Star Wars 9: The Sky of Ricewalker: A senseless, incoherent nightmare.

PsychedelicDiamond

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Dear Escapist friends,

I've been meaning to post my impressions of the new Star Wars movie into the Last Movie You Watched thread but then I realized there wasn't a thread on the conclusion of the new Star Wars trilogy yet and I thought I'm gonna get more attention this way.

Anyway, I just saw Episode 9 and I want to make clear that I went into it with pretty low expectations. And I take no pleasure in saying that, unlike many people I've so far been relatively positive on the new Star Wars movies and felt that Episode 8, flawed and awkward as it surely was in a number of places, was a subtle indication of the series finally finding a new voice in something that's not simply a repetition of the old Star Wars movies. Rise of Skywalker served as a grim reminder that, despite the best efforts of individual creators like Rian Johnson, the series is now owned by people who have great interest in adding to Star Wars as a brand but are neither interested, nor for the most part capable, of adding to it as a story and any good movie that's gonna come out of it needs to be regarded as an accident.

While I need to think it over for a bit, Rise of Skywalker as of now has a decent chance of dethroning Attack of the Clones as my least favourite Star Wars movie. And that's no small feat, let me tell you.

When it was announced that Colin Trevorrow, originally considered to direct Episode 9, was let go over creative differences and JJ. Abrams, director of Episode 7, was brought back in to direct Episode 9 most of my excitement for it went away. Episode 7, coincidentally, sits comfortably as my second least favourite movie in the series. And it had Phantom Menace to compete with. Of all the directors who had been directing Star Wars movies so far I don't think any one deserved another chance less than Abrams and yes, that includes George Lucas. Still, I make it a point of approaching every movie I watch with all the good will in the world so while I didn't expect Rise of Skywalker to be very good I surely wanted it to be. The reviews, of course, did very little to raise my confidence but then, critics have been wrong before.

The movie was an absolute trainwreck, though. And I'm not putting this lightly. I hated almost every single thing about its story, starting with the opening crawl and this is not an exaggeration. I'm gonna spoil the movie here. If you don't want to be spoiled on it, feel free to stop reading but if you want my semi professional opinion as a semi professional film critic, life's too short to watch Rise of Skywalker.

One of the first thing establishes is the fact that Emperor Palpatine is still alive, which is one of numerous absurd asspulls the movie employs to justify its own existence. If you wonder how he survived, then rest assured that so do I because the movie never explains it. He's around because the movie needed a villain who's not Kylo Ren, though talking about him, one of the movies few redeeming qualities is Adam Drivers visible disgust at the material he's been given. Either way, Palpatine is still alive and had a fleet of dormant Star Destroyers equipped with planet destroying weapons... just lying around, I guess, which he offers to the First Order. Rey and her friends in the Resistance, meanwhile, go on a number of pointless fetchquests to destroy them.

The first half of the movie is an absolutely baffling affair in both structure and pacing. It's a rushed, hectic mess that feels like it's skipping entire scenes in a desperate attempt to get to the equally incoherent action sequences quicker. There is a chase scene in a desert relatively early on that, I think, was trying to remind me of Mad Max Fury Road yet serves as an example of doing wrong everything Fury Road did right in framing a vehicle based chase through a desert in a way that the viewer can actually tell what's going on. The plot settles into a steady rythm of disjointed filler, mostly defined by small nuggets of bad taste like the lifeless corpse of Carrie Fisher being puppeted around Weekend at Bernies style to serve as a supporting character.

Eventually the movie reveals to us, and I'm not making this up, that Rey is the grand daughter of Emperor Palpatine. The daughter of his son, that he had, apparently, and that some poor soul writing Expanded Universe novels has to come up with a backstory for. This was the point where I was all but ready leave the theater, if I weren't a professional, of course. Last Jedi establishing that Rey was, indeed, not related to anyone important served as an important step for the series away from its rigid focus on exceptional bloodlines to a more grounded and more humanist view of importance not as something inherited but as something acquired. Rey being a normal girl with no special background was Last Jedi's best idea and Abrams, bitter and hateful little man that he is, couldn't just leave it. You can almost feel his frustration about not being able to make a movie remotely as good as Johnson's, even on his second attempt.

