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Review: ‘Rise Of Skywalker’ Is The Worst ‘Star Wars’ Movie Ever

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Black Dog Sun, the End of the Ancient World, Antediluvian X
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« on: December 21, 2019, 07:59:28 pm »

Review: ‘Rise Of Skywalker’ Is The Worst ‘Star Wars’ Movie Ever
Scott Mendelson
Scott Mendelson
Senior Contributor
Hollywood & Entertainment
I cover the film industry.

The Rise of Skywalker is a bad movie and a miserable finale that serves no purpose other than to reassure adult fans of the original Star Wars that they are still the “chosen ones” of the pop culture galaxy.
'Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker' banner

'Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker' bannerWalt Disney

Spoiler warning: I do mention specific details about the first few scenes, but otherwise there are no spoilers save for “read between the lines” notes about the film’s overall construction. Reader discretion is advised.

Given the loud and SEO-friendly backlash to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I half-expected The Rise of Skywalker to be something of a walk-back in terms of tone, plot and exposition. After all, The Empire Strikes Back was itself a dramatic departure from Star Wars, and it was followed by a threequel (Return of the Jedi) that was closer in spirit to the first movie. What I was expecting, at worst, was a well-made and character-driven action fantasy that perhaps contained plot threads or story beats for which I didn’t care. You can enjoy both Batman Returns and Batman Forever.

Alas, J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a genuinely bad movie, one that repeats the fatal mistakes of the likes of Spectre, Spider-Man 3 and The Crimes of Grindelwald to end the Skywalker Saga on an all-time low.

The problem with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker isn’t just that it absolutely walks back a number of potent reveals and plot threads from the last movie, but rather that the 142-minute movie spends almost its entire running time retconning its predecessor and adding painfully conventional “plot twists” and patronizing reversals in the name of mollifying the fans who merely want to be reminded of the first three movies. It inflicts additional damage to the legacy of the first six Star Wars movies. It undermines the previous two “episodes” in the name of giving (some but not all) original-trilogy Star Wars fans a reassuring pat on the head. It even shies away from The Force Awakens’ darker real-world implications. It is so concerned with character reveals and “chase the MacGuffin” plotting that it finds no time for any real character work.

Things start promisingly enough, with a grim and visually dazzling sequence (for the record, the whole movie looks great) in which Kylo Ren (Adam Driver, doing what he can to sell some awful dialogue and plotting) kills his way to the location of a still-living Sheev Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). The former Emperor promises command of countless newly created warships as long as Ren ends the Jedi order by killing Rey (Daisy Ridley). Okay, fine, the Emperor’s back, but at least that reveal is done right off the bat.

The next sequence, involving multiple jumps to light speed, plays out like the Star Tours ride. But once we find ourselves back in the new home of the fractured Resistance, well, you have huge chunks of plot that are written and edited around deleted scenes of the late Carrie Fisher. That’s when things start to implode.

With all due respect, Carrie Fisher’s performance in The Force Awakens was not her best work, and now we’re dealing with deleted scenes from that previous Star Wars movie being awkwardly inserted, not unlike Raymond Burr’s Godzilla footage, into this new movie. Everyone else is required to act around her, with the story dictated by what footage they had on hand, resulting in some genuinely goofy filmmaking (see: Leia and Rey pass a lightsaber back and forth because it’s probably two takes of the same deleted sequence!). The Resistance immediately gets word that Palpatine is alive and has raised a world-killing army of super-ships, news that everyone takes pretty well. I guess it’s only slightly disconcerting that (metaphorically speaking) Hitler is still alive 35 years after World War II and is planning on teaming up with the USSR to try to enslave the world again.

We then jump into a “go to the place and find the thing” adventure, and the filmmakers seem to think that the mere idea of Rey, Finn, Poe and Chewbacca on a journey together is in itself incredibly compelling. Alas, absent memorable dialogue and much in the way of honest interaction, plus two extraneous new characters seemingly meant to “no homo” Finn and Poe, the journey becomes about the destination. That destination is merely more arbitrary plot reveals. Did you love how the last Fantastic Beasts movie spent most of the movie hinting at and eventually revealing irrelevant connections between characters? Did you love how Spectre tried to retroactively make Blofeld “the author of all your pain” in the three previous Daniel Craig 007 movies? Or how about how Spider-Man 3 revealed that the Sandman actually kinda-sorta killed Uncle Ben? You’re in for a treat.

