Courtesy Lionsgate

Welcome to Earf. Or, should I say, welcome to Moonf? MOONFALL to be exact. Almost three decades after Roland Emmerich assaulted our senses and collective intelligence with the lovably jingoistic and crowd-pleasing cinematic firecracker Independence Day, he’s back to do it all over again, but this time, harderer and dumberer!

Patrick Wilson and Halle Berry are astronauts and… oh my lord! There’s some weird nanobot alien thing in outer space! John Bradley (who most will know as Samwell Tarly from Game of Thrones) is a loser who works at a fast-food restaurant, but is secretly a science genius who knows more about what’s happening than NASA but no one will lis… Jesus Christ! The moon’s falling outta the sky! Ain’t that some shit! Turns out there’s crazy stuff going on inside our lunar companion, and it’s threatening to destroy us all in the most spectacular, expensively CGI’ed way imaginable!

MOONFALL pulls all the ollies, kickflips, and shove-its that an aging German blockbuster film director possibly could on his trusty skateboard o’ cliches. Gruff astronaut dad estranged from delinquent son? Check. Science nerd who no one listens to? Check. Military man who literally says the line, “God help us all”? You’d better believe that’s a check.

The human drama predictably plays second kazoo to the wild and wacky physics-defying action on display. Neil deGrasse Tyson would undoubtedly throw his arms up at the pseudoscientific fuckery of Moonfall as characters drive cars up gravity waves and the moon enters Earth’s atmosphere without Kentucky frying the entire planet.

Courtesy Lionsgate

But that’s what we’re here for, right? The absurd destruction? The paper-thin characters who dodge meteorites and bone-shattering explosions from all directions? It’s certainly not for the acting, Berry and Wilson give the kind of bland performances only A-list stars do when appearing in embarrassing schlock. Most of the cast’s energy comes from Bradley who does his best to liven things up despite working with cringe-worthy material. Aside from his blatant comic relief, everyone else plays it straight-faced, which just about sells the ridiculous premise until everything collapses in a laughable exposition dump during the final act.

For a movie that works with a lot of scientific concepts, the only scientific thing about MOONDALL is that it’s proven to make you dumber, but that’s part of the appeal, right? If you have a few spare brain cells you don’t mind burning off, you just might have fun with it. If, however, you’re feeling particularly grumpy and have no time for Emmerich’s shenanigans, then you should know by now to stay far away. I suspect audiences will do just that, and that does make me a little sad. This big oaf of a movie is at least not a sequel or a remake.

I’ll be very surprised if MOONFALL makes back a fraction of its budget in cinemas. I’m not convinced audiences are clamoring for a disaster film right now, let alone with Omicron raging. The timing is hardly ideal. But if you’re the target for MOONFALL, and you know who you are, it’ll fill a rainy afternoon when all you want to do is listen to bad dialogue and watch the world burn.

Roland Emmerich’s MOONFALL will arrive in theaters and in IMAX on February 4, 2022.

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