Live Reaction: Rebel Moon Review and Discussion

Live Reaction: Rebel Moon Review and Discussion. I am a huge Star Wars fan. Nothing has touched my life more than the original Star Wars trilogy. I attempted to find a companion love in Star Trek, but didn’t jive with the populist vision of the universe. I preferred the Knights of the Round Table with glowing light-sabers it turned out. But ever since, I’ve continued looking for something that could challenge my deep and abiding love for Luke, Leia, and the entire rogue bandits of that galaxy far far away.

With that in mind – tonight is the release of Rebel Moon, and I’ve decided to do something a little different. I plan to live message my thoughts as I watch the movie Rebel Moon. I’ll time stamp the moment in the movie for each thought, and if you could avoid spoilers til I get to the end. Feel free though to comment along in the comments as I go – or after – with your own comments or opinions! But you should presume that if you have not watched Netflix’s Rebel Moon, you will ruin it for yourself!

Rebel Moon Part One: Child of Fire – Moment by Moment Walkthrough

[00:00:00] – Just hit play, pretty excited. I know that a lot of reviewers think that the film has no heart, and that it is missing a raison d’etre, but I will hope beyond hope that Rebel Moon will supersede those low expectations. Let’s gooooo!

[00:02:00] – Oh yes. Thank you… instead of a scroll, we are given a medieval scribe reading from a scroll the recent history and the deaths of the King and Queen… and the hunt for all things rebellious throughout the realm. Okay!

[00:02:39] – Soulless or not. I could live in these panoramas of Zack Snyder forever. Wow.

[00:07:40] – This really is a futuristic medieval tale. It’s grounded in history. It’s focusing on the dirt, the people, the town, and the small scale. It’s Luke needing to get some power converters from Tosche Station. It’s crops, it’s a struggle to survive and be left alone even in spite of the galactic struggle going on all around them without their knowledge. And it’s also obvious that Kora is something else entirely than what she seems. Basically the movie is Beauty and the Beast?

[00:20:26] – So, it would seem that the town is warring about who to support with their reserves. To subtly rebel against the Home World, or to subtly support the kingdom and their cause. And I’m of the mind that someone is about to die… and to fuel the rebellion against the Home World. But ultimately, they are obviously hunting for Kora. She’s the real reason they are there. Right? I mean. This is obvious, isn’t it?

[00:21:22] – Okay, two people are dead. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY… was that a light-saber that cut her down? (Remember, I haven’t even watched the trailer yet. Zero idea right now.)

[00:23:00] – Hahah! JC-1435 is 100% Anthony Hopkins. Quick scan of IMDB and there is no mention of 1435 anywhere. Ah, his name is Jimmy. He is there! hahah. No idea he was cast for this! So awesome. It would seem that we are now going from Beauty and the Beast and flipping to Gladiator? Or, heck, 3 Amigos? hahaha.

[00:27:30] – Jimmy tells the story of Princess Issa – she is called the Chalice of the Redeemer – pueri salvatoris or “Child Savior.” And Jimmy pledges to fight in Issa’s name. Which explains why he refuses to fight now. Okay, so far, I love the layering of the medieval, the Latin, the religious layering’s, the tapestries of the world. Obviously, this is all going to go pear-shaped soon enough. But right now, I just adore everything about this film. No, I don’t like the really painfully obvious CGI, and I’d like more practical effects instead. And the overly contrasted characters are a bit old school. But in a starkly told moralistic fairy tale, that’s how it works. Overall, it’s a beautiful world.

[00:28:31] – So, obviously, this child savior – the daughter of the slain King and Queen? The child savior? That’s Kora. I’d bet you my house and all future earnings. And Jimmy is her sworn protector. Jimmy just needs to meet her, realize it’s her, and anyone within a thousand clicks that is hostile to Kora will die violently. Guaranteed.

[00:38:38] – So Kora is going to run, decides to stay when the young girl in the photo above is about to be raped. Jimmy ultimately saves her by killing one of the soldiers. It’s a willful decision on the droid’s behalf, to fight. To defend what is honorable, and true… what is good. It’s a modern day Knight’s Tale. I love it.

[00:39:51] – Kora is going to look for a general that turned against the Motherland. This is the story of the Seven Samurai. Or, again… the 3 Amigos. They are the same story. heh.

[00:47:40] – Kora leaves her home in search of individuals that are sympathetic to the cause of the rebellion against the Motherland. On their travels, she tells of her backstory, how she and her family, and home world were destroyed. And how Balisarius, the horrible, blood hungry conqueror, took her as his daughter, trained her, and broke her mind to his own.

[00:55:40] – They have their Cantina brawl, and get introduced to Kai. It’s unclear why this opportunistic Han-Solo-esque figure has joined the team. “Pay me what it’s worth to you…” ?? Why would he ask for a pittance when signing up for a kamikaze mission? Unless they tie him back to the rebellion in some way, it’s a troubling loose end. But I have to say, the shootout sequences are lovely to behold.

[01:13:14] – Light-sabers!

[01:18:00] – We learn that Kora became the bodyguard to Princess Issa, and she learned that the stories about her ability to give life wasn’t just a story. Kora became a divine follower of hers, and believed that the Princess would have the ability to save them all.