Rise of Skywalker is a movie about tearing down everything that was accomplished since the ending of the original trilogy. Literally, in a sense. The Empire is back, the Emperor is back, the Original Trilogy and the triumph on which it ended might as well not have happened at all. But even narratively all Star Wars has done to evolve, even under Disney, has been discarded in favour of... well, what exactly? My first impulse was to call it fanservice but that's not exactly right.

Rise of Skywalker is a cynical attempt to pander to a deeply reactionary portion of the Star Wars fanbase, the very same portion that threw a fit over Last Jedi's more playful attitude towards the series narrative conventions. A portion of the fanbase who's ideal Science-Fiction movie is Starship Troopers, but unironically, and who, most likely, are gonna dismiss Rise of Sywalker anyway, simply for being directed by a Jew. You think that's a cynical view of the movie and its target audience? So did I, until a specific plotthread involving Finn.

Finn, you see, was built up as love interest for Rey in the first movie. So far so good. The second movie gave him a new love interest in an Asian character called Rose, who this movie mostly ignores. The cynic in me already assumed at that point that this was a studio mandated decision because the suits felt that pairing a black man with a white woman was somehow too risky so they felt the need to hook him up with an appropriately ethnic love interest in the sequel. Rise of Skywalker feels the need to give him yet another love interest, a black character named Jannah played by gorgeous Naomi Ackie. And this was where the movie genuinely started to gross me out. Well, you know, that and the Carrie Fisher thing. This felt like a downright capitulation to complaints about big Hollywood studios promoting miscegenation or "racemixing" and an apology for ever pairing a black man up with a woman of a different ethnicity. So now Finn finally has a black love interest and me and my fellow Caucasians can sleep easy, knowing that white genocide has once again been averted. Great fucking job, Mickey.

And that's the movie in a nutshell. It's this weird, nonsensical, kinda gross thing that I hope I'll never have to see again. A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It gets somewhat better in its second half and there are aspects of the climax that I might have actually appreciated, had the pacing not been as rushed as it was. Some of the visuals around Palpatine were unusually dark and sinister for the series standards, which would have actually been cool, in a better movie but in this one it just stands as somewhat neat iconography that lacks any greater context. Kylo gets an entirely unearned redemption, Rey is being tempted by the Dark Side at a point where everyone knew that of course she wasn't gonna give into it, Hux gets... not quite a redemption, because even Abrams knew that making the fanatical space nazi sympathetic would be a step too far but a weird plotline that reveals he was feeding information to the Resistance, not because he had a change of heart but out of spite towards Kylo.

Basically, it's some stupid ass shit. I don't know what the future of the Star Wars series is gonna be but god knows I hope it's not more of... this. There's been a back and forth about wether Rian Johnson will actually get to direct his own trilogy and I hope it's actually gonna work out for him because Rise of Skywalker makes Last Jedi look like a masterpiece. There have also been rumors about Marvel Studios Kevin Feige working on Star Wars and while I dread to see him force the Marvel Cinematic Universes weird conservative subtext into Star Wars Disney has proven that they don't need Feige to do so, so how much worse can it be?

I don't know. This whole rant was probably mighty tiresome and excessively neckbeardy but venting about it afterwards is the only catharsis I'm gonna get out of Rise of Skywalker. So, in summary: Fuck J.J. Abrams, fuck Disney and fuck capitalism. Good night.
 

