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Rebel Moon - Part One: Child of Fire' Review

Netflix Movie: Rebel Moon - Part One: Child of Fire

By LucasPublished 5 months ago 4 min read
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YouTube: Netflix

Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire

Directed by Zack Snyder

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Rating: PG-13

Duration: 2 hours, 13 minutes

Curiously, a film rated PG-13 and often resonating as a young-adult fantasy, "Rebel Moon—Part One: A Child of Fire," presents at least two instances of attempted sexual assaults and an unsettlingly erotic encounter between a shirtless man and a tentacled extraterrestrial being. Yet, the film's most profound transgression lies in its cinematic lineage: To label "Rebel Moon" a pastiche of "Star Wars" with hints of "Dune," echoes of "Lord of the Rings," and a plethora of "Seven Samurai" is both glaringly accurate and somewhat superfluous. In the contemporary realm of fantasy, derivativeness is virtually a given. Snyder, candid about his influences, has long harbored this crossbreeding of mythologies from his college days.

In a far-flung galaxy, Veldt, a serene planet where burlap-clad villagers tend to the soil and mind their own affairs, floats. The authoritarian Motherworld, embodied by Admiral Atticus Noble (a scene-commanding Ed Skrein), demands grain for its army. Brazenly channeling Ralph Fiennes' character from "Schindler's List" (1993), Atticus, with bowl-cut bangs, an S.S.-inspired uniform, and a formidable staff, vows to return and annihilate the villagers if grain is not forthcoming. Finding a savior becomes a top priority.

Enter Kora (Sofia Boutella), an enigmatic outsider with a concealed past, an extraordinarily flexible spine, and an expression oscillating between ire and smoldering intensity. Kora harbors her motivations for revenge against Motherworld. Accompanied by the mild-mannered Gunnar (Michiel Huisman), a villager averse to confrontation, Kora embarks on a planetary quest to assemble a rebel cohort.

Primarily a narrative of assembling the rebel ensemble, "Rebel Moon—Part One" (with the anticipated conclusion in April) provides each insurgent with a flamboyant set piece and a snippet of resentment-laden backstory. Noteworthy among these is Charlie Hunnam portraying the mischievous Kai, a Han Solo surrogate and the sole cast member infused with a modicum of personality. Bae Doona embodies a master swordswoman with lightsaber forearms, while Staz Nair assumes the role of a handsome creature whisperer. However, the most entertaining and flawless portrayal emanates from Jena Malone as a monstrous spider-woman abducting children. Though her design unabashedly borrows from a "Doctor Who" character, Malone injects an Alice Krige-as-the-Borg Queen energy that proves eerily effective.

In endeavoring to imbue a fresh sheen on age-old concepts, Snyder, serving as both the storyteller and cinematographer, transforms Netflix funds into an ambitious, erratic, and relentless slideshow of standalone images. These images strain to coalesce into a singular, captivating narrative. The outcome is a cosmic saga, bloated yet seldom buoyant, with characters as thin as paper and action—unless captured in Snyder's trademark slow motion—so tumultuous that tracking becomes a formidable challenge. Boutella emerges as a pleasingly audacious and nimble heroine, but the film surrounding her exudes an oddly indifferent aura—an overloaded, compressed vessel for its creator's collegiate reveries.

Unspooling through dialogues of cringe-worthy banality, "Rebel Moon" ultimately succumbs to the weight of its clichéd exposition. Lurking in the wings after brief introductions are a malevolent ruler (Fra Fee), a conscientious tin man (voiced by Anthony Hopkins, no less), and a vanished princess wielding life-bestowing capabilities. May her skills find application in the forthcoming installment.

Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire

Rated PG-13 for provocative encounters, sexual predation, and operatic violence. Running time: 2 hours 13 minutes. Available on Netflix.

Pros:

Visual Extravaganza:

Zack Snyder's visual acumen takes center stage, transforming every frame into a visual spectacle. The film's cinematography, marked by Snyder's trademark slow-motion sequences, transcends mere storytelling, elevating the viewing experience to an immersive visual odyssey.

Diverse character archetypes:

The ensemble cast, a diverse amalgamation of archetypes, adds a layer of richness to the narrative. From the rascally Kai (Charlie Hunnam) to a lightsaber-armed swords woman (Bae Doona) and a creature whisperer (Staz Nair), each character brings a unique flavor to the cosmic ensemble.

Audacious Heroine:

Sofia Boutella's portrayal of Kora injects audacity into the storyline. Her mysterious past, ultra flexible spine, and gaze oscillating between irritation and smoldering determination contribute to a compelling central character.

Eerie Monstrosity:

Jena Malone's performance as a monstrous spider-woman adds a captivating and eerie dimension to the narrative. While the character design may borrow from "Doctor Who," Malone infuses it with an unsettling energy reminiscent of Alice Krige's Borg Queen.

Ambitious Narrative:

The film's ambition to refresh age-old ideas and fuse diverse influences, from "Star Wars" to "Seven Samurai," showcases a bold narrative approach. Snyder's openness about his influences adds an intriguing layer to the storytelling.

Cons:

Narrative Incoherence:

Despite its visual brilliance, the film struggles with narrative cohesiveness. The relentless slideshow of stand-alone images, while captivating individually, fails to seamlessly coalesce into a singular, engaging storyline. The result is a cosmic symphony that leaves the audience navigating a cosmos of conflicting impressions.

Thinly Sketched Characters:

While the ensemble cast introduces a variety of characters, they often feel thinly sketched. The lack of depth in character development leaves the audience yearning for more substantial connections with the protagonists and antagonists alike.

Banal Dialogue:

As the narrative progresses, the dialogue succumbs to banality, burdened by clichéd exposition. The film's dialogue fails to match the visual grandeur, contributing to moments of cringe-worthy exchanges that detract from the overall experience.

Genre Ambiguity:

The film's oscillation between PG-13-rated young-adult fantasy and disconcerting adult themes creates ambiguity for its target audience. This genre fluidity may leave viewers uncertain about the intended demographic and tone.

Dormant Story Dreams:

Despite its ambitious scope, 'Rebel Moon—Part One' at times feels like a vessel for Snyder's collegiate dreams rather than a fully realized narrative. The film's overloaded, compressed delivery system occasionally overshadows the potential depth of its thematic exploration.

In the cosmic realm of 'Rebel Moon—Part One: Child of Fire,' the clash of pros and cons creates a celestial dance, leaving audiences to discern whether the film's brilliance outshines its perplexities.

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About the Creator

Lucas

Storyteller Extraordinaire. With a pen as his wand, he crafts worlds, captivating the hearts globally. Award-winning wordsmith and digital narrative pioneer. Enchanting minds, one tale at a time. 📖✨

#StorytellingWizard

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