[01:30:00] – The growing band makes contact with the Bloodaxe rebellion (aka, the rebel alliance), and in piecemeal, they agree to join Kora’s struggle.

Pause just a second… this movie should be entitled “Blood Moon: Seven Samurai.” It’s almost word for word, a full-on remake of the original. A small and insignificant farming town is in danger… they are in desperate need of protection from bandits. They recruit seven samurai – who are masterless. Aka, without honor, and in need of forgiveness… a second chance. They fight for the protection of the town, and thereby restore their honor. How is that not this story to a T?

[01:39:00] – RECORD SCRATCH! Kai turns Cypher – you know, like in the movie The Matrix? Alright fine, he turns Judas and betrays them all. Within seconds they are all captured and in chains. Suddenly we’ve jumped from A New Hope, to Empire Strikes Back! But seeing as though this movie series is only two movies long, maybe that’s about where we should be in this stories arc.

[01:54:49] – All of the Seven Samurai, I mean, the rebels, are locked in walking manacles, save for Gunnar. Kai wants Gunnar to pull the trigger and kill Kora, but instead, at the last second, he frees her, and a battle ensues as all of the Samurai (I really should just called them The Samurai) are released and fight to overcome Admiral Atticus Noble. At the end of the battle, Kora and Noble find themselves on a buoy, to fight. And Kora overcomes the Admiral, impaling him on his own staff.

Gotta say, the gunfights in Rebel Moon are made of the same DNA as StarWars gun battles, but Zack Snyder pours something extra into all of his. They really are something to behold.

[01:56:30] – This was the beginning of something big… This was not just a small prick. This will force them to respond. We all owe Gunnar thanks, he saved us. – okay that all seemed pretty lame, and stiltedly scripted. Not joyous at all. Could have used a bit of levity there. They did win after all.

[02:01:00] – Okay, woah. The Samurai, wax eloquent about their farm village and their new place that they can call home. But in the meantime, Noble’s body is retrieved, and melted down to porridge, and then transmitted to another place, where he is met by Balisarius, the regent that declared himself king. He tells his master that he has found Arthelais – The Scargiver.

Balisarius: “Tell me, did you think this would be good news? That my daughter, Arthelais, one of the most dangerous and decorated warriors in the history of armed conflict, is now part of a blossoming insurgency?”

[02:04:10] – Balisarius threatens Noble, that if he doesn’t kill every last rebel, and bring his daughter back to him so that he can crucify her in the shadow of the senate, then the crucifixion the Senate will watch will be Noble’s. End Part One.

Rebel Moon Compared and Contrasted with Seven Samurai

I’ve taken the liberty to take a stab at trying to align the million similarities between Seven Samurai and Rebel Moon. It’s not an exact match, but it’s awfully darn close… check it out:

Rebel MoonSeven Samurai
BackgroundMotherworld, a militaristic empireA mountain village in 1586, threatened by bandit raids
ThreatAdmiral Atticus Noble’s conquestsBandit gang planning to raid after the harvest
Call to ActionAdmiral Noble arrives on the planet VeldtVillagers seek samurai for protection
Gathering AlliesKora and Gunnar recruit warriors for defenseKambei recruits samurai, including Katsushirō
Allies’ BackgroundWarriors with unique skills and backgroundsSamurai with diverse backgrounds and skills
BetrayalKai betrays the group to Admiral NobleBandit scouts betray their camp to samurai
Battle PreparationsPreparing to defend against Admiral Noble’s fleetTraining villagers and fortifying the village
Betrayal OutcomeKora defeats Admiral Noble in a fightBandit chief kills Kyūzō and is then killed by Kikuchiyo
AftermathSurviving warriors return to Veldt togetherVillagers celebrate, mourn fallen samurai
Pyrrhic VictoryNoble is recovered by Motherworld forcesKambei reflects on the victory and samurai’s role

You can’t be too upset, or angry with Snyder for ripping off one of the greatest action movies of all time. I mean, George Lucas did it too. Right? Not quite as flagrantly. And all the same beats are there, the pauses, the stutters, the quick assembly of a team. The only thing missing was the battle in the home town, and the movie even comments that it was too bad that they weren’t all able to die there, to die at home.

It was a cinematic force of nature. There was way too much CG throughout. And lots of the details could (should) have been made practically instead. Maybe the hot color saturation’s of the CGI wouldn’t have been so bad in a theater? But I missed getting a chance to see this big, and up close. So who knows.

My Thoughts on Part One of Rebel Moon

It really helped my perspective and enjoyment of the movie after having read countless negative reviews of the film. I expected nearly nothing. And yet, I was treated to a fantastic space opera of the same Mythic-Philosophical underpinnings as Star Wars. We watch as a desperate village calls for help, and the Knights of the Round Table are assembled. They are captured through deceit and betrayal, but through Gunnar’s heroics, they are saved.

Please recall, that it was Gunnar that got Father Sindri murdered at the outset of the film. So this is Gunnar’s redemptive arc – no one else’s. It’s not Kora’s arc. She has a different battle to fight, and different chains to cut herself from. That’ll definitely come in the next movie, which I believe releases in April. So, come back in a couple of months, and we’ll do another live casting of me giving my thoughts as the movie unspools. Until then… I’ll see you around.