Marik2

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I've long accepted that I will just watch the new main Disney Star Wars movies as high budget fanfic. I am just gonna watch ships, lasers, and sabers clash while the plot and characters can be inconsequential. Disney did not accomplish anything with this trilogy other than make a couple of billions on the name alone and they really don't seem to understand what to do now. Are they going to make a new trilogy where the cycle repeats itself where we get a new emipre, rebels, and force people to fight once again? I would rather much have a high budget tv show about knights of the old republic, considering that star wars would work so much better as an actual episodic television show about multiple factions, sacred lineages, and galactic politics.
 

Dansen

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PsychedelicDiamond said:
Finn, you see, was built up as love interest for Rey in the first movie. So far so good. The second movie gave him a new love interest in an Asian character called Rose, who this movie mostly ignores. The cynic in me already assumed at that point that this was a studio mandated decision because the suits felt that pairing a black man with a white woman was somehow too risky so they felt the need to hook him up with an appropriately ethnic love interest in the sequel. Rise of Skywalker feels the need to give him yet another love interest, a black character named Jannah played by gorgeous Naomi Ackie. And this was where the movie genuinely started to gross me out. This felt like a downright capitulation to complaints about big Hollywood studios promoting miscegenation or "racemixing" and an apology for ever pairing a black man up with a woman of a different ethnicity. So now Finn finally has a black love interest and me and my fellow Caucasians can sleep easy, knowing that white genocide has once again been averted. Great fucking job, Mickey.
This is one of the aspects of the new trilogy that really pissed me off. Fringe right weirdos rail against the "SJWs" taking over Hollywood when shit like this proves the corporate Hollywood "agenda" is nothing more than social currency to them. They don't stand for shit and don't give a damn about your "culture wars". By that same token anyone treating Disney as a bastion of progressive ideals is deluded and need to stop putting trust in corporations to enact social change.

The majority of interracial romances in Hollywood involve white men hooking up with non-white women but heaven forbid Disney reverse the roles and put their money where their mouth is. Finn was obviously set up to be romantically involved with Ray but then TLJ throws in an asian lady to protect white purity, and now since that likely pissed of Asian racists Finn is now tossed a black woman to fall in love with. There is an added layer of grossness to it considering how willing they were to retcon the romance twice, its like the only reason these female characters exist is to be love interests. How very feminist of you Disney./s

Just to gross you out more apparently their is a lesbian couple smooching in one of the last scenes, placed obscurely enough for many people to miss it. I think part of the marketing push for this film was about how their would be a gay kiss in the film but its between two rando extras. So brave, so manipulative. Barf.

Maybe this might cheer you up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sFbLppuhhs&t
 

Marik2

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I thought Rose was put there to appeal to China, and maybe they got mad that a black guy was going to pair with her?
 
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Here's the thing.

From what I've seen, Star Wars was the very franchise that made Movie Marketing a real thing. There's a reason why In the Plastic Star Wars figures can easily sell above 250,000 dollars [https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/movies/2019/10/23/star-wars-boba-fett-action-figure-potentially-record-breaking-auction/4076239002/] just this year.

Disney bought Star Wars in hopes of keeping that tradition going. The thing is that Star Wars never set out to be a toy multimedia empire. Just to tell its story well.

Disney is trying to keep it as a toy selling juggernaut, and every once and a while remember that there should be a story.
 

Elfgore

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Dansen said:
Just to gross you out more apparently their is a lesbian couple smooching in one of the last scenes, placed obscurely enough for many people to miss it. I think part of the marketing push for this film was about how their would be a gay kiss in the film but its between two rando extras. So brave, so manipulative. Barf.

Maybe this might cheer you up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sFbLppuhhs&t
Don't worry. The internet weirdos are already on it and calling this the downfall of western civilization and pandering of the highest degree.

Is it a masterpiece? Nah. Were a lot of plot points kinda just abandoned or left unexplained? Hell yeah. RIP fucking Knights of Ren, we literally didn't know ye. Did I enjoy the two and a half hours in the movie theater? Yeah, I really did. I have a low standard for most Star Wars media, because it will never get better. Any aspect that tried to explore new ground or interesting plot points now has been abandoned due to EU purge. It will be this most likely as long as Disney owns it.
 

