Moonfall is unintentional comedy at its best.
Published on February 11, 2022
Rating 3 /5
Would it really surprise anyone to state the obvious with Roland Emmerich’s Moonfall being a dumb movie? After all, it’s a disaster movie about the moon crashing into the Earth. Emmerich is no stranger to making big and dumb movies such as Independence Day and Godzilla. On that basis, Moonfall may be his most entertaining of recent movies aiming to be the biggest, dumbest, loudest movie you will ever see on the big screen. And, oh, how beautifully ridiculous it is!
The premise is simple in its idea yet absurdly over-the-top in its assembly. It’s the familiar format of misfits taking on the task of saving the Earth. The right staff for this job includes the disgraced astronaut Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson), the underappreciated NASA director Jocinda "Jo" Fowler (Halley Berry), and the loser wannabe-scientist of K.C. Houseman (John Bradley). All of them have families that fuel their desires to save the world. Brian has a teenage son who is in trouble with the law, Jo has a son she wants to protect, and K.C. wants his ailing elder mother to be proud of him for once. All of them know something that NASA and the government do not, whether it's Brian’s encounters with an alien life form during a previous mission in space or K.C.'s obsession with the direction of the moon being off.
Everything about this movie oozes that familiar assembly of Emmerich tropes. You have the annoying step-dad played by Michael Peña who will sacrifice himself to prove his love. You have the aggressive military commanders who are very much in favor of blowing up the moon with nukes, despite all scientific evidence suggesting that’s a horrible idea. You have the ridiculous science logic being thrown out the window in favor of conspiracy theories. And it just wouldn’t be an Emmerich sci-fi disaster picture without some aliens thrown into the mix.
Of course, the biggest draw for such a film is going to be the spectacle and all of the disaster hallmarks are present. You’ve got flooding cities where our heroes struggle to swim through the tsunami of waves that terrorize the coast. You’ve got buildings being launched into the air and explosions to abound as cars race away from falling debris. You’ve even got a space shuttle taking off while the warped gravity leads to a launch underwater. The sci-fi twist of what’s inside the moon is, even more, overblow than you think it is as well.
The piling on of so many familiar disaster movie trademarks coupled with the so-bad-it's-good script just had me in tears. I could not stop laughing at just how much more bizarre this movie became, reaching epic levels of laughable twists for its deus ex machina of a climax. The loose logic of how the moon plays with gravity and oxygen levels is uproarious, where characters will have to spout this exposition and you’ll just have to accept this. Oh, and any line where the moon is treated like a monster had me in stitches.
Moonfall is unintentional comedy at its best. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a film so overblown with stupidity that I loved it so much. In case you were unaware if Emmerich’s comedy was intentional, there’s some dialogue where K.C. will unironically champion Elon Musk, bringing about groans in the audience. It’s just a reminder that some of this silliness is lightning in a bottle. I don’t think you could make a more absurd and laugh-inducing disaster epic if you tried and Emmerich once more proves why he’s a master of the genre.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.