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Peter T Chattaway

Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

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Starting at the 18:25 mark, one of the Red Letter Media guys gets into all the reasons why he thinks The Rise of Skywalker will go the way of Avengers: Endgame and bring on the time travel. (Warning: f-bombs etc.) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzeOrA2in1c

One thing that *doesn't* come up in this video is that time travel is already "canon" in the Star Wars universe thanks to a February 2018 episode of Rebels.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Just seeing these last few posts, and just... no. I don't care about Rebels, and I don't consider this trilogy "canon," but still, that would be the cheapest storytelling cop-out in any of the films so far. 


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

 

"Forget it, Jake. It's Funkytown."    

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I haven't actually *read* any reviews yet, because I want to experience the story "fresh" (even when individual critics are careful to reveal only a *few* things, they sometimes reveal *different* things, and if you read enough of the reviews you get a fairly good composite image of the film in your head), but for what it's worth: This film's Rotten Tomatoes score has been hovering around 58% all day (there were 88 reviews when I first checked this morning, and there are over 160 reviews now). If this keeps up it will be only the second live-action film in the franchise to get a "rotten" score. (But as long as it stays above 53% it'll be doing better than The Phantom Menace, at least.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Still at 58% at Rotten Tomatoes, now based on 254 reviews.

Meanwhile, apparently the film has a "much touted same-sex kiss" -- this was the first I'd ever heard of it -- and China is letting it go uncensored.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Kind of funny that Abrams has revived two SF franchises now and in both cases the end result was that the best installments were directed by someone else. 
 

This movie is terrible. What a sorry “end” to the Saga. (It’s not the end. Nothing ever ends, to quote another property that got a much better sequel this year. They’ll be back to the well within a decade, is my guess). 

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NBooth wrote:
Kind of funny that Abrams has revived two SF franchises now and in both cases the end result was that the best installments were directed by someone else. 

I honestly don't know if I'd lean *that* pro-Johnson at this point. I sometimes wonder if The Last Jedi was a good film but a lousy sequel (and it was *supposed* to be the middle chapter of a three-act trilogy, after all; the Red Letter Media guys aren't wrong when they say in their Rise of Skywalker "predictions" video that The Last Jedi was something of a "dead end" that didn't really give the third movie anything to hook into). But I *will* say that Abrams is developing something of a knack for being the guy that the studios bring in to make us forget the previous movie(s) -- the prequel trilogy, The Last Jedi -- only to make a movie that is so empty and soulless that it makes some of us re-evaluate the previous movie(s) because at least the previous movie(s) had some sort of *vision*... (Granted, I don't think I've seen any positive reappraisals of Star Trek: Nemesis since the Star Trek reboot came along... but I do see people look back wistfully at Star Trek: The Motion Picture for its *lack* of action scenes more than I used to...)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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7 hours ago, NBooth said:

This movie is terrible. What a sorry “end” to the Saga. 

I wouldn't say terrible, but well below average, to be sure (like Joel, I gave it 2 stars).  But yeah, it is a depressing end to a saga that was my gateway drug to cinephilia.  Even at a 1000 words, my review couldn't capture all of the ways in which The Rise of Skywalker was disappointing.


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

http://secularcinephile.blogspot.com

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Things I am still pondering about The Rise of Skywalker (spoilers):

–This film raises far too many uncomfortable questions about the sex life of Emperor Palpatine. Do I really need to wonder when and how that guy was impregnating someone, probably somewhere between Episodes II and III? It's also still very unclear to me as to which of Rey's parents is Palpatine's offspring—does this film every clarify this? Some reviews I've read assume it's Rey's father, but I don't recall that ever being spelled out. It was great to briefly see Killing Eve's Jodie Comer as Rey's mother; I wish she had been given more to do, as Comer is remarkable as Villanelle.

