The Rise of Skywalker!
The countdown has ended and the final movie in the Skywalker saga has arrived. I sat on this post for a couple weeks for a few reasons (since I obviously saw it on opening night): 1) I wanted to avoid easy access to spoilers and 2) I wanted a chance to see it a second time to have more concrete thoughts.
All bets are off now, however, so here are my totally SPOILER-filled thoughts about The Rise of Skywalker. No images this time because they are not yet posted on www.starwarsscreencaps.com.
-I left the theater feeling a pretty high sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. The movie was fun and entertaining. Most of the people in the group I went with also had pretty positive reactions.
-C-3PO had a great role in this movie that made me laugh out loud several times. His humor was missed during the last two movies.
-There were a bunch of great characters with whom I really want to spend more time. Keri Russell's Zorii Bliss and Babu Frik being two big ones that come to mind right away. Plus, Keri Russell is just awesome in anything she does.
-Anyone who read my countdown series knows I love spaceships, and there were LOTS of spaceships. I need a visual guide to see all the different ships that showed up for the final battle at Exegol. Sad note on that battle: RIP Black Squadron pilot Snap Wexley, aka JJ Abrams' best friend Greg Grunberg.
-There were many emotional moments with Princess Leia and Kylo/Ben that had me in tears. When Leia dies to bring back Ben from the depths of Kylo, I had to hold in the sobs. Just ask my neighbor in the theater...
-The visuals at the end of the movie with the burial of the Skywalker lightsabers and the twin sunset on Tatooine were perfect.
-This movie had far too many plot devices and twists. There was a lot of exposition because the plot moved so frenetically. It was possible to follow it all, but I also immerse myself in a lot of the additional media that the average viewer probably does not.
-I visibly cringed at the moment of the Rey Palpatine reveal. Something about it did not feel earned, deserved, or even wanted. If it was supposed to be the big twist reveal that blows everyone's mind, it did not work positively for me. I may have been able to get more on board with the reveal if seeds had been planted earlier.
-The kiss between Ben and Rey at the end was not a great choice. On my first viewing I was actually repeating "don't do it" several times in the hopes that they were not going to kiss. I was hoping for a forehead touch at the most.
-Finn still did not have a lot to do other than play the sidekick. Out of all the new characters, he feels most deserving of his own spinoff movie.
-The biggest feeling of disappointment I had after thinking about this movie a while was the clear lack of vision for the sequel trilogy as a whole. Perhaps some of the plan was derailed by the untimely and unfortunate passing of Carrie Fisher, but the movies still feel a little patched together. The last movie brought in too many new plot points while attempting to wrap up a lot of previous plot points.
My hope for the future of Star Wars is that Lucasfilm will be willing to take risks and try new things as they attempt to define the essentials of Star Wars in new and interesting forms of media.
To finish off this countdown I will be compiling my definitive (for now) ranking of all the Star Wars movies. Check back soon!
Massive amounts of virtual ink have been spilled in thinkpieces about this movie. It's merits or lack of any merit have been debated ad nauseam two years and counting. You either love it or hate it with very little middle ground. What movie is up this week? The Last Jedi, of course!
A few thoughts:
-I land on the side of thoroughly enjoying this movie, although I do not believe it is perfect by any means.
-The story of Luke is an excellently posed study on religious deconstruction and reconstruction. Thanks to a combination of trauma, a lack of original understanding, and forces outside his control we meet Luke at the darkest point of his religious deconstruction. Everything about the Jedi seems trite and a joke. For anyone who has done any amount of religious deconstruction, Luke should be painfully familiar. Then, however, forces outside of his control and a challenging relationship set him on a journey to reconstruction with a new and better understanding of his religion. We need more stories like this in our modern mythology. People like to get stuck in deconstruction, but deconstruction becomes meaningless if it does not lead to a reconstruction. Luke was a compelling archetype of this journey.
-I am not a professional editor, but the movie felt just a smidge too long. I could not tell you where it needed some edits, but I just got the general feeling.
