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Moonfall Reviews Are Here, Check Out What Critics Think Of The Halle Berry Movie

Patrick Wilson in Moonfall
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Roland Emmerich is back with a disaster film that hopes to knock viewers off their axis, as Moonfall pits all of humanity against the Earth’s moon. Halle Barry stars in the new Lionsgate film, which sees her working in collaboration with a pair of other heroes (Patrick Wilson, John Bradley) to try to stop the moon from colliding with Earth. Critics have seen the movie, which hits theaters February 4, and the reviews are in.

The trailer for Moonfall makes it look like destruction-heavy mayhem, and if we have to trust anyone with the fate of the Earth, I’ll take troll-slapping, no-pants-wearing, Academy Award-winning Halle Berry, who stars as NASA executive and former astronaut Jocinda Fowler in a cast that also includes Kelly Reilly, Charlie Plummer, Michael Peña, and Donald Sutherland. 

So what are critics saying about Roland Emmerich’s newest blockbuster? Mike Reyes reviewed Moonfall for CinemaBlend and gives it 3 out of 5 stars. He says the movie quickly gets into the disaster of it all, rushing through some of the typical first-act character development. 

This works to the film’s favor in the first act, as the setup isn’t nearly as fun as the payoff that awaits later on. But by fast forwarding that setup, the really huge swings that are taken in third act reveals aren’t as well built into the overall structure. Moonfall leaves audiences wanting more, even if they aren’t entirely sure what it is they crave more of by time the intriguing sequel tease has kicked in.

Justin Chang of the L.A. Times says the movie is familiarly sadistic, with all of the disaster movie tropes we’ve come to expect from Roland Emmerich’s past projects like 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow. Rather than trying to make any political statement, it embraces its cheesiness. He writes:

'Moonfall' is stupid, in other words, but I don’t mind admitting that it feels, at this point in time, like my kind of stupidity. Certainly it’s refreshing to see an end-of-the-world movie in which the characters aren’t just cluelessly hashtagging their way to oblivion the way they do in 'Don’t Look Up,' another recent movie about humanity’s impending extinction. That film seemed to think it was critiquing public apathy toward climate change, like a 'Day After Tomorrow' denuded of thrills and presented in allegorical code. 'Moonfall,' to its credit, harbors no illusions about being useful. I don’t know about mega-structures, but this particular moon is made of purest B-movie cheese.

While other critics seem to take Moonfall for what should be expected from its director, Joshua Rivera of Polygon argues the premise is misleading to anyone hoping for the same ecological destruction of Earth story Roland Emmerich is known for. He says skip this movie, writing in his review,

The trouble is, Moonfall barely delivers on the trailer’s promise of a throwback disaster movie from the one-time king of the genre. In its third act, it also falls to pieces when it pivots into bonkers science fiction spectacle. That pivot is the most interesting thing about Moonfall — an inexplicable choice that leads to unintentional hilarity and a world of missed opportunity. This film could have literally given us the Moon. Instead, it offers the world’s noisiest lullaby.

David Ehrlich of IndieWire agrees Moonfall is one worth skipping, giving the blockbuster a D. He says even knowing what you’re going into with a disaster film of its kind, the movie lacks believable characters and self-awareness:

Even by the standards of an independently financed $146 million Roland Emmerich movie about the Moon falling onto the Earth, 'Moonfall' (solid title!) is still breathtakingly stupid. Every line is stupid. Every reveal is stupid. Every inference that conspiracy theorists could save us all if only people would listen to what they have to say is stupid — not stupid as opposed to being serious, but stupid in lieu of being smart.

William Bibbiani of The Wrap, however, says complaining about the absurdity of a Roland Emmerich movie “is like complaining that your hot dog is cylindrical.” You knew what you were getting into. He gives the disaster film 4 stars, writing in his review,

Roland Emmerich’s 'Moonfall' plays a lot like a Super Bowl commercial that got way out of hand. It costs far too much money, it goes on far too long, and the premise is so weird that, when all is said and done, you have no idea what it was even trying to sell you. But it was probably Teslas.

I think it’s fair to say the critics are split over Moonfall. For the most part, fans of Roland Emmerich are likely to be pleased — or at least entertained — by the brand of blockbuster they’ve come to expect. If you’d like to give it a shot, Moonfall hits theaters on Friday, February 4. Be sure to check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what else is coming soon.

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.