What’s The Movie? Moonfall
What’s It All About, JG? The moon is falling towards the Earth. Now I know what you’re thinking – sounds credible! And it is! Turns out the Moon is, in fact, a megastructure placed there aeons ago by the ancestors of humanity as a kind of ark when AI became too self-aware and tried to wipe humanity out. A plucky band of plucky heroes pluckily try to stop them. You know the type – characters with so much depth and character development they might as well have been called Feisty Female, Butch Male, and Nerdy Redshirt. While they try and figure out the whole moon thing, a teenage boy (Butch Male’s son), an Asian woman who serves no plot function whatsoever but presumably helps with that all-important Chinese market, and Male’s ex-wife and new husband, have typical disaster-movie adventures – getting stuck under falling trees, getting carjacked by local yokels, trying to escape the end of the world by running away a bit – until the plot requires them to not do that any more. The moon gets pluckily fixed thanks to some other aliens and (massive sigh) an EMP device, at the cost of Nerdy Redshirt’s life, and, um, goes back into orbit, so all’s well that ends well, other than the vast unprecedented destruction. Oh but Nerdy Redshit isn’t dead after all, he’s been uploaded to the Moon’s AI, and now it’s time to get to work. Cue sequel? Er…
Why Did You Give It A Go? Because it looks spectacularly shit, in a hopefully Rifftrax/MST3K-worthy fashion. This is a bar that Roland Emmerich can sometimes hit, if not consistently, but rest assured there was no expectation that it would be actually good. Which is just as well. Also because I’ve developed this fascination with movies Halle Berry is in, whereby it becomes absolutely riveting to watch just how little effort she can put into something while still actually getting cast. This movie is, by some distance, the least she has ever put in across the entirety of her career (and, you know, she was in this piece of shit. And this one!), which is some achievement. Berry often seems like she’s acting in something entirely different across town, yet here she’s not even really acting at all. She’s not even really reading the lines either, just sort of saying them while other things happen in proximity to her. Its weirdly compelling to watch a genuinely talented actor (and someone who honestly I like) just do nothing. The sets outact her. Tellingly, though, none of the rest of the cast do – wooden doesn’t even come into it. If anyone’s trying a leg, it’s not showing on screen. Maybe Charlie Plumber is, as Teenage Boy, but if so then he’s just awful. Michael Pena is in this, in the thankless, joyless task of Ex-Wife’s New Husband. Why is anyone’s guess – don’t Marvel pay well? The rest are just interchangeable nobodies not worth dignifying with a name. If you think “bad acting + probably crap movie” isn’t the best of motives to see a movie, you’re not wrong, and getting stuck with Moonfall should be penance enough.
Is It Any Good? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha * deep breath * hahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Which is to say no. Of course it fucking isn’t. It’s absolute top-tier garbage, of the worst, laziest kind. A couple of the special effects look decent enough, there’s the odd moment that makes you think maybe something won’t be completely shit, then it is. This really is a movie crying out for the Rifftrax team, but even putting that aside, there’s a base level of competency that just isn’t present here. Sure the effects are OK, but they’re also OK in a very, “yes, and…?” sort of manner. I mean, we’ve seen it before. A bit of the Chrysler building in the middle of a snowdrift isn’t really impressing anyone any more. The Moon, looming and rolling over the horizon, looks as often as not like an angry billiard ball, come to take its revenge on Earth for unspecified reasons (did we leave a chalk mark on it or something?). It’s all just there. The adventures of Teenage Boy, Asian Lady and Estranged Family are just pointless beyond words and contain every stupid cliche under the sun. The military posturing about – Bowlpup help us – possibly nuking the moon is so stupid the word stupid itself would be insulted by being compared to it. The megastructure inside the moon has faint Doctor Who echoes – specifically, the virus-checker moon from Silence In The Library and the-moon’s-an-egg from Kill The Moon, but it’s not nearly as interesting as either of those two episodes, it’s just basic von Dänikenisms of the most hackneyed sort, just with moons rather than pyramids or whatever. You probably could do something interesting with that, but this movie doesn’t. Donald Sutherland turns up for one – one! – scene. Why? Good question! And on it goes. It’s easy to list the faults of this movie. Fun, too!
How Many Of These Have You Seen? Some but by no means all of Ronald Emmerich’s ouvre. They can be passingly entertaining or decent popcorn fare – Independence Day, most obviously – and they can be complete garbage. Hi, 1998 Godzilla! Yes, we see you there lurking in the shadows! Guess which of these extremes Moonfall comes closest to?
Would You Recommend It? Hahahaha… ah, you know how this goes. No, obviously not. I mean, with a few beers, a friend or two and the insatiable desire to take the piss then maybe you could wring a few measly drops of entertainment from this, but that’s about the best you’re going to manage. The annoying thing is that, around the time of Moonfall‘s release, Ronald Emmerich was doing the press circuit and was constantly touting, as one of this movie’s strengths, that it’s an original concept (well, “original”), not part of some existing IP to be bled dry, and that homogenisation under Marvel, DC, Star Wars et al was squeezing out original sci-fi ideas. And the thing is, he’s not wrong about that. It does often seem like the only sci-fi movies that get made are big franchise tentpole productions. One of the things Moonfall has in its favour – let’s be honest, the only thing Moonfall has in its favour – is that it’s not an existing franchise, and it’s trying to do its own thing. That’s… good. The film itself is complete dogshit, but you know – at least it took a swing. That, sadly, ends the list of things that could potentially be counted as a recommendation, so you know. Let’s just answer the rhetorical question with “no” and move on with our lives.
Scores On The Doors? 2/10