By now the kids of the Harry Potter movie franchise have distanced themselves enough to prove to us all that they are more than just Harry, Ron, and Hermoine. Daniel Radcliffe has very slowly broken the mold by acting in movies like The Woman in Black, Swiss Army Man, and Imperium. Emma Watson showed us her pseudo-indie side with Perks of Being a Wallflower and we will soon see her in the live action adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Rupert Grint has tried repeatedly to break onto the blockbuster scene with significantly less success than his Harry Potter peers. Did you know he was in a failed CBS pilot about a kid who decides to become a super hero called Super Clyde? Apart from that and a few supporting roles the only real movie that Rupert Grint has starred in since the Harry Potter franchise is Moonwalkers.
Moonwalkers tells the story of Jonny (Rupert Grint), a down on his luck band manager who has gotten in deep with the wrong type of people. Through a random occurrence of mistaken identity he is approached by the United States government and NASA to hire Stanley Kubrick to direct a fake moon landing video as a contingency in case the real Apollo 11 mission is a failure. Problems ensue when the government contact, Kidman (played by Ron Perlman), realizes Jonny fooled him and lost all of the money meant for the video. Together the two must race against time to scrap together a convincing moon landing video.
One thing I will praise Moonwalkers for is its unique take on an increasingly popular conspiracy theory. Not only does it poke fun at the belief that Stanley Kubrick directed the moon landing footage, but it also addresses the conspiracy theory as a whole. The movie also does an excellent job of creating a feeling of tension by showing the Apollo 11 shuttle getting closer and closer to the moon as our protagonists struggle more and more with a circus of wacky characters who only complicate the plan. It also never explicitly states that the moon landing was faked but rather assumes everything was real, but the Government could have used a little assistance in the endeavor.
Sadly, I feel like this movie only proves that Rupert Grint shines as a supporting character. While he is the central character and the main protagonist, he is sometimes overshadowed by Ron Perlman’s character and another character, Leon (played by Misfits star Robert Sheehan). We never really see his character grow into something other than a spineless, band manager. As usual Ron Perlman does an excellent job portraying your stereotypical army-type, and Robert Sheehan takes his performance in Misfits to the next level as the druggie, best friend. Tom Audenaert was fairly amusing as the director, Renatus, but without prior knowledge of the late 60’s and the pop art movement, many of the humorous aspects of his character are lost.
With the late 60’s providing the historical backdrop of the movie, Moonwalkers could have very easily turned into another drug-induced comedy, but the movie uses the drug-use popular at the time as more of a character device than anything else. The drug usage does eventually bridge the gap from character device to plot device, but it actually adds the tension of the story instead of taking away for it.
Moonwalkers is not a particularly great movie, but it is enjoyable. It has its funny moments mixed in with its eye rolling moments, but the cleverness of the plot actually makes up for all of the lacking parts. It has humor and action and most importantly it has tension, even if the tension is more about whether the movie will show the Apollo mission succeeding or not.