Moonfall: bad review! Nothing to enjoy except for the special effects

The new film from disaster director Emmerich is a depressing watch. Once upon a time, Roland Emmerich was the leading Hollywood disaster film director. The quality of Hollywood disaster films, whether Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow or 2012, has never been well received by critics, but it has a good reputation among the general public. The imagination and creativity he once prided himself on have all but disappeared, replaced by endless repetition and the embarrassment of sensationalism.

In the past, regardless of the quality of Ai’s work, the narrative was at least straightforward, often with a little build-up before getting straight to the point, satisfying the basic needs of the average passer-by. As a commercial entertainment film, its positioning and properties dictate that it should first and foremost serve its audience, so that they can quickly get their senses stimulated in the cinema.

What’s even more unacceptable is that the film’s various acts of disregard for the audience’s intelligence make the whole process a complete disaster.

One::The overwhelmingly hard logic

Although entertainment films do not have to be overly strict and logical, it is not uncommon for them to be riddled with hard facts like this film. First of all, as a natural disaster of global proportions, the film is very narrowly focused on a few simple actions by NASA and the US government, with no mention of other countries, and a small role for China, thanks to Chinese capital, but more in the background.

The efforts of the others are largely abandoned in order to highlight the main team, which is clearly not convincing in the face of such a big event as the imminent fall of the moon to Earth, which is a matter of life and death for all mankind. So, even though Brian, Joe and the KC trio put everything they have into saving the world, the downgraded nature of the entire execution results in actions that simply don’t hold up to such a huge theme of the film.

It’s not a good idea to transpose the small-scale rescue from “The Day After Tomorrow” to this film, and instead of thinking that the main team is great, the audience will only think that the writers have deliberately lowered the intelligence of the others in order to create a crisis.

Secondly, the characters’ decisions are too emotional. The cultural differences between China and the United States make many of the choices made in the film unappealing to the Chinese. For example, Jo Fuller’s ex-husband believes that she can save the planet, so he blackmails the US military into not launching nuclear bombs, disregarding the bigger picture.

And then there’s Sonny’s offer to go looking for Tom, who has been lost. To risk going to a place full of crises when one’s own equipment and abilities are not up to the level of rescue is in itself irresponsible to oneself and others, as is the subsequent development, and if it weren’t for the protagonist’s aura, Sonny would have dragged Michelle down with him. But when disaster strikes, this kind of value orientation will do a lot of harm to a group of people.

Thirdly, the laws of science are ignored. The film is full of astronomical calculations and orbital predictions that seem very professional, but when you look deeper, you can see that they are all lies. For example, there is a sequence in which the space shuttle launch base is hit hard by a tsunami and the rest of the crew is relocated, leaving only the trio of protagonists to take off. In order to emphasise the tension of a close call, the space shuttle is designed to break through the waves and fly into the sky even though the water has already submerged the shuttle, which is a shock to watch.

Not to mention the fact that the current level of technology is unable to achieve rocket lift-off underwater, and even if it could, it would not be done in such a dangerous way. The film tries to inspire human pride by using survival from the dead and a desperate comeback, but ignores the most basic common sense, which is certainly provocative, but only the screenwriter’s wishful thinking.

Confusing emotional portrayal
It is clear that Ai understands that audiences will not buy a disaster film if it is only about the spectacle, so he has resorted to his tried and tested tool – emotional portrayal.

In The Day After Tomorrow, the audience got a taste of what this can do. The bond between father and son, coupled with nature’s devastating disasters, easily evokes empathy from the audience, resulting in applause and emotion. But if this is not done with restraint, the audience may not feel the value of affection, but rather artifice and artificiality.

In Moonfall, at least three sets of bonds are involved. Brian, the hero, with his impulsive son Sonny, Jo, the heroine, with her infant son, and the various stepsons and stepdaughters after they have reorganised their family. Such a hodgepodge of diverse emotions would obviously be unrealistic to show them all in a 120-minute film, but director Ai wanted to challenge this impossibility.

As a result, the film takes on a state of affairs, always inserting a forced parting of life and death just as the plot reaches a pivotal point, in a way that doesn’t let the audience shed a tear. The audience, though mostly emotional creatures, cannot withstand such an intense tear-jerking bombardment, so they can only let out a sigh of relief as their nerves grow numb.

Third, the style of the film puts the cart before the horse

Perhaps having gotten used to the style of Ai’s previous films, the second half of the film, which is billed as a disaster movie, is a sudden change of pace that is immediately overwhelming.

Rumours of whether the moon is man-made have been around for a long time, and after the Apollo moon landing, they have not diminished, but rather have intensified. Human beings have always been curious about the unknown, and this has given rise to many reveries, which is no excuse, because it is this desire for knowledge and exploration that has driven the rapid development of technology and history forward.

The problem with this film is not the feasibility of turning a disaster film into a science fiction film, but that it doesn’t take enough time to build up and gradually allow the audience to accept the process. While it is unbelievable that the moon’s orbit is changing and about to smash into the Earth, it is at least within the realm of current scientific understanding, but the director’s brainstorming of the moon’s origins going back billions of years and making humans the survivors of an AI awakening counterattack is just too unbelievable.

The question of the origin of mankind has been explored in a number of Hollywood films before, including those with similar views to this one, such as Alien, but those that have succeeded have invariably first built a complete world view for the audience and then analysed the possibility from different angles to support their views. Once the audience is subjectively unable to agree with the creator’s expression, the argument lacks the most basic support and is reduced to a meaningless pile-up.

The special effects scenes in this film are of the same standard as Ai’s, not too elaborate, but at least not out of place. In fact, audiences don’t expect much from an entertainment film. It’s enough to tell a clear story, get some emotion, and see a few big scenes.