I saw The Rise of Skywalker in 4DX 3D on Thursday night. Some of you may think I’m mental, but I absolutely loved the experience!
The 4DX motion technology did its job effectively to highlight some of the action sequences, be it a high-flying chase in the Millennium Falcon or an edge-of-your-seat lightsaber duel between light and dark.
I know a lot of you may disagree with me on this, and I wholeheartedly understand, but I found Emperor Palpatine to be legitimately intimidating in this film. I daresay, even moreso than in the original and prequel trilogies!
Nobody does it better than Ian McDiarmid, who pulls out a fantastic performance with what he was given by Disney and Lucasfilm. But what makes him a true figment of one’s nightmares would be his appearance, shrouded by dark, shadowy lighting, ominous Latin chanting from his fellow Sith loyalists, his deeper and more venomous tone of voice, and the cold, sinister machinery he’s attached to.
The rest of the cast give amazing performances as well, including Daisy Ridley as Rey, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Leia, and Anthony Daniels as C-3PO.
Speaking of Leia, J.J.'s production company Bad Robot managed to make the most out of the material left from previous installments, on top of digitally altering her appearance to fit with the new aesthetic.
As to be expected, there is fan service aplenty, ranging from the return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian to a brief cameo at the end by the Ewoks from Return of the Jedi.
There are also emotional gutpunches throughout the film, as the central characters deal with loss after Chewie’s alleged death and Leia’s inevitable death. In fact, the most emotionally resonant scene will have to be a really heartfelt moment towards the end, but I’ll leave you to figure that one out for yourselves.
In fact, I found the overall tone and feel of the film to be darker than The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi combined, partially due to McDiarmid’s epic performance as the Emperor!
On top of that, the story in of itself isn’t all that bad. You can tell the film is doing some serious backtracking after the backlash TLJ received, and I think Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio did the best they could to tie up loose ends and deliver a satisfying conclusion to the saga, even with the eventual reshoots.
The soundtrack by the legendary John Williams is also spectacular, especially the way he brought back many major themes from the previous films. My only gripe with this is that I would’ve liked to hear Williams’ modernisation of “Duel of the Fates” (as heard in the “Duel” TV spot), as well as a thematic callback to “Anakin’s Betrayal” from Revenge of the Sith. At the very least, a small hint of the latter was used when Rey hears the voices of Jedi past.
I will admit that certain plot points do take a backseat to some of the fan service, and I did feel a bit cheated during the climax after hearing a majority of the leaks circulating the web, especially the one detailing the Millennium Falcon’s destruction.
Not to mention, as many questions this film answers, there are some from TFA that still need answering, such as “Where did Maz Kanata find Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber?”
These indeed serve as a detriment to the quality of the film as a whole, but to be fair, they didn’t bother me as much as it did others. I still had fun with what we ended up getting, and given the fact I’m not usually too big on the Star Wars franchise, that’s saying a lot!
I give the film an 8.5/10 on its own, but I give it a 10/10 just for the 4DX experience alone! Trust me, it isn’t worth seeing any other way… except for IMAX, I guess.