Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire

If brown filters and boring are your thing, you'll love Zack Snyder's Rebel Moon.
54/100112433
Starring
Sofia Boutella, Ed Skrein, Michiel Huisman
Director
Zack Snyder
Rated
PG-13
Genre
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Where to watch
Netflix
Overall Score
Rating Overview
Story/Plot
30%
Visuals/Cinematography
68%
Performance
65%
Direction
60%
Non-Wokeness
50%
Rating Summary
Rebel Moon is the worst of Zack Snyder's instincts over-filtered, over-indulged, and drowning in a lifeless mopey girl boss that will leave you wistfully nostalgic for the comparative delight that is Rey Skywalker and Disney Star Wars. Yeah, it's that bad.

Rebel Moon marks Zack Snyder’s 11th feature-length film sitting in the director’s chair. Beginning with the James Gunn scripted Dawn of The Dead in 2004, Snyder’s signature style has garnered him as many ardent fans as it has detractors. Regardless of which category you might fall into, one cannot deny that he has earned his place in cinematic history.

Rebel Moon – Part 1: Child of Fire

When space Soviets threaten a peaceful village of Amish Viking farmers, it’s up to Captain Queen of The Girl-Bosses and Discount Bradley Cooper to go from video game cut-screen character intro to video game cut-screen character intro to recruit a band of rebel clichés to help them fight orbital space death in hand to hand combat.

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The biggest disappointment with Rebel Moon is that it has all of the necessary components to be an entertaining epic space adventure. With its mishmash of tropes and character designs from every other Sci-Fi and fantasy series from the last four decades, how could it not?

From Harry Potter hippogriffs to whom riders must bow to Lord of The Rings Uruk-hai bounty hunters, Rebel Moon feels like a 6-year-old child dumped out a Gen-X’ers toy box and tried to play Star Wars, and it has about the same level of character development and plot sophistication.

zack snyder rebel moon hippogriff
Where’s Hagrid when you need him?

Except for a tense 10-minute opening ripped directly from the plot of Disney’s “A Bug’s Life,” Rebel Moon consists of 1-dimensional characters, each with the possibility of being interesting had not so much time been spent on “cool” slo-mo shots and redundant flashbacks instead of character development.

Eighty percent of the film is spent watching the diminutive main character and her male sidekick put a team together, which in and of itself isn’t bad. However, it’s impossible to care about what happens to them when the audience doesn’t get an opportunity to bond emotionally with a single team member.

Had the team-building journey itself consisted of more than hopping a spaceship to the next brown screen-filtered destination, watching a bad@$$ perform some uninspired bad@$$ery to solve the world’s most convenient problem, and collecting them for the team, the movie would have some redeeming value. Unfortunately, Snyder puts together this team with even less creativity and grace than the Justice League.

In the film’s final troubling conceit, the bargain basement dialogue barrels out of each performer with the perspicacity of AOC, often egressively expositing nonsense while looking desperately for a photo-op.

Look: no one watches a Zack Snyder film because they want the world’s most remarkable character development and cohesive plot. You watch a Zack Snyder film because it looks cool, and the fight scenes are awesome. Rebel Moon has some of that. But without any moment or interaction to give us the emotional connection of Leonidas protecting his homeland in a hopeless battle, etc., what’s the point?

 

WOKE ELEMENTS

CORRECTION 1/10/2024 – I’m not sure why I was under the impression that the lead actress, Sofia Boutla was Brazilian, except perhaps from an article in which the Algerian actress mentions that that was the assumption of casting directors. References to a Latin heritage have been removed.

Whitey Be Trippin’

  • Not every white guy is evil, but only white guys are evil.

 

All the Girl Bosses

  • You’ve got 5’5″ Algerian Rey Skywalker with a bad attitude who is played by a literal 120 lbs model cold cocking a 6′ 5″ 300 lbs alien who is strong enough to pick up a 225 lbs man by his balls, but that same yoked 225 lbs farmer’s solid right cross barley turns the same alien’s head.
    • Even when she gets her @$$ handed to her, she never shows any injuries and manages to rally, Rocky-style, to save the day.
      • It’s really rather dull because there’s never any doubt about her impending success.
        • Her level of girl bossness cannot be overstated. It’s in virtually every scene; it never looks or feels natural or authentic, and there’s no real reason given for her ability to dominate in hand-to-hand confrontations except training.
          • It hurts the movie a lot, so we dinged it pretty hard for this.
          • One of the reasons that no one ever complains about characters like Beatrix Kiddo from Kill Bill is that she always used a force multiplier, superior skill, and speed to dominate. When she found herself in an even test of strength against a larger opponent, she lost.
            • In Rebel Moon, nuRey dominates with and without weapons. No doubt, in Part 2, she’ll likely be a great pilot as well.
              • I’ll give her that, probably thanks to her dance training; Sofia Boutella never looks uncomfortable and slow in her combat scene a la Ahsoka.
          • If the USA women’s soccer team has taught us nothing else, it’s that, in physical confrontations, training doesn’t trump a lifetime dose of testosterone combined with even a smidgeon of competence.
  • nuRey isn’t the only girl boss, not by a long shot, just the most prevalent.
    • Discount Michelle Yeoh is a 5′ 7″ 100 lbs samurai who can single-handedly dominate in a fight against a 9ft tall 2,000 lbs spider monster.
    • The rebel army must be comprised of 2/3 chicks… petite, spindly armed chicks who look like children next to the handful of men in leading roles.

