Rebel Moon Part One: A Child of Fire Review

REBEL MOON. Sofia Boutella stars as Kora, the reluctant hero from a peaceful colony who is about to find she’s her people’s last hope, in Zack Snyder’s REBEL MOON. Cr. Clay Enos/Netflix © 2023

When any science fiction movie dealing with space is released, it will be always compared to the previous space movies. People will find similarities and complain about the lack of originality in these movies. While every movie that is released is a different version of the same story, there will be moments when ideas or images will overlap. Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire is a story that we have seen before but not in the way that Zach Synder tells it. While it does start a little slow once the story picks up Synder takes us on a familiar trip but through the unpaved path.

The movie begins with a mouthful of exposition narrated to the audience by the great Anthony Hopkins. While images of starships fill the screen we learn about the death of the royal family and how the new leaders are pillaging the planets to find the rebellion known as the Bloodaxes. When the armies of the Motherland visit the planet of Veldt, they learn what the farmers have been doing and make them an offer that will cost them their way of life. After stopping an attempted rape, Kora, played by Sofia Boutella, decides to form an army to fight the oncoming invasion of the Motherworld.

Kora enlists the help of Gunnar (Michiel Huisman) to find the Bloodaxes and other rebels to build an army. This is where the movie starts going into familiar territory. We have seen this story before about someone leaving their hometown to find help to save their village. Again, while this premise is familiar what makes it different is that the grouping of these individuals feels quick. We do not get much backstory on the characters and this may be due to the news that there is a director’s cut of the movie. Maybe portions of the movie were omitted to keep the run time down. Either way, you don’t get fully invested in these characters, which hurts the movie.

Rebel Moon — Part One: A Child of Fire. Cr. Netflix ©2023.

The introduction of each character is pretty unique but also feels repetitive. The name of the person who they are looking for is mentioned. They find that person and then an action sequence occurs showing why this person needs to be added to the group. The sequences are shot with the style that we know Zach Synder always delivers. There are the zoom-in shots of the action and then the slow-motion moments that show off the character in the scene. While this does happen multiple times with each character, it is still fun to watch.

Speaking of fun to watch, Ed Skrein as the villainous, Atticus Noble, is just a pain to watch on the screen and I mean that in a good way. From the first moment he appears on the screen, you just want him to get hit in the face with something. He tip-toes on the line of insane emissary and delusional leader in the way he handles trying to find the Bloodaxes. Skrein’s character seems like he has a lot more going for him but we learn more about him as the story moves on.

Rebel Moon has some amazing visuals that should be seen on the big screen for that fact alone. Not only do the backgrounds pop out at you but seeing the action sequences on a big screen might not translate well at home. Zach Synder is stepping into a realm that is a little crowded with this space saga but the chemistry between the actors and the visuals might give him the push he needs to stand out. Again, the similarities with other space sagas will be hurled at him but he has made something here that will get people talking. The world he has revealed to us seems very big and there might be other stories that can be told once this saga is done. Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire may not be breaking any new ground, but it will leave its mark on this genre.

Final Thoughts: Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire is an interesting movie with a familiar premise. Kora (Sofia Boutella) plays a farmer with a mysterious past who rallies to recruit an army to fight against the Motherworld. The action sequences are well-paced and enhance the storyline. Since this is a new series there is a lot of exposition to inform the audience about what is going on and who is who in the movie. This is the first part of two and it does feel like it is still trying to find its footing about what it is trying to do.

Kid-Friendly: While Rebel Moon is a science fiction movie it is a bit more mature than what has been released recently. There is a scene where a squadron plans to rape a young girl that may be too much for younger viewers. The story may also be hard to follow for younger viewers and the amount of exposition might also turn them away from it.

Violence: Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire is not super violent but there are a lot of action sequences with some brutal kills. Zach Snyder tends to love using slow motion in these scenes so the degree of violence is slowed down and that highlights the damage done, at times.

After crash landing on a moon in the furthest reaches of the universe, Kora (Sofia Boutella), a stranger with a mysterious past, begins a new life among a peaceful settlement of farmers. But she soon becomes their only hope for survival when the tyrannical Regent Balisarius (Fra Fee) and his cruel emissary, Admiral Noble (Ed Skrein), discover the farmers have unwittingly sold their crops to the Bloodaxes (Cleopatra Coleman and Ray Fisher) — leaders of a fierce group of insurgents hunted by the Motherworld. Tasked with finding fighters who would risk their lives to defend the people of Veldt, Kora and Gunnar (Michiel Huisman), a tenderhearted farmer naive in the realities of war, journey to different worlds in search of the Bloodaxes, and assemble a small band of warriors who share a common need for redemption along the way: Kai (Charlie Hunnam), a pilot and gun for hire; General Titus (Djimon Hounsou), a legendary commander; Nemesis (Doona Bae), a master swordswoman; Tarak (Staz Nair), a captive with a regal past; and Milius (E. Duffy), a resistance fighter. Back on Veldt, Jimmy (voiced by Anthony Hopkins), an ancient mechanized protector hiding in the wings, awakens with a new purpose. But the newly formed revolutionaries must learn to trust each other and fight as one before the armies of the Motherworld come to destroy them all.

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