This is the best review I’ve read about the movie so far.
This is the best review I’ve read about the movie so far.
I think the art of book got pushed back because having evidence in print of what this movie was supposed to be before it got dismembered and glued back together would have made its legs even weaker.
We’re going to find out in May what this thing was intended to be, and it might not be better, but the game of what-if that spins out of that is going to take over all discussion from that point forward.
If WOM gets bad after this OW, having the most advantageous release date (and they do) won’t matter much if the legs are affected. They need repeat views and I’m unsure they’re going to get them. Nobody making any predictions was likely predicting with the idea that this was going to be the worst reviewed Star Wars since The Phantom Menace - and considering Phantom Menace’s current score got adjusted downward thanks to the 3D re-release giving critics a second bite at the apple, this would technically BE the worst reviewed Star Wars film otherwise.
Only a sith deals in absolutes
“Rey, I have to tell you something!”
“What were you going to tell me?”
“I’ll tell you later”
“Hey, what were you going to tell Rey”
“I’m not going to tell you, I’m going to tell her.”
“Oh no, I felt Rey die. I didn’t get to tell her!”
“OH LOOK, REY IS ALIVE. ISN’T THAT NICE. GUESS I’LL NEVER TELL HER WHAT I WAS GOING TO SAY THAT WAS LITERALLY SO IMPORTANT IT’S BASICALLY THE ONLY PLOT THREAD I HAVE IN THIS MOVIE”
Canto Bight reads like Upton Sinclair compared to that.
There are a ton of characters in this who are basically props.
The guy from LOST who’s character name I don’t even remember
Leia (she is literally a prop for the last half hour of the movie)
The Knights of Ren
Also, why is there a vat of Snokes on Exegol. How many Snokes do you need laying around. What’s the point of that.
I don’t agree it undoes ROTJ’s conclusions any more than the onward march of time “undoes” the actions (and the meaning behind the actions) of the people who fought (and died) for things in the past.
The endpoint of that line of thought suggests death makes life meaningless because once you die you lose, and once you lose, nothing you did matters. Which is kind of nihilistic at its core, and Star Wars has never been that. The story shouldn’t be ABOUT the story, it should be HOW it’s about it - if that makes sense. “Well, peace in our time only lasted 30 years so that 30 years was meaningless” is kind of a harsh, unfair, and cynical read that kind of minimizes the good that 30 years of peace can be.
I think the first two parts of this trilogy were kind of smart about how they were approaching a new conflict born of an old one, and investigating how and why new characters were handling those pressures, and what they were doing in response to them (and more importantly, why they were responding the way they were). There’s a lot that’s worth investigating in there, and a lot of that can (and should) speak to the times we’re living through now, for obvious reasons. That’s what myth does, it provides young people a means to make sense of the upheavals going on around them. That’s not so easily “nullified” by bad plotting, I don’t believe.
But The Rise of Skywalker is, unfortunately, thematically hollow, and THAT is a very big problem. It’s not really saying anything, and it’s not putting any effort into saying that nothing, either. It’s structural problems aside, the many problems with it as a movie - thematically it’s just a void, really. It’s good at saying what it doesn’t want to be, because it seems to have an idea of what people DON’T want, but it doesn’t have any sort of sense of what to provide as an alternative. So you’re left with a movie that is solely plot, for plot’s sake, wrapping up on a plot-level and nothing else.
THAT feels meaningless to me.
The idea that this movie could have been about a First Order fighting itself, and a Resistance taking advantage of that… there’s a larger thematic potential there that’s HUGE and relevant. You can easily build from “Knowledge and defense, never attack” and “Don’t fight what you hate, but save what you love” and elaborate from there in a story where the resistance finds a way to use the First Order’s nihilism against itself. That can MEAN something useful that ties into the thematic thrust of prior films, and Star Wars in general.
