Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Written by Alexander Reams
There has been a lot of criticism towards comic book films, from the infamous Martin Scorsese comments that sent fanboys and film twitter into a spiraling fight that gets more ludicrous and even more hilarious the longer it goes on, to the recent comments by “old man” Ridley Scott (quotes courtesy of film twitter in all their genius). Now disaster movie god Roland Emmerich has spoken out against these films as well. This has been a tad confusing though, given the majority of his filmography is a schlockfest, and that’s putting it nicely, personally, I still have nightmares from “Independence Day: Resurgence”. As he is saying these, let’s call them, interesting comments, he is releasing his latest entry into his “how to destroy the world” series.
After seemingly burning his Hollywood bridges after “Resurgence”, Emmerich went independent, with his best film in a long time, “Midway”. Once again he is making an “independent” film, independent with a $140 million budget. Bringing one of his previous co-conspirators from “Midway” with him, giving Patrick Wilson a lead role in a big-budget disaster film sounds like a fantastic idea, and unfortunately only partially pays off. Along with Wilson, Emmerich brings “Midway” composer Harald Kloser, who is pulling triple duty here in sharing a screenplay credit, producing, and scoring the film. The script is as paint-by-numbers as it goes. I can’t and won’t wax lyrical about this script that feels factory-made, but not new, from the discarded scraps of other films. Wilson is disgraced astronaut Brian Harper, we find out why in the actually good?! opening scene, and from there the film kicks off its convoluted mess, there’s tension between Harper and Halle Berry’s Jo Fowler (who is more committed here than in her directorial debut “Bruised”) due to past drama, Wilson meets a conspiracy theorist, K.C. Houseman (John Bradley, who finally gets another chance to shine), who is of course right about everything and nobody believes him.
I find it mildly hypocritical that Roland Emmerich would say superhero films are ruining the industry when his new film is about saving the world from the moon falling on the Earth. Films like this and “Independence Day: Resurgence” are a plague to the industry, taking good actors and turning them into puppets for Emmerich to use to fulfill his disaster movie wishes. There are bad movies, and then there are Roland Emmerich films, they show so much potential and yet fail so spectacularly. There is a stark difference with “Moonfall”, the trailers gave no hope, and neither does the first half of the film. There is no hope until Berry, Wilson, and Bradley reach space, and even then it’s very middling, for every moment where the film could become good, it tanks itself twice over. That is the overall theme of the film, tanking itself twice over, it’s not just disappointing, but it’s also a waste, there are some good, near great moments, but it’s constantly screwing itself over, it’s just bad, really bad.
“Moonfall” is in wide theatrical release.