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I do sometimes wonder exactly what people are expecting. While the element of surprise or subverted expectations can be great, on occasion, you pay your money wanting to see something specific and in the case of disaster master Roland Emmerich’s (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012) latest film Moonfall, you get just that!
After all, was anyone going in expecting The Dark Knight? Or were you perhaps thinking this was some kind of side-quel to Skyfall? Well, sorry guys, there’s no Adele here, just a preposterous cinema spectacle that embraces the utterly ridiculous…and that is precisely why I picked up my ticket.
Patrick Wilson is disgraced astronaut hero Brian Harper who, years ago, was involved in a disastrous space mission that he attributed to some kind of attack from an unspecified intelligent force, needless to say he was mocked and blamed for the whole thing. Now, the moon has mysteriously been knocked from its orbit and is on a collision course with the earth, and it is up NASA deputy director – and Harper’s former colleague – Jocinda Fowler (Halle Berry) and conspiracy theorist K.C. Houseman (John Bradley), who predicted this event, to get Harper back on board and save the world from imminent annihilation.
Once again, as he has made a career of, Emmerich takes real joy in unleashing cavalcades of earth-decimating action set pieces that relish in their scale and carnage. All the director’s tropes are here, in shady authority figures, good ol’ American heroism, comedy sidekicks, conspiracy theories and even a cat called Fuzz Aldrin…what more could you possibly want on cinema night?!
Emmerich knows the assignment here, as do the cast, and they are all only too happy to oblige, and even when the film enters full on sci-fi in a mad, some might say off the rails, climax, it all never ceases to entertain in its brazen commitment to the “ludicrous mode” spectacle. True the script has some dialogue and story elements that cause laughter intentionally and unintentionally alike and yes Emmerich may have been wiser sticking to one particular course than his ultimate all out conclusions but in the mightily mesmerisingly mad world of Moonfall it is all in good jest really. And knowingly so.
Utterly preposterous all the way down to some Alan Partridge style Lexus product placement, Moonfall is a hoot and precisely the sort of cinema experience welcome at the moment. In fact, if we are honest it ain’t more ludicrous than real life (the film at points hints at this fact, in a couple of admirable stabs at themes reflecting the currents state of mankind) but it is decidedly more fun.
If you are willing to float into its gravity-defying, city tearing, mathematician baffling world, you will find yourself smiling throughout and having a whale of a time. Like a high concept 90s blockbuster, it’s pretty big and barmy but charismatically performed by its reliable big name headliners in Berry and Wilson, though Bradley’s fun supporting character arguably steals the show.
Sit back, grab a popcorn, slurp a drink (though clear up after yourselves please) and enjoy the end of the world as we know it! Moonfall – unlike the dreadful Geostorm – knows precisely what it is and I highly enjoyed myself in its company, as I learned to stop worrying and let Roland kick the living you-know-what out of the earth…albeit not as much as we do on a daily basis!
Great bags of cinema fun.