Moonfall is a Marvel-level sci-fi movie in support of human imagination
Conflict of interests disclosure ~ This reviewer has seen every Roland Emmerich movie and likes most of them.
The best balls-out sci-fi movie since the Chinese hit, Wandering Earth (2019) (Netflix, YouTube). Like Wandering Earth, Moonfall IS A MOVIE ABOUT IMAGINATION. If you dislike artful expressions of visual imagination, stay away and don’t carp about the dialogue until you have written a better script and can show it to me.
If the last 2–3 Roland movies were too slow-moving for you, he doubles the pace here. Everything’s compressed into three weeks. The story has all the characters improvising again and again, giving the whole narrative a slightly manic improv-like tone. This be-fits a story racing thru the most OUT-SIZED ideas imaginable, one after the other, lickety-split.
If you don’t like the formulaic dialogue and repeating characters of Roland’s movies — then you probably dislike authentic fairy tales as well. Roland’s disaster movies are like fables. They require the same stereotyped character models because they are touching on ARCHETYPES of how humans like to process disasters which can’t be avoided. They demonstrate to our UNconscious how to get thru disasters, not get stuck in them.
With both Moonfall and Wandering Earth (a Chinese homage to Emmerich disaster movies) and James Bond Movies, you don’t walk into the theater expecting much more than spectacle and excitement. It’s pointless to take such fare too seriously. Exercises in imagination live or die on execution, not on how well they stand up to deconstruction by critics.
This is a 100% sci-fi epic at the Marvel-level. It succeeds for the same reasons. When you congregate CGI and VFX directors from three or more of the best special effects houses in the world, an unintended beneficial side-effect occurs. You end up with an astonishing brain trust of experience and creative talent in the multiple technical directors working off each other. This creates an unofficial directorial team where new ideas are welcomed and can be integrated. The result? The script on-set keeps evolving and improving daily. In post, the final edit keeps evolving and improving, right up to the the zero hour before printing copies for theaters.
Cheers to Variety reviewer, Pete Debruge for this snappy plot summary: “Hollywood’s leading disaster artist, Emmerich knows how to blow things up real good. … in [his] latest eye-roller, “Moonfall,” the joke is pretty much flipped: Everybody’s favorite satellite is set to collide with Earth in, oh, a day or so. This is just enough time for two space jockeys to suit up, shuttle out and set things right.”