Roland Emmerich is well-known as a filmmaker who knows how to destroy things. He’s the writer and director of almost every disaster movie made over the last 20 years that didn’t involve superheroes or kaiju (although he did direct the 1998 Godzilla film).
Now, Emmerich is back with his latest extinction level event, and we’re here to tell you all about it in our Moonfall review.
There are a few things most people can agree on when it comes to a Roland Emmerich film. There’s going to be a lot of destruction, nothing is going to make sense, science should be completely left out of it, and you’re generally going to have a lot of fun.
Of course, you have to turn your brain off to really enjoy a Roland Emmerich film, but that shouldn’t be too hard given the current state of the world.
In Moonfall, Jocinda Fowl (Halle Berry) is a former astronaut that used to work for NASA alongside Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson). After a routine mission goes wrong, the two lose touch. Ten years later, it’s discovered that the moon is not in its normal orbit, and could impact the Earth.
Now, these two must put aside their differences and work together to save the planet. That’s the general premise of Moonfall, but it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is the moon is about to crash into the Earth, lots of things are going to be destroyed, and there are a trio of characters who are tasked with stopping it.
The third person in that trio is Megastructurist (that’s his actual title), KC Bradley (John Bradley). The first half of Moonfall is all set up. This feels like other cosmic annihilation films, mimicking what you’d see in Armageddon or Deep Impact, only without the great character development of those films.
The main trio of characters get a fair amount of character development, but everyone else in the film is left out and gets almost no development at all. The lack of character development causes an issue in the second half of the film when the audience is supposed to care about the secondary characters as the film bounces back and forth between the moon and Earth.
Unfortunately, since they didn’t spend any time building up these characters, what happens to them doesn’t really matter all that much. This includes a woefully underused Michael Peña as Lexus dealership owner, Tom Lopez. By now you should know if you like Roland Emmerich movies or not.
Moonfall doesn’t stray too far from Emmerich’s usual formula. Turn your brain off, ignore science, and watch some stuff get blown up. That’s the checklist for a Roland Emmerich film, and that’s basically Moonfall in a nutshell.
Despite the Earth being on the verge of annihilation, there isn’t as much destruction as you’d find in other Emmerich films. Very few global landmarks are destroyed, and most of the cities survive, or get destroyed off screen.
In exchange for the slightly smaller level of destruction, the second half of the film actually works pretty well. You care about the characters in space, and the story is somewhat compelling. If you enjoy Emmerich’s other films, Moonfall is likely right up your alley.
However, if you’re not a big fan of his work, Moonfall isn’t going to change your mind. It’s not his worst film, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the first Independence Day. There’s no post-credits scene, so you can skip 10 minutes of credits and ease the two hour runtime a bit.
The three main characters get decent development throughout the film.
Mostly the same level of destruction and special effects Emmerich is known for.
The second half of the film is fairly enjoyable.
The two hour runtime doesn’t feel long at all and the film moves along briskly.
Science does not apply… AT ALL.
None of the secondary characters get any development.
The first half of the film drags a bit while it’s setting everything up.
Michael Peña is completely wasted.
Score: 6.5 out of 10