–The Abrams films began exploring the lives and origins of Stormtroopers in more detail, depicting them not as clones (like in the prequels) or as faceless evil soldiers (OT), but as brainwashed slaves, child soldiers who are raised to fight for the First Order but may still retain a conscience and certainly have a family somewhere. This human trafficking element is decidedly dark and complex, but it also makes every battle all the more tragic—every time a Star Destroyer is blown up and we see Poe Dameron cheering, that's thousands of kidnapped trafficking victims who have died. There's no effort to save them from their slavery, even by those who know the stakes (Finn in particular). It could have been a powerful moment in the film if there was just a recognition of this dilemma; even more powerful would have been an effort on the Resistance to redeem the Stormtroopers. Like, what if Rey via the Force prompted the Stormtroopers to drop their guns, to turn on Palpatine and the Generals?

–There is also an introduction of female Stormtroopers, first with Captain Phasma in Force Awakens and Last Jedi, but in Rise of Skywalker we hear female voices barking orders as well as crying out when shot by Poe and Finn when they go to save Chewbacca, and the character of Jannah indicates that perhaps many Stormtroopers are women/female. I'm not sure what to make of this new dynamic with the Abrams films.

–As much as I like Oscar Isaac, the character of Poe Dameron feels shallow and incomplete. If I had to ask you to describe Han Solo—his motives, his values, his relationships—after just Star Wars (even just after the Mos Eisley scenes and escape) you could do this quite easily. But now after three films, who is Poe, really? What are his values? His friendships or enemies? Who matters to him? There's an attempt to give him a backstory and a love interest of sorts here, but those feel heavily borrowed from Han Solo. Poe's primary character qualities appears to be snark and brashness and going "woohoo!" when blowing stuff up. And I suppose he loves BB-8.

–The final shot of Rey on Tatooine is so thematically muddled as to be a complete misfire, in my opinion. The last time we see Rey, she is totally alone (besides BB-8) and staring off into the Tatooine sunset. I know this is Abrams alluding to Luke's sunset hero shot in Star Wars, but that moment is supposed to depict Luke's loneliness, his hopes and dreams not being able to make it past the horizon of this desert farm life—it's a sunset, not a sunrise! And when Rey is asked about her last name and she replies "Skywalker," it makes little sense in light of all that had come before. Abrams goes to great lengths to placate Star Wars' fans' expectations that Rey is Force sensitive (and thus important) because of her bloodline. She is a Palpatine, and that's what makes her vital to the saga. But this "choose your own last name" moment reverses that premise. She's not a Skywalker; she's a Palpatine. But now she can be a Skywalker because...she just says she is? And that final shot is so lonely and sad. Where every film in the OT ended on a group shot of the small community—even the tragic Empire Strikes Back—this is Rey back to where she began: alone and isolated in a desert, having to make up her own story and meaning.

–One very brief and "blink or you'll miss it" moments is the return of Denis Lawson as Rebel pilot Wedge Antilles. Wedge is one of the only Rebel pilots who survives that first run on the Death Star, and he appears in every one of the OT films. So it was a nice nod to have him back in the final frenetic Endgame battle.

–What did Finn really want to tell Rey? Was this ever answered? Does it even matter?

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Interesting stuff, Joel.  The only thing I'd quibble with is the final scene.  It is a muddle to be sure, but it does tilt towards one notion pushed in the film (you get to choose your virtue or vice, and she identifies with the good done by Luke, not Palpatine's evil), while tilting away from another (who you are is more important than your bloodline).  And I can empathize with her decision; if my last name were Hitler, I probably would've changed it.

I actually found the full circle aspect of the close to be touching.  It didn't strike me as lonely, following so fast on the heels of her group hug with Finn and Poe.  It leaves the impression that she'll be back with them soon enough.

And that's as close as I'll come to defending this film....


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

http://secularcinephile.blogspot.com

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5 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

 

–What did Finn really want to tell Rey? Was this ever answered? Does it even matter?

Apparently, Abrams is saying that Finn wanted to tell Rey that he was Force-sensitive. You can kinda see that, if you go into the movie knowing it, but it doesn't really have a payoff. 

