Saturday, December 21, 2019

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

By sati (harlequinade) Saturday, December 21, 2019 , , , , , , ,
(spoilers!)

I never thought that I will see something more embarrassing when it comes to ruining the franchise than 1. WB handing the keys to DC kingdom to Zack Snyder and giving him three tries to make a movie then on the third try going "oh, fuck no!" and firing him mid-making of the film 2. Dumb and Dumber wrecking Game of Thrones so bad that the early seasons are now unwatchable because you know it is all heading towards explosive diarrhea.

Enter whoever was in charge of Disney's Star Wars trilogy (do we blame just Kennedy? Surely more people were involved in making final decisions?). Because whoever made the calls here just wrecked 40+ years worth of a franchise.
It is astonishing to me that in handling such a massive, money-making franchise as Star Wars such carelessness was on display. How could the people in charge not map out the trilogy and the basic storyline for all three movies? If they claim they did, clearly it's lies. The new trilogy started with The Force Awakens. It was a safe rehash of A New Hope, but at least it was fun. Then Rian Johnson came in, blew up mystery boxes J.J. Abrams set up and left the stage with no primary villain, handful of rebels and a broom boy.

The decision to let Rian Johnson run wild and do whatever he wanted cost this franchise millions of dollars (the second weekend drop says it all). He also alienated a lot of fans and ruined the franchise for a lot of people. Disney is a business. Did those who are shocked now that Disney is back-peddling really think they won't do this? That they won't run to J.J. "people pleaser" Abrams for help?
J.J. delivered a movie that not only makes the claims this trilogy was planned look even more like lies (nothing in here was set up in The Last Jedi) but may actually unite fandom in hate. Those who love The Last Jedi will hate that J.J. blatantly retcons it and the rest of us will hate it because it's just so dumb. I know little about Star Wars, I only watch the movies and the Baby Yoda show but even I was confused.

I know why J.J. brought the Emperor back. With Snoke slaughtered by Rian's subversion, what was there to do? J.J. always goes for nostalgia so it was an obvious move. And Kylo's redemption arc was already in place while Hux was just too much of a bitch to be made into a primary villain. There is some stuff that they do with Palpatine here that offers really cool visuals and ideas (such as him being trapped in some hellish contraption along with the souls of other Sith lords) but good God none of that makes sense. None of this was set up in the previous episodes, again showing there was no planning. Worse yet, there is no satisfying explanation as to how the hell he is back.
If this thing was set up from the start and we saw some glimpses suggesting Palapatine is back in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi then that would at least be some attempt in coherent storytelling. But what we have here is so reactionary. And the biggest sin of all - this and many other things in this movie undid the original tale. Anakin and the prophecy? Irrelevant now because what did Anakin really accomplish? The fact that the whole thing started because Anakin wanted to save his loved one? Well, here are Rey and Kylo having healing powers out of nowhere.

And that is all in addition to other things that new trilogy has done that wrecked the original one - Leia and Han are now dead after splitting up and failing as parents. Luke is dead after fucking off to an island where he was milking uncomfortable animals. Anakin isn't even shown in this movie, which is ridiculous in itself seeing how it's supposedly the end of Skywalker saga, but the worst thing here is that Anakin is helping Rey and not even paying the least bit of attention to his own grandson. This is dreadful writing on so many levels.
To add insult to injury, Disney ends the saga with entire Skywalker line dead and Rey, Palpatine's granddaughter (oh my God...), taking their name. It's pure insanity. The message of "choose your own family" is lovely but it is horribly executed here. As for that kiss, Ridley and Driver had some romantic chemistry in this trilogy, but there was not enough done in those films to make this whole hate to love transition feel believable. And the way that moment is paced and executed is laughable, even if the idea behind it was very beautiful, having Ben accomplish what Anakin couldn't do, the ability to let go so that the one he loves lives. In my screening when this whole mess happened people started laughing.

