Thursday, December 19, 2019

Fresh From The Theater: Star Wars - Episode IX, The Rise of Skywalker

This review is FILLED with spoilers! 
Do not read on, unless you are curious little fella! 
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Before we begin: I would just like to say, to everyone from the cast and JJ Abrams, f*ck you for shitting publicly on Episode VIII, which I believe critically to be one of the best movies made in this decade. And based on the outstanding reviews from various critics, it was only idiot little fans whose conspiracy theories didn't pan out that shit on it. I still don't understand HOW somebody thought that Rey was gonna be either Luke or Leia's child, like... do they seem to you like people who abandon their children??!!! Anyway, as for fan service everyone caved to the commentary of fans and I find that to be DISGUSTING. Actress Kelly Marie Tran, playing Rose, had to quit social media because people kept bullying her... do these sound like people you want to please?! WHY?! A shit-ton of things in this movie were for fan service alone as well, and they felt ridiculous. Episode VIII was a masterpiece, I was surprised and shocked and I loved every second of it. The way the cast has been openly criticizing director Rian Johnsson has been nothing short of stomach revolving and I almost didn't go see the movie. I honestly am sad that it wasn't a third director who did the movie, as it was originally planned, because I had big problems with it, but let me tell you about it in detail in my review.

Rey trains relentlessly to prepare for her fight against the First Order, now led by Kylo Ren. A spy reveals them the location of a secret fleet ready to destroy every and all planets that do not wish to succumb to the power of the First Order, and the trio of Rey, Poe and Finn get on their way to abolish them. On their way Rey's past is brought to light, and the Rebellion faces extinction like never before. Our heroes win only with unexpected help from unexpected sources.

The plot...
Here is the first and probably the biggest mistake this new trilogy made: it made us believe that the story was about something OTHER than the Skywalker's war against a dictatorship. We were all fooled. Fooled into thinking that we will get to know Poe more; that indeed there is a new legion of storm-troopers that will turn against dictatorships, or at least, that they will get more screen-time; that Han and Luke's death means that it is time for us to move on--- oh, hey Palpatine. And this is it, really, this was a new wave of kids fighting a war that apparently, and ever so conveniently, nobody was able to end. I would not have minded this had I not been fooled to believe that I am watching something far bigger than the unluckiest family in the history of this galaxy. And here my problem does not simply go back to Episode VIII, but to VII as well. I do find, upon seeing this movie, that they had no idea how they will end the saga, and well, they did an OK job, because if I remind myself, that "This is about Luke and Palpatine", than it kinda all makes sense. And even the dumbest choices come together. I wouldn't necessarily say that this movie deletes Episode VIII, but it f*cking tried its hardest and for that alone I am pissed. But... I think every movie wanted to teach us the lesson that it does not matter where we come from, only where we are going, and I love that message. EXCEPT that they were like "oh no sorry, your origin story is important after all", and the only reason I excuse it is because in the end it was not ONE who brought balance to the force, but two, two who became unexpected allies through one act of selfless kindness, and that is why prophecies can be overlooked and you should just work on being your best self.

Every Star Wars Rebels reference that wasn't...
The only reason I believe why I want to go and strangle every single person who worked on this movie, is because they knew their audience and they caved to fan service in the dumbest of ways (e.g. the kiss), and I am a fan too, so you can only imagine how excited I was for things that were shown to me in the trailer, like the infamous Ghost ship, commanded by Hera, someone who according to the canon is very much alive, just like her son. And there is the ship, to the right of the Falcon... does anything ever happen to it? Nope. Not even through a com-link or... *Screams into the void. Forget the extended universe, forget wikipedia pages, just f*cking look at something Disney made as part of the canon... WHY ARE YOU BEING SO TERRIBLE INADEQUATE ABOUT THE INCLUSION OF THIS?? Number one: "the wayfinder", aha, that is a f*cking Sith holocron. It is a mother-effing holocron, which has Sith teachings as well as maps in them, we all know, WHY can't you call it a holocron?! You own the rights to it, IT IS ALSO A DISNEY SHOW. Second, holocrons show the location of (drum roll) temples! The place where Palpatine has been hiding was so clearly a Sith Temple, and the visual elements, oh my god, it was to die for! It was so beautiful and exactly the way Rebels introduced me to it and I was in awe. But then NOBODY referenced it as a Sith Temple and I died inside a little bit again... THIS would have been very useful, because only a Sith or someone seeking the path of the dark side is actually able to open and use a holocron, so Rey's ambiguity could have been demonstrated perfectly. NOPE. No time for that, we did however, include the 5 most useless characters in the universe (more on that later). I did hear Kanan Jarrus's voice, and I trembled, because it was a beautiful scene, but it was from a character who is no longer present in the franchise, so it was still too little too late... So, I love the person who was like, "hey, we should use this", but I want to punch the person who then said "yes, but let's not actually give the fans anything really, just the idea that someone in a crew of 1000 people watched a couple of episodes of Rebels by accident". As so it was. F*ck you movie. 

