The Rise of Skywalker: Professional Reviews

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Post by snufkin on Wed 8 Jan - 3:18

Not TRoS but Playboy (so NSFW) interviewed Rian and gets into how TLJ handled both sex (as a reflection on how he has/hasn't made it part of his writing) and faith. Which are worth reflecting on in terms of disappointment with how TRoS handles the characters and their relationship with one another as well as the Force. That's a huge part of what's so disappointing about the final chapter, that it shrifts on the coming of age/faith arcs for Rey and Ben seperately, as well as together, and though Rian likely isn't going to get into it in a press interview, how that intersects in their attraction/empathy/connection.

An Afternoon With the Brilliant and Baffling Rian Johnson

Across Johnson’s five features, I count two sex scenes: In The Brothers Bloom, Rachel Weisz’s character brings herself to orgasm with the help of a large pillow, and in Looper Joseph Gordon-Levitt lies with a mostly nude prostitute. (The scene breaks after a few lines.) Other than an entirely implied sex scene later in Looper and an intensely awkward makeout session in Bloom, that’s it. I ask Johnson whether that strikes him as unusual.

He laughs at this and counters, “Unless you count Rey and Kylo touching hands.” If you haven’t seen The Last Jedi, spoiler alert: That’s the closest it gets to a sex scene.

Here’s where he surprises me: “I’d like to give some like creative rationalization like, ‘Oh, for me it’s more about the tension between the two people, and the buildup to it is more interesting than the act.’ It’s also very possible that—look, I grew up religious. I’m not anymore, but I grew up very, very Christian. And that’s part of the reason I never got into horror movies: I wasn’t allowed to watch them when I was a kid. My parents were cool parents; they weren’t draconian or anything. But there’s probably some stuff that informed why I don’t touch the third rail in terms of wanting to be on set directing sex.”

Johnson was raised “Orange County Christian.” As he matured, and entirely of his own volition, faith became the lens through which he viewed the world. Then, quietly— “it’s not like I had an angry breakdown in faith at all”—his relationship with God shifted. He found Jung among his dad’s books and was taken by the idea that the object of faith was not necessarily a “cosmic entity,” that it could be “a structure that’s within my own psyche. All of that stuff is as real as anything. It’s just interior as opposed to exterior.”

Could this be the key to a deeper layer—deeper than the dense genre mechanics and underlying/understated social messages? Is Johnson’s experience of faith connected to his characters’ quests to solve mysteries, to alter the fabric of time, to touch hands with the dark side, to journey, as Marta does, from poverty and exile to grace? If they are, he’s not saying so. That’s for us to discover.

Maybe all this time Johnson has been looking for the denouement of his own story, whether he finds it through work or faith or some combination of the two.

“There is a raw power to reckoning with that,” he says, summing up his thoughts on religion. “That was a true source of power in my life, and you have to reconcile that in some way. I guess I’m still trying to.”
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Post by motherofpearl1 on Wed 8 Jan - 8:17

I feel as if all the promise of TFA and TLJ has been sacrificed on the altar of crowd pleasing brain dead action sequences and cardboard cut out heroes.

Funny thing is.....I'm currently watching The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance on Netflix. Astonishingly, a series where the characters are all puppets has more depth, human emotion, and genuinely moving moments than two and a half hours of live action storytelling.
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Post by Acritiqua on Wed 8 Jan - 19:09

https://in.ign.com/star-wars-episode-ix/143338/feature/why-the-end-of-rey-and-kylo-rens-story-is-so-disappointing

(Excerpt below, I bolded what I really agree with.)

The Force connection they share is exploited further in The Rise of Skywalker, but rather than being used to explore their dynamic, it’s used more for the sake of spectacle. Consider how small moments of physical exchange in TLJ (some drops of water materializing on Kylo’s hand) are replaced with lightsaber duels happening in multiple locations. Cool? Sure. But the deeper meaning of why this bond was even established feels subdued here, particularly when Rey and Kylo destroy Vader’s helmet, not in a conscious cooperative act, but accidentally mid-battle. The thematic coherence of this aspect of their relationship feels lost in the chaos of the film’s frantic plotting and roller coaster pacing.