It’s not just that Rise of Skywalker undoes Last Jedi’s “it’s not your franchise anymore” metaphors—aimed at a generation that grew up loving Star Wars and then allowed two Palpatine-ish leaders (George W. Bush and Trump) to come into power—for generic “don’t worry, Star Wars is still the best!” fan bait. It’s that this is the only real reason this movie exists. It is focused on plot over character and is written with the “we got to stop that laser!” intelligence of a bad Saturday morning cartoon. When there already exists some very good kid-targeted Star Wars toons (Rebels, Clone War, etc.), one cannot escape the fact that Rise of Skywalker has turned this entire new Star Wars trilogy from a kids’ franchise into one aimed at nostalgic adults yearning for a time when they believed they were the most important generation.

Adam Driver does his best trying to sell this nonsense, and there’s a momentary glance when he unexpectedly finds himself with a weapon that has more charm and character than any number of “applause now” introductions or fan-friendly callbacks. The film continually teases status-quo altering events and then immediately walks them back, offers generic action where even the seemingly emotional showdowns are interrupted by digressions and past-tense exposition, and gives Daisy Ridley essentially no real arc of her own. The screenplay never forces her to make any hard choices or live with the consequences of her mistakes. The plot is shockingly similar to Frozen II, but even that film, as random as its narrative seemed, prioritized character and emotional honesty over plot, which is why it resonated despite the story issues. Finn, Poe and Rey are mostly action figures moved into place as the plot demands.

The Rise of Skywalker is possibly worse than any prior Star Wars “episode.” It ends a legendary franchise with a thud while denying this new trilogy its artistic reason for existence. It represents the cultural theft of Star Wars from today’s kids by today’s arrested-development-stricken adults. Star Wars was a franchise first and foremost for children, and the kids who grew up with Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and the MCU have embraced harsh truths and challenging narratives. Lucasfilm and Disney’s The Rise of Skywalker feels explicitly crafted for the “Rian Johnson ruined Star Wars!” and “George Lucas ruined my childhood!” demographics, right down to its near erasure of Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico. It’s bad enough that adults no longer see grown-up movies in theaters, but now yesterday’s geeks who have taken over pop culture feel entitled to have the kid-friendly franchises aimed at them as well.



https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2019/12/18/review-disney-and-lucasfilms-star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-is-a-terrible-end-to-the-skywalker-saga/#6a0f7810113c
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Black Dog Sun, the End of the Ancient World, Antediluvian X
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2019, 08:01:32 pm »


‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Disappoints Fans, Receives Worst CinemaScore of the Franchise

The ninth film in Lucasfilm’s saga, however, is on track to gross $195 million in its domestic opening weekend
Trey Williams | December 21, 2019 @ 11:43 AM Last Updated: December 21, 2019 @ 2:04 PM
Star Wars Rise of Skywalker Rey Daisy Ridley Kylo Ren Adam Driver   

Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the ninth and final (maybe?) film in Lucasfilm’s Skywalker saga, is being met with a mixed response from fans who have given it the lowest CinemaScore of any film in the franchise.

The J.J. Abrams-directed film has been knocked by critics, receiving a 57% critical Rotten Tomatoes score, while fans on the review aggregator gave the film an 86%.

The film was given a B+ CinemaScore, indicating a less-than satisfying end to one of Hollywood’s most prominent and lucrative movie franchises. That fan grading is the lowest of all the others in the franchise — and yes, that includes “The Last Jedi” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” CinemaScore survey’s moviegoers after opening night of a film’s release in order to measure a movies appeal among audiences.

Also Read:
The 20 Worst Parts of 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'

The only “Star Wars” film to have a lower grade than “The Rise of Skywalker” is the animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” which isn’t included here by nature of not being one of the live-action films.

“Solo,” along with the prequel films “The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith,” all received A- CinemaScores when they came out. Until “The Rise of Skywalker” that was the lowest. The original trilogy doesn’t have scores on the site.

The lackluster reception aside, “The Rise of Skywalker” is poised to be a juggernaut at the box office. The film has already pulled in $90 million from 4,406 screens — including $40 million from Thursday previews. “The Rise of Skywalker” is on track to gross $195 million in its domestic opening weekend, which would put it just above the $191 million openings of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and the “Lion King” remake for the eighth highest domestic opening of all-time.

https://www.thewrap.com/star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-worst-cinemascore/
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