been there, done that" formula, and the characters themselves weren't exactly full of depth either. In short, if you've seen Emmerich's previous disaster films like "The Day After Tomorrow" and "2012", then you'll immediately know what to expect from "Moonfall" narrative-wise. However, if you go into it seeking a fun and ridiculous piece of escapism, you'll find yourself mostly impressed with the result. I'm more on the side of the latter as I found myself having a good time watching this silly big-budget sea of destruction. Yes, it severely lacked a great substance underneath its chaotic CGI-filled whirlpool, but as a film that accepts its silliness and blockbuster antics, it's a fun ride. While the characters didn't make much of an impact, they're backed up nicely by the film's cast of talented actors. Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson delivered suitable performances as Jocinda and Brian, respectively. John Bradley from "Game of Thrones" fame also did surprisingly well as Houseman. What could've been the most annoying part of the film turns out to be the opposite, thanks to Bradley's combination of humor and heart. I'm not kidding. He was an absolute delight to watch. Unfortunately, the supporting cast didn't fare as much as the main characters, especially Charlie Plummer. His performance as Brian's son Sonny sounded very stiff during a few sequences, resulting in his scenes feeling less engaging than the ones involving the primary characters. Michael Peña And Kelly Yu as Tom Lopez and Michelle, respectively, made an okay effort in their roles, but it's not enough for them to make their characters intriguing. The visual effects in "Moonfall" are pretty much the only reason to watch it on the largest screen possible, especially when it comes to its scope. Some may argue that the CGI may not be 100% perfect, and I can understand why. Nevertheless, they did wonders in visualizing the grandness of Earth's destruction and the film's action sequences. Emmerich may not be a masterful storyteller, but he does know how to portray humanity's impending doom through its visual scope.
Overall, "Moonfall" continues Roland Emmerich's trend of destruction over substance with an out-of-this-world ride that's heavy on the ridiculousness and less on the narrative. While it doesn't add anything new to its formula, the film is a tolerable experience that's worth a watch on the big screen, thanks to its cast, fun sequences, and decent visuals. If you can get past its formulaic screenplay, average characters, and ludicrous plot, chances are you might have a swell time watching it as well. Although, that might not be enough to make you remember it for the rest of the year due to the other promising blockbusters coming out soon.