(director/writer: Roland Emmerich; screenwriters: Harald Kloser, Spenser Cohen; cinematographer: Robby Baumgartner; editors: Adam Wolfe/Ryan Stevens Harris; music: Thomas Wander/Harald Kloser; cast: Halle Berry (Jo Fowler), Patrick Wilson (Brian Harper), John Bradley (KC Houseman), Michael Peña (Tom Lopez), Charlie Plummer (Sonny Harper), Alan Marcus (Engineer), Kelly Yu (Michelle), Eme Ikwuakor (Doug Davidson), Carolina Bartczak (Brenda Lopez), Donald Sutherland (Holdenfield); Runtime: 124; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers; Harald Kloser, Roland Emmerich: Lionsgate; 2022)
“It was so bad, I couldn’t wait for it to end.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A silly sci fi disaster space film, filmed mostly in CG, by writer and director Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day”/”Godzilla”). The film seems to go on for an eternity (It was so bad, I couldn’t wait for it to end). It lacks the usual traits that make an action film worth seeing–like good set pieces, a telling narrative and a coherency. It’s the so-so veteran director giving us another of his celebrated schlock disaster B-films.
Emmerich co-writes it with Harald Kloser and Spenser Cohen. The film’s premise is “What if the Moon fell?” The satellite is on a collision course with Earth, and before it gets here, all sorts of destruction will probably occur across the globe in the form of tidal waves and catastrophic gravitational changes.
The story begins ten years ago in 2021 when something goes wrong during a routine satellite repair mission for NASA. Jo Fowler (Halle Berry), a NASA worker, is knocked unconscious by a swarm of nanobots and is out cold for the entire incident. The monsters attack astronaut Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) and kill his helper engineer (Alan Marcus). Brian saves the day but is not believed and is blamed for the incident. NASA thereby gives him the boot. His life spirals downward, he’s divorced and lives in disgrace, never recovering his reputation.
Some ten years later, the nerdy KC Houseman (John Bradley) breaks into NASA headquarters as a janitor and steals data showing that the moon was knocked out of orbit in the above cited attack. When he sounds the alarm that something troubling is up and that the moon was built by aliens, no one will listen to the weirdo. But NASA has kept secret this research about the moon colliding with Earth and KC thereby convinces everyone our planet is doomed and needs to be saved. So three unlikely heroes have just a few days to try to prevent this tragic event from happening by taking a Space Shuttle, with NASA’s permission, to knockout the monster with an EMP pulse. They are: Jo, who since that incident 10 years ago has become a NASA honcho; the unlucky former astronaut Brian and the amateur scientist KC.
To get to its end, you must sit through a dull 40-minute stretch of looking only at the interior of a space shuttle or at the not too creative computer simulated space scenes.
REVIEWED ON 2/4/2022 GRADE: C-