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STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER [Blu-ray]
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Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once more to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Experience the riveting conclusion of the landmark Skywalker saga, in which new legends will be bornâand the final battle for freedom is yet to come.
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But there’s no pleasing everybody. Remember when some “fans” disliked The Force Awakens? It was because it was “too similar” to A New Hope. And remember when those same “fans” disliked The Last Jedi, because it was too different from Empire Strikes Back? Now those same people are mad AGAIN, because Rise Of Skywalker is too much like Return Of The Jedi!
OMG, it’s almost like the movies themselves are not what they dislike, but rather, they have an axe to grind with diversity, perceived political bias (as if George Lucas, noted progressive liberal, didn’t use the prequels to rail against George W. Bush, the Iraq War, and the fascistic leanings of W’s administration), or the fact that the main hero is a female.
Make no mistake, Rise Of Skywalker is a blast. Is it perfect? No. Is any Star Wars film perfect? Nope- with the possible exception of Empire- but they are fun. The only expectation I have when seeing a SW film is to be entertained, and ROS delivered.
As an aside, let me just say, if you are one of those “fans” who finds himself enraged at these new films, tweeting nasty things at the cast and raging on social media about how your favorite pet fan theory wasn’t addressed, or because there are too many women and people of color in the new films, or that Rey doesn’t smile enough, or that the prequels are, in fact, great movies and the new ones are awful, then I have news for you.
Are you ready?
You don’t like Star Wars. You’re stuck on films from 40 years ago, and you can’t accept that times have changed. Maybe you prefer a time when your movie heroes all looked like you. Maybe you like the old films because of the nostalgia they fill you with for a time that seems simpler in your memory than it really was.
Someone once said, “Let the past die- kill it, if you have to.” Wise words, whatever the source.
Maybe you dislike how Disney recycles plot points from the previous films and you just prefer the daring and original ideas behind Star Wars legends books, where they cloned Palpatine and Luke became a Sith Lord until he was redeemed by his son, Ben Skywalker. Oh wait- Star Wars has been recycling plots for decades, almost as if it was inspired by the cyclical myths explained by Joseph Campbell in his book, “The Hero’s Journey.”
At any rate, you are now free to move on to another piece of intellectual property to “love”. How about Star Trek? It’s not like Star Trek embraces gender and ethnic diversity while championing a utopian future where everyone is valued equally... oh, wait. Guess you’re outta luck.
Anyway, to everyone else- Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker is a lot of fun, and a fitting conclusion to the new trilogy and the Skywalker Saga as a whole. I can’t wait to see what in store for the next movie!
(1) How many times have you watched the original trilogy?
Myself, and so many others have watched the original movies so many times that I have lost count.
(2) Will you even look forward to watching any of the new trilogy after you have watched them once, maybe twice?
Much like the prequels I have seen them and that is enough, so no replay value there.
The movie has maintained the current and original trilogy's legacy of being the definition of a popcorn film. The action is great. The movie looks fantastic, really the most visually impressive of all the Star Wars films.
The cast and characters are again great. I'm glad to see the trio of Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaacs) all together for a substantial stretch of time. The interactions between the three are great. (They could've had more time together.) I also liked the new characters with the exception of the Knights of Ren who despite being first teased in Force Awakens, just don't do enough.
The humor works well. However, I felt even though C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) has been comic relief since the beginning, he was too aggressively jokey. I liked that this continued the last film's theme of hope.
Now for the problems. These three films changed creative control from JJ Abrams to Rian Johnson and back to Abrams without the Disney brass doing enough to pre-plan or control consistency. Abrams did a lot of things I found so maddening that I'm shocked that the producers greenlit them. The major threat in this movie introduced so quickly and with such little plausibility. Reveals and plot elements pop up so arbitrarily that they don't feel natural at all. It's a little like poor fan fiction. Abrams jams way too much story in here in order to arrive at the conclusion he wants. I felt Finn just wasn't given enough room to breathe and was disappointed with how his story ended.
The whole change in directorial voice is exacerbated by the fact that Abrams like Johnson before him is actively resistant in running with what he is given. Abrams does something that is a major slap in the face to his predecessor, which is so mishandled in its execution. It takes you out of the film. Say what you will about the Canto Blight subplot in The Last Jedi, but I liked the character of Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran). I didn't like that they cut her role so short in this not to mention completely axed her set up from the last film as a romantic interest for one of the characters. It's like Abrams decided he didn't like her because he didn't create her and she wasn't in his plans.
J.J. still has his Achilles heel of being too blatantly nostalgic. It isn't half as prevalent as in the Force Awakens, but there are a couple moments where it raises its head and is downright insulting to the audience.
I know I talked way more about the cons and the pros, but it's easier to talk about what doesn't work than what does. When it works, the movie pulled me in and would make forget the problem areas when they weren't around. It still embodies the essence of a Star Wars film. I'd rank this as the weakest of the trilogy but better than Solo and the prequel trilogy. This is one of those films where your opinion could really go either way. I've found both negative and positive criticism of this to be accurate. If you're already uber angry at the first two movies and didn't think or were unsure if you wanted to continue, then you really might not want this. However, if you enjoyed the ride so far, I suggest you take the gamble.