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‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ (review by Benn Robbins)

Produced by Kathleen Kennedy,
J.J Abrams, Michelle Rejwan


Screenplay by Chris Terrio & J.J. Abrams
Story by Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow
and J.J. Abrams & Chris Terrio
Based on characters created by George Lucas

Directed by J.J. Abrams

Starring Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill,
Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega,
Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie,
Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant,
Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell,
Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran,
with Ian McDiarmid and Billy Dee Williams

 

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Forty-two years ago a journey began that has culminated, at long last, to this, the final film in the Star Wars Saga.

At least for now.

The story of Skywalker is at once completed and begun anew.

Star Wars :The Rise of Skywalker is the epic climax to the galaxy-spanning, generational story of good versus evil. Right from the end of the opening text crawl the movie is a relentless action packed thrill ride that only slows down momentarily for you to get your bearings and then it is off like the wind. Everything finally culminates in a finale that should please fans and moviegoers alike.

After the divisive and exhaustively argued Episode XIII: The Last Jedi, The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams is back to finish off what he began and his writing team are playing it safe. What they have delivered is a story that ties up loose ends, builds on much of what Rian Johnson left behind and filled this last entry in the Skywalker saga with enough satisfying explanations, moments, and characters to possibly ease the rift created by the previous installment. Questions he asked in The Force Awakens are finally answered, new questions are posed, and at no point did it feel like any chances were taken with the direction the story wound up going in.

Writing this is very difficult without spoiling the film for anyone. Basically I want to spill it all out. I also want people to be able to experience the film fresh and unadulterated.

The basic story, for those of you who have already seen the trailers, is that possibly Emperor Palpatine has returned, The last remnants of the Resistance have gathered and must find a way to stop the First Order from achieving final victory and taking over the galaxy. With the help of the last Jedi Rey, Finn, Poe, and the rest of the Resistance must search the galaxy for allies willing to stand up against the First Order and wipe them out before this new, old phantom menace can gain enough power to win.

The film while wholly satisfying, was not mind blowing and at no point was I surprised by much of anything. There were a few moments of “oh cool”, however, at no point did I have a genuinely awe inspiring moment like when Holdo light speed jumped through Snoke’s command ship.

I am pretty sure that after the absolute bedlam the last film left on the internet and the insane vitriol it garnered there was no way the House of Mouse or the World that Lucas Built would allow for any of that ever again. Hence why J.J. Abrams was dragged back to end his trilogy. He is the guy you call when you want those delicious “member berries” that “South Park” so perfectly coined and this film has them in spades. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just what we get nowadays. It is what Hollywood wants us to have and as much as the original Star Wars was a reaction to the gritty realistic and depressing films that were coming out in the 70’s this series is a result of the unchecked amount of sequels and remakequels that are churning out of the Hollywood system these days.

Don’t get me wrong. I very much enjoyed this movie. I think that it is 100% serviceable and a thrilling fun ride of a film. It ties everything up nicely and there are some neat surprises. I just wasn’t blown away by it. It was too “by the numbers”. There was nothing really new about it and it really did feel like J.J. was trying to cram two films worth of story into a single 2 hour and 21 minute movie.

With the passing of Carrie Fisher we will never know what we were supposed to get in this final film. The film that was supposed to be “Leia’s film” became a film with Leia in it, sort of. The using of previously shot footage from The Force Awakens and digitally manipulating it to fit the scene they needed her in worked for the most part but felt like they were trying too hard to fit her into a story that should have been hers to begin with, if that makes any sense. Don’t get me wrong, I cried seeing her on screen one more time in the role that overtook her life and that she finally embraced. Carrie Fisher IS Leia and Leia IS Carrie Fisher. They could never recast her and thank god they didn’t digitally recreate her so she could have a larger role. I am appreciative of what we finally got of her in this film.

My final thoughts overall of this film and its trilogy is that as a Star Wars fan, I am very happy these films exist. Though they aren’t perfect they are well made and are a great finale to the Skywalker saga. Much like the Prequel Trilogy twenty years ago, I never thought we would ever have even gotten those, let alone this one.

I am having a hard time writing this last part as so many emotions are welling up as I type. Not just from this film but from the entire saga in general. We have come a very long way from the simple farm boy rushing to save a princess and winding up saving the galaxy. It is a lot. I don’t think I have come to terms with the idea that the Skywalker saga is over.

Sure, we will get more Star Wars films one day but it will never be the same.

Much like other fans out there, I saw Star Wars in the theater when I was four years old and it literally changed my life forever. Whomever I was supposed to be when I walked in the cinema was forever changed on a molecular level when I walked out of that theater. The Star Wars films have touched so many lives and not only changed people but changed the world around it.

I am excited that we have tickets for this Thursday and again on Christmas day so I can watch the film knowing what happens and I can absorb the film and not just react to it; then take a breather and watch it all over again with fresh eyes.

In the end, I not only enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker, but I look forward to reliving the experience of seeing it again and again.

 

 

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