Moonshot Review

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It is too bad that Moonshot did not come out a month ago, during the closest thing we have to an official “rom-com season,” as it’s a sly and witty “enemies-to-more” comedy that nicely blends genre tropes with sci-fi snark. Featuring Riverdale/Zack & Cody’s Cole Sprouse and Deadly Class Lana Condor, Moonshot, which takes place mostly on a spaceship bound for Mars (not the moon), is gently sweet yet lightly subversive.

The chemistry between the two leads matters much here, just as does the belated introduction of Zach Braff as a billionaire space tycoon in this story – who should be used only as a plot device providing wise words but instead acts in this film like an egoistic dullard – facilitates the upward spiral of Moonshot. The times when this story does things differently than expected and actually has some very funny lines are great for curling up with popcorn at home watching pretty young things (Scream’s Mason Gooding and Fear Street’s Emily Rudd also star) flirt under the stars.

However, Moonshot isn’t all about surprises. It still sticks very much to genre conventions and serves up comfort food accordingly. Although Walt played by Sprouse is an unfocused fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants guy while Sophie acted by Condor is the worried plan-oriented type; while it’s not a nice look to make an exceptional woman fall for a hyper-ordinary dude (Walt’s mediocrity becomes something of a running gag), he eventually becomes her cheerleader.

Throughout his life until then, Walt has always been fascinated with Mars because he idolizes space explorer Leon Kovi (Braff being delightfully dickish); although he was denied entry into Kovi’s Mars effort many times due to repeated failures in any necessary science areas. Sophie on her part is brilliant in her field but in the beginning, the two do not mix like oil and water; however, they both make major snap decisions to go to Mars for love. In Sophie’s case, it is to see her on-and-off boyfriend Calvin (Gooding) and for Walt, it is just so that he can maybe prove he isn’t completely hopeless around girls by keeping in contact with (mostly) his first-ever female acquaintance (Rudd).

Moonshot is clever enough never to vilify the other romantic options and instead makes them seem like good matches for Walt and Sophie at first that you might not even want Walt and Sophie to fall in love — you want them together with their respective partners/objects of affection from the start. In fact, most of the movie’s second act consists of these two trying not to get into trouble after Walt sneaks onto a Mars-bound spacecraft. He does not want to be arrested while she does not want to have a stowaway aboard. But as this film moves along its storyline you realize that even though they may think so, their true reasons for going there aren’t what they suppose.

Normally, romcoms don’t come with actual special effects budgets, so props to Moonshot for putting its best sci-fi foot forward. Certainly, this story could have been set in any other place but having it all staged in a weird trashland future that is almost WALL-E-like gives us something new to think about and also opens up easy access to the movie’s good one-liners (that are sometimes darkly funny about human beings). Moonshot takes pleasure in A.I. companionship and various grim views of Earth—an additive element to the by-the-numbers notes—old stuff and new things mixed. Moonshot doesn’t exactly break fresh ground and gives viewers what they expect from romantic comedies; however, its two main characters as well as overall playfulness with the space setting create a satisfyingly sweet tale.


Moonshot uses otherworldly elements to highlight two main characters finding family and wanting to belong. It plays it fairly safe with romance while adding some nastiness through science fiction (coupled with spacemen and cosmic vistas). Cosmic Siblings: The Two-Character Showdown. Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor make for a cool team that can be human amidst cosmic chaos. The film isn’t quite a home run but it’s unexpectedly goofy yet cunning.

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