*. Years ago, at a time when calling out Hollywood for making stupid movies was in vogue, Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla (1998) received special attention. Though I didn’t hate that movie, I did have to agree with the complaints made about how dumb it was. As Roger Ebert put it: “One must carefully repress intelligent thought while watching such a film. The movie makes no sense at all . . . You have to absorb such a film, not consider it. But my brain rebelled, and insisted on applying logic where it was not welcome.”
*. If there is a lifetime achievement award for stupidity in stupid movies, Emmerich must be on the shortlist for it. Is Moonfall his stupidest yet? It may well be. I don’t think it’s a lousy movie, or any worse than Godzilla, but it left me trying to think of what age the audience would have to be to not need to check their brain at the door.
*. The “high concept” here is that our moon is actually a “megastructure” built billions of years ago by refugees fleeing a powerful AI they’d constructed that went sentient and decided it didn’t need humans anymore. So much for the theory of evolution and our understanding of the creation of the solar system.
*. Anyway, as things kick off here that same AI has discovered the refugee base inside the mostly hollow moon (which is, apparently, powered by a white dwarf star), and it (the AI) sends the moon crashing into the Earth. A shuttle crewed by three intrepid souls — Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson, both former astronauts, and John Bradley just because he happened to be hanging around NASA at the time — fly to the moon where they go inside and kill the AI and save the world, though Earth gets a pretty sound thrashing before the moon backs up and returns to its regular orbit. Which means everything returns to normal!
*. Well, you can try and come up with a sillier plot than that but I think you’ll be at it for a long, long time. This is as dumb as it gets. Dumber even than Geostorm, though this is a better movie. And if you want to see the end of the world, Emmerich is still your guy. He’s been doing this for a while now.
*. To be honest, I initially thought this was going to be a comedy. Wilson, though buff enough here to try out for the MCU, has a nice comic touch playing a straight man, as seen in all those Conjuring movies. Bradley is just comic relief as the chubby conspiracy-theory nut. And even Michael Peña shows up as the all-too-disposable second husband. Throw this cast on top of an already ridiculous script and there was potential for lots of laughs. Alas, they play most of it with a straight face.
*. Despite it being so stupid, I still found Moonfall entertaining enough, even at 130 minutes. The ending suggests a sequel, which is something Emmerich apparently did have in mind, but I’m not sure the box office was good enough to justify any further expense. On the other hand, Emmerich is just going to do the same thing again anyway, no matter what the title is, so why not?