For at least an hour I was back 50 years ago when science fiction was about space that held mystery and was vague enough to be accepted or possibly could happen someday. As a kid I was absorbed by films like It Came From Outer Space, War of The Worlds and Forbidden Planet.
As the story begins Moonfall brings us back to that time. KC Housman (nicely played by John Bradley) finds out a secret about the Moon. He’s the traditional character that no one will believe, when he states; that danger is coming from something hidden inside the Earth’s one natural satellite.
For the human aspects of the film, Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) a former NASA astronaut who flew on the Space Shuttle years before and was part of an accident finds himself reduced to working as a guide at Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles. His fall from grace has fractured his family and he falls almost into the level of the John Bradley character. They are both no longer part of the center of the NASA space program.
Jo Fowler (Halle Berry) who flew on the flight with Brian Harper when he had the accident retains respect for him, she has risen to the position of Deputy Director of NASA. Harper’s son Sonny (Charlie Plummer) has yet come to grips with his father’s downfall and the separation of his parents. Early on he is arrested.
The simple story filled with characters who are not perfect works nicely for the greater part of the film.
The 146 million dollar budget allowed for a spectacular display of special effect in the final chapters, but as often happens in today’s films they are over used, repetitive and don’t add much once the initial idea that an entity in the Moon has been observed and is about to destroy the Earth.
Far more impressive are the scenes taken from the air of the mountains, buildings and cities on Earth. Griffith Park Observatory shown from the air has an architectural and science foot print that is spectacular.
Moonfall if nothing else keeps our attention throughout, it is better initially, but throughout the images and excitement demand respect and curiosity. It’s an effective two hour escape.