Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) – Cinema Review

Y/N? No.

Director: J.J. Abrams

Stars: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Ian McDiarmid and Adam Driver

Review by Damien Nguyen

Bloated? Yes. Uninspired? Yes. Bloated? Probably. Disappointing? Yes.

No we’re not talking about the failure of your gastro medication, this is the finale of a Star Wars trilogy.

Where to start? There was a lot in this film that I had to unpack. Plenty to process.

Maybe we’ll do an ego trip and start with me.

I’ve been an off-and-on Star Wars fan since I started getting more and more invested in its rival, Star Trek. I love Trek. The philosophy. The science. The utopian ideals. Its all very heart-warming in a way that only science geeks can really appreciate.

At the heart of every scientist, is a science-fiction nerd, and they temper that nerdiness with a willingness to explore further, for the benefit of humanity. That’s what makes Trek special.

Which is why I prefer it to Star Wars. However, just because I love Trek, doesn’t mean I watch the new trash (ahem, Discovery) nor do I really dislike Star Wars. If I did, why would I spend over 1000 dollars on collecting every single LEGO starfighter from the Original Trilogy?

So it remains a friendly, touching nostalgic reminder of my childhood. I never saw Force Awakens in cinemas. Nor did I touch Last Jedi.

I didn’t even really want to see this. But a free movie ticket in a drought, is a free movie ticket and why I’ve grown away from Star Wars, (minus the Mandalorian), something compelled me to see this one.

And it broke all the damn rules.

It reminded me of the mess that was Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Lots of rules were broken in that one too.

J.J. also did a second film in a major franchise.

Only somehow, Rise of Skywalker is worse, because … the writing credit goes to Chris Terrio.

Why?

Why would you hire the guy who only recently wrote the messes known as Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice or The Justice League?

WHY.

Honestly, this review is more or less a rant, which will be captioned as full of spoilers below, and will be full of questions, in which I will try to keep my counter-arguments brief.

Try.

But if I have to critique it overall, it’s a very disjointed film. They go to, too many locations. A lot of jumping around, with crazed editing to hit you with something and then promptly forget about it a minute after.

There was so much to unpack, within the first half hour, my brain merely gave up and decided to join the ride, only it was entirely unimpressed with the ride the entire way and kept scoffing at every reference J.J. had to put in.

I’m a minority, in the sense that I hate being pandered to. I dislike nostalgia for nostalgia sake or for the indulgence of the director or studio mandate. References have to be naturally not forced in there to get a cheap emotional rise out of us.

I could go on and on, but in the interest of speed, here:

Cinematography: Lacking. There was simply nothing that really stood out. Everything happens so quickly, so rapidly, any impact an awesome shot might have, is instantly dulled.

Plot: Why so many MacGuffins? There was even a MacGuffin that lead to a MacGuffin. Lazy writing. Stupid short-sightness in the story and poor editing of said script.

Acting: Fine. If a bit under-par. I think these actors are done with this crap. They want out. They want real films. Can’t blame them. The only real actor was Adam Driver. But that guy brings his A-game in everything he does. He’s the linchpin of this entire fiasco.

Music: Nothing stood out. A Greatest Hits album is not good enough. Star Wars used to have the most epic scores, the most epic themes. I can name all 6 episodes iconic scores. Episode I (Duel of the Fates), Episode II (Across the Stars), Episode III (Battle of the Heroes), Episode IV (The Force Theme, although Cantina Band though), Episode V (Imperial March), and Episode VI (Into the Trap). In the past 3 films, I haven’t really heard anything as iconic or unique as those.

I don’t even really want to finish writing this review, because honestly, J.J and Disney doesn’t really deserve it. 

To close up …. just go watch Return of the Jedi … that’s where the franchise should have ended.

A scene to recall: The saber battle on the wreck of the Death Star. But that was so obscured by water, it was only half as good as it promised to be.

