Monday, 30 December 2019

Review: Star Wars - The Rise Of Skywalker (sixth-pass)

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (sixth-pass / 3D / SPOILERS)
Cert: 12A / 142 mins / Dir. J.J. Abrams / Trailer

Previous reviews: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Well, there we go. The last review of the year - indeed the decade - is for one of the things I've loved the most and one of the things I wouldn't have thought probable ten years ago.

Before we delve too deeply into the spoilers, I'll add here that I hopped over to nearby Reading to catch a 3D version of the film. My local 5-screen Cineworld is only showing it in two dimensions, and even Reading's 11-screen Vue with its ten screenings a day only has two using the glasses. To be honest, I just wanted to complete the set. I've no idea why the Real-D 3D conversion is being treated as an afterthought this time (although it's almost certainly a finance issue since the stereoscopic format is on its arse, generally). The extra dimension is a sound addition to The Rise Of Skywalker and doesn't darken things as much as I'd feared (I'm looking at you, Solo) even on murky Exegol. The 3D works best on close-up scenes and struggles the most when rendering objects in the far distance (case in point, watch the ghosting gradually appear then separate wildly on the Star Wars logo as it recedes against the starfield in the opening sequence). If you get the chance, I'd recommend it, anyhow.

In the meanwhile, this post will be a needlessly detailed dive into probably the most disturbing question asked by the entire Sequel Trilogy. Spoilers ahoy, not to mention some mortifying mental imagery. Read on at your peril...


So. Who's banging Palpatine after his face has melted?

Yeah, told you it was a disturbing one. Here's the thing: Kylo Ren informs Rey that she's Frank Palpatine's grand-daughter*1 by his un-named son. Er, let's call him Ian Palpatine. When we get the full (okay, full-er) flashback of that fateful day on Jakku, Ian is shown to be quite a young chap, which leads us to wonder whereabouts in the timeline he was born. Luckily, there are a few clues to point us in the right direction. Some assumptions follow, but go with it:

• Rey was 19 when we met her in The Force Awakens.

• Using the galactic standard of A New Hope being year 0, this means Rey was born 15 ABY (after the Battle Of Yavin).

• In The Force Awakens, young-flashback Rey is played by Cailey Fleming, who was born in 2007 so would have been around 7 when filming in 2014. And she looks around 7, so it's fairly safe to say Rey was left on Jakku around 22ABY, when she was 7. I'm glad that's settled.

• We now know that Rey's father - Palpatine's son - was killed shortly after this. Rey's father is played by Billy Howie, who was born in 1989, making him 30. He'll have been 29 at the time of filming, but for the sake of argument let's make Ian Palpatine 30 at the time of his death. Look, it's not going to be far off that. And if he's dying at 30 in 22ABY, that means he was born in (okay, around) 8BBY. About a year after the Solo movie takes place.

• But more importantly, if he was born in 8BBY, that means he was conceived some time in 9BBY.

• In 9BBY, Palpatine's had his full Sith-melty-face for a decade.

• So. Who's banging Palpatine after his face has melted?

It's okay I've made you a chart. Click for big.

Now I know what the rational part of your brain is scrambling to think. Other than 'OMG why are you making me picture this??'. You're figuring that his offspring is a clone or somesuch. After all, Dominic Monaghan's Beaumont character chirps up in The Rise Of Skywalker to talk about 'dark science' and cloning etc. But the brief glimpse we get of Ian Palpatine here looks nothing like a young Ian McDiarmid. Besides, if the Emperor could successfully clone himself, he'd just do that and then transfer his powers into the younger-self body. We've all read Dark Empire, mate. No, the only answer is that Frank Palpatine did it with a lady. Either that or he went the full Ozymandias and the Sith Wayfinder wasn't the only thing chilling in that storage room. Either will put you off your cheese sauce.

I mean, if Ian Palpatine had been older, had been conceived earlier in the timeline, when Frank might have had a wife on Coruscant if only as some sort of "I'm normal, me" cover when he was a career-politician, that could have worked? But anything after Order 66 doesn't bear thinking about. Looks aren't everything, but it's not like Frank's got the personality to make up for it, now is it? And I know some people find power a greater aphrodisiac than physical attractiveness but really mate. You just know he's that melty all over. It'd be like fighting off a deflated punch-bag.

Anyway, this has been in my head all day and now it's in yours! And yes, this really is the review with which I bow out of the 2010s. You're very welcome.

Now go and watch The Rise Of Skywalker again :D

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
The Star Wars.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
This is a matter of some debate.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
That's possible.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
I'm not hearing one.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 0: It is Star Wars.

...but if you wanted to go around the houses with it, The Rise Of Skywalker stars one Oscar Isaac, who also cropped up in 2014's A Most Violent Year alongside David Oyelowo, the actor who was in The Cloverfield Paradox with the voice of Gren Grunberg, who was in 2016's Star Trek Beyond, which of course featured Simon Pegg from Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Hermione Corfield, who was in xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage with Samuel L. Jackson, who rocked up in 2018's Life Itself with... Oscar Isaac.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 And don't be giving me this business about 'Sheev' Palpatine. He told us his name was Frank years ago. That's canon.
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• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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