Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Rise of Skywalker (a movie review post)

Well, here we are, 42 years later. I have to say I'm not really sure how I feel.
If you're a reader, you'll know that there are some books that leave you with a very bittersweet feeling at the end. There's a sadness that the book is over but, also, a joy in the completed journey. For me, the books that most do that for me are The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. And I could have said that about Star Wars back when Return of the Jedi was the final movie. That feeling of bittersweetness is not a not knowing how to feel; that is the feeling.

I'm not left with that feeling now that I've seen Rise. There's no sadness that it's over or any joy in a journey completed. There's just a... sort of emptiness. A sadness, maybe, that I don't have any of those feelings.

And, you know, a large part of that lack of pleasurable pain has been caused by the overly toxic fan base, mostly people of my generation and mostly white dudes. It leaves a distaste in my mouth for nearly everything to do with the movies since they drove George out with their faux lightsabers and pitchforks.

But it's not just them. It's also Kathleen Kennedy's egregious mishandling of the Star Wars franchise and her lack of any kind of vision or leadership. She's treated the movies like middle school end of term projects with no real guidelines. You know, just do whatever you want.

And there was Abram's misguided attempt to make a movie that the fans would love when he started all of this with Force Awakens. Never try to pander to the fans. Tell the story that needs to be told, not rehash one that's already out there. Abram's also lacked vision, but, then, it wasn't really his job to provide that.

Mostly, though, it's the mess that Rian Johnson caused that is at issue, which I'm not going to go into again, and which could have been prevented if Kennedy had just had control of the ship rather than letting the monkeys play with the controls. Yeah, I really do lay all of this at her feet. She was supposed to be in charge!

All of that said, The Rise of Skywalker is probably as good a movie as it could be. At least, it's as good as Abrams was able to make it. I don't have any issues with the movie in and of itself. Well, that's not true. There are a few things I don't like. Or two things...

The movie feels too fast. Too rushed. And it's nearly three hours long, so I have a hard time with why it feels so rushed and undeveloped. It goes at the speed and heedlessness of a line of toppling dominoes. Things just keep happening, and no one is making any decisions.

It also has a very questy feel to it. So did the last one. I don't enjoy that feeling of quest, quest, subquest, quest, subquest. Find this, find that, get the thing that will make this work. Neither the original trilogy nor the prequels ever felt questy. It's not a thing you want to actually notice happening in the story, just like you don't want to notice the salt in your food. Just enough to bring out the flavor, not to taste on its own.

But the movie is fine. I mean, it's good. As I said, Abrams made what was probably the best movie he could make. It has a satisfying conclusion given what he had to work with.

And, no, I don't have an issue with that thing people are complaining about. Anyone who has known Star Wars should have known that was always in the cards. Always the plan. Maybe if Lucas had been able to do what he wanted to do with Darth Maul people would have had a better idea of what's going on in the movie, but, alas, someone had a big mouth and Lucas dropped that part of the story.
No, I'm not going to speak more clearly about any of this. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it would be too spoilery. And, if you do, then you don't need me to be more explicit.

So... The Rise of Skywalker:
Not the best Star Wars movie but certainly not the worst.
Still a Star Wars movie.
Has some really cool stuff in it.
Has some stuff which is cool in the moment but I probably disapprove of because it feels like it was done for the "cool factor" and really has no basis in the mythos. Oh, well, it's canon now.

Maybe I'm not through talking about my reaction to all of this, but I figured I should get my initial review up.
Merry Christmas!


  1. I enjoyed it. But then I also enjoyed VIII. And I enjoyed Solo. I am, to a point, just a sucker for this stuff.

    I need to watch it again to sort out all of my feelings for it.

    Nothing will ever feel quite like the original trilogy for me. I accepted that a long time ago. All that has followed has been padding and filler for the original, amazing story. I prefer the sequels to the prequels - they simply feel more like Star Wars to me.

    1. TAS: I didn't not enjoy it. As an individual movie, I thought it was very good. However, the sequel trilogy leaves me feeling very dissatisfied.
      Solo, also. It was too "feel good."

  2. I am yet to catch this one on screen. Hopefully SOON!

  3. Questy is a perfect way to describe it.

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