Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

15

Disney/Lucasfilm Headquarters. Int. Day.

Rian Johnson: Oh, hey, JJ!

JJ Abrams: Hi Rian, how's it going?

RJ: Great! I just wanted to say that really enjoyed my time making The Last Jedi. It was so exciting to craft a personal film with Disney money. And everyone at Lucasfilm approved it right away because Episode 7 left me with a bunch of mystery-box ideas and set-up that wasn't going to lead anywhere. Who directed that one again?

JJ: Me. I did.

RJ: Oh, yeah, right right! Well, I'm working on my new movie, being an auteur and all that jazz, and it's going to have a fantastic ensemble cast and be a memorable original film. Star Wars was something I wanted to do, but now I'm ready to move on to better things. I hope you see it when it releases!

JJ: That sounds great, Rian! I sure will.

RJ: So, what are you working on now?

JJ: Oh, I'm doing Episode 9.

RJ: Fuck.

JJ: And I'm retconning all your shit.

RJ: Wait, can't you just follow the path of the Kylo/Rey dynamic that I set-up? Continue to explore the 'nobody' angle of individuals rising to discover their own potential? Learning to let nostalgia go, and finding new ways to grow into the future? I left the slate pretty clean, you know, because I had to get rid of the empty promises you tantalized audiences with.

JJ: Well, I wanted to subvert your expectations, Rian. Rey is a Palpatine now. Finn is back to his *run and yell *insert name of character in danger* shtick. Rose is on office-duty. Leia says Ben's name and then lays down and dies. We made a new droid, and it's really fucking annoying. We added a bunch of characters that are introduced in the span of minutes, and abandoned and embraced at will.

RJ: What the fuck?!?

JJ: Yeah, the whole thing is going to be an assault on the senses. Bullet-paced market-tested euphoria so loud and obnoxious that the only reason to slow down is for the piercing pain of tireless exposition. The characters are going to move from macguffin to macguffin, plot point to plot point, with no breathing room, and therefore no criticism. The audience will cheer when they're supposed to cheer and cry when they're supposed to cry. Most of the movie won't make any sense at all. It's contributing to an endgame of meaningless moments, cheap fan-service, and little to no development for the characters that have mostly remained intact. We're not just retconning - we're actively simplifying and destroying the last remnants left standing of this trilogy.

RJ: *starts to break down and sob*

JJ: Oh, and we bring Luke and Leia back as force-ghosts! Luke even makes a jab at your lightsaber gag from Last Jedi, because at this point, our movie is actively opposing yours. And Han is around too! And Rey ends up on Tatooine with a yellow lightsaber, because the people love Tatooine! And a new lightsaber color is always good for business. They go crazy for it. Doesn't matter if she's a Palpatine, she can take on the Skywalker name no problem! We'll even have Luke and Leia approve! It'll be great.

RJ: *through the tears* It'll be great....

RJ: *through the tears* - What did you do with Kylo and Rey? Please tell me that's saved?

JJ: Hmm, I don't know, we added this force-healing power that Rey somehow has, and then she heals Ben, but then at the end, Ben heals her after supposedly dying, and then he dies for real, because why not? But not before a kiss. We've heard about this Reylo thing. It's gonna be big. Had to throw that in there. None of the climax makes any narrative or formal sense, really. It's all mashed together. Palpatine can't make up his mind, and neither can this movie. Lando is around too somewhere.

RJ: UGHHHHHH *collapses and curls up in the fetal position*

JJ: Yeah, in fact the whole film is one long fruitless string of "let's try this!" moments. There isn't one second of movie that feels like it knows what it's doing. It's the most artless cinematic experience I've made, and that's saying a lot. I'm so proud of it. Truly a pinnacle for the Star Wars brand. I think all the Last Jedi critics are really going to like it.

RJ: *regaining strength* - But what if you just alienated everyone? By attempting to please every demographic, you inadvertently trashed the idiosyncratic roots of the Star Wars universe, a feeling that's been in all the films up to this point, even mine included?

JJ: We did exactly that, yes.

RJ: *turning angry* - So now, this entire trilogy reads as a sham? A failure of long-term narrative development and a bastardization of a generation ready to claim their own version of heroism? All the highlights of your ep 7 film and mine were mere blimps of artistic integrity in a sea of consumed content, churned out in two-year cycles for the service of the brand? Lucasfilm supported all my ideas in Episode 8, and then refused back them up once people hated them?

JJ: Yep, but we kept your porgs. Those porgs were a good idea.

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