A Broken Promise

But with two major plot turns, The Rise of Skywalker tries to get Rey and Kylo back on the path towards not just reconciliation, but romance.

The first is the reveal that Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter, which once again sends Rey into an existential crisis about her parentage, but this time saddling her with the same issue Kylo had: a grandparent on the Dark Side. Now her bloodline does matter, and it's no coincidence that Kylo is the one who reveals this information to her. After all, he is a tragic example of how the weight of an important lineage can turn someone to the Dark Side -- and now Rey is being crushed by it. While the attempt to create another mirror between the two makes sense in theory, it comes at the cost of being completely divorced from Rey’s character journey in the last two films. The shape of her own destiny she forged across the trilogy, the idea that her origins don’t need to define her capabilities, is destroyed. Becoming the Light Side’s new hero despite “having no place in this story” was powerful. Revealing that she did have a place in it all along feels like a shortcut to ensure Rey has another connection to Kylo rather than a natural evolution.

The second is Kylo’s rushed redemption arc, which makes no sense in the context it appears in. After Rey and Kylo's duel on the Death Star wreckage, a defeated Kylo gets another chance to turn to the Light with some help from the memory of his father, and this time he takes it. However, nothing that has happened to Ben in the previous movies or this one indicates that this would turn him. His opinion of his father hasn’t changed in any way since he murdered him, and his mother reaching out to him through the Force sadly falls flat given that they haven’t shared any scenes across the whole trilogy. Rey says she wanted to “take Ben’s hand” after healing him, and while that is an effective call-back to TLJ that could possibly get him to reconsider his morality, it also feels like a small piece of what should’ve been a larger arc across the movie. Instead, everything related to Ben’s turn has been shoved into this one scene. It’s not enough to communicate why, after all the horrific things he’s done, now is the moment he is redeemed.

Rather than getting us invested in an ending that felt thematically connected to the previous films or even coherent on its own terms, The Rise of Skywalker shuffles its pieces to get where it wants to go without justifying how it gets there. Ben joins Rey in her duel with Palpatine, running in with his father’s blaster, and all of his darkness is simply washed away. The idea of their connection being based on how they were representations of the Light and Dark Sides, how one came from nothing to become the last hope for the Light while the other was born from the Skywalker legacy and still turned to the Dark, is tossed aside. After such a strong first two acts, Rey and Kylo deserved a better conclusion, one that truly solidified the emotional bond these two characters were supposed to share.

Midway through TROS, Rey says “People keep telling me they know me. I’m afraid no one does.”

Maybe she was right.

And another great article from Morales that I largely like/agree with:

https://in.ign.com/star-wars-episode-ix/143166/feature/legacy-in-the-age-of-disneys-star-wars

About Solo:
But although EU works were generally considered “canon” by Lucasfilm, they often served as supplementary stories, threading the needle between the gaps left behind by the core films. It’s an approach no Star Wars film had taken before Solo, which offers up a Han Solo origin story propelled not by a formative journey Han needed to take to examine his character, but by a formative journey Han needed to take to acquire all of the stuff you might associate with or remember about Han Solo.

So, exactly like many Expanded Universe stories before it, Solo cannibalizes bits and pieces of Star Wars’ mythology for its own purposes to create a checklist of items Han must acquire to form the basis of its plot: Han Solo needs to get his name, get his blaster, get the Millennium Falcon, get the dice (did people even know Han had dice before the new movies became oddly fixated on them?), get Chewbacca, get Lando, get the Kessel Run under his belt, and get a troubled backstory to show why he was such a rogue when we first meet him in the Mos Eisley cantina.
Exactly. It's the story of how Han got all his stuff, including his name. I liked the Q'ira story personally. Han was terribly dull himself though.

