Zack Snyder pitched Rebel Moon as a fusion of Seven Samurai and Star Wars, an ambitious endeavor likened to claiming one’s invention combines the wheel with sliced bread. Seven Samurai showcased Akira Kurosawa’s mastery in battles, earning the label “epic,” while Star Wars became a cultural phenomenon. Despite being rejected by Lucasfilm and Warner Bros, Netflix embraced Snyder’s vision. However, the final product lacks the envisioned ambition, overshadowed by a half-hearted approach that downsizes the CGI-laden saga determining the universe’s fate. The 134-minute film primarily covers the gang-assembling phase, typically condensed in the genre’s initial half-hour, leaving much untold until the next installment next year.
While hoping for a climactic conclusion, the film currently falls short, displaying a lack of character development, tactile greenscreened locations, and a meaningful plot. The polished nothingness permeating the narrative raises concerns about viewer engagement in subsequent installments. Snyder, known for his slow-mo action, falters as it appears more like screensavers than dynamic sequences. The film’s flaws prompt skepticism about its potential improvement.
Snyder attempts Campbellian mythmaking with classic scripting but overlooks the necessity of refreshing archetypes through novel contexts. The Hero, Sofia Boutella, defends her farming planet against an Evil Empire, mistaking exposition for world-building. The Mini-Boss, Ed Skrein, seeks to appropriate grain, leading the Hero and her Sidekick on a cosmic journey to rally sympathizers. Sketch-like characters with cumbersome names and arbitrary allusions contribute to a lack of personality. Despite a few creature designs, eccentricities fail to infuse colorful personality into the film.
Snyder’s po-faced sensibility, devoid of humor, robs the sci-fi narrative of memorable weirdness. Rebel Moon, envisioned as Snyder’s masterpiece, falls short of expectations, lacking the anticipated fun and exhilaration associated with an artist’s outlandish whims. Instead, it becomes a tedious endeavor, missing the mark of an engaging space saga.