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I am in this weird place of not particularly defending this film -- I tapped out on Star Wars around Attack of the Clones -- but in being marginally surprised that I did not fine it as irritating as some of my peers. 

Here's my question -- and I mean it as a sincere question and not a dig. Would someone who didn't like this film (i.e. rated it "Rotten" on RT or would have done so had he/she been able to do so) but did did like one or more of the last six films in the franchise articulate to me one or two specific differences in quality, approach, direction, storytelling, whatever, that matter to you? 

I am tempted to make my take echo my eye-rolling responses to critics who liked Avengers but trashed Justice League or who liked Wonder Woman but dismissed Captain Marvel. But maybe that's too lazy on my part. I just don't see much to choose from between these movies, so I get the people who enjoy them and I get the people who don't, but I am not sure I yet understand those who like some of them but not others. 

For the record my own diminishing returns on Star Wars have, I suspect, have mostly been rooted in a cavalier disregard for coherence and continuity that rob the storytelling of any weight or stakes. (If characters and rules can fundamentally change between movies, what's the point of any of it?) It's a living energy field--no it's midi-chlorians--no it's a life force; light sabers vaporize people, no the cut off arms, no they leave a (n oddly changing) flesh wound. Luke rejecting the Jedi way than admitting he was wrong and it was all fear just seems layers of retconning upon retconning to the point where there are just pieces and not any body of core ideas/truth/story to carry it forward from one movie to the next. 

Heck, that may not be a bad thing for some (including Disney), since continuity, coherence, and development are hard while spectacle is easier. It's all just Mission:Impossible 2 -- let's develop some action set pieces and then slap a story around it because nobody really cares. 

Was it Darren that liked to quote the line from "Thank You for Smoking"? -- It's an easy fix, just drop in a line saying, "Good thing we invented the 'whatever' device..." Perhaps my deepest disregard for SW at this point is that there are fans or proponents of it who think the film doesn't need the Whatever Device because they think it is all coherent and consistent and tight. When the 7th movie was only one step removed from Gus Van Sant's Psycho project, I lost any hope that the movies would be new stories, new chapters, development. There were one or two moments during this film where I daydreamed for a Chris Nolan Inception/Prestige like ending where the bits and pieces of sameness were explained as us somehow being trapped in someone's head. (I guess that's what the franchise could have been had Lucas preferred Jung to Joseph Campbell.)

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Incidentally, it's occurred to me that--if Star Trek 09 can be thought of as Abrams' audition for Star Wars, then this movie is arguably an audition for Indiana Jones. It steals a whole plot-hole, more or less, from Raiders and it borrows a notably iconic bit from Last Crusade. And Poe has a particularly Indiana Jones-ish look to him.

EDIT: Ken, you posted just when I did, so I didn't see your inquiry. I'll try to develop some thoughts, but for now my take is that I-VI represent the idiosyncratic vision of a single man with a number of identifiable obsessions (Campbell, yes, but also Freud--the whole Prequel Trilogy is steeped in pop-Freudianism), while the Disney movies aren't. Of the Disney movies, one is the work of a filmmaker who knows how to create interesting visuals and push characters in unexpected directions, while the other two are directed by a man who relentlessly shoots even the biggest vistas like they're small rooms. 

But, like, I'm at the point where I consider the Lucas Star Wars to be one thing and the Disney Star Wars to be another, separate, wholly ignorable thing. I'm glad The Last Jedi exists, but I don't care about anything else Disney does with the property for the foreseeable future (though I might check out the Obi-Wan miniseries).

Edited by NBooth

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3 minutes ago, kenmorefield said:

Would someone who didn't like this film (i.e. rated it "Rotten" on RT or would have done so had he/she been able to do so) but did did like one or more of the last six films in the franchise articulate to me one or two specific differences in quality, approach, direction, storytelling, whatever, that matter to you? 

