Nerdlocker Movie Review: Moonfall


“Computers will overtake humans with A.I. within the next 100 years. When that happens we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours.” – Stephen Hawking

I don’t think anyone would disagree if I said the disaster genre is Roland Emmerich’s to do with as he sees fit. The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day 1&2, 2012, Godzilla are all his. As awful as these movies can be there’s no denying the impact they have on pop culture. I’m not sure any other filmmaker has created so much subpar work for it to not only continue their career but to hoist it higher and higher. These movies aren’t good and yet we keep seeing them. I’m guilty of it too so please don’t think I’m pointing fingers at everyone but myself. With the exception of the original Independence Day, those movies I listed are so bad they’re somehow enjoyable. His career is a concoction of confusing awfulness that somehow continues on sustaining in our collective memories. Do you know how many times I’ve seen The Day After Tomorrow? More times than I care to admit. Is it a good movie? Not really. Do I enjoy it? Yes I do. Why I enjoy it I can’t really say. Roland Emmerich’s filmography in a nutshell.

I say these things about his movies but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss him if he retired. There’s something about how he embraces the ridiculousness of his work and owns it every step of the way that gets my attention whenever he pops up with yet another batshit insane way of destroying our home planet. I am both critic and fanboy of Roland Emmerich. As I write this I’m reminded of Adam Sandler. Stay with me…

Are his movies, particularly his earlier work, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore and so on, are they actually funny or were we too young to notice how bad they really are. And now, as millennials ensnared in nostalgia, we don’t know any better. As adults we can see that his latest work is anything but good so have his movies dropped in quality or were we just ten years old? Is this the same thing with Emmerich? Is his earlier work just as bad as this new stuff or is nostalgia a major blind spot for those of us now entering our thirties? It’s like I know better than to keep believing each new disaster flick he releases is going to be any better than the last but here I am writing about Moonfall as if I’ve learned nothing from the last 25+ years.

I think you can gather from what I’ve said so far that Moonfall is nothing new for him. And that’s probably my biggest issue with this hilariously zany movie. It’s fine Roland, be as over-the-top and eye-rolling as you want, just shake it up a bit. The vehicle out running the tidal wave or massive earthquake or giant lizard or in the case of Moonfall, the literal moon. We’ve seen it.

At one point there is a scene when they have to launch a shuttle for their final attempt at saving earth. As I’m watching this I say to myself, “Where’s the thing they have to outrun? That thing they have to just escape from by mere inches as they launch?” And sure enough, as this thought runs through my head the camera snaps to a shot of a massive “gravity wave” that appears out of nowhere and of course threatens our very existence if they don’t escape in time. It’s the same ol’ tired disaster tropes that he himself made popular but can’t seem to escape. Ironic.

Now let’s get to the dialogue in a Roland Emmerich movie. Think M. Night Shyamalan writing with a sense of humor and you get the idea. It’s nothing but cringe worthy one-liners that no one in their right mind would ever say out loud. In a movie with so much unbelievable crap going on, when your dialogue is equally as distracting you should know it’s time to pull back a little bit on the silliness. I’m reminded of the scene in 2012 when they had to escape a crashing military plane by shooting out of the back in a Bentley. Harrowing for sure and it’s sullied by ill-timed comedy.

I realize none of this is meant to be taken seriously but some attempt at drama in such a heightened emotional scene would go a long way. This is a family embracing one another as they literally face death and you have a character cracking jokes? I don’t know, it’s just misplaced in my opinion. But then again as I’ve said he’s still around making these things so what the hell do I know?

Moonfall is exactly what you think it’s going to be. There is nothing new here that hasn’t been in nearly every one of his previous movies. The dialogue is painful to hear and the decisions of the characters saying these lines are equally as questionable. This is a movie so bad it borders on good. We’ve all seen movies that are so bad it’s almost offensive. It can be downright upsetting sometimes. Moonfall isn’t that kind of awful. As much as I can tear this thing apart I still find myself unable to deny that I still had fun. There are moments in Moonfall that made me want to scream out of sheer embarrassment but it was never in an angry way. I was never angry about how my time was being spent. It made me laugh when it wasn’t supposed to and entertained me in a way that only Roland Emmerich can. I didn’t like this movie but in a way I kind of did. Moonfall is not a good movie but I think we all kind of knew that going in. Maybe that’s why it works, everyone is on board with the impending absurdity. If you like his previous movies and want to see the same exact thing then Moonfall is definitely one to check out. My head hurts…

Rated PG-13 For: violence, disaster action, strong language, and some drug use
Runtime: 120 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Halle Berry, John Bradley, Michael Peña
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 5/ Acting: 6/ Directing: 7/ Visuals: 8
OVERALL: 5 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: I should say no but I probably will at some point. So let’s just say I don’t know.

Check out the trailer below:

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard