"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Rebel Moon, Part 1: Galactic Heroes and Villains

Just saw Rebel Moon, Part 1 on Netflix.  It's a two-plus-hour movie with touches of the Star Wars, Dune, and Foundation universes, but a story all its own.  And it's just Part 1.  Which if we're comparing it to Stars Wars, means Rebel Moon is in effect two movies.   I very much enjoyed the first one, and I look forward to the second.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

Here's what's going on:  There's a Nazi-like empire whose King and Queen have been assassinated, leaving those in charge intent of exterminating the rebels.  The action takes place on a handful of planets strewn across space.  There are robots (including one robot in particular, capable of feeling), cybernetic mixes of organic/electronic, natural beings of all shapes and sizes, and plain old-fashioned human beings including some who are more than plain.

A lot of the movie is focused on a team of heroes.  The recruitment of each provides pretty good stories in themselves.  My favorite was Tarak, a character who looks like a Native American, shows his prowess riding a fierce bird, reminiscent of the dragon-riders in Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, and indeed Tarak is played Staz Nair who played Qhono in Game of Thrones.

There are lots of exciting battles, and not all the heroes survive.  That's always a big plus, because it keeps you on your toes.  And there are other surprises as well.  The two biggest are Kai turning on the rebel team.  Given that he's played by Charlie Hunnam, who played such a shining hero/anti-hero in Sons of Anarchy, Kai's selling out the team as the smart move was especially jolting.  No way Jax would have done that.

But the even bigger surprise was Kora.  We first see her at work on a farming planet, where she soon demonstrates her martial skills.  But by the time the movie is over, we're seeing on the screen one of the most effective fighters ever to take on dozens of fighters in rapid succession and sometimes at once.  And we also learn at the end that Kora is actually Arthelais, daughter of the tyrannical Regent of the Empire, Balisarius (poor choice of name, too close to Belisarius, the real last great Roman general on our planet, who already provided inspiration for the name Bel Riose, the last great general of the Empire in Isaac Asimov's Foundation and Empire and appearing in the second season of Foundation on Apple TV+).  But the reason that Kora/Arthelais has such prowess as a fighter is that she carefully trained a human weapon by her father.

The two hours went by quickly, and my only regret was that I couldn't watch the second two right there and then.  I'll certainly be back here in April 2024 when I do.

See also Rebel Moon, Part 2: The Robot and the Freshness

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