Remember when it was rumored that Zack Snyder, director of 300, Watchmen and Man of Steel might be getting a Star Wars film?
Without a doubt, Snyder would bring fresh eyes and ideas to the franchise, one that's been bogged down with recycled material and incoherent direction across projects. But in a wild turn of events, read: not wild at all, the project never came to fruition and he turned his Star Wars idea into a fully fleshed-out original sci-fi epic.
Sounds pretty sweet right? What could go wrong!?
Well, just about everything. Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire is not only a mouth full of a title, but an overlong, discombobulated, catastrophe of a film.
The movie follows Kora (Sofia Boutella) a mysterious woman working on a farming planet. Eventually Admiral Noble (Ed Skrein), of the evil Motherworld arrives, demanding the village to supply his troops with grain as they seek out an insurgent group. As Noble leaves, only to return in 10 weeks, Kora implores that Noble will kill everyone and take everything from the farm planet on his return. She then sets out to recruit warriors across the galaxies to help defend against the tyranny of Noble and the Motherworld.
If this plot sounds overly simplified, it's because I don't remember 90% of the mad lib names that Snyder gave to most of these characters. The majority of the movie is spent on Kora, and her farmer assistant of sorts, Gunnar (Michiel Huisman) recruiting warriors. They travel all over the place, getting into random fights with some bad characters we're supposed to gasp at. But the biggest problem is how little you care about the people they recruit. Everyone has some half-baked background as to why they hate the Motherworld, and how they're so compelled to fight.
But Snyder never goes deep enough to make a compelling story. Every character is a hollow shell, surrounded by half-assed storytelling that is almost painful to watch play out. Tarak (Staz Nair), Nemisis (Bae Doona), and General Titus (Djimon Hounsou) all have backgrounds referenced multiple times in the film, but it isn't expanded upon in any helpful way. We're basically told these people hate the Motherworld and we should just trust the story and wait and see. It's not compelling, it's certainly not fun, and it is definitely not good. My only comprehension of this choice, is that Snyder is attempting to smash so much world-building into one two-hour movie that it comes out as complete and utter nonsense. The only motivation that you understand is a couple of instances where the threat of sexual violence is resolved by our protagonists. The threat of the big bad Motherworld comes across the screen as unclear, even with a giant ship commonly being referred to as some awful entity. Imagine being told how terrible a pumpkin pie would be for you, but nobody tells you what exactly would go wrong. You can clearly see this pumpkin pie with an occasional bit of disarray surrounding it, but I mean come on, what's the worst that can happen?
If that metaphor doesn't make any sense then you've actually received my point quite well. None of the looming danger in the film makes any sense.
Not to mention the most interesting character is a robot named Jimmy (Anthony Hopkins). He saves the day within the first 30 minutes of the film, only to scamper off and not be seen for the other 90 minutes of runtime. But don't fret! I'm sure he'll play a huge role in the sequel that's somehow already been greenlit, and made.
What's more damning, outside of the plot and the characters, is how Snyder somehow uses his hyper-focused action style to make the film even more boring.
A quick aside, I'm not trying to really beat down on Snyder, I actually quite like a handful of his films. His infatuation with slow-mo action can be extremely rewarding, but it is also his biggest crutch. Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire has a normal amount of slow-motion sequences for a Snyder film, but they're placed in the worst possible spots. They're not building up to big action pieces, or emotional moments, but a smattering of shitty video game-styled events. The worst offender being when Kora is explaining her background. She's running into a chaotic battlefield and the slow motion hits. You're probably thinking she's going to do something cool right? Maybe get into a fight, do some sweet air kicks, you know, some stuff to make dudes say "hell yeah." Instead, she comes out of the slow motion a mere three feet further onto the field, then stops. It was, possibly hilarious to watch, but also mind-boggling. There are plenty of more instances of this type of lackadaisical application of one's style, which if removed entirely probably could've cut 30 minutes of runtime off. Then maybe we could have some explanations as to what the fuck this pumpkin pie is all about.
Forgettable characters, a meaningless story, and far too many slow-motion shots with blurry shallow depth-of-field frames, what Snyder has become known for sink this film into the abyss of the unwatchable.
I hate harping on movies like this, but this is just really, really, really not great. I found myself angry that I spent the time on it. Which is downright sad to have happened. If you're going to embark on this intergalactic shitfest, you may as well have a good beer. Outer Planet Brewing here in Seattle has the heavy hitter you need when standing up to the Motherworld. Whatever the hell the Motherworld is.
The Hubble Seeing Double IPA is a delicious DIPA, leaning more towards an NW IPA with a strong hoppy finish. Not overly bitter, and with a good malt-forward flavor, this beer is a solid balancing act of flavors. It's nothing serious to write home about, but sometimes that's a good thing. You just want a classic, tasty double IPA to wash away the pain of Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire.
Why there's going to be a Part Two? I have no clue.
Who even is this Child of Fire?? I have even less of a clue.