High budget action films miss the mark

With the latest action film Moonfall flopping at the box office, the point of making cash grab high-budget action films is becoming meaningless.



The theatrical poster for “Moonfall.”

Atreyu Hinckley, Staff Writer

We have quickly approached the second month of 2022, and after the release of “Spiderman: No Way Home,” film releases have been seemingly quiet. I decided to see what films may be coming out and stumbled upon “Moonfall,” Roland Emmerich’s 20th film. Emmerich is known for films such as “Independence Day,” “Godzilla (1998)” and “2012.” 

The movie stars Patrick Wilson and Halle Berry along with a few other known actors. I watched the movie, which was a little over two hours long, and it was one of those films that were so bad that it was good, yet after watching it I was still dissatisfied.

The reason for my dissatisfaction is because, throughout the past decade, we have had so many films that lean too heavily on high-budget action and effects with a little story to go with it. Take the “Transformers” and “Fast and the Furious” films as an example; these movies have the bare minimum of plot and writing because they all focus on the action and the money that they will make with just action alone.

But what about Emmerich’s new film? I personally did not hear anything about this movie’s development let alone its existence until I accidentally stumbled upon it on IMDb. With a projected $146 million dollar budget, this movie bombed on its first week at the box office, making only $10 million. It’s a big blow, as the estimation of the final box office tally will be around $41 million, well under what the movie cost to produce.

With that in mind; what is the point of all of these mindless action movies continuing? If the goal was to make a movie that is considered a quick cash grab yet fails to reach that goal, then why make the film? It is a question that goes towards the actors and crew involved, but mostly towards the screenwriters who write these films.

This question isn’t pointed at every action film. 2021 had two of the most visually stunning movies I have ever seen in “Spiderman: Far From Home” and “Dune.” The thing that makes these films work however is that they leaned on other aspects to help carry it through, like fan service and creative writing, things that a lot of action movies have been lacking. 

Now Emmerich has made his fair share of silly action movies while I was growing up, but I cannot tell you how ridiculous this movie’s plot and writing were. The worst part about it is that it seems like it was trying to take itself seriously and was even trying to make its own universe to potentially set up for sequels. With how the movie is going so far in the box office, that is an unlikely possibility.

It pains me to see films like this, it feels like a wasted opportunity for certain actors that have talent who could have been working on other projects that were worth their time. Considering the film’s budget, it looks like most of its cost went towards the visual effects rather than to the actors themselves. It sometimes makes me wonder if actors are provided the script before accepting to star in the film because it doesn’t seem like the pay cut is worth it.

Action films unaffiliated with Marvel and DC are sometimes a hit these days but are mostly a miss. 

Could the pandemic also play a part as to why certain movies are not receiving viewership or awareness of their set release dates? It is a possibility, but statistics are showing that this has been going on for so many years prior to the pandemic. Other films that are considered Indie or low budget have the same issues, but most of these films deserve much more recognition.

Filmmaking is so much more than just mindless action. Granted that we all likely go to watch movies as a means of escaping the real world for a couple of hours, I feel that action has taken precedence over good acting and writing. With the latest addition of a failed high-budget action film in Moonfall, these types of films need to come to an end.