Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson looking sad before going into the moon in Moonfall
(Lionsgate)

Review: Fall Into Moonfall With an Open Heart and You’ll Have Fun

3.5/5 stars that fell because of the Moon.

Roland Emmerich has made a name for himself in the world of sci-fi as well as disaster films. We all know and love his work with Independence Day and on to the disaster that took over the world in The Day After Tomorrow. So when it comes to Moonfall, it’s basically if you combined the two and made one disaster movie that had to do with space. And, frankly, it rules.

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The film takes us through the life of Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) as he falls, in the public eye, from NASA hero to disgraced former astronaut because of a mishap on a mission. Harper loses everything. His marriage falls apart, he barely knows his own son, and he doesn’t pay his bills. But he’s not alone. His partner who survived the mission with him, Jo Fowler (Halle Berry), also watched her marriage fall apart, even though she still was employed by NASA.

But what happens when Harper turns out to have been right about what happened to them in space and that something attacked them? Well, it means that he gets to tell everyone “I told you so” when the Moon starts to fall. Which … is obviously implied by the title. We all know what we’re here to see.

Basically, the made-up science of it all is that the Moon is under attack and falling and making up its own rotations, which means that Earth’s gravitational pull is all messed up. So, the movie has everyone on Earth fighting the elements, like a gravity wave that has people bopping around like astronauts, or the search for oxygen tanks when the O2 levels in the atmosphere drop dangerously low.

Pair that disaster movie with the space exploration of Jo, Brian, and KC Houseman (John Bradley), who take a ship to the Moon to try to help the Moon, and you have two very distinctly Emmerich movies rolled into one. Is Moonfall going to be the great movie you’ve been waiting for? No. It’s a disaster movie where the Moon falls. It’s completely silly and fun, and it’s not trying to be anything but that. So … set your expectations with that in mind.

Why Moonfall works

If you go into a movie like Moonfall expecting Shakespeare. then that is, frankly, on you at that point. It’s a disaster movie where the Moon is falling to Earth, so it isn’t going to be the greatest thing you’ve ever watched.

It’s filled with lines that really stick out as awkward at times and can be completely messy when you take them out of the context of the whole movie. It also spends a lot of time explaining its nonsense and made-up science and at times drags on explaining things that really don’t need to be explained. It needs to do a bit of its own letting go and embracing the kind of movie it is rather than attempting to get over-explain stuff that just doesn’t work when it’s played that way.

But it’s fun. It’s a movie that has absolutely bananas moments where the moon rises into the frame and looks like a villain, where you’ll laugh out loud, or you have scenes were Patrick Wilson is trying to remember the lyrics to “Africa” by Toto and doing so incorrectly. All of it happens and is paired with two separate movies working as one.

There are also moments in this movie where there are real human interactions between these characters, and they are all grappling with saying goodbye to their loved ones or dealing with the pain they caused their family in the past that works incredibly well with the disaster tone of the movie and is mashed into trip into the moon.

Personally, I just think that Moonfall is a fun look into both worlds that Emmerich is known for and is exactly what you expect to see after watching the trailers. It’s fun; take your friends and have a grand ole time watching Moonfall, in theaters on February 4.

(image: Lionsgate)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.