Rent Moonfall on Amazon Video (paid link)
Written by: Roland Emmerich & Harald Kloser & Spenser Cohen
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Peña, Donald Sutherland
Watch the trailer
A mysterious force knocks the moon from its orbit and sends it hurtling on a collision course toward earth.
This is the very definition of recycled. This pulls from many of Emmerich’s other movies from scenes to plot structure. Typical of his movies this is a lot of mindless action and extensive CGI. The plot is thin, and like most of his movies it boils down to the world will be destroyed, watch people run. If you’ve seen any of this other movies this will seem very familiar. Really, you should watch any of his other movies instead of this.
Roland Emmerich movies focus on action to a fault, while frequently dealing with the end of the world, and a story built on tropes. Just a few examples are 10,000 BC, 2012, Midway, and Independence Day: Resurgence. I usually don’t like his movies, but even then I can’t help but watch a movie set in space.
I didn’t go back and check, but I’m really sure this opens in strikingly similar fashion to Gravity. This of course is a cheap knockoff. That’s the problem with much of the movie, it’s copying Emmerich’s other movies without even trying to do anything original. Watching the opening to this and Gravity shows the difference a writer and director can make for a movie.
Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) is a disgraced former astronaut, fired just so the movie can give him a redemption arc. It’s not clear why he was fired, other than a disagreement over why the mission failed, though no one can provide a credible answer. We see him working on a classic Ford Mustang in an image that looks cool, but it’s a shop that’s much too dark in which to actually work. If you think we’re shown the car for a reason and that it might reappear. It doesn’t.
|John Bradley, Patrick Wilson, Halle Berry play KC Houseman, Brian Harper, Jocinda Fowler|
Despite being disgraced, NASA invites Brian back on astronaut day. There he runs into KC Houseman (John Bradley), a conspiracy nut that actually believes Brian. Brian rejects him as a crackpot because this movie has time to fill. When it’s discovered the moon is falling and will hit Earth, NASA calls Brian back as he’s the only person that can complete the mission and attack the moon. Halle Berry is also in this. I’m not sure why.
I like the premise, tapping into conspiracy theories while making a disaster movie. It turns out the conspiracy theorists were right. After that it’s just recycled plots. I’m not sure there is anything in this movie that we haven’t already seen in another Emmerich movie. It seems the entire basis for this movie is cranking out a quick movie with barely any thought or creativity.
It’s funny that a movie depicting the end of the world and quite action packed is so boring, but this is just mindless action. There’s no reason to care for any of these characters. The action isn’t especially notable. This sets up multiple plot lines with the moon mission to save it, a military faction that wants to blow up the moon, and a family members lost in a crumbling world. There’s a Lexus commercial embedded in this as well.This plot structure certainly seems pulled from Independence Day. Unfortunately it’s not near as interesting.
Movies often fall into a trap when trying to explain the fantastical. Once we get to the moon this gets exposition heavy in an attempt to explain the plot. It’s not necessary. The explanation is needlessly complicated. What I imagined was much better than what I got.
Either Emmerich had a deadline to complete the script and waited to the last minute or he was looking for a quick paycheck. It’s interesting that the composer Kloser has four writing credits, three Emmerich movies and one TV movie. He’s scored more than a few of Emmerich’s movies.