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Film ● Review: Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver

Title: Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver

Director(s): Zack Snyder

Screenwriter(s): Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad & Shay Hatten

Studio: The Stone Quarry, Grand Electric

Released: 2024

Runtime: 2h 2m

Starring: Sofia Boutella, Djimon Hounsou, Michiel Huisman, Ed Skrein, Bae Doo-na


My Verdict: The heroes play farmer in the first half, then get into a shootout with imperial forces in the second. Cheesy and clumsy like Part One.


Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver

Part Two takes off from Part One when our heroes return to the farming village on Veldt. Kora (Sofia Boutella) and her friends think Admiral Noble (Ed Skrein) is dead. They soon find out that he isn’t and is heading to the village to pick up the grain in five days.


● The premise is simple, which is fine, except that it doesn’t go anywhere interesting just like the first film.


● Structurally, it seems to be in two acts. This is not necessarily a bad thing if there is sufficient movement within but there isn’t. To cite a recent example for comparison, Hacksaw Ridge (2016) is seemingly in two acts as well which is a little strange. But each act (half) has its own three acts within so it still works. This Part Two comes in two halves and cruises along as if on autopilot.


● The first half is our heroes playing farmers, helping with the harvest. They all have a dark past they struggle with and now would love to fight for helpless farmers, blah blah blah. Setting the mood and giving the characters some background are necessary but it would be less cheese if more was shown in Part One so that expositions in this film build on what was shown previously.


● There is the montage on defense preparations and farmers practicing to fight and, thankfully, this is kept to a minimum. Somehow, they manage to harvest and dig trenches without large-scale machinery in five days. Either way, it would be more appropriate for the village to be making cheese instead.


● It is about halfway through the film before the imperial dreadnaught arrives. Noble initially wants the grain but mostly just wants Kora so he doesn’t conveniently flatten the village from orbit.


The imperial dreadnaught arrives. Yay.
The imperial dreadnaught arrives. Yay.

● In other words, the second half of the film is a shootout in which imperial soldiers attack the village in conveniently small waves until they conveniently realize too late that the tactic is not going to work. And, in any case, our heroes and villagers just somehow manage to go literally head-to-head against a superior force.


[Potential Spoiler] Jimmy the warrior robot is around but conveniently doesn’t enter the fight until much later. Some may argue that it makes the fight too easy for the rebels but I think the imperial forces are so superior that Jimmy fighting from the start makes the scenario more plausible, not less.


● The above problems could easily be avoided even if one does not make any drastic changes to the plot. For example, if one knows there is going to be a battle in the village, then make the village set in difficult terrain. The simple design as shown is appreciated but as a somewhat fantastical space opera, liberties can be taken when designing worlds. The grain fields need to be level but the village can be set on steep terrain with narrow alleyways that twist between buildings and rock formations. Another option is to make the village closer to the town and perhaps have part of the battle take place there. Either way, this would make the battle more like urban combat and therefore more difficult for the imperial forces. It is a bit more plausible that the villagers can put up an effective defense in that environment. The battle can also develop with tactics as part of the plot.


● Like the first film, the art design is good even if the execution is lacking, but at least the CGI is more consistent. Whether one likes the style is another matter.


● There are shots in which the depth of field is still too shallow and there is excessive lens distortion. Combined with the momentary slow motion in the midst of action, the visual style is simply too pretentious.


● In short, the problems of the first film in almost every respect are repeated in this film, including clumsy plotting and worldbuilding. It’s a shame that it is a waste of a decent cast. As someone told me, “It’s like a Star Wars-inspired B-grade sci-fi film, except it’s about forty years too late.”

 

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