This movie is, first and foremost, stupid. The core concept doesn’t work, and a lot of key plot elements don’t work either.1
But then, it’s a Roland Emmerich movie, and he’s got a distinct style: take a thing people are concerned about in the real world, crank it up to 11 so it’ll be visually interesting, and off we go. I certainly didn’t go in expecting a robust understanding of orbital mechanics, and you shouldn’t either.
And here’s where the tone of my review changes, because for all the bashing on the concept I just did, I actually really enjoyed the movie. It’s in that sweet spot of “bad movie” where it’s fun to watch with friends and mock. “Mystery Science Theater 3,000” bad, not “Star Wars Holiday Special” bad. Do just enough prep work to know how silly it is—in my case, I went with “having been an avid science fiction nerd my whole life,” but if you want less of a time commitment, go for this Kurzgesagt video about what would actually happen if the moon fell out of orbit—then grab some popcorn and get ready to roast the movie.2 (Bonus points: make a drinking game every time you spot a sponsor of the movie. The easy ones are Elon Musk and the Chinese government.)
- “The moon’s been falling out of orbit for a decade, and nobody at NASA or any other space agency noticed until just now!” ↩
- And, while you’re watching Kurzgesagt videos, I also recommend this one explaining why the military’s “contribution” to the plot is stupid, and this one that explains what megastructures actually are. And, really, pretty much everything on their channel is worth a watch. Kurzgesagt is great. ↩