Squilookle

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You know, if everybody stopped posting in the 'last movie you watched' thread and just made their own thread for each movie, then we'd ALL have more discussion for each movie.

Anyway, my expectations couldn't be lower going into it. Not because of the way Star Wars is being handled, but because of the insane fanbase and just knowing they would have to kowtow to all those stupid, rabid morons. I liked Rise about as much as I liked all the new trilogy. Glaring errors, characters that live in the moment and don't really ever change, but some mostly good dumb fun that you just forget about 30 mins after leaving the cinema. I don't think anything they retconned from Last Jedi made it any better.

Still way better than the godawful prequels and Rogue One though.
 

Marik2

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So Rey wasn't a clone of palpatine? There were theories of her or Snoke being a clone of the emperor in the event that he dies.
 

Dalisclock

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Marik2 said:
I wish zontar was here to talk about it.
I hate to ask but did he die or something? He kinda dropped off the map like a year ago. I don't remember him leaving, just that his obnoxious presence was suddenly gone.

I went ahead and read the spoilers, because I already know it's going to be impossible to avoid being spoiled since I don't plan on seeing it in the near future.

Yeah, I'm just disappointed, both by the apparent attempts to retcon pretty much everything interesting TLJ did and falling shamelessly back on old tropes(Palpatine back from the dead? Really?). I had really, really mixed feeling on TLJ but I admired the fact it was trying to do something new and interesting, even if the execution was frequently flawed and the film was messy as hell.

Also, apparently they did this really wierd inserting what footage they had left of Carrie Fisher and writing the other actors in around her because apparently that's less awkward then just her be dead. Then again, I'm shocked they didn't just have her die in the one scene in TLJ considering Carrie Fisher died for real. It would have been an easy way to write her out of the film and not look stupid as hell(somehow force pulling her way back into the ship while suffocating a vaccuum).

I also find it really weird they put a gay kiss in the movie and it's two random extras, instead of just going with Finn and Poe which seems like what was hinted at in the earlier films.
 

Marik2

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Dalisclock said:
Marik2 said:
I wish zontar was here to talk about it.
I hate to ask but did he die or something? He kinda dropped off the map like a year ago. I don't remember him leaving, just that his obnoxious presence was suddenly gone.

I went ahead and read the spoilers, because I already know it's going to be impossible to avoid being spoiled since I don't plan on seeing it in the near future.

Yeah, I'm just disappointed, both by the apparent attempts to retcon pretty much everything interesting TLJ did and falling shamelessly back on old tropes(Palpatine back from the dead? Really?). I had really, really mixed feeling on TLJ but I admired the fact it was trying to do something new and interesting, even if the execution was frequently flawed and the film was messy as hell.

Also, apparently they did this really wierd inserting what footage they had left of Carrie Fisher and writing the other actors in around her because apparently that's less awkward then just her be dead. Then again, I'm shocked they didn't just have her die in the one scene in TLJ considering Carrie Fisher died for real. It would have been an easy way to write her out of the film and not look stupid as hell(somehow force pulling her way back into the ship while suffocating a vaccuum).

I also find it really weird they put a gay kiss in the movie and it's two random extras, instead of just going with Finn and Poe which seems like what was hinted at in the earlier films.
He just left like so many other people who have not logged in over a year. I would have liked TLJ if it didn't chicken out in the end with repeating the cycle of good vs evil. It undermined its own message of burning everything to the ground and just make your own path.
 

