Moonfall – movie review

Artificial Intelligence turns on its creator in Moonfall. The stakes for Earth and its inhabitants, not to mention the Moon, couldn’t be higher.

It starts with an incident in space in 2011. Three astronauts – Jo Fowler (Halle Berry), Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) and Alan Marcus (Frank Fiola) – are in space on a satellite repair mission. They encounter a swarming energy field that claims Marcus’ life. Eighteen months later, the unexplained incident is dismissed as human error on Harper’s part. He’s booted from NASA and falls on hard times, taking to the bottle.

A decade later, NASA scientists discover that the moon’s orbit has shifted and it will plunge into Earth. They’re instructed to keep the news to themselves. But the “secret” is soon out because an amateur moon watcher, who calls himself a “megastructuralist”, KC Houseman (John Bradley) has reached the same conclusion. He even has a cat named Fuzz Aldrin. Try as Houseman might to get the powers that be to take him seriously, it is only after a chance encounter with Harper that the wheels really start to turn. Eventually, the most unlikely of space missions is launched to try to help save our planet. That involves Fowler (now NASA head), Harper and Houseman flying “into” the moon. What they uncover is extremely shocking.

Moonfall is the brainchild of co-writer and director Roland Emerich (Midway). The storyline is utterly preposterous. The movie is one clunky blockbuster, based on big ideas and special effects (which I admired). The best you can say is that it’s goofy fun and looks great.

I was far from convinced that the acting leads bought into their roles. Yet they muster as much gravitas as they can, probably expecting their audiences to be chortling. Among the many impossibilities is seizing a decades-old museum space shuttle (literally) and relaunching it. Without doubt, the nerdish, anxiety riddled KC Hausman is the best role and somehow John Bradley’s proper English accent helps him pull it off. Here’s this “madman” telling NASA which way is up. Go figure.

The best way to enjoy Moonfall is not to try to make too much sense of it. Just go with the flow and see it on the biggest screen possible. That is so you can truly appreciate the big bucks that have been poured into crafting the effects.

Alex First

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