Gayliens

  • There’s a scene in which a large male alien is gay because he is.
    • But also to humiliate another male character so that nuRey has an excuse to be tough.
    • In the same scene, there’s a trans hooker looking weird in the background.

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James Carrick

James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.

11 comments

  • red9736

    December 24, 2023 at 12:48 am

    Man, I was really looking forward to this film. I guess I won’t be watching it lol.
    Thank you for taking the time to sit through this drivel so we don’t have to.

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    Reply

  • Sweet Deals

    December 24, 2023 at 1:31 am

    Another film I have no intention of watching. But I’d like to remark on your review of it.

    The general impression I get from movies like this has less to do with wokeness and more to do with lazy storytelling. It seems to me in a lot of today’s films, the objective is to cram in as many cool-looking visuals and chaotic action scenes as possible, even if they don’t make any sense. The result feels like I’m watching a mish-mash of fantastic and familiar elements cut out from better films, pasted together in a way that looks amazing but is utterly meaningless. It’s like the kinds of stories that elementary school kids invent while they’re reenacting their favorite cartoons on the playground during recess. Who needs a coherent plot or a theme when you’ve got a sandbox full of all the best toys spouting lines that sound vaguely like what people want to hear?

    I wonder when lazy storytelling started becoming acceptable at the professional level. Then again, this is a Netflix movie, and my biased opinion of Netflix is that their original content tends to be “clickbait”. They’re not in the business of making movies people actually enjoy. They’re in the business of measuring which movies and TV shows people watch the most and generating knockoffs based on the data they’ve collected about their customers’ viewing habits. It doesn’t matter whether the movie is good or not as long as it vaguely resembles something people already liked enough so viewers might click on it once. That’s the bare minimum they need for success in their market.

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    • Dave

      December 28, 2023 at 6:43 pm

      I’d say there’s wokeness in the casting at minimum.

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  • b

    December 24, 2023 at 9:16 am

    Even if someone was interested enough to watch this, why wouldn’t you just wait for the R rated director’s cut that they for some reason announced before the release? What a weird release.

    Reply

  • Human person

    December 28, 2023 at 6:51 pm

    When do you think the review of migration will be out?

    Reply

    • James Carrick

      December 28, 2023 at 6:56 pm

      Working on it tonight. Hope to have it out by the morning.

      Reply

  • Rcc

    December 30, 2023 at 4:08 am

    Being that Netflix has been on a crusade to out-woke Disney, it’s no surprise this turned out to be an even woker version of Disney Star Wars.

    Reply

  • Tia

    January 2, 2024 at 11:28 pm

    I was so disappointed to discover how bad this was. I had such high hopes. Sigh. Thanks for the review!

    Reply

  • Galambos Tamás

    January 8, 2024 at 4:31 pm

    Is it fair, that it has a similar score to Foundation?? Besides turn a likeable antagonist into gay, Foundation (so far) wasnt very woke, no 50 kb woman defeat 90 kb men barehanded etc.
    Looks like generally speaking, adaptations get a low score from people expect 99% similarity to source material (Warcraft movie, Halo 2022, Foundation)

    Reply

    • James Carrick

      January 8, 2024 at 4:49 pm

      I couldn’t tell you. I didn’t watch or review Foundation, Simon did. I can only say that I stand by my review.

      Reply

  • Alex

    January 9, 2024 at 11:29 pm

    Lol I was ACTUALLY taking the review seriously thinking that there was a Latina in the movie. Which 1. Why would that be mentioned or matter? And 2. Is an Algerian woman being racially profiled as being Latina because of her features??? And I think I’ve read enough reviews here to realize you need to GET OVER the fact that there’s evil “white” guys just like in 98% of movies because MOST of them are “white” movies. Boohoo GOD FORBID If their not and there’s some smart Hispanic/Asian/African Americans😩 and get over the fact that women can be bosses too. Not just men like in every single movie from 1950s-early 2000s…

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