MOONFALL disaster movie mini review

Set your expectation meter for Emmerich, and you’ll find it sufficiently mindlessly entertaining; that is, until it takes a wackadoo alien turn that no suspension of disbelief, with a modicum of intelligence, can accept. It’s a patchwork of The Abyss, 2021, and Armageddon stitched together with sophomoric dialogue and slapdash plotting. When George Bailey told Mary that he would “throw a lasso around [the moon],” little did he know what that would mean for the earth. Roland Emmerich’s newest disaster porn movie is MOONFALL, starring Patrick Wilson, Halle Barry, and Game of Thrones‘ John Bradley. Emmerich’s offering is everything you typically expect from a disaster movie, and then some. And it’s the and then some that may lose your interest in anything that is going on. What works? The disaster porn and the chemistry between our three leads. What doesn’t? About everything else. But we don’t watch these melodramatic disaster movies for the story, plot, or characters; we watch them for the sheer ridiculousness of it all, and a chance to turn off our brains for a couple of hours. While you won’t care about any of the supporting characters, you will be interested in what fate has in store for our three leads. The press screening I attended was in IMAX, and a premium format is precisely how you should watch this movie. Do not wait to watch it on streaming (on which, it will likely soon be available), because most of the fun of this movie is the entertainment value of the larger than life disaster effects.

Oh, for my fellow Star Trek: the Next Generation fans, you’ll appreciate the Dyson Sphere reference.

Ryan teaches Film Studies and Digital Citizenship at the University of Tampa. If you like this article, check out the others and FOLLOW this blog! Interested in Ryan making a guest appearance on your podcast or contributing to your website? Send him a DM on Twitter or email him at! If you’re ever in Tampa or Orlando, feel free to catch a movie with him.

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“San Andreas” review

San_Andreas_posterA thrilling non-stop adventure! If you’re looking for a disaster movie that will have you on the edge of your seat the entire time, then check out Warner Bros., Village Roadshow, and New Line Cinema’s San Andreas starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Despite having a one-dimensional plot and completely unbelievable scenarios, this movie will keep you entertained for the entire runtime. Spend your time with a ripped helicopter pilot who’s the poster child for a ‘Jack of all trades’ and his beautiful daughter who could out Eagle Scout an Eagle Scout. No dynamic love story here–just extremely high energy, larger than life, visceral complete and utter disaster around every corner. This movie definitely doesn’t do anything to help the realtors and architects in L.A. and San Fran. If you liked the original EarthquakeVolcano, The Day After Tomorrow, and The Core, then you will most likely enjoy this film. Or, if you were the kind of kid who would build cities out of Legos then have enormous fun destroying them, then this is definitely for you.

San Andreas is about a magnitude 9.7 earthquake affecting the famed San Andreas fault line in California. Form the Hoover Dam to China Town, the extremely destructive earthquake reeks havoc in its very wake. Follow Ray (Johnson) as he and his soon-to-be-ex wife Emma (Carla Gugino) unexpectedly team up to save their daughter Blake (Alexandra Deddario) from becoming the next victim to the record-breaking earthquake. Witness the utter destruction and peril that Ray and Emma have to overcome on their way from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Banning together to survive the earthquake, Blake and brothers Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and Ollie (Art Parkinson) must get to higher ground in order to be rescued by Ray and Emma.

Like with many over-the-top disaster movies, this one really doesn’t offer that much to critique. Of course the plot could be completely picked apart–very easily–but the thing about these movies is that they are produced for pure entertainment value. The writers and director are hoping that you don’t spend too much time thinking about the sheer impossibility or unlikelihood of Ray and Emma finding the aircrafts and watercraft they do. Or, why the city of L.A. would allow one helicopter pilot to use municipal gas and a helicopter to rescue his immediate family, meanwhile, basically abandoning all other citizens to peril. You see, it doesn’t take a film critic or scholar to notice the absurd plot devices and failed logic.

That being said, this film was very entertaining to watch and follows good visual storytelling structure. You have order (very briefly), followed by disorder (most of the movie), and the circle back to order once again. Oh yeah, there is a brilliant seismologist professor and media team at Cal-Tech (California Institute of Technology) who are basically there when the director needs something else to cut to. Otherwise, that whole sub-plot could have essentially been written out. Too bad, though. That subplot of the professor and his media team could have actually been fleshed out to be an intricate part of the plot.

That’s pretty well it. This is a movie that is unapologetic in that it is fully aware of what it is: a “Michael Bay”-ish disaster sci-fi movie. I am pretty sure that the cities of L.A. and San Fran should pretty well be completely leveled after the earthquakes. The movie is released during an appropriate time because it falls after Tomorrowland and before Jurassic World. It also typifies the summer movie season because it is a great popcorn movie that most anyone will enjoy.

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