As a besotted worshiper of Sun Ra, Octavia Butler, and Afro-Futurism more generally, I have been anticipating this one for many months. Since I wish that one-fifth of all movies had an Afro-Futurist background, and so few do, I suppose I shouldn’t complain. Still, I was disappointed by just about everything except some of the visuals.
The male characters were weak and most of the scenes dull, and worst of all most of the humor is mediocre. Furthermore, I found the movie uncomfortably prejudiced. There is such a thing as racism directed mainly at Africans (as opposed to blacks), and it seems to me this was it.
So many spears and wild animals? How about holding a referendum every now and then? And there were so many “Africanist” tropes. De facto, I thought the actual message was strongly pro-segregation, although wimpiness on that finally kicks in. The visual references to Narnia and to various Star Wars installments were fine, but was it necessary to cite the colonialist Zulu? The contrast with the resource-poor city of Busan, South Korea was almost Straussian in intent. Is wealth based on human capital so impossible in Africa?
I would say the more you know about actual African cinema, the less you will appreciate this one.
Christopher Lebron in Boston Review has written the best review (via Hollis Robbins).