-Poe's storyline was a little grating to me on my first viewing, but I understood more of the nuance the next few viewings. He was easy to like in The Force Awakens, but he got precisely what he needed in The Last Jedi. His attitude toward his own abilities was definitely toxic, and he needed to fail and be left out to understand the greater cause to which he was dedicated. Outside of the Luke-Rey-Kylo dynamic, this movie was about Poe's journey.
-Finn felt like an afterthought for much of the movie, which is a bummer, because he was amazing in The Force Awakens. I actually thought he was going to ram the laser at the end, and I was both sad but also glad that he finally got to do something meaningful. Then, he didn't do it, so he lives on to hopefully be awesome in The Rise of Skywalker.
A few memories:
-It feels a little strange to talk about memories of a movie that only came out 2 years ago, but there are a few things I will forever associate with it.
-I remember live streaming the first trailer reveal from Star Wars Celebration while at the park with my kids. The line about the Jedi needing to end was shocking and cause for much speculation.
-Leaving the theater after this movie was the first time in a long time that our usual group felt kind of mixed. There was not the usual fist-bumping, high-fiving euphoria; rather, a few of us were pretty excited, and you could tell the others did not want to rain on the parade.
-I am still trying to figure out what makes people take such strong sides over this movie. I would love to do a data study on people's The Last Jedi opinions to see if there is common overlap in certain worldviews or cultural factors that match with opinions about the movie. You know, in all that free time...
It is difficult to talk about the legacy of a movie that is part of an unfinished story. Sometimes I wonder if this is how people felt in the years between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi since I was not privileged to be around then. In about four days, I can give you an answer, or at least the first answer that will continue to grow and evolve as I add the ninth and final Skywalker movie to my Star Wars story.
We have reached the first movie in the new era of Star Wars. The Force Awakens was a massive box office hit and climbed the charts with amazing speed. Everyone saw this movie and then saw it again. The hype was beyond anything I have witnessed, and for most people, it really lived up. I saw it in the theater about 4 times if that is any indication of how much I enjoyed it. Four years later, here are a few thoughts I want to share.
A few thoughts:
-I noticed for the first time while watching this movie that the beginning is very intentional to share familiar images that are slightly different, as a way to quickly introduce viewers to a new world. The first three shots are the point of a Star Destroyer with a slightly different nose, Stormtroopers with new armor design, and a droid that has a familiar head but very different body. All of these images are classic Star Wars and serve as a quick introduction to the new state of the universe.
-As I was searching for screencaps, I noticed how quickly everything moves compared to the original trilogy. I would have to scroll through multiple pages of screencaps to find a new scene, whereas with The Force Awakens I scrolled through 1-2 pages at the most. I think this is probably a symptom of the modern style of filmmaking.
-The new characters are the glue that makes this movie work. I know a lot of people complain about the lack of OT characters getting together, but I firmly believe these movies are about the new characters, while the classic characters play supporting roles. I am ok with that, because the chemistry between the characters is excellent.
-One of my favorite scenes in all of Star Wars is the X-Wings skimming across the water on Takodana. The visual combined with the music gives me chills every time.
A few memories:
-I remember when the initial teaser came out the day after Thanksgiving 2014. I got massive chills and then promptly got sick for the next two days. I'm not saying the trailer shut down my body, but I'm also not saying it did not....
-This movie came out when not all theaters were offering reserved seats, so we had to get in line several hours early for the midnight show. We had a great time waiting in line, and I would not take back that time in any way.
-The merchandise drop was another memorable part of the experience. I went to Target immediately after school and picked up Kylo Ren and Rey figures. I was also envious of everyone who got the remote BB-8. Never fear, I got one for Christmas a couple years later.
The Force Awakens was an international sensation, and I am glad I was alive to see it. The movie was only part of the massive hype surrounding the return of Star Wars to theaters, and everyone got caught up in it. Next, I look at the most divisive movie in Star Wars history. Just over a week away from The Rise of Skywalker!
I love my family and this is the place to find all of the adventures we experience.