is the absurd sci-fi adventure , in which the moon gets knocked out of orbit by an unknown alien force and is sent hurtling on a collision course toward Earth, leading to a small group of astronauts embarking on a mission to stop it. Everything about Moonfall is ridiculous — and pretty entertaining. But nothing is more ludicrous than the Lexus product placement in the movie, which is the most blatant automotive advertising I’ve ever seen outside of the Transformers franchise. (Minor spoilers ahead.)
You may have seen the movie trailers and Lexus commercials that use clips from a climactic chase scene in the movie’s third act, which features, but the road to actually getting to that scene is what really got me. At the beginning of the film, disgraced astronaut Brian Harper gets a call from his ex-wife Brenda to turn on the TV and watch the news, which is playing a high-speed chase on a Los Angeles freeway. The driver is their son Sonny, who gets arrested for a litany of charges like speeding, drug possession and running from the cops. What was he driving? A bright blue Lexus IS 350, which the newscaster describes as a “high-end sports car.”
A little later we’re introduced to Tom Lopez, Brenda’s new husband, who just so happens to be the wealthy owner of a Lexus dealership in Los Angeles. There’s an entire scene set in the dealership, with the camera panning over cars like the LC coupe, all of which have front license plates that say the full model name, and before the scene Tom is even referred to as a Lexus dealer specifically.
This is far from the first time a movie character has worked at a specific branded dealer, but Moonfall is the first movie I remember where that was such conspicuous product placement. The movie also has a lot of scenes with Halle Berry’s character Jo Fowler being driven to and from different NASA locations, with the space agency’s vehicle of choice in the movie being a GX 460.
Everything really gets wild in that chase scene, though. Tom and Brenda head to snowy Aspen with Sonny and their two daughters to try and avoid the impending doom, but they soon need to escape the area as the moon, er, falls. Tom remembers there are some people in the area he sold some cars to, so the group proceeds to the seemingly abandoned house and steals a brand-new Lexus NX crossover. As Sonny takes the wheel — he has car-chase experience after all — the group races to get away from not only a gang of scavengers and thieves in an old Ford pickup and a military-spec Hummer H1, but a “gravity wave.” Yes, it’s what it sounds like.
As the gravity wave caused by the moon’s proximity to Earth causes the ground to collapse, buildings and other debris to get flown in the air, and just a lot of gravity-related mayhem in general, the NX is somehow able to escape it all in a three-minute chase scene that is genuinely fun to watch, with even a jump across a massive chasm. There was one moment that really made me groan: When the chase is really heated, Tom says, “Let me put this baby into warp speed,” as he turns the drive mode dial into Sport mode. Now, the new NX is certainly more powerful than the old one, especially with its 275-hp plug-in-hybrid powertrain, but the whole thing is outrageous and unbelievable. Then again, this movie is about the moon literally falling to Earth, so I don’t really mind.
In a world where most automotive product placement in movies is either super subtle or part of a franchise-spanning partnership like Audi or Acura with the Marvel movies, I was actually entertained by how far Moonfall took the Lexus sponsorship. It’s just too bad it was centered on the NX — I would’ve much rather seen the stunning LC escape a gravity wave in the snow. Moonfall is exclusively in theaters now, and you can read our critic.
published 2022-05-21 20:31:11