Rebel Moon: A Child of Fire is the first part of a sci-fi epic saga from director Zack Snyder, based on his original story idea that was once intended to be a Star Wars spin-off1. The movie, which premiered on Netflix on December 21, 2023, follows the adventures of a mysterious outsider who joins forces with a rebellious faction of warriors to defend a peaceful farming village on a distant moon from the ruthless forces of the Motherworld, a tyrannical empire that seeks to conquer the galaxy.
The movie begins with a brief prologue that explains the history of the Motherworld, a powerful civilization that emerged from the ashes of a galactic war and imposed its rule over the other planets and moons. The Motherworld is led by the Supreme Leader, a mysterious figure who wears a mask and commands a loyal army of soldiers and war machines. The Supreme Leader has a vision of a new order, where all life forms are united under his will and harmony is achieved through obedience.
However, not everyone agrees with the Supreme Leader’s vision. Some planets and moons resist the Motherworld’s domination and form a rebel alliance, known as the Free Moons. The Free Moons are a diverse group of freedom fighters, who use guerrilla tactics and ancient technology to fight against the Motherworld’s superior forces. The Free Moons are led by a charismatic leader, who goes by the name of Rebel Moon.
The movie then shifts to the story’s main setting, a remote moon called Zephyr, where a small farming village lives in peace and harmony. The villagers are simple folk, who have no interest in the galactic conflict and just want to live their lives in accordance with their traditions and beliefs. The villagers worship the Child of Fire, a legendary hero who once saved their ancestors from a great evil and taught them the secrets of fire magic.
The movie introduces the main protagonist, a young woman named Luna, who is the village chief’s daughter. Luna is a spirited and adventurous girl, who dreams of seeing the stars and exploring the galaxy. She is also a gifted fire mage, who can manipulate fire with her mind and create various effects, such as fireballs, flames, and explosions. Luna is fascinated by the stories of the Child of Fire and wants to follow his footsteps.
However, Luna’s life changes dramatically when the Motherworld attacks her village. A fleet of warships and drones descends from the sky and unleashes a barrage of missiles and lasers on the unsuspecting villagers. The Motherworld’s soldiers land on the ground and start killing and capturing the villagers, who are no match for their advanced weapons and armor. The Motherworld’s commander, a ruthless and ambitious man named General Zane, reveals that he is looking for a hidden artifact of immense power, which he believes is hidden somewhere on Zephyr. He also reveals that he has a personal vendetta against Rebel Moon, who he blames for the death of his brother.
Luna manages to escape the massacre with the help of a mysterious stranger, who arrives on a stolen Motherworld ship and fights off the soldiers with his skills and gadgets. The stranger introduces himself as Rook, a smuggler and a rogue, who claims to have no affiliation with either side of the war. Rook tells Luna that Rebel Moon hired him to deliver a message to the villagers, but he arrived too late to warn them of the impending attack. Rook also tells Luna that he knows where the artifact is and that he can help her save her people and stop General Zane, but only if she agrees to join him on his mission.
Luna agrees to go with Rook, and the two of them embark on a perilous journey across Zephyr, facing various dangers and enemies along the way. They also encounter other allies, such as a group of nomadic warriors who ride giant beasts and wield ancient weapons and a band of hackers who live in a hidden underground base and hack into the Motherworld’s systems. Luna and Rook eventually reach the location of the artefact, which turns out to be a massive temple, where the secrets of the Child of Fire and the origin of Zephyr are revealed.
The movie reaches its climax when Luna and Rook confront General Zane and his forces at the temple, where a fierce battle ensues. Luna and Rook discover that the artifact is a portal to another dimension, where the Child of Fire came from and where a greater threat awaits. Luna and Rook also discover that they have a deeper connection to the Child of Fire and the Motherworld than they thought, and that their destiny is intertwined with the fate of the galaxy.
The movie ends with a cliffhanger as Luna and Rook enter the portal, followed by General Zane and his troops, while the temple collapses behind them. The screen fades to black, and the words “To Be Continued” appear, followed by the title of the second part: Rebel Moon: A Child of Light.
Rebel Moon: A Child of Fire is a visually stunning and action-packed movie that delivers a thrilling and engaging story with memorable characters and a rich mythology. The movie is a testament to Zack Snyder’s vision and creativity, as he creates a new and original sci-fi universe that pays homage to classic sci-fi movies, such as Star Wars, Dune, and Avatar, while also adding his own unique twist and style.
The movie’s strengths lie in its production design, cinematography, and special effects, which create a vivid and immersive world, that is both familiar and exotic. The movie’s action scenes are spectacular and exhilarating, featuring a variety of scenarios and settings, such as space battles, chases, fights, and explosions. The movie’s soundtrack, composed by Junkie XL, is also impressive and fitting, enhancing the mood and atmosphere of the movie.
The movie’s characters are also well-developed and likeable, each with their own personality and backstory. The movie’s cast is diverse and talented, featuring both established and rising stars, who deliver convincing and charismatic performances. The movie’s main leads, Sofia Boutella and Ed Skrein, have great chemistry and charisma as they portray Luna and Rook, two opposites who complement each other and grow together. The movie’s supporting cast, such as Djimon Hounsou, Charlie Hunnam, Anthony Hopkins, and Michiel Huisman, also shine in their roles, as they portray various allies and enemies of Luna and Rook.
The movie’s story is also intriguing and captivating, as it explores themes such as freedom, destiny, identity, and power while also incorporating elements of mystery, adventure, and romance. The movie’s plot is well-paced and structured, balancing exposition, action, and character development while also leaving room for surprises and twists. The movie’s mythology is also rich and complex, as it introduces a new and original lore, that is inspired by various sources, such as Greek mythology, Norse mythology, and Eastern philosophy.
The movie’s weaknesses, however, lie in its dialogue, which is sometimes cheesy and clichéd, and its originality, which is sometimes questionable and derivative. While mostly functional and effective, the movie’s dialogue sometimes suffers from being too simplistic and predictable, lacking depth and nuance. The movie’s originality, while mostly admirable and refreshing, sometimes suffers from being too similar and familiar, borrowing too much from other sci-fi movies, especially Star Wars, which is evident in its characters, settings, and plot points.
Overall, Rebel Moon: A Child of Fire is a highly entertaining and enjoyable movie that offers a new and exciting sci-fi adventure that will appeal to fans of the genre and beyond. The movie is a worthy addition to Zack Snyder’s filmography and a promising start to a new sci-fi franchise that has the potential to become a classic. The movie is a must-watch for Netflix subscribers and a recommended watch for everyone else.
- Rotten Tomatoes: 23% Tomatometer, 73% Audience Score1
- Roger Ebert: 1.5/4 stars2
- Variety: Mixed3
- Koimoi: 3/5 stars4
- Times Now: 2.5/5 stars5
- MSN: Negative6
As you can see, the movie received mostly negative or mixed reviews from critics, who criticized its lack of originality, weak story, and cheesy dialogue. However, some viewers enjoyed its visual flair, action scenes, and worldbuilding. The movie is the first part of a planned two-part saga, so how the second part will fare remains to be seen.