But instead the concerns were primarily “how do we fit deleted scenes in here and make a character out of that” and “How can we get the Emperor back in here so the parentage angle I don’t want to abandon takes center stage.” Those are plot concerns, not STORYTELLING ones, and the ultimate failing of The Rise of Skywalker is that its architects were more concerned about making their bad ideas fit into a plot no matter what than they were with trying to figure out how to actually SAY SOMETHING about… ANYTHING.
That’s what makes this decision to pursue the Emperor as the end goal (especially as it was executed) and to keep Leia in the story as the catalyst for Kylo’s turn so WEIRD. Just on its face that’s such a tiny eyehole to thread on a moving needle. Not saying you couldn’t do it - and maybe there’s a version of this story where they managed to build to that idea well, and maybe they actually tried to make Leia a legitimate character whose disassociated presence was actually felt. But both those decisions are SO deck-stacked against their successful execution I just don’t understand why they got pursued considering they knew how much time they had left to make and finish this thing.
They didn’t HAVE to choose this course of action.
I disagree that any of these movies have rendered any of the other films pointless, if only because the point of Star Wars has never really been in its plotting. The plotting is a means to get to the themes, and even the bad Star Wars movies are trying to say something, thematically, within their own runtimes. Sequels don’t nullify or make pointless their predecessors. But I think what this movie was trying to say for itself was so confused and honestly, kind of infantile - it’s just hard to get a good hold on what it wants to be AS a story.
Official Thursday preview number: $40 mil.
So, unless Saturday/Sunday overperforms, this will likely be a $185-195mil opening weekend.
“Shaky cam” is just a colloquial synonym for “hand-held photography.”
Nobody’s actually shaking the camera, it’s just not stabilized on a dolly or tripod or steadicam machine.
It’s not in this movie, OR in The Force Awakens very much.
Haha, either way I’m going to be wrong (being wrong on the internet never hurts anywhere near as bad as people seem to think it will. I’ve gotten a TON of practice anyway, LOL).
Because according to Deadline - this is doing Thursday preview numbers similar to The Last Jedi.
It’s gotta be, but the flat-out refusal to consider an option where she’s not in the movie just… I know retrospect makes geniuses out of the biggest dummies (hi there!) but she shouldn’t have been in this movie. The idea shouldn’t have been pursued, and that maybe would have freed them up to pursue different storytelling avenues.
I also was resistant to the idea that Abrams was actively going out of his way to “retcon” what Johnson did but there are actually two or three moments on the level of “This will begin to make things right” where it’s beyond obvious Abrams is breaking the fourth wall to comment on what came before. The most notable is Luke solemnly talking about “disrespecting” the weapon of a Jedi. And if that was meant to be a self-deprecating joke at Luke’s expense, (like a ha-ha smartass “remember when I did that? LOL what a dummy I was” sort of thing) it wasn’t acted, shot, or cut like that at all, so that interpretation is almost impossible to make. Luke (whose hair was trash! Why did it LOOK like that?) was essentially a platitude machine. The only part of that whole scene that works? The part of the scene that is riffing on the infinitely better scene from Empire Strikes Back.
Again, I know Abrams isn’t the most graceful director, but there is so much that is structurally FUCKED about this movie and its characterization and arcs that I have a hard time believing this was actually what he wanted to make. Just going from TFA to this, it’s such a MESS comparatively - I believe PARTS of what he actually wanted to make are IN here, but they’re stitched and glued together very, very sloppily.
1 - The Empire Strikes Back
2 - The Last Jedi
3 - The Force Awakens
4 - Star Wars
5 - Rogue One
6 - Solo
7 - Revenge of the Sith
8 - Return of the Jedi
9 - The Rise of Skywalker
10 - The Phantom Menace
11 - Attack of the Clones
12 - The Clone Wars
I think SOMETHING happened either during production, post-production, or even both, because this movie just doesn’t make sense a lot of the time. It’s not just retconning things and moving too fast for its own good (there are not a lot of “moments” in this movie, and it hurts a lot of the emotional punches it’s consistently failing to land), it’s referencing plot points that didn’t happen prior to their referencing, and half the time it’s not finishing off things that they ARE setting up. (What was Finn going to tell Rey? Why was Lando talking to Jannah at the end like we were supposed to insinuate… something? Why is Rey kissing Kylo at all?)
