When a peaceful colony on the edge of the galaxy is threatened by the armies of the tyrannical Regent Balisarius, the desperate people dispatch a young woman with a mysterious past to seek out warriors from neighbouring planets to helm them make a stand.
Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
It’s Review Time: 5
Genre: Action, War, Fantasy, Adventure, Drama
Runtime: 134 minutes, 2 hours 14 minutes
Cast & Crew:
Director and Writer – Zack Snyder
Sofia Boutella as Kora
Ed Skrein as Atticus Noble
Michiel Huisman as Gunnar
Ingvar Sigurdsson as Hagen
Corey Stoll as Sindri
Fra Fee as Balisarius
Bae Donna as Nemesis
Jena Malone as Harmada
Djimon Hounsou as General Titus
Ray Fisher as Bloodaxe
Cleopatra Coleman as Devra
Stuart Martin as Den
Charlie Hunnam as Kai
Staz Nair as Tarak
Anthony Hopkins as JC-1435 of Mechanicas Militarium/Narrator
Cary Elwes as The King
Rhian Rees as The Queen
Stella Grace Fitzgerald as Princess Issa
Set in a fantasy world made by Zack Snyder.
The story starts from Veldt, a moon of a planet where we are introduced to Kora, who is seen farming while we see a gorgeous shot of Saturn in the background. Soon after we are introduced to the other people in the village, Kora’s friend – Gunnar, the person Kora currently lives with – Hagen, and the leader of the village – Sindri.
The very next day, a warship arrives in the vast sky of the Veldt that sends its troops to the ground to negotiate with the people of Veldt. As we see people of Veldt and Sindri are not interested in entertaining the people, but Gunnar persists in making a deal with Commander Atticus Noble despite the warnings from Kora. As the tension increases and Gunnar offers the excess yield to Atticus for the soldiers of Motherworld after the proposal refusal of Sindri, we see hell raining on Veldt as Atticus kills Sindri and now Atticus asks for 12,000 bushels where the entire yield of Veldt is 10,000 bushels.
Atticus captures Veldt, enslaves them and starts using Veldt and its people to serve the Motherworld. One night, when the soldiers of Motherworld start misbehaving with a woman who provides water to the soldiers and are on the verge of sexually harassing and assaulting her, Kora gets there to rescue which leads to the death of every soldier there. This leads to the journey of Kora, Gunnar and the rest of the people of Veldt to rise against the Motherworld for their peaceful life in which Kora meets and gathers other people who have been suffering from the vicious life given by Motherworld to other colonies.
After a rollercoaster ride of watching Zack Snyder movies like Justice League and Army of the Dead, we get to a movie for which the hype has been built since the movie was announced by Netflix. A typical Synder-style movie where the cinematography remains dull and dark, slow motion action sequence and storytelling that requires you to stick to the screen till the last minutes of the movie.
The day Zack Snyder signed his contract with Netflix, the hype for the universe and movies started since then by his fans and even DC fans who were disappointed by Warner Bros. cancelling his universe. Not just them but everyone was excited to see what Zack Snyder was going to bring as all we got to know was that it would be similar to Star Wars.
During the screening for special members and various media outlets, the reviews started coming in and it did not look good. Soon Zack Snyder came up with his comments that it is not the version that he made and started asking for his director’s cut release. Netflix gave Zack full freedom to build his world, produced his movie on a massive scale and invested $166 Million (shared with Part 2).
After watching the movie, all I will say is – it is a decent one-time watch movie, feels slow even after its runtime is just 134 minutes (2 hours 14 minutes), and the story does not stand out as we have watched a few projects with a similar story in the past.
Let’s move on to the things I liked and lots of the things I disliked about the movie.
5 things I liked about Rebel Moon – Part 1:
- Right from the beginning, we enter a world of wonderful VFX where we get to see elegant planets, moons, battle scenes, swords, or wonderful sceneries we get to see at regular intervals in the movie. Each of these shots is worthy enough to put as your wallpapers.
- The editing in the movie was brilliantly precise and stuck to the narration of the movie. There are hardly any filler scenes that might waste the time of the audience or scenes that add nothing to the context of the story. If a character is introduced, that character comes with a purpose. We see a few characters performing some acts for their redemption or some other cause like Tarak, but it does introduce that character’s ability to us.
- If it is a Zack Snyder movie, the movie will have a pale colour tone that will be carried throughout the movie. While watching 300 and even Justice League, the complaint I had was not just the colour grading but the textures of skin and character’s clothes were dark and dull as well. But it was much better in Rebel Moon as, despite the warmer and darker colour grading, the character seemed bright and popped well enough on the screen. The battle scenes make it even brighter when the colour from the gun’s beam pops out even more on the screen.
