Well known to genre fans as the co-creator of the original Stargate (1994), and with a resume that includes other well-known sci-fi, large-scale disaster films like Independence Day (1996), The Day After (2004), and 2012 (2009), no one could accuse Roland Emmerich of thinking small. His movies almost inevitably reflect an obsession with destroying our world and involve disasters on a massive scale, and that have an earth-shattering impact.
He has almost single-handedly invented his own sub-genre, which is a type of modern, lavish ‘B’ movie. These are not necessarily low-budget films, but they all have that signature cheesiness associated with the B movies of the fifties. These are films that rely on Sensationalistic, and entertaining visuals. His films follow a formula that depicts a world getting destroyed or at least going through serious changes. Roland’s films all follow his favorite formula of sensationalistic dramas, scattered with touches of humor, lots of CGI, and a story filled with cornball sentimentality. It’s not cheap but it’s cheesy.
These are stories riddled with subplots that underscore the more human side of the narrative, and that often feature children that provide emotional impact, and sentimental value to the tales his films tell. It’s a formula that succeeds to varying degrees, depending largely on the quality of the writing.
Moonfall, a fast-paced, sci-fi thriller/mystery/action-adventure is no exception to this formula and is, of course, told in his usual flashy, bombastic, over-the-top style, that once again depicts a world in peril of destruction, and the end of life as we know it. Moonfall is not arthouse stuff but the kind of film made to sell tickets. This is another example of a science fiction thriller of the type Emmerich is known for that works on some levels, and is very entertaining, but falls short of greatness.
The story here is a little contrived, with a narrative that stretches credulity in places, but pretty good and keeps you guessing about what’s going on until revealing all towards the end, Also, the narrative provides a nice couple of unexpected plot twists at the end.
Not familiar with this title? Moonfall is a 2022 science fiction disaster film co-written, directed, and produced by Roland Emmerich. It stars Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Peña, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, and Donald Sutherland. It follows two former astronauts alongside a conspiracy theorist who discover the hidden truth about Earth’s moon when it leaves its orbit. With a $138–146 million budget, it is one of the most expensive independently produced films.
There are no glaring examples of bad acting here, the only one that stands out for me in this production is John Bradley, who portrays the nerdy, plump scientist/conspiracy guy, He’s delightful in the role.
Okay, what we have here is a fast-paced, sci-fi mystery thriller that relies on the use of lots of CGI to tell its story. In other words, it’s another pretty usual example of a modern genre film that’s fairly entertaining but falls short of greatness. Moonfall is the cinematic equivalent of a light read. A paperback built to entertain you may, or may not like.