Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire Parent Guide
Highly derivative, this space fantasy spins a watchable story of good versus evil.
Parent Movie Review
Her life scarred by war, Kora (Sofia Boutella) has finally found safe harbor in a peaceful farming village on the planet of Veldt. But when a dreadnought from the Motherworld appears in the skies overhead, Kora doesn’t share the villagers’ naïve hopes that the troops can be bartered with or appeased. She knows that they have come to steal, enslave, rape, and kill.
After Kora is tragically proved right, she and fellow villager Gunnar (Michiel Huisman) head out on a quest to recruit fighters. The dreadnought will return, and they want to make sure the villagers are trained to fight so they can defend their lives and their grain from the Motherworld’s rapacious soldiers.
As Kora and Gunnar travel through the galaxy, they are exposed to more of the imperium’s brutality and are brought to the heart of the rebellion – and into the darkness of Kora’s past…
Rebel Moon can be seen in two ways – as a tribute to other science fiction/space fantasy films or as a shamelessly derivative copy. It’s impossible to watch the movie without noticing the other movies it references. The glaringly obvious comparison is to Star Wars, which very much influences the look of this movie, right down to a bar scene that replicates the cantina in Star Wars: A New Hope. Even the imperial troops have the Nazi vibe of the Galactic Empire. Add in a protagonist in a quiet rural locale who is going to shake an evil empire, and you’ve pretty much got the story.
This film isn’t just a Star Wars clone; it also references Dune, Rogue One, and, weirdly enough, A Bug’s Life. (Think about it: a feisty ant recruits fighters to protect his fellow ants’ harvest from violent grasshoppers. Same storyline, right?) Seriously, watching Rebel Moon feels like you’re flipping through IMDB’s back catalogue.
Derivative though it may be, the script keeps moving briskly through its action sequences, fights, and scenes of planetary destruction. There’s enough galactic history to give context to people’s behavior, and to provide a sense of loss, peril, and desperation that animates them. The movie might not be original, but at least the story’s interesting.
The biggest problem in the film boils down to its director. Zack Snyder is a controversial director, loved and loathed in equal measure. In this case, his sense of scale is annoying, with large elements almost appearing to float. Some of the green screen work is also poorly done, with unconvincing character motion and uneven lighting. Most irksome is his use of slow-motion, which practically screams “Look at me!” in big set pieces. It’s like overusing exclamation marks in writing – after a while it loses all impact and becomes distracting.
Snyder is also known for releasing extended director’s cuts of his films, and a one-hour longer Restricted version of this film is reportedly coming to Netflix in the spring. Thankfully, this version is PG-13, but it rings in at the high end of the rating with abundant, brutal violence. Scenes of personal combat and widespread destruction are common, and people are punched, shot, stabbed, choked, caught in explosions, and killed with energy weapons. There is also an extended scene of an attempted sexual assault which features crude language, threats of gang rape, and yet more violence.
As space fantasy fans know, movies don’t need to blaze new ground to be absorbing, and Rebel Moon manages to spin a story that will reel in viewers. If you’re still interested in the spring, Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver will be on Netflix on April 19th, 2024.Directed by Zack Snyder. Starring Sofia Boutella, Charlie Hunnam, Ed Skrein. Running time: 133 minutes. Theatrical release December 22, 2023. Updated December 22, 2023
Watch the trailer for Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire
Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire
Rating & Content Info
Why is Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire rated PG-13? Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of strong violence, sexual assault, bloody images, language, sexual material and partial nudity.
Violence: There are frequent scenes of personal combat involving punching, kicking, throwing, and choking. People are bludgeoned to death, killed with bladed weapons, and shot with firearms. Some people are killed with sci-fi energy weapons. There are many scenes of space vessels and buildings exploding and catching fire. Widespread explosions are seen on a planet’s surface. There is mention of destroying entire planets. A spider-like creature abducts a child and threatens to kill her in revenge. A giant winged creature kills a man with its claws. People are restrained in a mechanical device and are killed with something that resembles a nail gun. Two people duel to the death, with bloody injuries. One person is hit so hard some of his teeth fly out of his mouth. A woman punches a man in the groin. A man’s arm is broken in a fight. A leader orders a subordinate to eliminate a group of people. A man threatens to torture someone to death and promises to crucify a woman as a warning and punishment. A man undergoes a brutal medical/scientific procedure where his scalp is peeled back and a probe is inserted into a port in his brain. A man launches a kamikaze attack against a spaceship which results in the death of both himself and his target. A female soldier finds the dead and bloody body of her lover and fellow soldier. A child points a gun at a soldier. A man abducts a child after killing her family and raises her as his daughter. A soldier repeatedly fires a weapon at an android which will not fight back.
Sexual Content: Men seize a woman with the intent of sexually assaulting her and there is crude dialogue about turning her into a “whore”. A man undergoing a futuristic procedure is seen naked from the side with visible buttocks. A man grabs another man by the crotch and threatens him.
Profanity: The script contains five scatological curses, a crude anatomical term, a minor profanity, and some vulgar terms for women.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A man drinks an unknown liquid from a flask and in one scene appears to be intoxicated.
Page last updated December 22, 2023
Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire Parents' Guide
Why is Kora so determined to protect the small farming village? What happened to her home planet? How does this affect her perspective on the future of Veldt?
How did Belisarius impact Kora’s childhood? What does she mean when she says she was broken and remade in the Motherworld’s image? How do you think she was able to pull herself away from the Motherworld’s perspective? How do her experiences help the people of Veldt?
How do you define courage? What kind of courage do the protagonists in this movie display? Do you admire any of them in particular?
Related home video titles:
It’s easy to compare this movie to Star Wars: A New Hope, the story of Luke Skywalker’s discovery of the Force and its power to shake the Galactic Empire. Rogue Oneis a prequel in the same franchise which sets up some of the activities of the rebel forces that make Luke’s first mission possible.
Dune is another space saga that features an empire with interstellar dynasties and political instability. The story has depth, impressive world-building, and high quality visual design.
If you’re looking for good world-building with big questions, you can try The Creator. Artificial intelligence is at the heart of this tale of war, technology, and humanity.