PsychedelicDiamond

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Marik2 said:
I thought Rose was put there to appeal to China, and maybe they got mad that a black guy was going to pair with her?
I doubt that a Vietnamese actress was specifically meant to appeal to China. I assume if they wanted to do that, they would have simply cast a Chinese actress.
 

twistedmic

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PsychedelicDiamond said:
Finn, you see, was built up as love interest for Rey in the first movie. So far so good. The second movie gave him a new love interest in an Asian character called Rose, who this movie mostly ignores.
Was Finn really set up to be a love interest for Rey? Outside of him asking her if she had a boyfriend, Finn's interactions with Rey could be read as a platonic friendship.
The cynic in me already assumed at that point that this was a studio mandated decision because the suits felt that pairing a black man with a white woman was somehow too risky so they felt the need to hook him up with an appropriately ethnic love interest in the sequel.
Finn did not seem sexually attracted to Rose, and Finn has no control over who finds him sexually attractive.


Rise of Skywalker feels the need to give him yet another love interest, a black character named Jannah played by gorgeous Naomi Ackie.
What, exactly, makes Jannah a love interest to Finn? The fact that they talked together? Is that the only requisite to being a love interest? Maybe it was the fact that they went into battle together? Finn seemed shocked that he found more people who had defected from the First Order like he did. He did not strike me as drooling over her or wanting to get in her pants. And there did not seem to be enough time for any romantic feelings to develop between Finn and Jannah. This movie had a short time-frame of only a few days if I'm not mistaken.

Finally, at the end Finn immediately sought out Poe and Rey, the first two people he befriended once he fled the First Order. He didn't search out Rose or Jannah or some random Resistance chick.

And this was where the movie genuinely started to gross me out. This felt like a downright capitulation to complaints about big Hollywood studios promoting miscegenation or "racemixing" and an apology for ever pairing a black man up with a woman of a different ethnicity. So now Finn finally has a black love interest and me and my fellow Caucasians can sleep easy, knowing that white genocide has once again been averted. Great fucking job, Mickey.
I feel like this is either some hardcore projecting or you reading insanely too deep into a simple movie. Nothing I saw in the sequel trilogy gave me the indication that Disney was pushing any kind of racial message or agenda, other than maybe skin color doesn't matter.
 

crimson5pheonix

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I've read all the spoilers on the movie but won't be paying to watch it after getting burned over 8, but as someone who well and truly despised TLJ and all retconning and plot killing it did, literally killing and retconning it is probably the worst move 9 could have made.

There's something to be said for sticking to your guns for the sake of an artistic vision, it's the one big advantage the prequels have over the sequels, and it's definitely apparent now that the sequels being handled by different people who don't talk to each other at all has left the series in very poor shape. The plot is muddled and everything feels like it was put together at the last minute.
 

Terminal Blue

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I think Disney massively, massively overestimated how much people care about Star Wars when they bought the license, and the more these films come out the more I find myself wondering who they are actually made for.

They aren't made for the small group of awful man-children who for whatever reason are still genuinely passionate about Star Wars, because they consistently shit on the kinds of things those people like about Star Wars.

They aren't made for kids, because kids aren't interested in this visually drab 1970s aesthetic or sad boomer pseudo-mysticism (them toy sales).

Which leads me to the conclusion that these films are made for two groups of people.

1) People who are genuinely so out of the loop that they buy the Disney PR line that these films are giant cultural events and that if you don't see them you won't possibly keep up with the cultural zeitgeist of which Star Wars is such an integral part here in 2019.
2) People who have children, have nostalgic feelings about Star Wars, will take their children to see these films specifically to try and bond with them and will aggressively pretend to be interested because it's easier than pretending to be interested in Fortnite.

It's weird. I defended the previous films, mostly because a lot of the criticisms they have faced were in extremely bad faith and because they're still better than the awful drek Marvel puts out every few months to thunderous applause. But ultimately, they're not better enough.

Dansen said:
Just to gross you out more apparently their is a lesbian couple smooching in one of the last scenes, placed obscurely enough for many people to miss it. I think part of the marketing push for this film was about how their would be a gay kiss in the film but its between two rando extras. So brave, so manipulative. Barf.
A lot of queer people like Disney. Probably because Disney went through a long phase of queer-coding the hell out of villain characters in order to show that they were really bad people, thus unintentionally creating representation. But now that Disney knows a lot of queer people like them, they've adopted this self-conscious attitude of actually trying to keep the faggots happy, which means we get to see what Disney actually thinks will make us happy.

