Nobody quite makes a modern disaster movie like Roland Emmerich, and the man is back once again in 2022 with Moonfall. The title ultimately says it all, the film is about the moon potentially falling and crashing into the earth, basically destroying all life on earth. So the stakes are pretty high. And since it's Roland Emmerich, you know the Moonfall ending is going to be a spectacle.
I know what you’re thinking. The ending of Moonfall could not possibly be that complicated. Either the moon does, in fact, fall, or humanity triumphs and prevents the moon from falling. And yes, one of those two things does happen, but if you think that’s all that Moonfall has going on, forget it. It may only be February but Moonfall is likely one of the strangest 2022 movies you will see. Most critics seem to agree on that, and I promise you, going into it, you have no idea how this ends.
Spoilers ahead! We're about to take a look at what happens at the end of Moonfall, so if you haven't seen the movie yet, consider yourself warned...
How Moonfall Ends Is Completely Insane
In Moonfall humanity discovers that the moon is falling out of orbit, and when they send some astronauts up to investigate what’s going on, they discover a strange, technological… thing is up inside the moon causing all this havoc. After every other contingency has failed, we end up with a crew of three left to try and save the world, disgraced astronaut Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson), head of NASA and former shuttle navigator Jocinda Fowl (Halle Berry) and science enthusiast and “conspiracy nut who turned out to be right” KC Houseman (John Bradley).
The plan is to go up and set off an EMP device and fry the alien thing, but the plan doesn’t work. Instead, the team of three end up entering the moon and discovers that the moon is actually not a planetary body at all, but is actually an artificial structure. The monstrous thing is trying to destroy the moon, and attempts to kill our heroes as well, but they get saved by the alien tech inside the moon.
When Brian Harper interfaces with the technology inside the moon he learns that it was constructed by humans billions of years ago. They were far more technologically advanced and constructed an artificial intelligence that has become self aware and is trying to destroy all of humanity to punish it for the enslavement it feels it was forced to endure.
The moon’s semi intelligent operating system downloads a bunch of information into Brian’s brain, so that he’ll know how to defeat the AI threat. However, when his fellow astronauts learn he plans to sacrifice himself to do it, Jocinda balks. As the two of them argue over whether or not Brian will sacrifice himself, Houseman jumps into the space capsule in order to do the deed. He believes Brian needs to live because of all the information now in Brian’s head about the precursor human civilization.
Houseman is successful in destroying the AI, which allows the moon to return to its normal orbit. The earth is more than a little worse for wear, having endured a great deal of destruction, but is still ultimately in one piece. In the final moments we see that Houseman’s consciousness has been made part of the moon’s operating system, so he’s still alive, after a fashion. And now it’s time to… go to work?
And The Moon Is Different Now?
The last time we see the actual moon in Moonfall it looks… different. That’s perhaps not that surprising. Large chunks of the moon were pulled from it due to the gravitational pull of earth as the moon came closer and those pieces didn’t just return when the moon went home.
It appears that the entire outer shell of the moon, the part that we think of when we think of the moon, is gone now. What’s left is the mechanical portion that was previously hidden underneath the rock. The moon now looks less like a planetary body and more like the Death Star.
But what does this mean for earth? As Moonfall quite rightly establishes, everything from tidal forces to gravity itself are in part dependent on the moon. But the moon is now a different size and shape. It would seem that its mass is not the same that it once was. Technically, this should mean that life on earth has permanently changed, as any natural force that the moon influences will now act differently on the planet.
Could We Get a Moonfall Sequel?
The final moments of Moonfall at least hint at the possibility of a sequel. Digital Houseman is speaking to the operating system of the moon, which has taken the visual form of his mother and she/it says that it is time for them to begin working on something. Houseman asks what is meant by that, but the movie cuts to credits before we get any sort of an answer.
It’s a simple enough tease. The sort of setup that at least leaves the door open to a potential sequel without leaving the movie on such a cliffhanger that it feels like such a thing is needed. If Moonfall does well with fans and the box office, perhaps we could see a follow up film. Although, in this case it will hopefully turn out better, and be released sooner, than Roland Emmerich’s last sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence which most didn’t feel was worth the wait.
And a sequel could go into literally any direction. Patrick Wilson’s character apparently has a brain full of knowledge about what humanity was in the distant past, any sort of story could be built by creating some details about that past civilization. It’s implied that early humans were entirely wiped out by the AI creature, but perhaps not. Or maybe there will be some other piece of ancient knowledge that turns out to be important.
The question is what sort of global destructive threat will end up being part of a sequel. There has to be something, but the moon has already fallen, or nearly fallen and so you can’t do that again. How exactly will Moonfall ever top “the moon is actually an alien artifact created by technologically advanced humans and also it has an intelligence of its own because it’s basically a big computer powered by a star?”
If we do see a sequel hopefully the impressive Moonfall cast will return for whatever new adventure is in store.
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