Does this look epic? Just wait until you watch the film and the image moves … get ready for disappointment.

HERE ARE ALL THE DAMN QUESTIONS I’VE GOT FOR THIS FILM (SPOILERS AHEAD!):

  1. If you can chain hyperspace jumps together …. why did all previous films establish the rule of charging the hyperdrive and how dangerous space travel actually is? Plus if you can hyperspace in a planetary atmosphere, wouldn’t that just mess up the planet?
  2. Why did we need a purple/gold space pirate lady for a character?
  3. Why were there so many side characters to being with?
  4. Why was Lando on that desert planet? How long was he there?
  5. Why Lando? He’s not even that special.
  6. Those speeder bikes …. aren’t speeder bikes? Why have wheels?! Its slower!
  7. Why the Emperor?
  8. HOW THE FUCK did he conjure up all those Star Destroyers? Why were they under the ground? Who is piloting them? Who made them? WHY DO THEY ALL HAVE DEATH STAR LASERS? THAT COMPLETELY NEGATES THE DEATH STAR.
  9. So the Emperor made clones of Snoke?
  10. How did the Emperor survive a gigantic explosion and a 1000m fall to his death?
  11. Why did they jump to so many planets in the first 15 minutes?
  12. Why make C-3PO go evil for? A trailer shot?
  13. Leia should have been made to die in the Last Jedi
  14. Luke can use the Force as a ghost?!?
  15. Why can Rey heal shit?
  16. What is this Life Force crap?
  17. Ben’s reversal is … underwhelming.
  18. Why is Exogol such a stupid planet.
  19. As if the Emperor created thousands of Star Destroyers that all relied on one communication array.
  20. Why didn’t the Star Destroyer just roll … to flip those Resistance fighters off?
  21. Who were all those people in that weird chamber?
  22. Why are there so many conveniences in this damn movie.
  23. A Captain’s coin? SERIOUSLY?
  24. Did no-one bother to check why a rust-bucket was going into a hangar?
  25. The last fight is so lame.
  26. Lighting can blow up ships now? How come the Emperor just disabled all the normal ones then? Plot Armour?
  27. Hux is a spy? REALLY?
  28. Rey as a Palpatine completely negates the unique story aspect of Last Jedi
  29. God so many cameos … none of them deserved or done well
  30. So many aliens look stupid. All the comedy flew past me, but the lame alien designs had me rolling in my chair
  31. Rey’s lightsaber is yellow. Big whoop.
  32. Rey Skywalker …. nah. No. Just nope.
  33. The Death Star throne room is still intact ….. HOW?
  34. Why did they have to crash the Falcon?
  35. The whole Chewbacca’s death clickbait was completely unnecessary
  36. The quicksand stuff was equally bullshit
  37. A dagger …. blends perfectly with the wreckage of the Death Star … yeah how about NO.
  38. First its too dangerous on a skiff …. but #yolo they do it anyway
  39. The sequences of “dream” between Rey and Kylo just …. plain breaks rules for some cinematic flair and I hated it
  40. Knights of Ren = Knights of Crap. Absolutely useless.
  41. How does Rey die at the end?
  42. If Palpatine can just knock out ships with Lightning …. why bother with a Death Star or ANYTHING.
  43. Leia shouldn’t be able to use the Force or be a “Jedi.”
  44. That Harrison Ford cameo … was only saved by Driver’s acting skills
  45. What exactly was the purpose of General Pryde?
  46. Where was Anakin in all of this stupid shit?
  47. Why the lesbian kiss?
  48. Why the shitty forest base?
  49. Rose was pointless wasn’t she …
  50. Why am I getting so angry over all of this.

I guess that pretty much sums it up. I’m exhausted, and thoroughly annoyed that a film got this hard under my skin.

Disney … please hand over the franchise to someone with real talent. And PLAN THE DAMN MOVIES IN ADVANCE NEXT TIME.

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