Moonfall is a big, dumb movie, that I enjoyed on a big awesome screen, with a big, stupid grin on my face the whole time. It’s the type of movie that is so silly that the crowd both laughs at the movie and with it. Honestly, it felt like my first pure fun moviegoing experience since The Before Times, before COVID upended everything that we thought was normal. It’s the kind of Hollywood nonsense that we all need right now. And, yes, I may have been the person cupping my hands around my mouth during the opening credits and bellowing at the screen, “MOOOOOON-FALLLLL!”
Moonfall is the type of movie where the moon slips out of orbit and it is up to a disgraced astronaut (Patrick Wilson), a conspiracy theorist (John Bradley), and the brand-new head of NASA (Halle Berry) to save the day. They borrow a retired Space Shuttle from a museum, get it wheeled to the Hollywood Hills, flick some switches, and fly to the moon. Just like that!
You are correct that this is one of those movies that not only defies logic, but reinvents it as well. It has the full potential of being the length of a bloated Marvel-length epic, but clocks in at a clean two hours because it eschews any sort of logical transitions between events, any sense of distance or time, and barely bothers with character-building. Who needs all that space filler (no pun intended) when it’s the end of the world and you have a fat special effects budget?
Instead, we get to enjoy eye-popping visuals like:
- Chunks of the moon’s crust flaking off and hurtling towards Earth with each orbit
- An illustration of the theory that the moon is, in fact, a hollow, alien-made construct
- A “gravity wave” that threatens to overwhelm and drown the shuttle as it takes off
- People, cars, tractors, etc. getting sucked into the air as the looming, ever-closer moon rises over the horizon
- Los Angeles getting swept away in an epic moon tide that is never mentioned again
- And more!
Needless to say, there is a lot of good stuff in here. Patrick Wilson and John Bradley seem to be having some fun, while Halle Berry’s Oscar-eyes are constantly welled up from emotion, or perhaps regret, from carrying the emotional heft of the film. There are peripheral families on the fringes so that our leads can have someone to hug at the end, and of course they all have an inexplicable survival rate compared to most civilization.
So, if you are craving escapism, get thee safely to a theater, sit back, and hug a big bowl of popcorn like our heroes hug their families. Moonfall is indeed stupid, but it sure is stupid fun. I wasn’t the only one who clapped at the end. Thank you for this, Mr. Emmerich. Thank you.