I revisited the Star Wars films in Machete Order prior to watching Rise of Skywalker in order to have fresh eyes, and I ended up really appreciating Revenge of the Sith and Last Jedi a great deal more than I initially did, especially when viewed in this order. I think the former is remarkable for its profound tragedy and its stellar Williams score, as well as a few fascinating visual moments. Revenge is downright horrifying in many ways, which is unique for the Star Wars films, and it really demonstrates how Anakin could turn to the Dark Side for seemingly good reasons (i.e. he wants Padme to live, and believes eternal life can be found in the Dark Side's powers). It goes places even Empire doesn't in terms of real pathos and moral atrocities—I mean, Anakin kills a bunch of children in what is ostensibly a kid-friendly franchise. And on Letterboxd, I wrote that Last Jedi is "the most visually interesting, the best acted, the funniest, and possibly even the most emotionally affecting of the entire Star Wars saga." There are profound images which have stuck in my memory: the Holdo maneuver, the speeders on the red-and-white salt planet, the Wings tracking shot on Canto, the death of Rose's sister in the opening bombing run, Leia's "space walk" and that shot of her in a cape on the salt planet, the reunion scene of Luke and Leia, the fight in Snoke's throne room, the "Forcetime" chats between Rey and Kylo, Luke and Yoda sitting in front of the burning tree, and...I could go on. Driver and Ridley's performances in Last Jedi are arguably the strongest in the entire saga, and feel less stage-y or wooden, more emotive and sincere. And the humor works for me in Last Jedi in ways that just didn't in Abrams' films, perhaps due to script, but also due to the timing. I just laughed more, and teared up more. And in terms of ideas, the notion of "let the past die; kill it if you have to" is one worth wrestling with—what does it mean to honor traditions while moving forward into new futures, remembering the past while expanding our horizons? For the first time, I noticed that in final shot of Last Jedi, the anonymous "broom boy" uses the Force to bring his broom to him, a tiny moment which I totally missed the first two times. Just this shot alone opens up so many possibilities of where the saga could have gone, as it suggests that the Force has truly awakened and is moving in this universe in new and profound ways. And when it comes to critiques of coherence and continuity—i.e. they changed the "rules" of this story—I simply turn to the Bible, a book which is profoundly incoherent and inconsistent in many ways, yet nevertheless seems to communicate beauty and truth in meaningful and transcendent ways. Now, Star Wars isn't scripture, but I hope you know what I'm getting at here: it's possible to build upon and expand a story while holding true to a tradition without necessarily negating it.

In Machete Order, I simply ignored Episode I, midichlorians and all (I didn't revisit Rogue One or Solo either). I may do the same for Rise of Skywalker and simply let the saga end in my mind with The Last Jedi. Less Palpatine sex.

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On 12/23/2019 at 10:53 AM, Joel Mayward said:

I simply turn to the Bible, a book which is profoundly incoherent and inconsistent in many ways, yet nevertheless seems to communicate beauty and truth in meaningful and transcendent ways. Now, Star Wars isn't scripture, but I hope you know what I'm getting at here: it's possible to build upon and expand a story while holding true to a tradition without necessarily negating it.

 

Well...that's a whole other thread. I disagree slightly that the Bible is "profoundly incoherent and inconsistent" but I think I understand where you are coming from. That said, and I've actually thought about this very, very briefly during TROS, I'd be more tolerant of that explanation by way of analogy if there was a greater sense that it stemmed from ancient history, things they have misinterpreted that have become canonical, etc. I actually think that's a little of what is hinted at with TLJ and Luke questioning whether the Jedi really understand the force...questioning everything he has been taught. But then this one just has him retcon that and say, "Yeah, I was wrong/scared." And the fact that we have these sweeping changes within one generation (Empire, Rebels Win, First Order, Second Order, whatever) runs counter to the idea for me of knowledge being lost or corrupted over time. I guess one might claim that the Emperor's reveal that the Dark Side bring you back from the dead* might hint at depths of knowledge of which they are just scratching the surface, but the idea that the incoherence and inconsistency is thematically purposeful in the series, that it means anything, is one that I don't really buy. 

*I guess we are passed the stage of the Internet's shelf-life that I can be reasonably waiting for another Chattaway-Godawa master class about what is and isn't Gnosticism?

