Review | 2024.02.22

Rebel Moon Netflix Zack Snyder Kora flashback battle

Back during covid I considered writing brief reviews of all the stuff I watched on streaming services. A lot of it was bad - like that Extraction one and that Clooney one - so there was plenty to rant about. I didn't end up doing it and wouldn't be mentioning Netflix's recent sci-fi adventure Rebel Moon except that:
And so here's a review/rant. Spoilers throughout, though not the one 'surprising' plot twist.
Plot

Rebel Moon Netflix Zack Snyder ploughing

The story follows an elite soldier name Kora who has gone into hiding in a pastoral village with a geologically-confusing waterfall. A dreadnaught from the evil core worlds empire arrives at the planet to demand grain to feed their war effort. Because somehow the evil empire has FTL and can wage war on a galactic scale but needs to send capital ships to tiny villages to keep the supply chain alive. I presume once the dreadnaught has flown off with their bushels of wheat they'll stop by a small breadmaking village to have them churn out baguettes at gunpoint. And don't get me started on their vegetable procurement process.

Yeah, I expected a hidden motivation for the dreadnaught's raid on the farming village but there isn't one.

Rebel Moon Netflix Zack Snyder villagers barn weird entrance
Kora's call to action comes when the garrison left in the village gets a little, well, rapey. Once our hero has nigh-singlehandedly dispatched the soldiers, everyone in the village weirdly walks into the barn in unison.

After Kora's obligatory attempt to run from her troubles is derailed by her Ramboing the garrisoned troops, she embarks on a journey to gather resistance fighters. Because why would you simply disband a small village when you can travel the galaxy to recruit people to shoot upward at a vastly-superior enemy.

Rebel Moon Netflix Zack Snyder Veldt city introduction

Kora and her villager companion visit a handful of worlds to recruit their hero soldiers, demonstrating all of the opsec you wouldn't expect from a former royal guard in hiding, "WE ARE ON A VERY SECRET MISSION THAT IS HIGHLY ILLEGAL, DO YOU KNOW ANYONE THAT CAN HELP US?"

Rebel Moon Netflix Zack Snyder Kora shooting Rebel Moon Netflix Zack Snyder Kora sliding

Since this is only Part 1, by the end of the movie Kora has only just finished gathering her team and, luckily, a couple of dropships of red shirt fighters. But since there has to be a climactic battle, evil Atticus Noble finds them and there is some gymnastic shooting.
Tropefest

The two things I know about Zack Snyder:
Expanding on the second one, I assumed Rebel Moon was based on an 80s comic book; it has all the tropes you'd expect from an old comic series that was excessively inspired by Star Wars. There's a western saloon in a sci-fi universe, a Han Solo knockoff, an elite soldier running from her past, an android that discovers its sense of individuality, an evil general who is basically a Space Nazi. These can be individually charming elements of sci-fi but a modern, conscientious writer would presumably not use them like a checklist.

Rebel Moon Netflix Zack Snyder Atticus Noble

Also very comic booky: Kora gathers a team of like three or four superheroes to take on thousands of enemy grunts with a large spaceship. The final superhero, luckily, has a few dozen soldiers of his own but Part 2 looks like it'll have that obligatory scene where the heros are surrounded by enemies and have to shoot in circles, back-to-back.

Anyway, despite all the hallmarks of a naive decades-old comic, according to Wikipedia this is an original, modern script. Wow.
A few more

Rebel Moon Netflix Zack Snyder camping small set design
The sets are very small and greenscreeny. This one also features the least-solicited flashback in the history of streaming cinema. -"Why did you just tell me your entire life story?" -"Because, guy whose character arc is overcoming cowardice, I need you to trust me." (I don't strictly recall if that was Kora's reason for the lengthy flashback, it was something like that.)

Rebel Moon Netflix Zack Snyder Veldt bar crab alien
The Mos Eisley knockoff scene is introduced with the obligatory shots of various alien patrons giving menacing looks. Despite the abundance of extraterrestrials in the background, the protagonists are all human. The villagers? Human. The evil soldiers? Believe it or not, human.

Rebel Moon Netflix Zack Snyder epilogue fields
After defeating Atticus Noble, the heros return to the farming village to, like, Home Alone it or whatever will stop a hangry battlecruiser.



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