Renowned for his directorial prowess in films such as 300, Watchmen, and Sucker Punch, Zack Snyder stands as a cinematic trailblazer, reshaping the landscape of cinema and elucidating the seamless integration of the slow-motion technique, particularly within the realm of action films. His opulent cinematic creations, replete with stylish action sequences and robust characters, have indelibly left an indelible mark on an era, resonating deeply with individuals such as myself. Subsequently, as the architect of the DC Extended Universe (DCU), whose inception is now on the brink of interment, Snyder’s departure from the Justice League narrative midway, due to a poignant circumstance, marked the commencement of a precipitous descent for the DCU.
Although Snyder returned to the director’s chair in 2021 with “Army of the Dead,” the cinematic landscape he ventured into deviated significantly from the point he left in 2017. Having blended the world of “Dawn of the Dead,” which catapulted him to fame in 2004, with a newfound and stylish cinematic approach, the director presented a film that seemingly prioritized aesthetics over substance. While I may have initially regarded the rustiness incurred over the intervening years, I now find myself contemplating the loss of the director’s erstwhile visionary essence. “Rebel Moon,” devoid of the quality that even its predecessor exuded, emerges as a film striving solely to appear cool, ultimately succumbing to a cringe-inducing facade.
In brief, let us delve into the synopsis. In a tranquil corner of the universe, a peaceful village finds its serenity disrupted by General Atticus Noble, and as the realization dawns that a lack of grain production could lead to dire consequences, one of the village’s members, Kora, rebels against the brutal conduct of the soldiers towards the villagers. Determined to extend her rebellion beyond the confines of the village, Kora resolves to take her cause to the king. Thus, she embarks on a journey to find soldiers who will rally behind her in support of her uprising.
Regrettably, I endeavor to commence my articles by accentuating positive aspects; however, in the case of “Rebel Moon,” there is regrettably no segment that I can commend with a clear conscience. The film harbors multiple issues, and it is disheartening that these problems emanate from the lens of a director of Zack Snyder’s caliber. The anticipation that the director’s new film – thanks to the trailers – would be a slow-motion spectacle was well-founded, but I did not expect it to be to such an exaggerated extent. Failing to temper the dosage, the director detrimentally disrupts the flow by gratuitously resorting to slow motion in both necessary and unnecessary scenes. Consequently, this leaves an impression of a high-budget amateur director recently enamored with the technique.
However, the fundamental flaw of the film lies, unfortunately, in its cringe-inducing narrative. The movie unfolds akin to an accelerated RPG game: an attack on the village occurs, we assume control of the main character, swiftly learn about the character, and sequentially visit characters who will support the cause. The primary reason for the story’s cringe-worthy appearance is its brevity. Crafting a colossal adventure within a vast universe demands meticulous time management. It necessitates the spreading of time and the thorough depiction of the dynamics of the universe while introducing the characters. This year’s release, “The Creator,” grappled with the same issue. If your preference lies in epic proportions, like “Star Wars,” the narrative must unfold over time.
The mismanagement of time further results in the failure to establish the characters’ motivations. None of the characters, including the main protagonist, are adequately explored. Hence, many scenes in the film exist solely for their visual appeal. The moments when characters individually join the rebellion lack narrative support; instead, they are meticulously designed scenes for the sake of aesthetics. Narratives not built upon solid motivations, especially in a classic war story, invariably evoke a cringe-inducing sensation in the audience.
In essence, “Rebel Moon” falls short of transcending the status of a more finely crafted “Iron Sky.” Despite boasting a cast featuring luminaries such as Sofia Boutella, Michiel Huisman, Ed Skrein, Djimon Hounsou, Charlie Hunnam, Cleopatra Coleman, Anthony Hopkins, and Corey Stoll, the film manages to render even these formidable actors inauthentic. With its conspicuous artificiality, the film, predominantly set in a studio, remains far removed from realism and impact. Despite having witnessed numerous subpar films within the Netflix catalog, “Rebel Moon” is likely to contend for a top spot on the undesirable list. The disheartening aspect remains that a film of such poor quality and artificiality stems from a masterful director like Zack Snyder.
Cast & Crew
director: Zack Snyder
writers: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, Shay Hatten
starring: Sofia Boutella, Michiel Huisman, Ed Skrein, Djimon Hounsou, Charlie Hunnam, Cleopatra Coleman, Anthony Hopkins, Corey Stoll
USA | 2023 | 134 MINUTES |