Written by / 12/19/2019 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , ,

FINAL SKYWALKER SAGA 'STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER'

Retro artwork for Star Wars THE RISE OF SKYWALKER Year: 2019
There's a popular term in internet circles for THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, calling it "fan service" i.e. providing fans what they'd want or expect from a STAR WARS movie. Imagine if The World Series was lambasted for the players using wooden bats to hit a white ball around a grassy field...

So compared to Rian Johnson's understandably maligned THE LAST JEDI, director J.J. Abrams hits it out of his own safe ballpark in a hybrid/rehash of RETURN OF THE JEDI with similarities to another Lucasfilm classic, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: in particular, a Staff of Ra type device that, maneuvered strategically against an adjoined-perspective-backdrop, can pinpoint another, more important device (i.e. McGuffin) that will locate a lost Sith planet, where a resurrected Emperor Palpatine has poised more Star Destroyers than we've seen in all three trilogies combined...

Daisy Ridley as Rey with Luke's lightsaber in RISE
Surprisingly, with loads of gun fights, lightsaber duels and race-against-time corners to get out of, there's not very much tension or suspense in SKYWALKER, more about the fully-collected ragtag group planet-hopping in a basic, frolicking fashion like ROGUE ONE (or GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) instead of the awkward and disjointed LAST JEDI... which isn't entirely neglected...

A mentally-linked Rey and Kylo again keep winding up together despite being in different places, where the most important action/fight sequences occur. It's creative enough but can get confusing, turning an otherwise breezy and pulpy adventure into that Rian Johnson mindtrip kinda thing that simply doesn't flow.

Meanwhile, Oscar Isaac as the cocky hotshot pilot Poe Dameron, while no longer under the henpecking thumb of Laura Dern's interstellar Hillary Clinton, seems almost equally burdened, somehow. In fact, throughout the entire "new trilogy" he never really cuts loose like he seems created to do (intentionally mirroring the original endearing rascal, Han Solo, who makes a brief memory-cameo; Carrie Fisher is neatly patchworked through archive footage; and Luke's the inevitable advice-giving Force Ghost, later joined by other Jedi voices, seeming about to break into a rendition of "We Are The Whirls")...

Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley in Rise of Skywalker RATES: ***1/2
The faithful Finn is more of a tagalong with Chewbacca, the sidekick of a tagalong, plus a returning (finally accessible) C3PO and an underused Lando Calrissian, who could have easily been another newly-introduced good guy helping our heroes plunge from Point A to Point B...

Or rather, D to E or wherever they wind up in this scavenger hunt maze that, during a quick two-and-a-half hours, doesn't provide very much depth for the audience. But perhaps that's the point. Like Abram's THE FORCE AWAKENS, now confirmed as the best of Disney's STAR WARS Trilogy, THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is old school energetic escapism, and really doesn't try to be anything else. As for being the end of the nine film Skywalker Saga: it actually seems more like the beginning of The Adventures of Rey since the original heroes weren't used all that much, serving as her personal catapults throughout.
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