And, back to TROS:
Unlike the previous sequel trilogy entries, The Rise of Skywalker was written and went into production after its direct predecessors were already being absorbed by the culture at large. As such, how it plays out isn’t only a reflection of the wider Star Wars legacy but also Disney’s reaction to the reactions to their own films. Plans change, new directions can emerge during scripting, production and even editing, but contrasting the synergy between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi with the creative decisions in The Rise of Skywalker is to witness a director and a studio twist themselves into pretzels out of fear of not being able to live up to a mythic legacy, not realizing that taking a bold stance was the only way to live up to it.
*Nods*

The genuine thoughtfulness about legacy in the first three films of this era has evaporated, and when it most needed to move forward, TROS runs back to bloodlines, back to fanservice, back to the safety and stability of easy comforts.

Yet that’s perhaps the most detrimental misunderstanding of what the Star Wars legacy ever meant. Star Wars didn’t become the mythology of our time by being safe, by being stable, or by being easy, because there was a time it couldn’t lean on nostalgia, on what came before.

There was a time when Star Wars knew to create new memories, not simply remind you of old ones.
*Nods some more*

(Morales didn't apparently see "romantic" in the connection in TLJ, so I disagree there. But otherwise, I agree.)
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Post by Lily Snape on Thu 9 Jan - 4:59

From Forbes:

“Whether due to J.J. Abrams’ determination to make the Star Wars trilogy he had in his head when he walked away after The Force Awakens or due to Disney and/or Lucasfilm believing the online hecklers, The Rise of Skywalker turned out to be both an oddly poor movie in terms of the fundamentals (a lack of buzzy action sequences, a lack of contemplative character beats, a movie that feels taped together in post-production, several core narrative elements that are vague enough to require post-release explanation, etc.) and a film that feels like an olive branch to the very angriest of Last Jedi detractors. The Rise of Skywalker looks like a franchise undone by listening to The Internet.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2020/01/08/christmas-saved-star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-from-box-office-disaster/#13329336553a
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Post by SW_Heroine_Journey on Thu 9 Jan - 5:20

@Lily Snape wrote:From Forbes:

“Whether due to J.J. Abrams’ determination to make the Star Wars trilogy he had in his head when he walked away after The Force Awakens or due to Disney and/or Lucasfilm believing the online hecklers, The Rise of Skywalker turned out to be both an oddly poor movie in terms of the fundamentals (a lack of buzzy action sequences, a lack of contemplative character beats, a movie that feels taped together in post-production, several core narrative elements that are vague enough to require post-release explanation, etc.) and a film that feels like an olive branch to the very angriest of Last Jedi detractors. The Rise of Skywalker looks like a franchise undone by listening to The Internet.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2020/01/08/christmas-saved-star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-from-box-office-disaster/#13329336553a
@Lily Snape

Per that article, they can thank their lucky stars the GA took their time to see the movie for the first time during Christmas week, or it would have been lucky if it reached 800 million.

In their aim to please TLJ haters, they forgot about the aspects of the fandom that supported them a lot (Reylos) and the GA. If the movie was very good, both (Reylos and GA) would have seen the movie A LOT. Meanwhile, those who did not like TLJ probably didn't bother to see it. The olive branch to them was all for nothing. (sigh).
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Post by Lily Snape on Thu 9 Jan - 5:35

@SW_Heroine_Journey wrote:
@Lily Snape wrote:From Forbes:

“Whether due to J.J. Abrams’ determination to make the Star Wars trilogy he had in his head when he walked away after The Force Awakens or due to Disney and/or Lucasfilm believing the online hecklers, The Rise of Skywalker turned out to be both an oddly poor movie in terms of the fundamentals (a lack of buzzy action sequences, a lack of contemplative character beats, a movie that feels taped together in post-production, several core narrative elements that are vague enough to require post-release explanation, etc.) and a film that feels like an olive branch to the very angriest of Last Jedi detractors. The Rise of Skywalker looks like a franchise undone by listening to The Internet.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2020/01/08/christmas-saved-star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-from-box-office-disaster/#13329336553a
@Lily Snape

Per that article, they can thank their lucky stars the GA took their time to see the movie for the first time during Christmas week, or it would have been lucky if it reached 800 million.

