Moonfall IMAX – The DVDfever Review – Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson

Moonfall sees director Roland Emmerich back on the big screen, blowing stuff up, as he has done many times over with the likes of Midway, Independence Day and 2012.

This outing first goes back to January 12th 2011, and since almost every single cinema trip I take is burnt into the brain, I remember just a few days earlier, I came to this same Odeon to watch Tron Legacy in 3D. I could take you to the same screen in which I saw it, and probably the same seat, although they have had a refurb of some auditoriums in the meantime and swapped regular seats for recliners, but back to the plot.

At that date in the film, there’s a trio of astronauts up in space – Jo (Halle Berry), Brian (Patrick Wilson) and Marcus (Frank Fiola) – the former being in the capsule, while the other two are outside fixing something… until like in Gravity, there’s a big hoo-hah, they get whacked away from what they’re doing, and if any of them are going to get blasted out into space and never to return, it’s not going to be the most famous two.

18 months on, we learn the situation was blamed on the now-disgraced Brian under ‘human error’, resulting in consternation between him and Jo over this. Another ten years then pass before English UFO/alien obsessive crackpot KC Houseman (John Bradley) makes a discovery that’s going to literally change everything… because something’s knocked the moon out of orbit.

The bigwigs at NASA have 3 months to sort things out before the moon crashes into the Earth, although since the situation makes the months shorten (huh?), the timeframe is more like 3 weeks.

Popping down the local aquarium…

Some random observations…

  • Somehow, Brian can’t afford to pay his bills, but has a classic car in the garage.

  • Later, with Jo up in orbit, and with everyone in a tough situation, army bod and ex-husband to Jo, Doug Davidson (Eme Ikwuakor), says “My ex-wife never let me down”. Erm… how come you got divorced, then?

  • Michael Peña rarely has anything to add to any film, and in a role as the new husband to Brian’s ex-wife Brenda, he doesn’t disappoint(!)

  • Somehow, Moonfall is set in 2023, yet everyone still watches old 4:3 CRT TVs.

  • At one point, a plane takes off and immediately starts banking to the left – which no plane would ever do.

Since there’s no IMDB pictures of Kelly Hu in this, here she is in X-Men 2 as Yuriko Oyama / Lady Deathstrike.

Moonfall has it all: Questionable science, rewriting of history around the 1969 moon landing, lazy writing, an almost complete lack of humour, typical disaster moving SFX (e.g. the calamity causes water to drift up into the sky as gravity goes arse-upwards), no-one really putting in any effort… it’s utter gibberish and doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it looks good, and there’s the awesome Kelly Hu as Jo’s live-in nanny, Michelle, although it’s a shame she’s not in it as much as I’d have liked.

Oh, and at one point, Brian says “This doesn’t make any sense!”

There’s also a bizarre teaser for a sequel – if this takes enough cash to make one. However, while it would normally be the sort of thing placed as a mid- or post-credits scene (and, so, I’d put it in here behind a spoiler section), it’s placed just before the credits begin, so I won’t describe it here as you’ll see it anyway.

In fact, it’s very telling that Moonfall has only been out since Friday (with some Thursday night previews), I saw it on a Sunday, and on the Saturday evening, the Odeon cancelled all four of the Sunday non-IMAX performances on screen 10. I guess this one’s going to flop hard. After 2019’s Midway, and 2016’s Independence Day Resurgence, I do wonder if Roland Emmerich’s career will ever have a resurgence, before film studios stop giving him $160m+ budgets to play with, which don’t get the returns.

Mark Kermode covered this on his BBC News show, The Film Review, of course, but after listening to Kermode for a number of years, he’s become so cookie-cutter. If it’s Roland Emmerich or Michael Bay, he just starts shouting like a child. If it’s anything else, he loves it. If it’s an Oscar-contender, it doesn’t matter how obscure the film is, he acts like the film is the Second Coming.

I once saw someone on Twitter say he talks like he’s speaking to film students. That echoed in his review when he listed films this takes in, including Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. That’s a great film and I did get the reference in the moment he would’ve been referring to, but the target audience for Moonfall won’t have heard of it.

Oh, and as well as scenes that reminded me of Elysium and Terminator 2, there’s also Melancholia

Moonfall – The First Five Minutes – Lionsgate

Finally, this is the point where I usually have a moan about something to do with the presentation… but it actually went perfectly fine.

This is the first time I’ve been back to the Odeon Trafford Centre since before the COVID19 pandemic began. It was December 2019 when I went there to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. I’ve been to the cinema since, a few times, at Vue Printworks IMAX (Tenet, The Eight Hundred, and Dune Part One), but in the past two years, it’s been a lot of streaming and not much else.

As for their IMAX, it’s actually the first time I’ve been in there since 2017’s Ghost In The Shell (back when films used to be in 3D). The auditorium is small for an IMAX because it’s just a converted regular screen, so, really, only the audio has been improved. Still, there’s not a lot you can do about that when it’s built within a shopping mall.

If you want huge, then go to Vue Printworks in Manchester town centre for the third biggest IMAX in Europe (the other two only being slightly bigger than that screen), but if it was a choice between a regular screening or IMAX, a film like this would be fine in the former if you sit closer to the screen. This time, I sat at the back of the room, but for a bigger image, sitting in the middle of the room is probably a better bet, as long as you’re not surrounded by chatty morons.

Moonfall is in cinemas now, and is available to pre-order on Blu-ray, 4K Blu-ray and DVD.

Moonfall – Official Trailer – Lionsgate

Detailed specs:

Running time: 130 minutes
Release date: February 4th 2022
Studio: Lionsgate
Format: 2.39:1 (Dolby Vision, Redcode RAW (8K))
Rating: 5/10

Director: Roland Emmerich
Producers: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser
Screenplay: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser, Spenser Cohen
Music: Harald Kloser, Thomas Wanker (as Thomas Wander)

Jocinda ‘Jo’ Fowler: Halle Berry
Brian Harper: Patrick Wilson
KC Houseman: John Bradley
Sonny Harper: Charlie Plummer
Michelle: Kelly Hu
Tom Lopez: Michael Peña
Brenda Lopez: Carolina Bartczak
Jimmy (10 Years Old): Zayn Maloney
Nikki Lopez (9 Years Old): Ava Weiss
Lauren Lopez (12 Years Old): Hazel Nugent
Mosley: Chris Sandiford
Johansen: Jonathan Maxwell Silver
Doug Davidson: Eme Ikwuakor
NASA Director Albert Hutchings: Stephen Bogaert
Sgt. Gabriella Auclair: Maxim Roy
Ziggy: Ryan Bommarito
Elaine Houseman: Kathleen Fee
Holdenfield: Donald Sutherland
General Jenkins: Frank Schorpion
Mission Commander: Sebastian Pigott
Module Pilot: Jaa Smith-Johnson
Religious Leader: Adam LeBlanc
Alan Marcus: Frank Fiola
Bling: Katy Breier
Scrawny: Josh Cruddas
Jules: Kyle Gatehouse
Judge: Tyrone Benskin
Bailiff: Gerardo Lo Dico
Astronaut: Michelle Langlois Fequet