Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ★½

Poorly written and poorly directed. This misunderstands its source material on a fundamental level. With constant expositional forays, an over abundance of plot and characters, and a “more and bigger and louder” attitude the stakes fall completely flat, no matter how many times the characters say “if we don’t succeed than EVERYTHING has been for nothing.” It’s all so bombastic that it doesn’t feel at all grounded. Aesthetically, the editing and camera work are so choppy that it’s impossible to get a full look at what’s going on. I’d be fascinated to see a comparison of the average shot length in a Lucas Star Wars film compared to this one. To me Star Wars is wide shots and long sequences. Apparently not so to Abrams. 

I love these characters and wanted them better served. But when the relationships are forced and there are so many new characters, nothing feels earned and consequently it’s hard to feel connected. In particular there is one moment that felt so unearned and unwanted that I literally laughed out loud the moment it took place. The moments that I did find emotionally good then felt cheapened because they were surrounded by so much convenience. Also, because Abrams basically just ignored all of Rian Johnson’s great work, it felt extra meaningless. 

It was better when Rey was really just a nobody. So much better. 

Also, the “way finder” was a holocron. I don’t know why they couldn’t just call it a holocron. I was irrationally annoyed about that the whole film but peeps... do your homework!!! Know your Star Wars vocabulary! 

Credit where credit is due:
— everyone acted their hearts out, props to that. Not a bad performance among them. 
— production design (what I could see of it) was gorgeous, especially in those early two planets. Lots of cool creatures and costumes and spaces. 
— Dennis Lawson cameo
— lightsaber handoff was dope 
— I liked D-O and Babu Frik v much 

ALL IN ALL, I maintain that someone should let JJ know about tripods. Make the man watch some Ozu or Schraeder or something. 

Goodnight.

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