Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire (2023)

Rated 15
Spoiler Free

The initial trailer for Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon (I really can’t be arsed to type its rather grandiose full title every time, once at the top was enough) was promising. Exciting even. Then they got longer and longer. Four or five minutes for a trailer is becoming the norm, but I don’t like it, it doesn’t sit right with me; the lady doth protest too much.

Nonetheless, Rebel Moon has a talented, eclectic, cast (Sofia Boutella, Ed Skrein, Charlie Hunnam, Djimon Hounsou, Bae Doona, Anthony Hopkins, a very well disguised Corey Stoll and more) and I am overall a fan of Director Snyder. His Dawn of the Dead remake, 300, Watchmen, Army of the Dead and rather long but fun edit of Justice League I all enjoyed. The less said about Sucker Punch the better, though.

In short, I was looking forward to Rebel Moon, and its promise to perhaps fill a Sci-Fi void in my life. I can’t remember the last film in the genre which wasn’t part of an established franchise which wowed me. Given Rebel Moon also has Part Two in post production, they’re clearly keen to embed its story as a force. Did I feel the force? In a word, nope.

My girlfriend and I put Rebel Moon on and almost immediately were groaning (at the film, get your mind out the gutter). The first planet encountered farms with cattle, but has electronic doors, and when the space Nazis arrived with their Hugo Boss SS get up, it only got less original. By the time Djimon Hounsou was introduced on the fucking gladiator planet, which had no intention of not looking like Ridley Scott's classic, I was almost weeping at how derivative it all felt.

Said space Nazis, led by Ed Skrein's generic creepy baddie, bully and murder the lowly farmers and the rest of the universe, ruffling a few feathers and causing a team of seven warriors to form against them. This revenge mission goes on for two hours and thirteen minutes... and is only part one.

Early on we’d decided it was so bad that instead of turning it off we’d play a game where we had to write things down we thought would happen later in the film. The scores would be tallied at the end, and we both got more right than wrong- and if my “there’ll be more than three very unsubtle film references” was scored by each reference I’d be sitting here as champion. As it was she won, but when you’re having to invent a game to keep watching a film, it’s not a good sign.

It was a fun game though, I’ll definitely use it again to keep my interest in a below average predicta-fest.

Other issues with Rebel Moon of mine include its often clumsily composited CGI, but while a $90m budget sounds a lot, especially for Netflix, really it isn’t these days for a “blockbuster”. By comparison, DC spin-off The Flash film, released earlier this year had a $200m stuffed wallet for production alone, i.e. not including advertising.

Let’s finish on some positives, because who doesn’t like a happy ending. Back to Djimon Hounsou, who is awesome, I’d kill to look as buff as that guy does not just at his 59 years old, but just ever, even if only for a day. He’s astonishingly well built. Obviously I wouldn’t black up, though. Finally, some of the fight scenes are exciting, if partially nonsensical.

Bedsit it?

Apparently based on Akira Kurosawa’s legendary film Seven Samurai, Rebel Moon never makes any effort to not be just a sum of various parts of other films, set in space. Some of the parts it tries to ape were also set in space. It has its moments, and I’ll definitely watch the sequel because if anything I can play the guess what happens game again and also I pay for Netflix so it’s like pissing money up the wall if I don’t even try their original content. 4/10

There's plenty more Science Fiction films reviewed on Bedsit Cinema. Check these reviews out!..


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