Rebel Moon – Child of Fire (Part One) – Movie Review

“Rebel Moon —Part One: Child of Fire,” I’d love to say, was all visuals and no substance, but the visuals don’t necessarily leave you awestruck either.


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)

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Title Card - Rebel Moon – Child of Fire (Part One)

“Rebel Moon —Part One: Child of Fire,” I’d love to say, was all visuals and no substance, but the visuals don’t necessarily leave you awestruck either.

Plot Summary

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In an undisclosed year, somewhere out in the universe, a woman named Kora has resigned herself to the simple life. On a planet named Veldt, she works and lives amongst an agricultural community, and for two harvest seasons, she has been content, maybe even happy.

However, the outside world, run by a tyrant named Balisarius, interferes with the peaceful village she has called home. Through Balisarius’ minion, Admiral Noble, it becomes clear this village is on a countdown to being no more.

How does Kora know this? Because she experienced the tyranny of “The Realm,” led by former Senator, now Regent, Balisarius. But, what the men the Admiral leaves behind to monitor the people of the Veldt didn’t know is that Kora isn’t just some woman they can attempt to have their way with; she is actually a prized soldier.

Thus leading Kora to start a small rebellion on Veldt after the Admiral’s soldiers try to have their way with one of the village’s girls. This leads to Kora trying to recruit generals, soldiers, and notable rebels across the universe for the fight – even if it may call an entire empire to Veldt’s doorstep eventually.

General Information

Director(s)

Zack Snyder

Screenplay By

Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, Shay Hatten

Based On Work By

Zack Snyder

Distributor(s)

Netflix

Date Released

December 22, 2023

How To Watch

Netflix

Genre(s)

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, War

Film Length

2 Hour 15 Minutes

Content Rating

Rated PG-13

Noted Characters and Cast

Kora

Sofia Boutella

Balisarius

Fra Fee

Admiral Noble

Ed Skrein

Princess Issa

Stella Grace Fitzgerald

Gunnar

Michiel Huisman

Content Rating Explanation

  • Dialog: Nothing notable
  • Violence: Many fight scenes but minimal blood
  • Sexual Content: Intention To Assault Depicted
  • Miscellaneous: Drinking

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Kora (Sofia Boutella)

A war orphan raised in the military, to Balisarius, Kora, nicknamed Arthelais, is an asset. Found when she was 9, with over five years of training and rising in the ranks fast, she was seen as a protégé. Heck, by 18, she was commanding her own unit.

However, in time, she decided to abandon her post, and while she didn’t join the rebels, she didn’t remain loyal to Balisarius, which made her a dangerous free agent.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Climax.”

Balisarius (Fra Fee)

A senator who took advantage of the chaos after the royal family was assassinated, Balisarius is now the self-appointed king who, rather than make an effort towards diplomacy and peace, continues the multi-generational war the monarchy had.

Admiral Noble (Ed Skrein)

Admiral Noble is the head of one of the realm’s Dread Noughts, a giant space freighter that is a harbinger of death and destruction.

Princess Issa (Stella Grace Fitzgerald)

The heir to the throne, it was said that Princess Issa was named after Queen Issa who, legend has it, had the power to give life. It was assumed she would bring peace to the world, and maybe that is why she and her parents were assassinated.

It should also be noted that with Princess Issa’s death, robotic soldiers across the universe decided to drop their weapons – though they still remain deadly.

Gunnar (Michiel Huisman)

Gunnar is Kora’s friend on Veldt who, due to him making trades with the wrong people and opening his mouth to others, sets in motion the events of the film.

Review


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)


Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Low Points

It Is All About Laying A Foundation To The Point Of Feeling Like A Two Hour Intro To What Could Be Interesting

Perhaps the biggest issue with part 1 of “Rebel Moon” is that it requires part 2 for the whole story, as this is just an extended intro. If not, to be real critical here, you can see all those part of this took advantage of the fact Netflix has the ability to not only throw money at big-name directors, writers, or actors but also isn’t reliant on the box office. So there is no worry about having your film win over an audience because the audience doesn’t have to go out of their way to pay extra, this is part of a package, so the barrier of entry is lower.