I’m also convinced Palpatine is lit and shot the way he is to cover up his mouth, because more than half of his dialog is completely obscured as he’s speaking it. I don’t think he was supposed to be there as much as he was, and I think he was deployed as a narrative patch job above and beyond “we needed to wrap up the whole saga.” I wouldn’t be surprised at all if something went really sideways on this movie and this was the best effort at making whatever it was they had left work.
Also I understand the refusal to not write Leia out between movies but that would have been preferable to what they did here. By far. She became a literal PROP by the end. And her presence in the scenes she was “active” in was utterly false, no matter how good the CGI lighting and costuming was. There was no feeling that she was acting with anyone, or that anyone was acting with her. There’s good reason for that, of course, and I feel like trying to glide over that unavoidable reason through movie trickery just called more attention to it. The only Leia scene that carried any of the weight it was intended to was Chewie reacting to her death, and even THAT had nothing to do with anything happening in THIS movie, but relied on literal decades of familiarity from previous, much better movies.
This is the worst film Abrams has directed, and I have a hard time believing it’s turned out this way solely because of bad vision and worse execution. Something about this movie just seems straight up broken in multiple ways, and not in the “What else could I do look what I was left with” sort of way, but in the “I have a release date I have to hit no matter what and this movie doesn’t work the way it is but I’m literally out of time so hopefully we can cobble SOMETHING together.”
For the first 45-50 minutes, it’s a sort of bland, speedy, superficial bit of fluff & fun in Star Wars packaging. And then it just keeps skipping and stuttering through whatever its story is trying to be for the five seconds it can maintain focus. I know he’s a flashy, superficial director but this is bad even for him, and it really does seem like there are some extenuating circumstances we might not know about.
It might also be why Abrams decided to work with WB for the foreseeable future and to leave Disney/Lucasfilm behind.
Oh, they absolutely should have pushed this back a year and let Rian finish it. Kennedy asked him before she asked Abrams, IIRC.
I also think SOMETHING happened either during production, post-production, or even both, because this movie just doesn’t make sense a lot of the time. It’s not just retconning things and moving too fast, it’s referencing plot points that didn’t happen prior to their referencing, and half the time it’s not finishing off things that they ARE setting up.
I’m also convinced Palpatine is lit and shot the way he is to cover up his mouth, because more than half of his dialog is completely obscured as he’s speaking it.
Something went really sideways on this movie and this was the best effort at making whatever it was they had left work.
Also I understand the refusal to not write Leia out between movies but that would have been preferable to what they did here. By far.
What a goddamn mess
The bright side of this travesty is that now Disney will never make another Star Wars trilogy without planning it out in advance.
For as much as this is championed by fans the truth is almost no creatives currently working at any studio actually does this, and it’s almost never BEEN done, either.
The problem with film series that end poorly isn’t that there was lack of overall planning for the entire saga, it’s that whoever executed the plan for THE LAST CHAPTER didn’t do it well. You don’t need to plan out the whole thing beforehand, you just need to not agree to a bad plan for the last one.
The idea that people who are paid millions to literally create fiction out of thin air can’t come up with a good part three unless someone else pre-chewed their food 5 years prior is kind of weird, and not very much based in reality.
What’s real is that people make bad decisions and other people agree to them. That’ll happen with any plan.
Day-of-projections now between $160-180.
Rocknroll41 & Dr. Dre looking pretty good right about now.
I sincerely doubt this movie won’t make at least $200m opening weekend. I mean, there’s barely any competition.
