Just before director Roland Emmerich’s latest effort, Moonfall, hits theaters Friday, the man who brought us Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 1998’s Godzilla let it be known that he thinks the Star Wars franchise and the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes are “ruining our industry” through their lack of originality. Sci-fi and action movie fans found that statement curious, coming from him.
On Wednesday, Den of Geek asked the White House Down helmer whether disaster films have changed much in recent years.
“Ah yes,” he replied. “Because naturally Marvel and DC Comics, and Star Wars, have pretty much taken over. It’s ruining our industry a little bit, because nobody does anything original anymore.”
Emmerich—who has also said that the original Star Wars inspired him to become a director—went on to explain that his feelings may have been swayed by the fact that he grew up in Germany:
“There were [The Adventures of Tintin comics], but they were very childish and there were no superheroes. So that’s why at the very beginning, superheroes didn’t work in Germany. They needed 10 or 15 years [of movies] to get to the same level as the rest of the world…. But I just have never found any interest in that kind of movie.”
Emmerich added, “You should make bold new movies, you know?” He then gave Christopher Nolan a shout-out as “the master of that.”
Den of Geek noted that Jodie Foster has expressed similar feelings, saying in 2018 that superhero movies are like fracking in that “[shareholders] get the best return right now but you wreck the earth…. ruining the viewing habits of the American population and the rest of the world.”
Martin Scorsese said much the same thing, deeming such movies “not cinema” in 2019.
But Emmerich is neither Scorsese nor Foster, he’s the director of 10,000 B.C. and the historically devious The Patriot—and some filmgoers have been quick to point that out.
Early on Thursday, Mr. H Reviews told his 289,000 YouTube subscribers, “I’m not sitting here saying he’s wrong, I’m not sitting here saying he’s right. I just think he’s a bit of a hypocrite because he talks about originality and, boy, I’ve not seen much original from him in a long time!”
Mr. H added, however, “I am looking forward to this Moonfall film just ’cause I think it’s going to be really dumb—dumb fun. You know, stuff-your-face-with-popcorn super, super fun.”
Also on Thursday, the 501,000-subscriber channel ComicBookCast2 posted a video titled “The Irrelevant Roland Emmerich Slams Marvel, Star Wars & DC,” in which the narrator advises, “When you’re Roland fucking Emmerlich, stay in your lane!”
On Twitter, some of the gentler comments include, “Of all people…” and, “I mean, he’s right but the guy who does the same movie on repeat shouldn’t be the one doing this criticism,” as well as, “#Moonfall kicks off its promotional tour with the director shitting on superhero movies. Yeah, that’ll go over well.”
As for reviews, Moonfall was weighing in at just 44 percent with critics on Rotten Tomatoes Thursday afternoon (with no audience score yet tallied), while Forbes says it “rehashes his greatest hits.” Inverse calls the flick “a thrilling blast“… but it is a blast in which “Emmerich’s greatest hits collide.”
Over at the A.V. Club, meanwhile, the verdict is simply “moonfail.”
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