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55 minutes ago, kenmorefield said:

I disagree slightly that the Bible is "profoundly incoherent and inconsistent" but I think I understand where you are coming from.

Yeah, I'm being a bit hyperbolic here to make a point. :)  I'm simply suggesting that stories and myths can grow and change, even going seemingly opposite directions from the known trajectory, and that this new trilogy had the potential to do this had it followed what Johnson was doing and not Abrams.

56 minutes ago, kenmorefield said:

I actually think that's a little of what is hinted at with TLJ and Luke questioning whether the Jedi really understand the force...questioning everything he has been taught. But then this one just has him retcon that and say, "Yeah, I was wrong/scared." And the fact that we have these sweeping changes within one generation (Empire, Rebels Win, First Order, Second Order, whatever) runs counter to the idea for me of knowledge being lost or corrupted over time.

Yes, this. Johnson's approach seems to be questioning possible misinterpretations of the past or a willingness to be wrong (the emphasis on failure, on "kill the past" etc.). this opening for the possibility of expansion. This is a very different from Abrams' nostalgia-fest and retcon approach, which makes Last Jedi feel quite odd sandwiched between the two Abrams films, a sort of tonal whiplash. Rewatching Force Awakens immediately following Return of the Jedi really makes Abrams' fan-placating vibe stand out—he truly re-made A New Hope beat for beat. I still think it would have been much more interesting to have the Republic be in power and Kylo Ren and the First Order as a story of underground terrorist group, the "rebels" of this new post-Empire world. It could have had such political complexity, to have the Republic wrestle with how to *not* become another Empire, to learn from the Jedi's mistakes from the prequels, etc.

Anyway, that's partially why I still think The Last Jedi has merit, and is more visually and narratively interesting than Rise of Skywalker.

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On 12/23/2019 at 10:25 AM, kenmorefield said:

Here's my question -- and I mean it as a sincere question and not a dig. Would someone who didn't like this film (i.e. rated it "Rotten" on RT or would have done so had he/she been able to do so) but did did like one or more of the last six films in the franchise articulate to me one or two specific differences in quality, approach, direction, storytelling, whatever, that matter to you? 

Here are a few:

- Both Episode IV and Episode IX employ a deus ex machina, but the earlier one involved Han and Chewie plausibly coming to Luke's rescue, while Episode IX involved Lando pulling an entire armada out of his ass.

- Padme's "this is how democracy dies, with thunderous applause" and Episode I-III Palpatine's Putin-esque string-pulling behind the scenes seem downright prescient, while Episode IX Palpatine's hidden star destroyer fleet and arena of hooded admirers seem ludicrous and implausible, respectively.

- Episode IX's visuals were utterly uninspiring.  Even Episodes I-III, for all their multifarious failings, could be counted on to have cool imagery around nearly every corner.  Details mattered:  the funky opera as Palpatine publicly seduces Anakin in Ep III, then the Sith mural behind him as they went to his private chambers.

- I can't recall a memorable new melody in John Williams' Ep IX score; not the case for Episodes I-VI.


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

http://secularcinephile.blogspot.com

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Joel Mayward wrote:
–As much as I like Oscar Isaac, the character of Poe Dameron feels shallow and incomplete. If I had to ask you to describe Han Solo—his motives, his values, his relationships—after just Star Wars (even just after the Mos Eisley scenes and escape) you could do this quite easily. But now after three films, who is Poe, really? What are his values? His friendships or enemies? Who matters to him? 

I was thinking the other day that one *huge* difference between Poe and Han is that Han was introduced as a *contrast* to the earnestness of Luke, the wisdom of Obi-Wan and the principled-ness of Leia, whereas Poe is basically just another cog-in-the-wheel action figure like Finn (but without even Finn's side-switching back-story). Poe and Finn are buddies -- they have no conflict, they never get on each other's nerves, they never have arguments -- and Rey and Finn are buddies, and now all three of them are buddies, and... boring.

