The premise is solid. The title is a little direct but I like it.
On execution, things went a bit haywire.
“Moonfall,” as you can probably guess from the title, is about the moon…falling. NASA (mostly in the guise of astronaut-turned-big-wig Halle Berry) and a scruffy conspirator (John Bradley) notice that the moon has unceremoniously left its orbit. As you can imagine, this is a problem.
By the time we get to much of the action, however, things have become unnecessarily complex. It’s not a spoiler – the trailers reveal – to say that the moon’s erratic behavior implies alien interference; by the third act, the very nature of our celestial neighbor was revealed as a cover for thin scifi mythology.
Suddenly, we have to rehabilitate a disgraced astronaut (Patrick Wilson), visit a fatalistic old man (Donald Sutherland) for an explainer, find a decommissioned space shuttle, talk to half a dozen digital things to get updates. of the mission, explain what a “megastructure” is, lead the brave group of survivors through a mountain tunnel, break an astronaut’s son out of prison…
It continues like this. I am sorry; Wasn’t “the moon falling” enough for an image?
Director Roland Emmerich has spent 25 years steadily making this kind of effects-heavy entertainment worse. His 1996 hit “Independence Day” did it all right, balancing humor and action, creating likable and compelling characters, and teasing a story over several disastrous days. In 2004, he tried much the same thing, with diminished but still satisfying results, in “The Day After Tomorrow”.
He lost it again with the apocalyptic “2012”. Now it can still handle the occasional big picture – the moon still swooping over the Colorado mountains makes for a striking shot – but there’s no sense of character, pacing or drama.
Really, the moon doesn’t actually fall. It drifts more. This should be considered false advertising.
My rating: 4/10
“Moonfall” is now in theaters.