And here is an important lesson that both Star Wars Rebels and Episode VIII touched upon: it isn't just about good vs. evil. Keep your mind clear, don't let your bad judgement guide you, don't succumb to feelings of hatred... all very useful ideas, but do they really work? You think Obi-Wan was not furious and filled with anger when he mutilated Anakin? Do you believe that Yoda was not scared to death for his life whilst fleeing from Palpatine? When Luke screams "NEVER!" and then starts beating the shit out of his father and destroying everything in sight, like, does that look like someone with a clear mind? No. And when Ahsoka Tano quit the Jedi order and just fought for herself, I do believe she highlighted how perhaps the Jedi order does not have it right either... here, Ben Solo in the end fought for himself and I loved that, but boy, the movie refused to say out loud again that there is enough room to question this endless war of good vs. evil, but I would have welcomed that discussion very much.

Knights of Ren...
... absolutely no need for them whatsoever. One fucking fight scene. These incredible fighters were always one single step behind the rebellion and then, instead of taking that step, they just disappeared. They were outside of the bar on Kijimi, they took no action. They got Chewie and we never saw it. I would have been scared of them, had I not forget they existed every other second. When they showed up around Ben I thought, OK, maybe this will--- oh and they are dead. Cool. Give me one scene were they answer to Palpatine, or at least they fight off a whole squadron of... something, I don't know, seriously, this was terrible writing on their part. They tried to make Kylo look more menacing, by giving him a boy-band, and then included them in about 2 of his scenes... what. I really hope somebody makes a 8 episode series out of them just so I can give a f*ck retrospectively. 

The Last Jedi...
In an article published a couple of weeks back, the late Carrie Fisher's brother revealed that the intended recipient of the title of the last Jedi was actually gonna go to Leia. And well, because of the tragic passing of the actress, that could not have been done. You see, I wish I could have seen that movie, instead of this one. And the reason I bring up this issue, is because the movie did decide to include Leia's backstory as a Jedi... but forgot... to call her... a Jedi... ONCE. Honestly, she was Rey's master, she had a lightsaber, and that flashback scene (more on that in a minute), and nobody called her a Jedi... like movie... who do you hate? The fans? The producers? The saga? Stop giving me clues and start saying things out loud. Leia's presence was immense in this movie, and I wish there was more of it. I wish she had not died in the story and would have lived on in this universe forever. In a way, she will, in others, perhaps this was the only way to get fan boys around the world to shut the f*ck up about the Skywalkers already.

The Yellow Lightsaber...
Oh boy... I HAVE SO MANY ISSUES WITH THIS. My first question is... WHERE THE F*CK DID LUKE GET A BLUE LIGHTSABER? This is an issue I have had for years now. One very important thing you need to know about the extended universe is that each Jedi earns their crystal, which is then put into their saber and used for training and teaching the ways of the Force. Now, Episode VI, final fight between Luke and Darth Vader, we see Luke's own saber, not the one inherited from Obi-Wan, but his own, glowing green. Fast forward to Episode XI, this very movie, flashback scene of Luke and Leia training, he has his green saber, great, OK. Back to Episode VII: blue saber. HOW?! WHAT AM I MISSING? And here is my issue with Rey's saber: so, we know she needs a crystal, OK, she got a yellow one, this is not the first time we see a saber of this color, not the problem, my problem is that Jedi earn their crystals in Jedi Temples which... AFTER HAVING A SITH TEMPLE, would have been the effing easiest thing to include in this goddamn movie. Instead of a shitty scene about literally-no-one-cares-Tatooine, why not let us see that Rey got her own saber? Not to mention, that beforehand she buries Luke's and Leia's, which to me said that the fight between good and evil is over and she won't fight it either, oh no, wait, yes she will, just with her own. Cool. *Screams into the void. The way in which the last scenes were cut after each other was terribly done.

The Title of The Movie...
This is I believe still debatable. See, besides the... whatever scene at the end of the movie that was like "you wanted her to be Luke's daughter? Here you go!", I will proclaim that the title was in reference to Kylo. Although, physically speaking, Rey rose from the ground and kept on fighting, the real protagonist who had to rise above everyone's expectations was Kylo Ren, as in Ben. When Palpatine throws him off, he calls him a Skywalker, which to me had much more weight to it then Rey's final scene did. Rey might live on for their legacy, but I also think that the name she chose for herself was on the much more literal sense, as in someone who walks in the sky. (This is the dumbest example, but as bastards born in the North in Game of Thrones bear the name Snow, she too is someone who lives among the stars and is a sky-walker. I don't know if that makes sense to you, but it does to me.) Overall, I think the title really is up for interpretation, and I want to take the literal sense because of that little boy in Episode VIII who used the Force, because of Finn who sensed Rey's death miles away from her, and for all the Jedi that died in the Clone Wars who were NOT of the Skywalker blood lineage. This f*cking family is not the only one in the galaxy, and fine, the Palpatines also procreated apparently, but don't take away from me the hope of finding the Force myself one day.