And that final shot is so lonely and sad. Where every film in the OT ended on a group shot of the small community—even the tragic Empire Strikes Back—this is Rey back to where she began: alone and isolated in a desert, having to make up her own story and meaning.

Brilliant.

Revenge is downright horrifying in many ways, which is unique for the Star Wars films, and it really demonstrates how Anakin could turn to the Dark Side for seemingly good reasons (i.e. he wants Padme to live, and believes eternal life can be found in the Dark Side's powers). 

The tragedy of that film was that Palpatine and Anakin were both permanently scarred, damaged, physically disfigured as a result of their futile quest for immortality -- but now The Rise of Skywalker reveals that Palpatine *did* find the secret to immortality!

And the humor works for me in Last Jedi in ways that just didn't in Abrams' films, perhaps due to script, but also due to the timing.

Wow. The humour put me off from the opening scene, which was too similar to the opening scene in the then-new Thor: RagnarokThe Last Jedi is the only Star Wars film that felt like a Marvel movie -- and I don't mean that in a good way.

: For the first time, I noticed that in final shot of Last Jedi, the anonymous "broom boy" uses the Force to bring his broom to him, a tiny moment which I totally missed the first two times. Just this shot alone opens up so many possibilities of where the saga could have gone, as it suggests that the Force has truly awakened and is moving in this universe in new and profound ways. 

FWIW, I missed this shot the one time I saw the film too.

But I would dispute the idea that the Force is doing anything "new" here. It is established in the prequel trilogy that the Jedi cannot have families or any other kind of "attachments", and that Force-sensitive children are "identified" rather than bred by the Jedi -- kind of like how Hogwarts invites magical children, even those like Hermione who have non-magical parents. So the idea that the Force can appear anywhere, and not just in super-powerful bloodlines, has always been there. (The Force *can* be transmitted genetically too, of course -- that idea was introduced/established in Return of the Jedi, when Obi-Wan says the Emperor knew Darth Vader's offspring would be Force-strong too. In fact, I am tempted to speculate that the *reason* the Jedi do not allow "attachments" is because they do not want to create or perpetuate any Force-strong bloodlines.)

Johnson's approach seems to be questioning possible misinterpretations of the past or a willingness to be wrong (the emphasis on failure, on "kill the past" etc.).

The problem *there* is that the prequels already made it pretty clear that the Jedi were wrong about a lot of stuff, and that some of the positions taken by Yoda and Obi-Wan in the original trilogy -- which once seemed like cautious wisdom -- now come across like the perpetuation of old mistakes. To put it simply: Yoda and Obi-Wan never learned from their failure. They kept insisting that attachments were bad and that Luke had to abandon his friends and kill his father, right up to their dying breaths (and beyond!). But Luke proved that his way was better than theirs when he accepted and embraced his attachments, saving his friends and redeeming his father. So to see Yoda dare to lecture Luke on learning from failure in The Last Jedi was very, very disappointing. We have never seen any evidence that Yoda *himself* has learned from failure, so who is *he* to talk? (Seriously, whenever people praise The Last Jedi for *not* engaging in fan service the way the JJ Abrams films do, I point to the Yoda scene, which is basically a rehash of the Yoda-Luke relationship from The Empire Strikes Back without any of the character growth that has taken place -- or *should* have taken place -- *since* then.)

Andrew wrote:
- Both Episode IV and Episode IX employ a deus ex machina, but the earlier one involved Han and Chewie plausibly coming to Luke's rescue

Weeeeeell, I have wondered sometimes why no one on the Death Star seemed to notice the Falcon flying towards them. They were busy analyzing attack runs and noticing that those attack runs posed a danger, but they didn't have time to scan for any *other* ships that might be approaching them from Yavin's moons?

: . . . while Episode IX involved Lando pulling an entire armada out of his ass.

Unbelievable, isn't it.

: . . . Episode IX Palpatine's hidden star destroyer fleet and arena of hooded admirers seem ludicrous and implausible, respectively.

