Today I enjoyed: Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire.
And let me say it up front: The only good thing about this movie - was the bad guy.
Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire was originally thought to be a Star Wars story. However, Disney did not like what Zack Snyder had to offer, as he wanted to build a new story with new characters and more gore than the original Star Wars movies. And after seeing the movie, I get a sense of why Disney took a rain check on it.
The film opens with a shot of a young female farmer, working hard on a field in a what seems to be medieval, maybe viking village, only contrasted by the huge red orangish planet in the background. But here the problems already start. Nothing looks real. You instantly get this uncanny valley kind of feeling, that something is off. This opening scene already reveals that almost everything was shot in a studio in front of a huge LED screen - called a stage craft - and you recognize this throughout the entire movie.
And as if that was already bad, there are constant J. J. Abrams style lens flares, the CGI at times feels lazy at best, I honestly started to question if I was seeing a live action movie, or some animation flick. To be fair, I watched it at home on my TV, as Netflix - who eventually took on Snyders project - decided to put this film directly on the stream, skipping the cinema screenings.
The saddest part in my humble opinion though is, that there are actually competent actors involved, like Djimon Hounsou, Charlie Hunnam and Bae Doona, but the movie does not facilitate their skills at all. Hell, even Sofia Boutella can literally kick ass, if you give her some good action scenes. But while the former actors get way to little time to bring their characters to life properly, the main character played by Sofia Boutella mostly stands in the background of her own movie changing from frowning to slightly smiling, depending on the occasion.
And do not get me started on the fight scenes. The very first fight scene, which has an intense setup and a lot of potential felt really odd. From the style, I was expecting some blood at least, but the movie stays on a weird line between rough close combat, that would justify bloodshed on the one hand and classical PG13 rated laser gun fights on the other. It looks like the more gory parts were cut, which makes sense, if you consider that the word is, there will be a second version coming. A Snyder Cut, if you will, that is considerably longer than this version and way more brutal. But time will tell, if that is true and if it will be the better movie. But I doubt, that even that longer version will provide enough background story for the characters and the full universe the film takes place in.
The only silver lining - as already mentioned in the beginning - is Ed Skrein as the antagonist. He delivers a chilling science fiction version of a Nazi general, reminiscing Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds. He acts gentle and civilized at first, only to switch to brutal maniac in an instant, showing his real face.
Overall this motion picture was a big disappointment. I am a big fan of science fiction and I can forgive quite some mistakes. But this was too much after all and even with all the good will I could find in me, the flaws are just too obvious.
Maybe part two will make this movie whole, maybe it should have been a single film in the first place. But my recommendation, if you are not a die hard science fiction fan, is to save these two hours of your life for something else.