In their aim to please TLJ haters, they forgot about the aspects of the fandom that supported them a lot (Reylos) and the GA. If the movie was very good, both (Reylos and GA) would have seen the movie A LOT. Meanwhile, those who did not like TLJ probably didn't bother to see it. The olive branch to them was all for nothing. (sigh).
@SW_Heroine_Journey

With TFA and TLJ, myself and my husband and our kids saw it in theaters a few times, dragged relatives and friends to see it with us... with TROS, as I wrote to Lucasfilm (yep), none of us really want to see it again. The husband and kids, who are fairly GA with varying degrees of involvement but all fans, don’t have strong opinions on it like I do— but they didn’t love it. None of them were inspired to go out there and see it again. We have Disney Plus, so I’m sure someone will stream it at some point, but I won’t join them in watching it. I’ll fast-forward to the Reylo parts and blow through the rest.

So that’s one family. Now multiply that by all those other families out there. It’s just not a good movie. If the Ben Solo stuff didn’t matter to me, I’d think of it as enjoyable but mediocre fluff, and I’d forget about it.
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Post by SW_Heroine_Journey on Thu 9 Jan - 6:37

@Lily Snape wrote:
@SW_Heroine_Journey wrote:
@Lily Snape wrote:From Forbes:

“Whether due to J.J. Abrams’ determination to make the Star Wars trilogy he had in his head when he walked away after The Force Awakens or due to Disney and/or Lucasfilm believing the online hecklers, The Rise of Skywalker turned out to be both an oddly poor movie in terms of the fundamentals (a lack of buzzy action sequences, a lack of contemplative character beats, a movie that feels taped together in post-production, several core narrative elements that are vague enough to require post-release explanation, etc.) and a film that feels like an olive branch to the very angriest of Last Jedi detractors. The Rise of Skywalker looks like a franchise undone by listening to The Internet.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2020/01/08/christmas-saved-star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-from-box-office-disaster/#13329336553a
@Lily Snape

Per that article, they can thank their lucky stars the GA took their time to see the movie for the first time during Christmas week, or it would have been lucky if it reached 800 million.

In their aim to please TLJ haters, they forgot about the aspects of the fandom that supported them a lot (Reylos) and the GA. If the movie was very good, both (Reylos and GA) would have seen the movie A LOT.  Meanwhile, those who did not like TLJ probably didn't bother to see it.  The olive branch to them was all for nothing. (sigh).
@SW_Heroine_Journey

With TFA and TLJ, myself and my husband and our kids saw it in theaters a few times, dragged relatives and friends to see it with us... with TROS, as I wrote to Lucasfilm (yep), none of us really want to see it again.  The husband and kids, who are fairly GA with varying degrees of involvement but all fans, don’t have strong opinions on it like I do— but they didn’t love it.  None of them were inspired to go out there and see it again.  We have Disney Plus, so I’m sure someone will stream it at some point, but I won’t join them in watching it.  I’ll fast-forward to the Reylo parts and blow through the rest.

So that’s one family.  Now multiply that by all those other families out there.  It’s just not a good movie.  If the Ben Solo stuff didn’t matter to me, I’d think of it as enjoyable but mediocre fluff, and I’d forget about it.
@Lily Snape

Same!  I was GA prior to TLJ, and if I was still GA, I think I would have seen it 2 or 3 times, but probably be grateful for Disney+ it would be included versus buy it.  Interesting the GA you know had no interest to see it again, and you are right, multiply it by a lot, and it has an effect...a sizeable one!

I also sent letters - to Disney and LF!  