I don’t disagree, I just wanted to indulge a little prequel memery 😃
I think the “defeatist” attitude you’re seeing is what happens when about two decades of making the best, most salient, most thorough argument doesn’t lead to the results we want. There isn’t any more argument to make, really. They’ve ALL been made, as clearly as possible, for 15 years. Parts of it are so thoroughly consumed and metabolized by an entertainment media more than happy to cover this on our behalf that they became memes, as you said. “Where are the originals” is such a knee-jerk question at this point it still comes up, in 2019 press junkets. It’s usually the first thing inserted into the 2nd or 3rd paragraph on any story about ANY rumored or reported on new release of the original trilogy.
It’s not a question of having all the arrows in our quiver, or having bigger and better ones that we haven’t thought of yet. It’s not a question of ammo at all, really, or of our being able to “convince” the giant corporation of their responsibility to making salable catalog product we want to buy. We’ve made our case, and had our case amplified and further made for us. There’s basically nothing else to do but wait for them to change their minds. It’s completely out of our hands, and we have no control over them or their decision making process. That’s not defeatism. That’s acceptance. They know who we are, they know what we want, they know how many of us there are, they understand the arguments. Abrams isn’t the only person in the industry with a copy of Despecialized. Odds are pretty good it was someone at Lucasfilm who gave them to him. But there’s no argument, no hidden magic bullet just waiting to be discovered and fired that’s going to make Disney do what we want.
The only thing we actually seem to have any control over is how to make for ourselves the thing that we want in the meantime. And this community has taken that control and turned out amazing work that is appreciated by a lot of people. Will Disney finally decide to do the thing we’ve wanted them to do at some point? Maybe. But there really isn’t anything more this community can do to make it more clear that we’d like them to do that, to make a case stronger than the one they already have before them that they’re deciding to ignore.
It’s out of our hands.
The Rotten Tomatoes number has become its own narrative. That’s… not good news.
It’s time to inform the Senate that our ability to clear $200 million opening weekend has diminished.
I’ve heard people call it “The Bow TIE” and I like that.
Also, this is the first episode of this show that I’ve REALLY liked. Characterization was good, the interaction between the characters was good - it was the first episode that seemed to be making some serious choices and following through on them. Plus the pacing was GREAT.
Deborah Chow and Rick Famuyiwa are easily the two voices on this show with the best handle on how to make it all work.
That just… doesn’t make any sense.
Which is a thing I don’t know why it still surprises me to say. “I was wrong” and “That doesn’t make any sense” are phrases that have gotten heavy, heavy workouts in the last 10 or so years, haha.
We’re in trouble!
Even if it noses above 60% by this Friday (which is possible, no doubt) that would still make it the 2nd worst reviewed Star Wars film on RT. Just above The Phantom Menace, which only sank to rotten status thanks to the 3D re-release giving critics a second shot at appraising it with 10+ years of hindsight.
If that re-release hadn’t happened, this would likely be the worst reviewed Star Wars film on that site. (well, not counting The Clone Wars, directed by Dave Filoni)
Whether that affects the legs, who knows. This holiday season is still almost perfectly primed for a very long, record-breaking run for a movie that really keys into public sentiment in a big way. But I don’t know if Rise of Skywalker ended up being that movie. It might have the runway paved and only jog halfway down it.
I mean, if this movie is a big overstuffed mess, I’ll be okay with it. Attack of the Clones didn’t ruin Empire Strikes Back or A New Hope. This won’t ruin The Last Jedi. Kevin J. Anderson didn’t make me stop reading books. It’s perfectly Star Wars for Star Wars to end on a weirdly overstuffed and kinda unsatisfying note (ROTS, ROTJ, TROS I guess?) so I’m… fine with it. There are other movies to watch this Winter (Uncut Gems, 1917… CATS, hahaha - Oh god, what if that movie gets a higher RT score) so I’m not too worried about whether Star Wars, which is only barely more good than it is bad as a film series (which makes it pretty good so far as long-running film series go) ends on a shrug.
But that essay is sort of weird. It almost reads like a eulogy for all the time that guy spent writing about Star Wars on fansites people don’t read. “I’m sure it’s trash but I’ll like it anyway” is an interesting choice of epitaph for 20+ years of volunteer work.