Films

Moonfall

Written by Omair Alavi

Synopsis

The director who used to destroy the world, now targets the Moon!

Call it mumbo jumbo, or term his films nonsensical, but Roland Emmerich’s movies are remembered for their crazy theories, and Moonfall isn’t much different. He claimed in Stargate that aliens created the pyramids, they were the more intelligent species in Independence Day, nuclear bombs created Godzilla, and that global warming was responsible for events shown in Day After Tomorrow and also in 2012.

Now, after delivering back-to-back flops as Independence Day: Resurgence and Midway, he is back with Moonfall where he declares that the historic moon landing was a hoax and the feed that the viewers saw was manipulated. The moon-hoax theory might not be anything new but what’s new is what the characters who go to the moon find out, making the viewers’ brain going haywire. If you are looking for logic, then this film is not in your league, but if you aren’t, then there can be no better film than Moonfall for it paints the giant friendly thing in our sky as the villain and gets the director to do his favorite thing – destroy the world.

At a time when black comedy flicks like Don’t Look Up try to tell the viewers that the danger is real, Moonfall comes with a theory that might have only come from a nihilist mind that too of a loner, living in a basement somewhere in the States. Yes, it does depict the horror that would unfold if the moon were to go out of orbit, crashing into the earth and destroying it, but nullifies it with the wacky solution it presents, which is more like ‘bomb the moon’.

When the moon does go out of orbit in the film, it starts with dumping its debris on Earth, prompting NASA (who else!) to authorize a mission that features a disgraced astronaut (Patrick Wilson), a conspiracy theorist (John Bradley), and NASA’s acting head (Halle Berry), since the rest decided to save themselves. How these three differently-smart people stop the moon from destroying Earth is what makes Moonfall such an entertaining flick.

The viewers get to know that moon is a mega-structure and not the moon as we know it. They also find out that the moon is controlled, and is not on auto-mode as we believe it is, giving the audience the most absurd theory since Matt Damon’s The Great Wall. But hey, that’s what Roland Emmerich has been doing since the 1990s, and here he does the same. He makes a retired Space Shuttle launch without the third engine and if you get the drift, there is no need to read below, for more absurd things are mentioned there.

Yes, the Space Shuttle named Endeavour is launched without the support of the ground staff, escapes being destroyed by rising water because the heroes were in it, and managed to take the good guys to the moon, despite not being in operation for a decade. That’s not even the surprise the film has in store for the audience, and I am not going to spill the beans for I learned it the hard way, and so should you.

This is one of the few Roland Emmerich films where he hasn’t written the script with Dean Devlin, and that shows on the screen for Dean Devlin was the sane voice that guided him in the right direction. Whatever happens on-screen has happened before in Armageddon, Space Cowboys, Independence Day, and countless space travel films, so the twist doesn’t come up as a ‘surprising surprise’ but as a ‘not again surprise!’

The best thing about Moonfall is that the director takes his nihilism seriously, and wants the viewers to believe him, who thankfully don’t. His ‘moon is not the moon’ is the kind of thing you watch on conspiracy channels on YouTube when you are bored, not in a cinema where you pay to be entertained. With this flick, he seems to have lost the respect he had achieved through his earlier movies and made a parody of disaster flicks with this disaster.

As for the actors, it seems the director included everyone and anyone who wanted to be in this flick. Too many characters mean too many arcs mean too much confusion, and that’s exactly how the film turns out to be – a giant confusion. Neither Patrick Wilson nor Halle Berry is able to save this sinking ‘space ship’ where actors like Michael Pena and Donald Sutherland are wasted here for no reason, as are the many characters who pop in and out for no reason. John Bradley’s act reminds the viewers of Jorge Garcia’s Jerry Ortega who made a name for himself as Hawaii Five 0’s resident conspiracy theorist. When there is no balancing act in the script, the conspiracy looks silly, and sentences like ‘you’re telling me that the moon has the biggest cover-up in history?’ become dialogues.

After watching Moonfall, I might not watch the moon like I used to, and think of it as a hollow orb that aliens might have built. Forget the moon, whatever we know about the universe goes into the recycle bin for Roland Emmerich has a theory that he might think is out of the world but is in fact out of mind. Mindless, in short, polite terms. Why he hates humanity and why he wants everyone to die is exactly the kind of question he should be asked, besides what he has done to Roland Emmerich who made Universal Soldier and Stargate, back in the day.

About the author

Omair Alavi