Moonfall is the latest movie from German writer/director Roland Emmerich, the man behind disaster blockbusters such as Independence Day, 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow. If you’ve seen the trailer for Moonfall, you’ll have gathered that this is yet another completely bonkers disaster movie from the guy who loves destroying things on a huge scale. And if all of that doesn’t put you off going to see it, then chances are you’ll end up having a lot of fun watching it unfold on the big screen. I certainly did.
The movie begins a decade ago, with astronaut Jocinda Fowl (Halle Berry) sitting in the cockpit of a small space shuttle while her colleague Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) is suited up and out in space carrying out some satellite repairs while he sings to himself. They share a bit of banter across radio, and everything all seems fairly routine. Until, and this is no spoiler because they’ve shown it extensively in the trailer, some kind of big black CGI cloud comes hurtling towards them, hitting hard. With the shuttle now spinning uncontrollably, Jocinda unconscious inside it, and another colleague floating off into deep space, it’s up to Harper to save the day.
Fast forward to the present day and life has changed considerably for the two survivors of that disaster. Turns out that nobody believed Harper’s wild claims about the strange entity, resulting in him being kicked out of NASA. Since then, things have gone from bad to worse – he’s divorced from his wife Brenda (Carolina Bartczak), their teenage son Sonny (Charlie Harper) has gone off the rails, oh and he’s about to be evicted too. Meanwhile, Jocinda has divorced from her military husband Doug (Eme Ikwuakor) and is living with her young son Jimmy (Zayn Maloney) and a Chinese exchange student, Michelle (Kelly Yu). However, as a result of being unconscious during their incident in space, Jocinda was unable to back up Harper’s account of events and managed to keep her job, now working her way high up the ranks within NASA. This is the half-hour or so that disaster movies need in order to introduce everyone so that we care about all the different relationships when the crap hits the fan later on.
That crap comes in the form of the moon, which has somehow been knocked out of orbit and is now heading gradually towards Earth. This shocking discovery is initially made by geeky conspiracy theorist KC Houseman (John Bradley), who believes that the moon is a hollow “megastructure”, something that was created by aliens for a purpose that’s way beyond our comprehension. Soon after KC makes his discovery and everyone he tries to convince just thinks he’s crazy, NASA comes to the same conclusion and things start to get serious. There’s a prediction of how much time we have left, which consequently proves to be a little out when another startling discovery is made.
It’s not long before the devastating effects of the moon falling are felt down on Earth, and that’s when the CGI really kicks in. Rising tides, shifting gravity and tectonic plates, something called “atmospheric disparition” and even a terrifying “gravity wave”. And the only team capable of flying to the moon and putting a stop to all this nonsense (and the only ones seemingly available to do so) are Fowl, Harper (reinstated by Fowl now that everyone knows he was right all along about the crazy alien cloud thing) and the guy who has no prior astronaut training or experience whatsoever, KC.
Moonfall is chock full of cheesy dialogue and the kind of “oh, come on!” moments that you fully expect from a movie like this, but Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson go all in with the script, lending it plenty of weight and credibility. John Bradley brings enough comic relief without being too annoying and the three of them make for an enjoyable team.
I feel that the trailers for Moonfall give away far too much, especially the most recent one which, I’m glad to say, I only saw after watching the movie. Consequently, I really wasn’t expecting it to double down on the craziness in the way that it did for the last 45 minutes or so. Down on Earth, the moon is now skimming the surface, with friends and relatives of our three heroes desperately trying to reach a bunker or some kind of safe spot while gravity plays havoc with everything around them and the air becomes too thin to breathe. Meanwhile, a spacecraft is heading more than twenty kilometres down a hole in the moon to try and wipe out a space entity that’s at the root of all of the chaos. The whole thing is utterly ridiculous and completely bonkers. But I absolutely loved it.
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Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.