Rebel Moon Offers an Intriguing New Sci-Fi World That Lacks Depth

Rebel Moon Offers an Intriguing New Sci-Fi World That Lacks Depth

Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire is a distinctly Zack Snyder film. Having broken away from the restrictions of the DC universe, the director has turned his attention to a new sci-fi space opera on Netflix that allows him to fully flex his creative muscles and combine it with his trademark visuals and action. The result is a solid, action-packed sci-fantasy film that feels like a melting pot of perhaps too many ideas.

Things start off in a farming community on Veldt, where decorated war hero, Kora (Sofia Boutella), has found a peaceful life away from the tyrannical Motherworld. That fails to last after Veldt is held to ransom by Motherworld soldiers for selling their surplus grain to a group of rebels known as the Bloodaxes. The colony is left with a choice; sell out the Bloodaxes or the imposing Imperium General, Atticus Noble (Ed Skrein) will take all of their harvest.

As is suggested in the title, this moon decides to rebel. Kora and her companion Gunnar (Michiel Huisman) set out on a planet-hopping adventure to recruit the best fighters in the land that will help them stand a chance against their enemies.

Rebel Moon Review (Image: Netflix)

One of the elements that is most enjoyable in Rebel Moon is its world building. Snyder introduces us to a brand new universe full of rich potential. There is the peaceful Nordic-like community of Veldt that is offset against the neon-tech landscape of a planet like Daggus. Some worlds are home to mythological creatures while others house sci-fi monstrosities.

The creativity is admirable here and it’s nice to see an original universe given room to breathe. But there is also a lot in Rebel Moon that feels like it is plucked from other sci-fi and fantasy greats, like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Dune and Blade Runner.

The ensemble of characters all have a lot to offer and Snyder has assembled an incredible array of talent to fill their shoes. Ed Skrein is a stand out as the imposing villain and Sofie Boutella carries a lot of the narrative weight as Kora. Anthony Hopkins’ droid Jimmy will no doubt also become a fan favourite.

However, as more members of the ensemble appear it becomes difficult to remember any of their names – let alone feel attached to them – due to the speed at which they are introduced and hustled onto the quest. This isn’t for a lack of trying from the cast. They all give compelling performances despite large amounts of clunky exposition and dialogue.

It’s like Rebel Moon is the embodiment of an itch you can’t scratch – every time your interest is peaked by a new face or location the movie whisks you away to the next one.

rebel moon
Rebel Moon Review (Image: Netflix)

Beneath all the creative worldbuilding lies a superficial story. It’s easy enough to go along with, there are some decent twists and turns, but without proper time to invest in the characters or the lore of this world, Rebel Moon ends up with a lot of gorgeous visuals that feel devoid of any emotionality.

Of course, there is a Rebel Moon: Part 2 on the way that will continue to build on these ideas, and perhaps some of the issues will be fixed in Snyder’s director’s cut, but as an establishing movie, A Child of Fire still leaves you wanting more depth.

It wouldn’t be a Zack Snyder movie without his unique brand of action and Rebel Moon delivers that in spades. While it does occasionally feel like Slow-Mo: The Movie, Rebel Moon effectively plays to the director’s strengths with a combination of impressive visual effects, cool sci-fi toys and epic fights.

Rebel Moon will no doubt be divisive amongst audiences. Those who enjoy Snyder’s work will appreciate seeing the director let loose upon his own creative canvas, although those craving something that packs a bit more of an emotional punch will likely leave disappointed.

All that being said, Rebel Moon is a fun blockbuster with plenty of visual spectacle and cool sci-fi paraphernalia. It’s an ideal action flick for throwing on at your next movie night, but it doesn’t quite reach the heights of some of the movies it’s trying to emulate.

Still, it is brimming with potential and sets up enough unexplored avenues that are enticing enough to draw audiences in for a return visit.

Rebel Moon – Part One Review: The Verdict

rebel moon netflix 2023
Rebel Moon Review (Image: Netflix)

Pros: Impressive action sequences, interesting new world and characters, great cast.

Cons: The story is generic, lacks depth and makes it difficult to get invested with the characters.

Watch it if you liked: Star Wars, Clash of the Titans, Army of the Dead

Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire streams on Netflix from December 22.

Lead Image Credit: Netflix

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


Leave a Reply