Kylo Ren was irredeemable. His death was sad, but also, the only way it could have ended. I will not argue with that, just wish to know why Rey's body remained there long enough to be saved, while he joined... the Force? Or the Dark Side? Again... these fucking clues that lead nowhere... I wish she would have burned his body like Luke did with Vader.

Moments that made this movie worth it...
Honestly, not that I have written all of this down, I can tell you, that I actually liked the movie a lot. First, knowing that this was about nothing more than the Skywalkers lowered my expectations and those expectations were actually met. Second, the casting was once again fabulous. I am honestly very happy that they cast Adam Driver for this conflicted character, because his smile at the end, and the action hero that he turned into left me in awe. Third, still back to Kylo, his fight scenes with Rey were incredible. I loved how their connection was always used to move the story forward. You could tell that these two share a very different bond that we are used to in this universe, and I welcomed that bond. I still feel like there is so much more to the Force than the cinematic universe allows to show us, and that is another reason why Episode VIII was so marvelous. Fourth, Rey remained, overall, a gender-less character. She showed affection left and right, but I did find it amazing that they have kept her a neutral hero. There is this adorable scene where a girl tries to befriend her and you can see her sweet side, but it isn't more feminine than necessary. Her character was not defined by her sex and I actually adore that about the story. Every single female character in this series was on the equal level as the male characters, sometimes perhaps even exceeding, and it did that without making jokes about it or acknowledging it as something weird or unprecedented. Every character in the movie actually came full circle and that too was very well done. Fifth, Luke's scenes felt close to my heart, like when Obi-Wan returned for him. Him admitting to be wrong was also very important, because some things in life you just cannot avoid, and trying to avoid it leads to more trouble. Just because someone is dressed as an old wise man, they might still be in need of lessons to learn. Sixth, there was a clear lesbian kiss shoved into our face and I almost screamed from joy! F*ck yeah! Equality and love for all.

... and to all the people who worked on this movie: if you want to argue with me that most of your decision were NOT based on fan service, I will direct you to the scene where random Maz Kanata (who now fights for the rebellion, OK, cool), hands Chewie a medal. You know, the thing EVERYONE on the internet was bitching about, after re-watching Episode IV back in 2015. Come and tell me to my face that you were NOT influenced by a bunch of loud people on the internet. This is why Disney should stop making movies and focus on separate series playing out in this galaxy, like The Mandalorian: pre-set 8 episodes without outside interference. It is the most watched show in the decade, and they did NOT give in to fan service. And this is very important because, hear me out, the fans CAN be wrong. So much so, that I am willing to except criticism on anything I have written down here. I could be wrong too and I welcome discussion on this topic.

Watch it? Sure, why the f*ck not. If you are one of those people who whined about Episode VIII because your little brain cannot comprehend the extent of a good movie when it is in front of you, then this movie, which explains everything in almost obnoxious detail, for the exception of things that might be cause for controversy, will be perfect for you. They played it safe, they so clearly played it safe to make as much money as possible, and I am mad about that. However, I was happy to have seen it and will probably watch it again many times, because even if I had many theories and my own expectations, I accept that I was not the one who was writing the script and they are not inside my head. I will not be one of those people who hate on it without proper argumentation. And I find that this blog entry was just about enough to showcase that this is in no way a perfect movie. I will, however, give them credit, because I cried like a baby at many scenes, and I felt touched to see as much of Leia and Luke and Han as I could, and I will also acknowledge that the movie makers had a lot of pressure on them to finish this saga. This is in no way as bad as I made it out to be, I can tell you that the minute I realized that this isn't about Rey, but it is still about Palpatine's revenge, I cleared my mind and welcomed every little thing. I am sure that upon re-watching it I will love and hate more things as well. But for now, I say goodbye to this trio of young heroes and move on from this galaxy far far away.

Until the next item on my list!
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Rey - Daisy Ridley
Finn - John Boyega
Poe Dameron - Oscar Isaac
Kylo Ren, Ben - Adam Driver
Leia Organa - Carrie Fisher
Rose Tico - Kelly Marie Tran
General Hux - Domnhall Gleeson
Chewbacca - Joonas Suotamo
C-3PO - Anthony Daniels
General Pryde - Richard E. Grant
Zorii Bliss - Keri Russell
Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill
Palpatine - Ian McDiarmid

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