“Moonfall” is crashing into theaters this weekend and it’s certainly a film that critics more than likely will ding a lot harder than is probably necessary. It’s a disaster film with Roland Emmerich directing so you should know what to expect. Big splashy sequences of devastating peril, plug-and-play characters, climactic melodrama, and a happy ending as the world is saved. “Moonfall” delivers all of that and while it does follow the recipe by-the-numbers, there’s still plenty of theatrical entertainment to be found while watching.
It brings solid star power with Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson. The visual effects are decent (nothing you haven’t already seen), and it follows a predictable path that does manage to weave in some interesting story concepts. And that is where this film fails to live up to its potential. If there is one glaring issue with “Moonfall”, it would be that it introduces fascinating story elements, yet fails to explore them properly due to a surface level plot filled with a string of genre clichés.
It’s certainly a fun, immersive movie that you can sit back and take a ride with. However, there was potential for much MUCH more with the concepts it teases. Instead, it’s a movie filled with all the usual dynamics. A small broken family, a character no one believes in until it’s too late, fractured friendships, government conspiracies, and on and on. This is what the movie spends the bulk of its time using to progress between the large set-pieces which does get a little boring. The actual interesting substance to this story is dished out in textbook exposition. Sometimes by characters only in the film to do just that.
The theories it splashes in had they been explored with more seriousness would have resulted in an intelligent science-fiction film with strong touches of a disaster flick. But what “Moonfall” delivers is essentially a mashup of every disaster movie you’ve seen since the 90’s all wrapped up in one crowded narrative. It’s predicable, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t still deliver a charming adventure.
Berry and Wilson are appealing, and John Bradley brings some charming comedic relief as well. But too much time is spent on recycled character types this is when the film slows down considerably. Then when diving into the truly intriguing aspects of the plot, it wades in the shallow end, and loads the viewer with explanatory dialogue. Regardless, every few years it’s fun to watch a mindless, melodramatic disaster movie and without films like “Moonfall” we’d have to watch the same ones over and over. So, if this movie looks fun, I will say it does provide enough gusto to give it a watch. It isn’t bad, it just had the potential to be much smarter.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.