Book Review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

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Title: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Tagline: Every generation has a legend

Genre: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction

Director: J.J. Abrams

Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Mark Hamill, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Greg Grunberg, Shirley Henderson, Billie Lourd, Dominic Monaghan, Hassan Taj, Lee Towersey, Brian Herring, Dave Chapman, Richard Guiver, Lynn Robertson Bruce, J.J. Abrams, Claire Roi Harvey, Richard Coombs, Matt Denton, Nick Kellington, Mandeep Dhillon, Alison Rose, Amanda Lawrence, Tanya Moodie, Simon Paisley Day, Geff Francis, Amanda Hale, Amir El-Masry, Aidan Cook, Patrick Williams, Martin Wilde, Anton Simpson-Tidy, Lukaz Leong, Tom Rodgers, Joe Kennard, Ashley Beck, Bryony Miller, Cyril Nri, Angela Christian, Indra Ové, Richard Bremmer, Mark Richard Durden Smith, Andrew Havill, Nasser Memarzia, Patrick Kennedy, Aaron Neil, Joe Hewetson, Raghad Chaar, Mimi Ndiweni, Tom Wilton, Chris Terrio, Kiran Shah, Debra Wilson, Josef Altin, Vinette Robinson, Mike Quinn, Bill Kipsang Rotich, Ann Firbank, Diana Kent, Warwick Davis, Harrison Davis, Elliot Hawkes, Philicia Saunders, John Williams, Nigel Godrich, Dhani Harrison, J.D. Dillard, Dave Hearn, Rochenda Sandall, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Andreea Diac, Liam Cook, Denis Lawson, Carolyn Hennesy, Paul Kasey, Matthew Wood, James Earl Jones, Andy Serkis, Josefine Irrera Jackson, Cailey Fleming, Jodie Comer, Billy Howle, Hayden Christensen, Olivia d'Abo, Ashley Eckstein, Jennifer Hale, Samuel L. Jackson, Ewan McGregor, Alec Guinness, Frank Oz, Angelique Perrin, Freddie Prinze Jr., Liam Neeson, Harrison Ford, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Acord, Dan Adler, Dee Bradley Baker, Verona Blue, Steve Blum, David Boat, David W. Collins, Jonathan Dixon, Terri Douglas, Robin Atkin Downes, Amanda Foreman, Janina Gavankar, Grey DeLisle, Stefan Grube, Mike Holland, Karen Huie, Tom Kane, Lex Lang, Vanessa Lengies, Logic, Yuri Lowenthal, Vanessa Marshall, Donald Mustard, Nicole Nasca Supercinski, Michelle Rejwan, Julian Stone, Tara Strong, Fred Tatasciore, James Arnold Taylor, Jessica Tuck, Karl Urban, Reggie Watts, Samuel Witwer

Release: 2019-12-18

Runtime: 142

Plot: The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once again as the journey of Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron continues. With the power and knowledge of generations behind them, the final battle begins.

I was definitely underwhelmed, but I’ve come to realise that, seeing as I was five when the first one came out, I’m just typical of the ‘original Star Wars’ generation. It was EVERYTHING to me and my friends growing up, all our games, daydreams etc. Everything since has just felt like a cash-in, though often spectacular. So at best I get a wash of nostalgia, at worst I’m kinda bored to be honest...
Everyone has an opinion on this, right? I'm certainly no different ["Don't f*@k with my childhood you Disney b'stards!], but seriously, the sequel trilogy, while it had moments of greatness, it seemed to suffer from a terrible lack of creative vision. It was in desperate need of a single showrunner who knew how all this was going to tie together. The first six films were about bringing balance to the Force. Where was that vision in the latest three? Where was the mythic? Where was the fairy tale!

Echoing what's been said above, I really think Disney needs to stop trying to please the old fans like me, and take this franchise somewhere new. If they can manage that, if they can capture the young'uns like Lucas captured us, we purists will stop whinging and come along for the ride.
ADDENDUM (while I'm ranting): I had the feeling that Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi was heading somewhere new, but someone got cold feet when it came to The Rise of Skywalker and went a little retcon crazy.
Well, I agree with all the 'meh' reviews above, and with the horrible reviews some of my friends have given the movie, but I went in with that knowledge, and simply accepted it for what it was. I quite enjoyed it--there were light sabre fights, explosions in space, crashing star destroyers, weird-looking aliens, and a few good one-liners. Honestly, has Star Wars ever delivered any more than this? It's always been stupid, nonsensical, and internally inconsistent. I believe you can over-think Star Wars. Go into each new film with the wide-eyed wonder of a 10 year old, and you'll be good. :)
As much as I love Stars Wars, this time it lacked and it was just missing that little something.
And, please tell me I wasn't the only one, who felt they pulled that whole 'Rey is a Palpatine' out of thin air, well in this case from a galaxy far far away.
I'm coming very late to the party, but I just finished watching it for the first time. Me, a Star Wars fan. I started watching the film a month ago and had to interrupt my viewing for life reasons and just never felt compelled to go back to see the ending. That's how bad it is.

As a writer, it's far more effective as a collection of examples of what not to do in fiction. Let's leave aside the plot holes. The illogical jumps of intent and action, or the times when characters magically know things they have no way to know. The myriad of utterly impossible coincidences and plot contrivances without which the film would have ground to a halt. The thematic insistence that the only powerful people are chosen ones from the powerful dynasties, or that normal people with good intent will always fall to the forces of evil. Or the hand-wavy treatment of the Force that directly contravenes Sanderson's Second Law.

No, for my lights the worst sin of Rise is that it's simply boring.

You need look no further than that no character grows or changes during the film. There's no inner conflict for any of them. Instead of holding a personal desire and fighting to overcome the obstacles, the group goes from one MacGuffin chase to another. Characters die - but then are resurrected. Beloved characters make significant sacrifices for the cause of victory, right down to heartfelt speeches - but before too long they're safe again, or healed, or alive, which just makes the whole thing seem cheap. Even characters who died in previous movies aren't safe from being summarily returned to the story, as if to reassure us that nobody's really gone. By the time two impossibly enormous space fleets magicked up out of thin air are fighting each other, there's no stakes, nothing to make us care.

At least the prequel trilogy lived by its own rules and took its characters on journeys where they developed and changed. The Rise of Skywalker made me nostalgic for The Phantom Menace. I didn't think that was possible.
(Also joining the party late)

I loved the first three films, although I was older when I first saw them, so can't just put it down to 10 year-old wonder.

First time I watched the prequel trilogy I was disappointed, and having experienced it since (my own kids getting into it) have formed quite a strong dislike for the mostly bad dialogue, clunky acting (including from some otherwise excellent actors) and over-complicated plotting.

I'm finding the prequel trilogy easier to sit through, the standard of acting generally better and the dialogue improved. But IMO, they're still hampered by over-long, over-complicated and over-pompous plots.

That said, my kids uncritically enjoy all three trilogies, so Robinne has a point about that.

If Disney want to do more with the franchise, I recommend they get their Pixar friends onto the storytelling.
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Book Review: Queen of Katwe (2016)

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