Turns out, it's not very flattering.
 

Lykosia_v1legacy

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Palpatine surviving isn't surprising. Darth Maul survived and he was cut in half and fell into a pit. Palpatine is actually well established villain unlike Snoke who we knew nothing about until Johnson stupidly killed him. It was TLJ that completely ruined the trilogy. It only managed to piss of fans. Rise has currently audience score of 86% on RT, which shows that JJ and Disney made the right call to try to forget TLJ.

The best part of Rise was Luke's FU to Rian Johnson: Jedi's weapon deserves more respect.
 
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The thing that most annoyed annoyed me is that if you wanted Palpatine back (which is something I feel you shouldn't have done but fine, whatevs) you already have a built in excuse for him to pop up: he's a force ghost too. What better way for the master manipulator who created the Clone Wars just to boost himself up into power to continue controlling things behind the scenes than to be a ghost who can be anywhere or influence anyone. Hell, it works thematically too, making the spectre of past evils hanging over the events of the sequel trilogy a literal evil spectre from the past. Why does he need a body, especially if you're going to play fast and loose with what exactly he needs that body to do?

And why the hell is Rey a Palpatine? You could excise that from the story entirely and it wouldn't change much. Not to mention the maths does not check out on that at all unless Naboo humans have a significantly different lifespan to normal humans.

The 'Final Order' fleet was just dumb on a number of levels. A) Where the hell did they come from? Alright we can say the Sith cultists (assuming they were all actually real) can be a free workforce but where are you getting supplies to build that many Star Destroyers? What about crew and skilled technicians? B) Pryde sent one out to go destroy that one planet...why not all the rest of them as well? Why keep hanging around on this planet you know they're vulnerable on when you're supposed to be quite clever? C) Them having planet killing lasers cheapens the effect of the Death Star and even Starkiller base even more, and makes me wonder if its just Sith law that you have to build your superweapons with an incredibly obvious weak spot. D) The First Order had already been shown with an apparently unlimited number of resources, massive ships and superweapons, this new fleet doesn't really raise the stakes at all

Overall this film was just...a mess. Trying to simultaneously do its own thing, do old things and try and satisfy or 'apologise' to fans all at once. Just forget all that and tell me a decent story for gods' sake
 

Johnny Novgorod

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I think nothing embodies Disney's complete unwillingness to compromise in any direction like the way they [didn't] handle the romantic and sexual elements in character relationships. Three movies of homoerotic tension between Finn and Poe, then nothing. Finn almost declares soomething (love?) for Rey, then nothing. Rose kisses and declares her love for Finn, then nothing. New character Zorii may have a thing with Poe. New character Jannah may have a thing with Finn. It's as if the Board Room was afraid of losing the such-and-such demographic if they ever went full steam ahead on any one relationship, so they kept things vague and meaningless so everyone can have their cake and eat it too.

Marik2 said:
So Rey wasn't a clone of palpatine? There were theories of her or Snoke being a clone of the emperor in the event that he dies.
She was his grandchild.
Not that I care but I don't know what the fuck Snoke was supposed to be.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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PsychedelicDiamond said:
Marik2 said:
I thought Rose was put there to appeal to China, and maybe they got mad that a black guy was going to pair with her?
I doubt that a Vietnamese actress was specifically meant to appeal to China. I assume if they wanted to do that, they would have simply cast a Chinese actress.
On the contrary, I think Rose was a deliberate (and misguided) attempt to appeal to China. To Asia in general.
Here in Argentina we recognize the casting of Diego Luna and Oscar Isaac as obvious attempts to ingratiate the movies with the Latin American demographic. We don't care that the actors are Mexican and Guatemalan. We get what they're trying to do.