Hence why, “Rebel Moon” can get away with the meekest amount of character development where, outside of the lead actress, you just get a character’s name, show them do maybe one notable thing, usually an unremarkable fight, and after that, they are simply one of many fighting in a scene.

Oh, and to make things worse, these characters are recruited for a fight to protect a small village no one has likely heard of. Also, they surprisingly don’t take much convincing.

Mind you, Kora doesn’t reveal who she is, says, or does anything notable to convince these people to essentially go on a suicide mission, yet they decide to, despite their individual accomplishments and goals, join her. It all doesn’t make sense, yet you’re expected to be ready to join the ride!

The Lead Villain

One of the things that we’ve learned from watching DC and Marvel movies in the past is, only one side is allowed to be dull. Either your heroes are charismatic and interesting, or the villains are. On rare occasions, you get both, but at least one side has to have that special something.

As noted above, the heroes do not have that, so you’d hope Admiral Noble would compensate, but he doesn’t. If anything, he feels like proof that this was inspired by “Star Wars,” or a homage to the property, as what is Admiral Noble but a redux of General Hux in the latest “Star Wars” trilogy? With the only difference being that he is willing to get his hands dirty?

Yes, he is wicked, kills after feigning he’ll give mercy, but there is something so bland, almost generic, about how wicked he is that the death you expect feels like a mercy killing so someone better could take over. Yet, from what we see, part 2 may not learn from where part 1 struggled.

On The Fence

Interest In The Princess And The Robots Who Refuse To Fight

From what we’re told, for generations, the world has been at war, and Princess Issa could have brought it peace before she and her family were assassinated. And from what it seems, the robots made and programmed to fight for the king stopped once the royal family was dead.

To me, this shouldn’t have been relegated to flashbacks almost purely for Kora’s backstory. This should have been the heart of the movie. Who betrayed the royal family? Did Princess Issa potentially live, as is hinted to a point? For the fall of an empire and what led to Kora originally abandoning her post would have been far more interesting than the barely noteworthy revenge story we were given.

Kora

Giving credit where it is due, Sofia Boutella did the best with what she was given. She has the look and decent choreography for the fight scenes, but when she really shines, she is allowed to show Kora is human. Yes, a hardened human, trained to be a killing machine, but still someone who is dealing with immense trauma.

For whether it is having her family murdered to being raised by the man who continues the sins of past generations, as his protégé no less, to losing the man she loved? There is a scene when Gunnar is listening to Kora tell her story, and you see Kora flinch at the idea of being comforted, not only like it is a strange idea someone would comfort her, but she isn’t deserving – that gives you an idea of what Boutella could have done with Kora.

However, instead, she is made to be a generic action hero who can have plasma bullets fly by her without getting hit once, even if a highly advanced machine is firing at her.

Recommendations

If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. The Creator: An infinitely better sci-fi film featuring humanity versus robots, a romance plot that you can get invested in, and more.

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.

Discussion Items

Let us know your thoughts in the comments:

  1. Was this too harsh, or do you agree?

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Rebel Moon —Part One: Child of Fire | Review

Summary

“Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire” completely seems like a case of Netflix buying a brand name, in this case, Zack Snyder, giving him and his team the type of money no studio would dare for they doubt they could recoup the cost, and you ultimately seeing why. For while the cast is notable, and the visuals are average for 2023, “Rebel Moon” also reminds you why huge blockbusters are starting to flail, and it may not only be because brands associated with superheroes are getting lazy, but too many are reworking what used to be a guaranteed hit than working outside the algorithm.

Overall
71%
71%
  • It Is All About Laying A Foundation To The Point Of Feeling Like A Two Hour Intro To What Could Be Interesting - 66%
    66%
  • The Lead Villain - 64%
    64%
  • Interest In The Princess And The Robots Who Refuse To Fight - 78%
    78%
  • Kora - 77%
    77%

Highlight(s)

  • N/A

Disputable

  • Kora
  • Interest In The Princess And The Robots Who Refuse To Fight
  • The Lead Villain
  • It Is All About Laying A Foundation To The Point Of Feeling Like A Two Hour Intro To What Could Be Interesting

What Would Your Rating Be?

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