Who *were* those hooded admirers, anyway? I couldn't tell if they were supposed to be actual people, the ghosts of the Sith (can you imagine living as a no-more-than-two-at-a-time Sith lord and suddenly hanging out with *thousands* of your predecessors, many of whom presumably killed their own masters and/or apprentices?), an illusory projection, or what.

: - I can't recall a memorable new melody in John Williams' Ep IX score; not the case for Episodes I-VI.

Same here.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I very much liked it, but I'm a big Star Wars fan, so that's not all that surprising. You can read my brothers and I discuss the film at length in our two roundtable conversations at 3 Brothers Film:

https://3brothersfilm.com/blog/2019/12/26/roundtable-star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-2019-part-1

https://3brothersfilm.com/blog/2019/12/31/roundtable-star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-2019-part-2

Just wanted to share a couple brief thoughts, responding to some of comments here.

1. I believe the ending is a sunrise, not a sunset. I've seen the film three times and there is no sun in the sky during Rey's initial appearance at the Lars Homestead. But when she says her name is "Rey Skywalker," it appears over the horizon, and in the silhouette shot, we can see the redder of the suns rising slightly. It's another example of J.J. Abrams taking something familiar (the Luke Binary Sunset scene) and adding something new to it: a sunrise, not sunset, a fulfillment, not a yearning. It's pure nostalgia, but it worked for me.

2. I very much like John Williams' music for these films. His Rey theme in particular, with the flute ("The Scavenger" on The Force Awakens soundtrack), is great.

3. I liked the Disney Trilogy a fair bit, but these films are miles away from the quality of the other Star Wars films (I-VI). And if the unevenness of this new trilogy makes people reconsider the depth of the Prequel Trilogy, all the better.


"Cinema is an improvement on life." - Francois Truffaut

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20 hours ago, Aren Bergstrom said:

3. I liked the Disney Trilogy a fair bit, but these films are miles away from the quality of the other Star Wars films (I-VI). And if the unevenness of this new trilogy makes people reconsider the depth of the Prequel Trilogy, all the better.

Yep, Ep 9 prompted me to go back and rewatch Ep 3.  The acting is stilted, but the storyline and visuals are so much stronger in the earlier film.


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

http://secularcinephile.blogspot.com

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On 12/23/2019 at 10:25 AM, kenmorefield said:

Here's my question -- and I mean it as a sincere question and not a dig. Would someone who didn't like this film (i.e. rated it "Rotten" on RT or would have done so had he/she been able to do so) but did did like one or more of the last six films in the franchise articulate to me one or two specific differences in quality, approach, direction, storytelling, whatever, that matter to you? 

Thank you to those who responded. Listening to your comments helps me better understand the responses to the film from those coming at it from a different emotional place than I did. 

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I was joking, before I saw this film, that it should be called Star Wars into Darkness, but it occurred to me recently that this film doubles down on one of JJ Abrams' stupid tropes the same way The Force Awakens doubled down on another of his Star Trek bits.

In the 2009 Star Trek, there is a stupid bit where Spock stands on a planet's surface and looks up at the sky and watches another planet implode. It is simply absolutely stupid to think that you can watch what it is happening on one planet by standing on the surface of another and looking up at the sky with the naked eye (no, Spock was *not* standing on a moon, because Vulcan has no moons), but Abrams doubled down on this in The Force Awakens by having members of the Resistance look up at the sky and watch as *multiple* planets were destroyed *simultaneously* (and never mind that it would take a different number of years for the light from each planet to arrive at the Resistance planet, etc., etc.).

And then, in Star Trek into Darkness, there was a stupid, stupid bit where the Enterprise is hiding underwater -- an environment it is absolutely *not built for* (it's not even built for traveling in a planet's atmosphere; there is nothing aerodynamic about its design at all) -- and then it rises up out of the water and into the sky where all the aliens can see it, and now, in The Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine reveals that he's been keeping a whole bunch of Really Large Star Destroyers (reportedly they are supposed to be much bigger than the ones we saw in the original trilogy) underground or something, and he makes them all rise into the sky...


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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