And the pacing....not a single scene here is allowed to breathe. It's like J.J. wanted to cram two movies in one and make up for the lost episode he didn't get to make. So he tries to form the bond between the trio, set up the new villain - by bringing the old one back, brings back the question of Rey's parents, there's hetero love interests for Poe and Finn - or Finn's sister, who knows what that storyline was, oh, and Lando is back. It's such a mess. And it's all so sloppy. You can't tell what the hell is happening with Jannah - is she Finn's love interest? Sister? Is she Lando's daughter? Clearly they shot multiple version of several arcs and just left some stuff in and discarded another. And Finn wanting to tell Rey something? What was that all about? Did they kinda forget about that like Daenerys forgot about the Iron Fleet?
Then there's unprofessional and distasteful moment where J.J. takes a clear shot at Rian Johnson. One of the most criticized moments of The Last Jedi was Luke throwing the light saber over his shoulder. Here we have Luke catching the saber Rey threw away and saying that you don't treat this weapon that way. It was just in poor taste. Then there's Rose who gets Jar Jar treatment and is set aside for the entire movie.

Adam Driver has been consistently great in this trilogy but he has so little to do here. He has very few lines and yet he still manages to be the best in the show with his scene fighting the Knights of Ren, being the best thing here - hell, maybe even the only good scene in the whole movie. J.J. made such a major mistake by having Kylo Ren die. He just did the rehash of Return of the Jedi. Wouldn't it be better to end it with Rey and Kylo being happy together? That would rescue the film from having all of the Skywalkers dead which is such an awful idea.
The rest of the cast doesn't really have enough to do to make an impression. I felt so bad for Harrison Ford for being dragged back into this franchise. Also this doesn't make sense. First Kylo tries to explain it to the audience by saying it is a memory but then Han acknowledges that Leia is dead and that is something that happened after he died. This whole thing is such a mess.

Ridley was so wonderful in The Force Awakens but she is stuck in such a terrible and boring arc here. She plays the chosen one which is just about the worst and dullest thing an actor could be given to do. I wish Disney had some balls and actually had Rey turn to the dark side with Kylo prevailing over her and winning in the end. As a woman I would not be offended and I think the only reason Disney didn't do this was because they feared the possible backlash. That is in itself insulting, that they thought women would have a problem with that. If it was handled well, we wouldn't.
And then there's Isaac, again the most enjoyable actor to watch in the cast, delivering even more sass as Poe, this time in super hot Indiana Jones inspired outfit. Having sat through some truly horrifically awful movies Oscar has done, let me tell you, this is really one of the worst. But at least he looked gorgeous and yet again the cinematographer was generous with the close ups of his face. I think every single cinematographer who worked with Isaac in his career was, at least on some level, in love with him. Which is understandable.

Then there's the whole issue of Disney not going with FinnPoe. Had they let that happen at least there would be ONE relationship that made sense in this trilogy. I keep seeing complaints how woke Hollywood is. Is it really? Because Disney cares about Chinese money more than representation and good storytelling. Having Poe and Finn together would be a natural progression of their story and chemistry, but they just couldn't let that happen. They literally introduced two new female characters, right here at the end of the saga, just to avoid showing gay relationship between these two. And that so called gay representation moment that actually is in this movie lasts for few seconds and is so insignificant apparently even Chinese censors left it in.
The story in this movie feels like something written by a bot. There's so many MacGuffins, fake out deaths (by the time Zori Bliss comes back they don't even bother with an explanation) and convenient things that just kinda happen out of nowhere. There's very little explanation for events and considering that this is not just a movie, but also end of trilogy and the end of the whole saga, this is a triple embarrassment. Also there's some stuff in here that plays so much like Endgame you gotta wonder if J.J. didn't intentionally rip it off. And that's just make you think of how well Marvel is doing and how much LucasFilm is failing.

