When news of the latest kaboom-fest from Roland Emmerich was due to land, I genuinely had mixed emotions. Emmerich had been semi-regularly bombarding our multiplexes with ridiculous, high-concept, blockbuster disaster epics since he scored big with Independence Day, but his recent output suggested that he’d lost what knack he arguably once had. Independence Day: Resurgence was probably the worst film he had ever made – which was disturbing seeing as he’d already made the film once before in the form of the of the original – but hope persevered in the form of a premise that’s so manically silly you wonder how the hell the damn thing was even pitched. I mean, it’s not everyday you get to watch a movie by about the moon trying to fucking kill us…
Back in 2011, hotshot astronauts Brian Harper and Jocinda Fowler are the only survivors after a freak attack interrupts a routine space shuttle mission and years later, after being made the scapegoat, Fowler is a washed up drunk who somehow still has rocking abs despite there being nothing in his fridge but booze. His marriage has long since collapsed, his son is about to be thrown in jail for GTA (the actual crime, not the game) and he’s grown bitter as NASA promoted Josinda for playing ball – but soon, Brian’s expertise in…. witnessing weird space stuff..? is going to be vital as uber conspiracy theorist K.C. House man has made a shocking discovery. The moon is out of orbit and is twirling toward us in an ever decaying orbit which mean that after three weeks of natural disasters, violent changes in gravity and presumably no fifth season of Cobra Kai, our faithful satellite turned planet killer will break up and rip the Earth to pieces. On top of this, he also claims that the moon isn’t a moon at all but is something called a mega structure, a massive space body that has been purposefully built with a star harnessed as a power source for some unknown reason.
While K.C. tries to get everyone to listen by being bumbling comic relief (probably not the best tactic) everyone rushes around trying to make sure their families are taken care of, Josinda stumbles upon the facts that prove that the moon is the biggest conspiracy ever and that their was plans in place for a counter attack that was shelved due to budget reasons. Roping Brian and K.C. into the mission, the trio decide to launch for the moon in an attempt to stop whatever is happening from happening.
Meanwhile, back on not so firm terra firmer, the loved ones of the lead characters have to endure the usual Roland Emmerich gauntlet of driving really fast away from or through a succession of tsunamis, earthquakes and dips in gravity as our heroic trio discovers just what the fuck is going on with our moon.
Featuring more jaw dropping instances of stupidity than an episode of the Weakest Link featuring the Jackass crew, Moonfall is nearly overwhelmed with the sheer amount of cocaine-fueled, blockbuster gobbledygook on display here. Featuring a script so balls out ludicrous it must have been written by one of the weed sucking, wacked out conspiracy theorists that the movie openly mocks/salutes, you get the suspicious feeling that at this point in his career, Emmerich is now just taking the piss and trolling the human race just to see how fucked up he can make his filmography. The plot is overcooked tripe, the characters are more farfetched than the premise and multiple set pieces play like a greatest hits reel from the veteran city smashed – but here’s the thing, maybe it’s because my brain refused to take literally anything I watched seriously or maybe I was in a forgiving mood, but I personally found Moonfall to flat out hilarious from beginning. Now, I’m pretty sure Emmerich intended for his latest epic to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but surely he can’t have meant for things to be this dumb.
The first half of the film is your standard disaster movie shenanigans that brazenly contains all the tropes you’d expect from this type of gigglsome trash; fallen hero, jittery science weirdo, tough woman thrust into taking charge, bland ex-wife, peril-prone kids and a shitty new husband (inexplicably played by an impressively slumming Michael Peña), while the second goes full sci-fi as the director seems to want to include any ideas he had left over since it seems we’re not getting a third Independence Day any time soon. Alien A.I., a giant, killer swarm of nanobots that look like the worm from Dune is going through a goth phase and nothing less than the very origin of all life on Earth is clumsily utilised as the bastard movie stubbonly just keeps getting bigger and bigger – and looming over it all like the Death Star but with acne, is the moon itself, causing gravity shifts that causes people to jump like Super Mario Bros. and makes the action scenes even more farfetched that you could ever believe.
The actors remain heroically stoic (both Patrick Wilson and Halle Berry can do this in their sleep – and in Berry’s case, I think it’s literal), while the character of K.C. is the latest in a string of science savvy conspiracy nuts that manage to triumph over conventional science. Think Brian Tyrese Henry in Godzilla Vs Kong was the last word in hefty, comic relief conspiracy theorists Someone better hold John Bradley’s beer because the former Games Of Thrones actor works overtime to deliver an unending stream of exposition/goofy jokes that (and again, I’m surprised at this) turns out to be oddly endearing, despite how off-putting it all should be.
The critics will savage it like rabid dogs and maybe they’re right to – but I’m not exactly sure how else a movie about the moon trying to kill us is supposed to play. The trailer, the synopsis, hell, even the poster all warned us that Moonfall was going to be as impossible to take seriously as freakin’ Airplane and you can’t say it didn’t deliver. Jesus, it even has the brass balls to hint at a possible sequel.
An endless swirl of sci-fi/disaster bollocks that if you’re on its level, will have you laughing your ass off but if you aren’t, will feel like a 2 hour descent into hell, Moonfall is a braindead space romp that has uses its stunning lack of self awareness (having a conspiracy theorist be a hero during the greatest period of misinformation in the world’s history?) to take aim and shoot for the damn moon.