Plain, Simple Tom’s thoughts on . . . “Moonfall” (2022), “Death on the Nile” (2022) and “Uncharted” (2022)

Moonfall (2022)

★ ★

Roland Emmerich’s brand new disaster movie sees Patrick Wilson, Halle Berry and John Bradley making the discovery that the moon (or is it an alien “superstructure”?) has been knocked out of its orbit, currently spiralling towards Earth, with the inevitable outcome of global armageddon on the horizon, and the whole thing is just . . . bad.

The film has a plot that is undeniably bonkers and completely ridiculous (plus, I’m willing to bet, wildly scientifically inaccurate) but although there was perhaps an opportunity for the film to have fun with its crazy story, maybe ending up as an enjoyable “so bad, it’s good” endeavour, the film fails to have any fun at all and is instead a tiresome and surprisingly dull affair.

The visuals and special effects are surprisingly sub par, the script is weak, and the acting is pretty poor all around; performers like Patrick Wilson, Halle Berry, Charlie Plummer and Michael Peña look bored all the way through (they’re not helped by the fact that their characters are uninteresting) and Samwell Tarly John Bradley is completely out of place and sadly embarrassing as the comic relief of the piece – he has the responsibility of providing nearly 100% of the comedy in this film but in this role, he doesn’t succeed as any comedic moments in this film are really quite pathetic.

But at least Donald Sutherland (yes, he’s in it. Don’t ask why) had the good sense to simply appear in one scene, collect the cheque, and then completely disappear for the remainder of the film.

Death on the Nile (2022)

★ ★

Following his 2017 adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, Kenneth Branagh returns to the director’s chair and leading man role for his adaptation of Christie’s Death on the Nile, which sees famed Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot tagging along with a wedding party aboard a luxury Nile-bound steamer, only to become involved in yet another murder mystery in which, yes, everyone is a credible suspect.

I found 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express to have been a decent film – a pretty handsome adaptation, though nothing especially memorable – that saw Branagh in perfectly fine form as the famous detective but his follow-up, 2022’s Death on the Nile, is a lifeless adaptation which isn’t as good as what came before.

Unfortunately, Branagh disappoints both behind and in front of the camera because his Poirot is overwhelmingly “vanilla” and in the director’s chair, he doesn’t perform as well because his feature chugs along too lazily – much like the steamer of this film – and he doesn’t infuse the film with the requisite tension, intrigue, or drama that a film like this requires. Scribe Michael Green is also partly to blame as his script is poor; at one point, we are spoon-fed information relating to who everyone is, what their relationship is to the victim and, yes, what potential motives they could have for harming the victim and additionally, we are given irrelevant subplots involving Tom Bateman’s Bouc and his mother as well as Poirot’s lost love but these side stories go nowhere and only serve to slow the film down.

Elsewhere, the visuals are wonky as it’s often glaringly obvious that the actors are working on a stage – with some all too noticeable use of greenscreening – and many of the performances are only average, apart from performers like Emma Mackey and Sophie Okonedo who do well in making an impression throughout the feature.

Uncharted (2022)

★ ★ ★

Ruben Fleischer’s big screen adaptation of the popular PlayStation game sees Tom Holland take on the role of Nate Drake, a young pickpocket, hustler, and aspiring treasure hunter who teams up with Mark Wahlberg’s “Sully” Sullivan in order to find some long lost Spanish treasure, which is also being sought by Antonio Banderas’ ruthless tycoon, and the end product is . . . fine.

First off, I’ve never owned a PS4 and so have never had an opportunity to play these games, nor was I previously aware of what the games were about or who the characters were, so as a complete novice to this particular fictional world, I would say that 2022’s Uncharted is a film that will provide audiences with a decent cinemagoing experience – given its adventurous setpieces, globetrotting nature, and the fun interactions between Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg – but it also doesn’t do enough to make itself stand out from the crowd or to differentiate itself from other, similar films. Indeed, I had hoped that this film would essentially be this year’s Jungle Cruise but I didn’t have as much fun with this particular feature.

The all important action/adventure setpieces are alright, though nothing truly extraordinary (barring maybe the whole “Pirates of the Caribbean in the sky” sequence), and elsewhere, the humour isn’t particularly effective and the characters and actors are simply decent; Tom Holland performs well in the action hero/adventurer role of Nate Drake (although he isn’t actually that interesting of a character), Mark Wahlberg really just plays himself, and Antonio Banderas is a bit of a weak villain and he leaves Sabrina‘s Tati Gabrielle to be the more credible threat of the piece, even though her character doesn’t evolve beyond “glorified henchperson”.

2 thoughts on “Plain, Simple Tom’s thoughts on . . . “Moonfall” (2022), “Death on the Nile” (2022) and “Uncharted” (2022)

  1. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on Moonfall and Uncharted. The former is one of the most ridiculous films I’ve seen in my life with all the standard tropes Emmerich has done in his previous disaster films except all bunch together on crack. The latter was surprisingly more fun than I expected, and while some fans of the games will be disappointed with the liberties taken with the source material, I think there’s enough of the DNA of the games to build on for a sequel.

    Liked by 1 person

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