Moonfall reviews are in – and it seems the movie lives up to its truly out-there premise.
In the movie, as you might be able to guess from the title, the Moon is on a collision course with planet Earth. That would, clearly, be a disaster on a massive scale, which means it needs to be stopped: enter Patrick Wilson and Halle Berry as two astronauts on a mission, and Game of Thrones’ John Bradley as a conspiracy theorist who figures out what’s going on ahead of NASA. Roland Emmerich directs.
Critics are mostly discussing the wild places the plot goes, along with the visual spectacle of the Earth under threat, and there’s even a couple of comparisons to Don’t Look Up.
We’ve rounded up a selection of reviews here to give you an idea about what to expect from Moonfall, and you can check them out below. So, strap-in, scroll on, and get ready for a trip to space…
The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) – Frank Scheck
“The world can’t end soon enough in director Roland Emmerich’s latest attempt to re-create the sci-fi/disaster-movie mayhem that he conjured successfully in such films as Independence Day, 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow. Featuring many of the same grandiose elements as those predecessors, Moonfall looks and sounds like a would-be cinematic blockbuster but comes up painfully short in its ham-fisted execution. Filled with unintentional humor, the film seems inevitably destined for exposure on a future incarnation of Mystery Science Theater 3000.”
Variety (opens in new tab) – Peter Debruge
“It’s basically the opposite of Don’t Look Up, which chastens audiences for not reacting to threats in the right way. If that movie was [director Adam] McKay’s answer to Michael Bay’s relatively jingoistic Armageddon, in which a core team of blue-collar “get ‘er done” types manage to avert an asteroid, then Emmerich responds with an even goofier fantasy, one in which a motley trio can join up, save the planet and explain the origin of the species in the span of one day (although time can be a bit hard to follow here). In this case, the bad moon does just enough damage to delight – the effects are unbelievable, of course, but undeniably impressive, holding up even at IMAX scale – while pushing the plot to such extremes that we can’t take it seriously. You’d think we’d tire of Emmerich’s brand of disaster, but instead, it provides a strange kind of relief.”
The Independent (opens in new tab) – Clarisse Loughrey – 3/5
“When [the moon] does, indeed, start to fall, the rising tides wash over cities in a way that’s typical of its director, disaster king Roland Emmerich (think The Day After Tomorrow or Godzilla). Less typical is the skewed effect of gravity that forces everyone to bounce around like they’re trapped in a planet-wide inflatable castle. There’s plenty of intercut news footage, too, as stone-faced presenters make sweeping declarations like “looting has become a favourite pastime in the United Kingdom.” Would you have expected anything else from Moonfall? At this point, you either surrender to the surface pleasures of Emmerich’s grand, American daydream – bombast and all – or you simply steer clear.”
IGN (opens in new tab) – Siddhant Adlakha – 5/10
“The big ideas in Roland Emmerich’s Moonfall are presented in the most rote and unimaginative fashion. Instead of disaster that feels like enormous spectacle supported by broad emotions, it plays out like a mechanical re-creation of much better films, some of them by Emmerich himself.”
The Guardian (opens in new tab) – Peter Bradshaw – 1/5
“It should be a laugh; it doesn’t pretend to be anything else, and certainly doesn’t aspire to contemporary satire. But the zany and somewhat Jules Verne-type revelations don’t put new life into the disaster genre; rather it feels as though the shark has jumped over the moon, resulting in what feel like hours and hours of solemn gibberish. For all the faults of Don’t Look Up, it was at least addressing something real and relevant. In this film the moon has fallen with a terrible clunk.”
The Verge (opens in new tab) – Charles Pulliam-Moore
“As a movie about the Moon seemingly deciding to ram itself into the Earth and humanity struggling to save itself from destruction, Moonfall is surprisingly light on sustained sequences that make you feel just how dire and fundamentally hopeless that sort of situation might actually feel. While you might come into Moonfall expecting for it to evoke an almost Majora’s Mask-like ever-present sense of dread, it actually ends up having a bit more in common with Breath of the Wild: a game in which you can stand around and do nothing until the evil Moon comes back around on an accelerated timeline to mess up your peace and quiet.”
iNews (opens in new tab) – Geoffrey Macnab – 2/5
“The actors do their best, but they’re not just fighting against intergalactic enemies. They also have to battle with a script that is both earnest and absurd.
There is plenty of Sturm und Drang – fireballs, tsunamis, trees and skyscrapers falling down, meteors and galactic anti-matter whizzing around. But when its main characters venture inside the Moon itself, the film takes a bizarre philosophical tack and Emmerich ends up stranded between two worlds.
The film is far too self-important to qualify as a proper spoof but also far too ridiculous to take remotely seriously. And worst of all, it just isn’t much fun. Ed Wood would have done a better job at a fraction of the price.”
Digital Spy (opens in new tab) – Ian Sandwell – 3/5
“Up in space, Emmerich is actually a bit more contained with the set pieces, but his ideas are truly wild. Inspired by real-life conspiracy theories about the Hollow Moon, Moonfall goes to some unexpected places as our trio get to the bottom of the mystery. It’s rare that you can say you can’t guess what a movie will reveal, but it’s genuinely the case here.
Does it make a lick of sense? Not in the slightest, but as we mentioned before, you’re watching the wrong movie if that’s what you’re after. The ideas are as big as the destruction being rained down on Earth, and the world that Emmerich realises inside the moon (yep, inside the moon) looks terrific.”
Moonfall is in theaters now. If you’re in the mood for more theater trips, check out our guide to this year’s major movie release dates for everything else coming in 2022.