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Moonfall Review

The ‘master of disaster’ is back with potentially his most outlandish and bonkers sci-fi end-of-the-world flick yet, as the German filmmaker sets his sights on the dark side of the moon. Most known for his ridiculously shlocky but fun B-movies (usually with immense budgets which predominantly funnel straight into the visual effects department), Roland Emmerich’s latest instalment is the first which surprisingly attempts to break free from the formulaic silliness – but with mixed results.

When conspiracy theorist K.C. Houseman (Game of Thrones’ John Bradley) discovers that the moon is off it’s orbit, calculating that it’s project trajectory is heading straight for Earth, he attempts to recruit disgraced former NASA astronaut Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) to help raise the alarm. With the moon hurtling ever closer, causing environmental catastrophe on Earth, it’s down to the duo – along with NASA devotee Jo Fowler (Halle Berry) – to attempt a last-ditch mission to try and save the planet.

Moonfall opens with a strong start, as Harper, Fowler and another NASA colleague face a mysterious threat which violently derails their mission in space. The fallout sees ‘America’s best pilot ever’ blamed for the catastrophic failure, leaving him disgraced and exiled from NASA. So far, so good. However, as the cataclysmic set pieces finally begin – with a violent looking moon lurking ever closer – Emmerich weirdly decides to split the narrative between our heroes’ brave mission and their respective ex-spouses Brenda (Carolina Bartczak), Doug (Eme Ikwuakor) and families, as they attempt to evade a court sentence (yes, really) and the environmental fallout and opportunistic humans. This pull away from the main mission derails any momentum and suspense in favour of a tedious family drama, as they face a generic race against time to make it to the safety of the government bunker.

Distractions aside, there’s plenty of fun & bombastic disaster moments typical of an Emmerich flick to enjoy, up until an incredibly absurd & outlandish third act – which strays into the psychedelic tendencies of 2001: A Space Odyssey – which will most definitely divide audiences. Coupled with overt American-isms, blatant product placement, worship of SpaceX and Elon Musk and concerning conspiracy theories – resulting in a messy and over-bloated flick.

At least the stars look like they’re enjoying themselves. Halle Berry is entertaining as the determined and often exasperated NASA staff member who finds herself thrust into the head position as those around her scurry to find safety. Patrick Wilson fits nicely into the all American hero role as the astronaut who attempts to redeem himself/prove his innocence, as he connects the dots with this mission and his previous failed mission. Ignoring the concerning conspiracy theory vibe, John Bradley steals the show as the adorable but awkward space nerd (complete with IBS, panic attacks and Fuzz Aldrin cat) who heroically proves the everyman can be just as important.

Emmerich fans looking for their fill of destruction and big disaster movie set pieces will undoubtedly be rewarded with his latest offering. There’s also a lot of fun to be had with the gravity defying sequences (gravity waves?!), along with the cinematography on the moon. However, the film does feature some of the worst CGI I’ve seen in a long time, particularly during an extended car chase sequence – definitely exuding gaming cutscene vibes – particularly as the car successfully lands a jump from a rising piece of debris back down to Earth. Fast and Furious – eat your heart out!


Buckle up for a bumpy ride, as Moonfall is one of the most bombastic and outlandish Emmerich disaster flicks yet. Whether it’s so bad it’s good, or simply plain bad, will definitely depend on how much you enjoy big B-movie offerings – but the ridiculous third act may just nudge it into the latter camp.