Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Episode IX) Movie Review: Revving it up for the Fans

Updated: Dec 20, 2019, 08:37 IST | Johnson Thomas | Mumbai

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker purportedly the last of the Star Wars expulsions is an example of what happens when money becomes paramount in franchise-building.

A still from The Rise of Skywalker (Episode IX) trailer
A still from The Rise of Skywalker (Episode IX) trailer

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Episode IX)
U/A; Fantasy/Sci/Fi

Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Keri Russell, Ian McDiarmid, Kelly Marie Tran, Domhnall Gleeson, Billy Dee Williams, Joonas Suotamo, Dominic Monaghan, Anthony Daniels and Richard E. Grant
Director: J. J. Abrams
Rating: Rating

The end to a 9 movie story (that did not need to happen), encompassing 40 years of franchise film making, this 'Rise of Skywalker' purportedly the last of the Star Wars expulsions, is an example of what happens when money becomes paramount in franchise-building.

Despite George Lucas' intermittent pronouncements about 'being done with' the franchise, the Star Wars brand just got too big for that to happen. So when Disney paid Lucas $4B for the rights to his Galaxy Far, Far Away in order to strip mine it for a sort-of passing-of-the-saber from the old gen to a newer lot, the mythology suffered big-time. The resultant - a series of rather legend hurting supplement films that took away from the nostalgia of a unique and unforgettable experience.

The Star Wars franchise has since become an amusement ride for Disney - nothing less, nothing more. The narrative here, constructed by Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio references Return of the Jedi and bits and pieces of assemblage that fail to become meaningful as a whole. The film encompasses a series of random events that don't make much sense and there's not much of a plot or motivation to go along with it. The screenplay follows a predictable path and the so-called twist hearkens back to a past that we've already seen coming.

After the death of Supreme Leader Snoke, it's Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), looking rather laughable, who gets resurrected to fit into the Bad guy. He has made Kylo Ren( Adam Driver, superbly complexed) his successor and expects him to kill Rey( an earnest and sincere Daisy Ridley) the last Jedi Trainee who is now learning the finishing elements of her training from Princess Leia(Carrie Fisher looking like she has come out of the blue). Eventually, Rey, Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), and BB-8 are joined by veteran Empire-fighter Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and pick up the game while traversing different levels of difficulty, as the narrative stretches into a climax.

Watch the trailer of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Episode IX) here

Pretty much every sequence here seems like tokenism to a glorious but distant past. The visual imagery may be impressive given the advancements in modern movie-making technology but the nuance and import are missing from this rather cluttered landscape. EPIV-VI imagery are used to fill in the gaps while there's little explanation or depth for what is happening on screen. While Rey and Finn are memorable in their own right, they are no Han and Leia. Rey and Kylo Ren/Ben have mystical Jedi powers yet we see them struggling ( at times) to achieve their aforementioned goals. And the overuse of light sabers destroys all the mystique associated with them. While the Star Wars magic is missing, one can't deny the hard work that has gone into creating this 'younger looking' rehash. The cameos induce a welcome touch of nostalgia. The special effects are first-rate, but the editing could have been better. There's just too much flab - destroying any association with art. This episode IX ends up becoming fan service - well-oiled but not a particularly memorable one at that!

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