Rise of Skywalker - Spoilers

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Sothis
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Rise of Skywalker - Spoilers

Post by Sothis » Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:46 am

The Saga Ends. The journey that began with The Force Awakens concludes with The Rise of Skywalker, but does it do so in a satisfying, organic way?

Answering that question isn’t easy. My initial instinct isn’t to love the big finale, given a lot of it feels rushed and at times, laborious. As I saw on Twitter, was there no overall direction for the sequel trilogy? The Last Jedi had the benefit of a director who had inside access to The Force Awakens, but The Rise of Skywalker has had a complicated genesis, with original director Colin Trevorrow leaving the project over creative differences with Disney, and JJ Abrams reworking the story. Say what you will about The Last Jedi (this meerkat enjoyed it), it felt connected to The Force Awakens in a very solid way, whereas The Rise of Skywalker feels like it’s trying very hard to connect to the past, and is forcing (no pun intended) a lot of it.


There’s a lot to wrap up, and this includes the arcs for all the new characters, as well as the original characters. I was wary of bringing back Palpatine, and whilst the malevolent Sith Lord is always a scene stealer, his presence was also forced. It’s implied (very loosely) that he’s a clone, who has been pulling the strings from the shadows, raising questions as to why he’s waited so long before acting. I’m not convinced it was necessary to bring him back;to me, this betrayed a lack of imagination. How about a power struggle between Ren and Hux instead? How about seeing the seeds of rebellion planted in The Last Jedi germinate and grow, in response to a First Order that’s operating with a confused leadership?


There are plenty of enjoyable moments. Rey and Ren have a number of confrontations and a hefty lightsaber duel upon the ruins of the Death Star. Visually, the film is a feast. There are emotional moments (Leia provides quite a few of these). One moment in particular brought me to tears. We see more of the Knights of Ren, though they’re not especially formidable if you ask me. We do get an uplifting scene during the final battle, one that feels quite relevant as we head into an uncertain 2020.


I just don’t know. The Last Jedi gave us a unique approach, breaking the mold and defying expectations. The Rise of Skywalker tries too hard to squeeze everything back into a conventional box. Despite this, I did enjoy the film. 7/10.

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Re: Rise of Skywalker - Spoilers

Post by Darth Spock » Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:40 pm

Hm, sounds consistent with most of the criticisms I've heard about the movie so far. Disney seems to have, incredibly, managed to capture the worst aspects of both the OT and PT, with few of their respective strengths. I've been pondering a critique of TLJ for almost a year now, debating whether it was worth even typing up, but now that the next movie has dropped, I think I'll do it (yes, I have impeccable timing!) In short, I think the whole of Disney's trilogy shortcomings is fully reflected in TLJ. They went off the rails into chaos, but failed to commit to anything new either.

Even if they didn't want to follow Lucas' vision, when they let Johnson have his way and go nuts, they should have taken that very film's own advice and rolled with it. They should have gone ahead and "killed the past" and broken from their rigid but haphazard plan, not letting their directors effectively bicker in the very product. They probably also should have given up on the trilogy format (and lose the break neck 2 year production time, these things need time to "bake") then they may have been able to salvage these characters, and even retroactively added value to TLJ by building on it's concepts. Of course, if the rumors of a Lucas cut actually scoring in the 80's with test audiences were true, they certainly should have followed that route, as incredible as that possibility sounds to me.

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Re: Rise of Skywalker - Spoilers

Post by Sothis » Mon Dec 23, 2019 9:41 am

It makes you wonder what Lucas' original treatment for 7 8 and 9 looks like...

See, I enjoyed TLJ, it dared to be different and didn't fall into the easy trap of becoming the sequel trilogy's TESB. I appreciate not everyone will share that view, but I liked that they tried some new ideas. TROS was determined to blatantly undo those ideas in a way that jarred horribly. I want to like, it, and I do like elements of it, but they took so many easy paths.

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Re: Rise of Skywalker - Spoilers

Post by Darth Spock » Sun Dec 29, 2019 1:35 am

Knowing Disney, I doubt we'll ever get a glance at what Lucas had in mind, short of a very bold leak someday.

As far as TLJ goes, I liked some of the new ideas they almost dared to pursue. There's a Wisecrack video that covers my thoughts on that film pretty well: Star Wars: The Last Jedi - What Went Wrong? – Wisecrack Edition
This quote from 14:44 in particular sums it up perfectly:
"So, if you're going to revolutionize Star Wars, great! Want to reframe how we think about the central conflict? Cool!
But spending all this time abrasively subverting everything we love and know about Star Wars, just to shrug and revert back to where we started: less cool. "

It's one thing to go in a new direction that some fans may not appreciate, audience expectations are subjective after all. It's something else again to specifically reject established themes, only to discard any changes introduced by the end of the film to reaffirm the old tropes without further explanation.

Of course I can't comment on ROS not having seen it, but having read the basic plot I can say that it doesn't appear to help the TLJ situation, and that I am not particularly happy with the general conclusion Disney tacked on to the Star Wars saga Lucas started over 40 years ago. And that's a big part of it there, if they couldn't maintain a cohesive thread through the main series, they should have stuck with anthology films. The basic stories would probably been better received, plot holes, MarySue complaints and all, had they been separate from the Skywalker saga, but they don't work well as Episodes 7, 8 and 9. At least not in my opinion.

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