Saturday, 29 February 2020

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

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker
Cert: 12A / 142 mins / Dir. J.J. Abrams / Trailer

Previous reviews: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

First-in, last-out, that's how I like to play Star Wars. As well you know. And the weekend brought one more chance to slip over and enjoy that star-field and iconic golden logo on a huge screen for one last time (for the forseeable future, at any rate, because even subsequent films are unlikely to be in this Saga-format). And my track record is safe since I got well into double-figures for this one, at least.

So what has the last six weeks taught me? Well, that I love Star Wars, although I knew that anyway (as did you). It's no secret that Episode IX could have been Jar Jar Binks walking onto an empty soundstage and farting for two hours, and I'd have found something to enjoy in it. Each new movie bearing Lucasfilm's badge brings a mad rush of conflicting expectations*1, and the best way to resolve those is by looking for things you love rather than ones you don't. There probably hasn't been a Star Wars movie which ticked all the boxes since 1980, and even that didn't please everybody at the time.


And while I'm delighted with my Lego, soundtrack and Visual Dictionary, it's also true that the general merchandising has been all over the place for this last outing. Topps have got two trading-card collections on the shelves at the moment, but no sticker album. Similarly, my range of Top Trumps has yet to be completed with a Rise Of Skywalker edition. And don't even get me started on the absence of new Hasbro product. People who sneer that Star Wars is a ruse to sell toys clearly haven't tried to buy any recently*2.

And as much as I love The Rise Of Skywalker (and love moaning), this is arguably the weakest film of the whole Disney-run so far. But these years have at least been a sign to the new owners that the GFFA can't be handled in the same way as the MCU, and especially that Star Wars movies don't just write themselves...


But on a character-level, for the the ones who matter, the film not only works but is a fitting and coherent end-of-a-chapter. I urge anyone not yet on this bus to check out the recent Rebel Force Radio podcast where John Marcoux breaks down the mythical aspects of Rey's character and how the movie looks at her identity and destiny, there's more there than even I realised.

Time, hindsight and perspective will smooth out the turbulent Sequel Trilogy, an even I agree that a little more thoughtful direction would go a long way at Lucasfilm. In the meanwhile, I'm still chuffed with the movies we've got and I look forward to poring over the (usually sparse, to be fair) bonus features on the upcoming Blu-ray.

The Skywalker is dead.
Long live the Skywalker...

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?
That one's up for debate, but probably not.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
I'm envisioning that happening on at least one occasion.
You know who you are.
Start prepping your losing-argument now ;)

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not that I can tell.

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, it's no spoiler at this point to note that The Rise Of Skywalker features Mr Harrison Ford, who starred in Cowboys & Aliens alongside Clancy Brown, who provided voice-work for the 2011 Green Lantern movie that starred Taika Waititi, who voiced Korg in Thor: Ragnarok, a film which also featured Ray Stevenson who was in Big Game with Sam Jackson, who lent his vocals to 2009's Astro Boy, as did one Alan Tudyk, who starred in the 2013 baseball movie 42 alongside... Harrison Ford.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Personally, I'd expected Luke Skywalker to play a much larger role in his spiritual-form, and who among us didn't think that the Knights Of Ren would rock up wielding lightsabers, rather than just, y'know, outsize cutlery... [ BACK ]

*2 That said, my local branch of The Entertainer still has the discounted dregs of The Force Awakens merchandise on its shelves from four years ago as well as peg-warmers from every movie since. This is probably more down to Hasbro's case-packing order than the popularity of characters themselves. Although that has long since been the way... [ BACK ]

• ^^^ 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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