When it comes to big-budget disaster movies, screenwriter and director Roland Emmerich usually knows what he’s doing. The 66-year-old German wrote and directed Independence Day and its 2016 sequel; directed and co-wrote The Day After Tomorrow; and co-wrote and directed Hollywood’s first attempt at its own Godzilla movie (yes, the one that also allowed Puff Daddy to reinterpret Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”).
But his attempts at high-concept sci-fi aren’t to everyone’s taste: he’s also been nominated for multiple Razzie awards as the worst director. The one thing everyone seems to agree on, though, is that Moonfall is an absolute pile of shit. The film, which was released in February, has been widely (and almost universally) panned and, so far, it has grossed less than half of its estimated budget.
The film spends its two-plus hour run time exploring the question posed by its title, which is basically “What if the moon…simply fell?” And, by all accounts, reading some of the reviews that this multi-million dollar mistake generated seems to be more entertaining (and more coherent) than the flick’s plot. For example:
Roger Ebert.com reviewer Nick Allen gave it one-and-a-half stars, calling it “a boring apocalypse movie.” (For context, the site handed out two stars to Morbius.) The New Yorker’s review went with “gloriously absurd,” and Empire highlighted its “absolutely atrocious dialogue, spoken by ridiculous, never-plausible characters.”
In a review that shrugged it off as “a really terrible version of Independence Day,” The Atlantic also added that it was “so lazily scripted that it can’t be called half-baked, or even quarter-baked (at times, Emmerich seems to have forgotten to turn on the oven entirely).” Vanity Fair summarized it as “awfully boring,” and The Guardian said the entire thing felt “as though the shark has jumped over the moon, resulting in what feels like hours and hours of solemn gibberish.”
Our favorite review, though, has to be from Rolling Stone, whose headline asked “Is ‘Moonfall’ an Actual Movie, or a Prank That’s Being Played on Audiences?” On the bright side, this could be the year that Emmerich finally wins one of those Razzies.
For some reason, our editorial staff added a clip of “Moonfall” into our latest Video Rewind. Check it out: