The Moon Has Fallen And It Can’t Get Up

K.C. Houseman (John Bradley), Jocinda Fowler (Halle Berry), and Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) discuss the fate of Earth in the sci-fi epic MOONFALL. Photo Credit: Reiner Bajo

By Paul Hall

What if? I believe those two words are at the center of most science-fiction and disaster-based action movie pitches. For the new film Moonfall, in theaters now, the question is —what if the moon was heading on a collision course toward Earth? What would you do?

Jocinda Fowler (Halle Berry) and Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) are veteran NASA astronauts. After a horrific accident on a mission, the two incredible friends headed off in vastly different directions. The accident was laid at Harper’s feet and Fowler climbed the ladder within NASA, leading to two very different careers.

Ten years after the accident, a discovery is made — the moon’s orbit is shrinking and it is on a collision course with Earth. While NASA gets the news and keeps it quiet, one man has figured it out as well. KC Houseman (John Bradley) is thought of as a bit of a crackpot, but his theories are verified by data, and when no one wants to listen, he becomes an anonymous source, leaking his results to the media.

It will take forgiveness, thinking outside of the box and maybe even a decommissioned space shuttle to get back to the moon and prevent the destruction of the world.

I really enjoy a good disaster movie. Epic action diversions that are crazy and unrealistic can produce an incredibly fun experience. So, you can imagine how excited I was to see how Director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Godzilla, 2012) handled this project. I hate to write it, but this disaster film is in itself a bit of a disaster.

While quality talent is in play for Moonfall, the cast is all relegated to roles that allow for zero growth, zero hero worship and zero fun. The story is an amazingly ridiculous tale of conspiracy, cover-up, disaster and the moon.

I know what you are thinking — but Paul, the effects and the action are great, right?

Wrong. The effects feel unfinished and amateurish. Never once did I believe that this was destruction on a major level. Even scenes that were simply shot in front of an obvious green screen felt cut and pasted into place and not smoothed out in their positioning to complete the effect.

Maybe I expected more from a film with Emmerich at the helm. I was severely mistaken. Could this make for late-night viewing fun, in a midnight movie kind of way? Sure, but that’s about it. Your brain may explode more than the moon if you think too much during Moonfall. None of the science feels right, the effects are underwhelming, the acting muted, and I came away severely let down.

I’ve already scrubbed the memory of Moonfall from my mind. Maybe you can avoid the experience and wait for a different film to lift off.

Paul’s Grade: C- / D+

Rated PG-13
Stars: Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Peña, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, Donald Sutherland
Director: Roland Emmerich