The mishandling of this franchise is shocking. Not only is the new trilogy a disaster but LucasFilm made two average spin offs that managed to strip the franchise of the event status. By having one movie a year it made Star Wars feel less special. Also we KNOW that they can produce quality content because The Mandalorian delivers on every front every week. This mess they created here is only because of their laziness. And hopefully the box office for this movie will reflect just how disappointed the audiences are with what was done here.
23/100 (2019, USA, 141 min)
Plot: The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: Chris Terrio (screenplay by), J.J. Abrams (screenplay by)
Stars: Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac


14 comments:

  1. This is just a disappointment all around. I don't understand how it was so hard to write a movie to take place after TLJ when it ended in a perfectly writable fashion? lol

    Anakin is essentially useless. If they wanted to still preserve any of his "prophecy" it would've been in the form of his grandson living and he and Rey bringing balance to the Force together as they moved forward. No sith, no jedi, just balance in the force, but nope. We need to have Rey do everything herself to prove how super special she is and we have to have Ben die for her because Vader died for Luke.

    Such a profound lessons, we need to learn it twice.

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    1. I am so glad to wake up to another disaster today with box office numbers being even lower than estimated

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  2. Aw man, I'm totally alone in my little love camp over here but I don't mind. I do think it was a mistake to have different directors, though!

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  3. Hey! I finally saw a movie where you gave it the Harley Quinn "Ewww" rating! Honestly, I haven't seen any of the Star Wars films, including the original trilogy. I really need to start watching them soon. It's a shame that this franchise is going down a bad path. I hope they fix this franchise soon.

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    1. Yes, it's the first time I got to use that rating :)

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  4. I agree with you on Ben. As much as I didn't like Reylo I think it would have worked so much better for him to live (Palpatine and Skywalker together finally balance in the force) or for him to have not been able to bring her back and have to live with it and maybe go the way of the gray Jedi.

    Poor Ben though I felt sorry for him because he was such an after thought to his own family!

    Words I never thought I'd write or say but I kind of want to see what Trevorrow's script would have done with it. Anyway on to Little Women!

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    1. I really don't think there would be a way to do worse than this, Trevorrow is pretty awful so maybe he would manage to give us even a more terrible movie lol

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  5. I haven't seen Rise of Skywalker but at this point, I just don't care about the franchise anymore. Everything turned out to be a letdown for both the cast and audience, even for someone like me outside of the Star Wars fandom.

    At least Rian Johnson attempted to bring something new to the franchise, even if TLJ had its issues. JJ Abrams is on the other hand, guilty of pandering in the worst ways possible. Whoever is responsible for this mess clearly hadn't had a story/destination in mind when they first started out. What a shame. 😢

    On a brighter note, at least the cast is pretty, so the film still has its merits. 😂

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    1. Yes, I'll still sit through this mess multiple times just for Oscar :)

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  6. I didn't love it, but didn't hate it. There were parts I enjoyed - Oscar, Babu Frik, but after thinking on it, the trilogy now feels disjointed... not a cohesive set of movies at all. It was like JJ started with TFA without any idea of where to take the story.

    Kylo Ren could have been a badass villain, but he spends 3 movies moping and trying to get Rey to join the dark side. mind you, I loved Adam Driver, but the character was just screaming REDEMPTION ARC! after he killed Han. And I will never understand the point of Palpatine. Why on earth would he tell Rey his evil plan and his desire for him to kill her when she hadn't crossed over to the dark side yet? Just let her kill you, dude! then you win! Fuck.

    Anyway... :D

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    1. Absolutely nothing about Palpatine makes sense in that damn movie. He was such a smart character in the prequels and now he returned just to act like a total moron

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  7. I keep thinking that I'll come back to this eventually and love it, if not, at least tolerate it...but then the list of mistakes just keeps growing. There's a few saving graces, namely some visuals and Adam like you said...but TLJ is the only one I'll go back to for this trilogy because at least I discover new things I hadn't seen before and the characters' arcs actually make sense. JJ only wanted to copy Lucas, and it's astonishing that he was so willing to throw Rian under the bus for having written him a blank slate that he sacrificed a 40 year legacy for fanservice and shade. JUST YIKES.

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    1. I literally cannot bring myself to rewatch that, even for Oscar scenes. This movie is just fucking exhausting and it's just such a waste of talent, time, money...everything, really.

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