- Casting has the best and most prominent suit of Zack Snyder throughout his career. Whether it was Watchmen, Justice League, 300, or Rebel Moon, every character in the movie looks like he was born to play that particular role. Even in the movie itself characters of Kora, Gunnar, Sindri, Atticus, or Hagen looked brilliant.
- The final plot twist of a person similar to Atticus being the current King of Motherworld was something that I was not expecting at all. Throughout the movie, I was thinking about why they haven’t shown or introduced to us who the current King is who overthrew the King because of whom the entire Motherworld fell apart. But what a fantastic surprise it was to watch.
10 things I disliked about Rebel Moon – Part 1:
- The slow storytelling and narration bored the audience to the fact that people have been watching the movie in breaks. In the entire movie, we are introduced to one character or another without telling us or showing their proper backstory from where the audience could have gotten some context about how powerful or important the character is for the storyline. And no matter how busy or crucial work the side characters are doing, eventually, everyone agrees to join and help Kora with minimum convincing.
- The entire movie’s storyline looks weak to watch and experience. Zack Snyder should have taken some time and made 3 parts of the entire story. The first part telling us about the early life of Kora, how she was raised by Balisarius, how she graduated through the ranks of Militarium, her promotion to becoming the personal guard of Princess Issa, and the battle and death of The King of Motherworld. And then he could have continued with the rest of his story that was shown to us in this movie. This is where the audience could have connected better with the characters and the story Zack tried to narrate us.
- The backstory or narration provided to us for the side characters could have been a lot better if the director could have told us more about them. There comes a scene in the last 30 minutes where Atticus captures all the members of the group Kora built and reveals the stature of every character could have been more impactful if we had gotten it earlier as a proper flashback.
- Zack Snyder has been famous for his slow-motion action sequence highlighting the sheer strength and ability of the characters. But this time it happens way too much whenever an action sequence begins. No matter how big of an action sequence is taking place, we get to watch most of the sequence in slow motion which starts to irritate the viewer after a few minutes.
I have personally been a big fan of long-shot seamless action sequences after watching projects like Marvel’s Daredevil and John Wick franchise. The action sequences where we get to watch the entire sequence in real-time with minimum cuts or even no cuts at some points, make us appreciate the hard work of the actors, stuntman, and action choreographer. But this thing can not be witnessed in Rebel Moon as whenever an action sequence comes, the director and editor cut the scene after every move with a topping of slow-motion.
- There are moments, especially in the final battle where the battle looks like a game running on high graphics and giving the audience an animated view on the screen. There is a scene from the top when the warship is falling on the bridge and all the troops on the bridge are fighting, that particular scene looks animated.
- In the year where we got to witness some out-of-the-world scores and background music in Oppenheimer from Ludwig Goransson, we got to hear a score in Rebel Moon which sounds a bit similar and overused in various movies. The soundtrack in Rebel Moon is nothing as extraordinary.
- The entire movie and its experience or world-building do not live up to the hype that was created around Netflix’s competition to Star Wars on Disney, Snyderverse being built on Netflix or various other factors that were built around it.
- Zack Snyder or the creative team demanding for Director’s cut a week before the release of the movie gave a bitter taste to the audience which felt like an excuse from Snyder’s end. Here at Netflix, everything was considered according to the vision of Zack Snyder. There is no doubt that the vision of Zack Snyder was wonderful and could have been explored in a better manner had he given more time to build his world of Rebel Moon from the grassroots level. But somewhere or the other, Zack Snyder might have panicked and started the rumours of Rebel Moon having a director’s cut.
- I don’t know why Zack Snyder went with an aspect ratio of 21:9 in a movie having such wonderful VFX and art being spread throughout the screen. I wish this movie could have been shot and presented to us in a 16:9 aspect ratio, where the screen could have been filled even more, the viewing angles could have been better, and the black bars on top and bottom of the screen could have been smaller. I wish Zack Snyder could have taken Christopher Nolan‘s route of filming the movie in 2.20:1 or even 1.43:1 aspect ratio where the screen could have been much wider and had given us even better experience.
- After so much effort being put into building the entire world of Rebel Moon, the creators should have hired better stunt choreographers. Netflix has provided us with wonderful action sequences in the past, whether it was Daredevil or both the parts of Extraction – 1 and 2. I am not sure why Netflix did not suggest Snyder for going with the same route, or was it Snyder himself who went with what worked for him. But considering the DCEU, Snyder has provided us with wonderful action sequences to remember in the past like Batman vs Superman, Man of Steel, and Justice League.