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‘Moonfall’ and the art of the disaster film cliche | Showbiz

Director Roland Emmerich attends the premiere of the film ‘Moonfall’ at the TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California on January 31, 2022. – Reuters pic

PARIS, February 4 – Director Roland Emmerich knows a thing or two about the ingredients of a good disaster movie, having given the world Independence Day, 2012 and Two days later.

He’s back in theaters next week with moon fall with Halle Berry, in which the moon begins to act rather strangely.

Naturally, it’s a small group of Americans who must save the world, but how well does the film live up to the other rules of the disaster genre?

The Divorced Hero

If there’s one cliché Emmerich loves, it’s the estranged couple coming together in the face of the impending destruction of the world.

The heartwarming reaffirmation of family values ​​and parental stability is found in all of his great disaster films, up to moon fall.

Emmerich is far from alone. From Tornado at Epidemic at San Andreaschances are an exasperated wife will realize that her (usually rich and obnoxious) new husband is no patch on her ex in the rough when the going gets tough.

Generals are always wrong

In disaster movies, the generals are always desperate to fix the problem, when everyone knows it can only make things worse.

moon fall sticks solidly to this storyline, with a series of stone-faced old white guys who are adamant that they have to blow up the moon.

The dog survives

Dogs are effectively immune to death in disaster movies, miraculously surviving fast lava (both Dante’s Peak and Volcano), asteroid strikes (Armageddon), alien invasions (Independence Day) and tornadoes (twice in Tornado).

moon fall marks a significant departure from disaster movie history by not including any pets, invincible or otherwise.

A guy knows

He’s some eccentric scientist or wacky hobbyist, and they tried to warn everyone and no one would listen – and now look what a mess we’re in!

In the case of moon falleveryone should have listened to conspiracy theorist KC Houseman (played by game of thrones regular John Bradley) and his ridiculous ideas about the moon.

In a contemporary version of the trope, he convinces the world to take him seriously by posting his findings on social media, which is treated in the film as a shortcut to legitimacy (perhaps the least likely element of a movie about the moon falling on Earth).

Hollywood science

Ben Affleck recently gave a not unreasonable update on the 1998 asteroid capers Armageddon that it might have made more sense to train astronauts as drillers, rather than the other way around.

But it turns out there were bigger problems with their plan in the film.

In 2019, scientists from Johns Hopkins University published a paper claiming that 4,000 of the most powerful nuclear explosives ever created would need to be concentrated in one place to disrupt a 20 kilometer wide asteroid, and that the fragments could be gathered. in any case by gravity.

Bad science appears regularly in disaster films, from the ice age that emerges in three days in Two days later to the wheels of the truck that can cross the lava Dante’s Peak.

And don’t ask geologists to tell you about “The Core,” in which scientists use an indestructible element called “Unobtanium” to drill into the center of the Earth and restart the core with a nuclear bomb.

Without revealing any spoilers, moon fall is also unlikely to be used as a teaching aid in university science departments. —AFP