The trailers for this film made me have mixed feelings about seeing the film but I like disaster movies so I decided to give it a chance. I went into the movie with all disbelief suspended and while the film is over the top and a mash-up of various science fiction concepts, it is also full of action, great special effects, dynamic acting, and just tons of fun to watch.
Moonfall is a science fiction disaster film co-written, directed, and co-produced by Roland Emmerich. In the movie, the moon is knocked off its orbit by a mysterious force. Two astronauts, Jo Fowler (Halle Berry) and Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) must work together with a conspiracy theorist, K.C. Houseman (John Bradley) to avert disaster and discover the moon is not what it appears to be. In the midst of their attempts, we also see the efforts of their families to survive the effects of the disaster long enough for the earth to be saved.
As I mentioned, it is best to suspend disbelief. While the film uses a variety of science fiction ideas, like Dyson’s spheres and ringworlds, all of those concepts are blended together and create something far different than you would expect, many times stretching scientific facts close to breaking. Yet, while those ideas are stretched, quite a few of them are used to great effect to explain the orbit of the moon and to create visually stunning special effects. It also uses technology in new ways to create a solution for the astronauts for the problem.
What I found worked best for me were the action elements. The film quickly engages you in the dilemma facing the earth and while the scientific effects are on the edge of what is believable, what is realistic is the effect of the disaster on society and the political aspects. Once the action starts, you end up on the edge of your seat watching each effect and enjoying each over-the-top explosion, including meteors flying out of the sky. The action keeps it fun, exciting and a blast to watch while the plot adds some unusual science fiction concepts that are a mix of new and old. And beyond the action, the dialogue is well written, adding moments of humor and poignancy to the story.
While in action films you don’t always get the best acting, this film is an exception. The acting is dynamic and the performances sell the ideas in the movie. Patrick Wilson is believable as former astronaut Brian Harper, both his love of his son, Sonny (Charlie Plummer), and his chemistry with Halle Berry as Jo Fowler. His interactions with Charlie Plummer are warm and loving. And when he says he’d do anything for his son, it’s believable. Halle Berry is equally skilled and portrays Jo as gutsy and smart. The humor between Patrick Wilson, Halle Berry, and John Bradley is relatable and a big part of what makes the film fun. John Bradley is incredible as K.C. Houseman. He comes across as smart, weird, but also a real person. The film also does a great job of building background and developing each of the characters.
What does limit the film are two factors. It is predictable to anyone who’s watched a disaster film and more importantly, there are too many random conveniences to how science and gravity work in the film that stretch the science to the very edge of authenticity. If you can let go of your disbelief and just enjoy the special effects and the concept of the movie, you will have fun and truly enjoy the film.
If you enjoy disaster films with a fun coating of science fiction, you might just love this film. It is very much Fast and Furious meets Battlestar Galactica in all the best ways. And while scientific facts might seem warped, they are only stretched to help build an interesting plot that has nuggets of truthful science fiction ideas within it. The cast is incredible, the chemistry fantastic, the action and special effects are just so much fun. It is in fact ludicrous fun.
Rating: 3.5 moons out of 5.
Official Website: Moonfall | Halle Berry | Official Movie Site | Lionsgate
In MOONFALL, a mysterious force knocks the Moon from its orbit around Earth and sends it hurtling on a collision course with life as we know it. With mere weeks before impact and the world on the brink of annihilation, NASA executive and former astronaut Jo Fowler (Academy Award® winner Halle Berry) is convinced she has the key to saving us all – but only one astronaut from her past, Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson, “Midway”) and a conspiracy theorist K.C. Houseman (John Bradley, “Game of Thrones”) believes her. These unlikely heroes will mount an impossible last-ditch mission into space, leaving behind everyone they love, only to find out that our Moon is not what we think it is. MOONFALL opens in theaters Friday, February 4, 2022.
ONE-LINER: In 2022, Humanity will face the dark side of the Moon.