I could only see it once.  I tried to work up the energy to see it again, but I couldn't.  The movie is too empty to be worth it.  When it's on Disney+ for the first time, I'll probably check out the extra/deleted scenes, see if there is anything interesting, and pick and choose actual scenes with the movie.  I will probably never watch the entire movie again, unless by some perfect storm miracle Adam Driver returns, and then I can have it in perspective viewing.  For now, nope!  Because I feel icky about JJ, I can't watch TFA anymore.  I accept all movies are canon, yet my personal ST is Solo, Rogue One, and TLJ.
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Post by Armadeus on Mon 13 Jan - 11:34

The unholy trinity of YouTube reviewers discuss TROS Razz

Spoiler: they don't like the movie either.

Haven't seen the whole discussion yet, just sort of skimmed through it, but they agree the Rey and Kylo stuff are the best parts of the movie.

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Post by motherofpearl1 on Mon 13 Jan - 18:45

@Lily Snape wrote:
@SW_Heroine_Journey wrote:
@Lily Snape wrote:From Forbes:

“Whether due to J.J. Abrams’ determination to make the Star Wars trilogy he had in his head when he walked away after The Force Awakens or due to Disney and/or Lucasfilm believing the online hecklers, The Rise of Skywalker turned out to be both an oddly poor movie in terms of the fundamentals (a lack of buzzy action sequences, a lack of contemplative character beats, a movie that feels taped together in post-production, several core narrative elements that are vague enough to require post-release explanation, etc.) and a film that feels like an olive branch to the very angriest of Last Jedi detractors. The Rise of Skywalker looks like a franchise undone by listening to The Internet.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2020/01/08/christmas-saved-star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-from-box-office-disaster/#13329336553a
@Lily Snape

Per that article, they can thank their lucky stars the GA took their time to see the movie for the first time during Christmas week, or it would have been lucky if it reached 800 million.

In their aim to please TLJ haters, they forgot about the aspects of the fandom that supported them a lot (Reylos) and the GA. If the movie was very good, both (Reylos and GA) would have seen the movie A LOT. Meanwhile, those who did not like TLJ probably didn't bother to see it. The olive branch to them was all for nothing. (sigh).
@SW_Heroine_Journey

With TFA and TLJ, myself and my husband and our kids saw it in theaters a few times, dragged relatives and friends to see it with us... with TROS, as I wrote to Lucasfilm (yep), none of us really want to see it again. The husband and kids, who are fairly GA with varying degrees of involvement but all fans, don’t have strong opinions on it like I do— but they didn’t love it. None of them were inspired to go out there and see it again. We have Disney Plus, so I’m sure someone will stream it at some point, but I won’t join them in watching it. I’ll fast-forward to the Reylo parts and blow through the rest.

So that’s one family. Now multiply that by all those other families out there. It’s just not a good movie. If the Ben Solo stuff didn’t matter to me, I’d think of it as enjoyable but mediocre fluff, and I’d forget about it.

I actually enjoyed Solo a lot more than TROS, the problem with the latter is the downbeat ending.
There are those out there who genuinely approve of the ending, particularly one CBR poster who keeps arguing that the Skywalkers will continue because Rey's one now (lol), but most people whose views have been aired aren't happy about it. Even the Reylo kiss, magnificent though it is. 😁I love you, now feels almost as if they tossed it in to appease fans of the pairing, before ending it forever - "hey, quit whining, at least she got to enjoy snogging him before he snuffed it!"

What is laughable is KK went on about ending the Skywalkers then gave the name to Rey, which added insult to injury. I can't help but think that even the huge fail that was Palpwalker might have worked if Kylo had married Rey. They would have healed the past together.
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Post by snufkin on Wed 15 Jan - 2:24

Very good analysis of why the franchise/brand hasn't been able to cash in on the lucrative Chinese market. Ironic how the reasons cited as to why it didn't take off is in line w/the criticisms you'd hear from Western fans about TRoS

Why ‘Star Wars’ Keeps Bombing in China

“‘Star Wars’ in the West is really a kind of generational phenomenon,” she said, “the experience of sharing your experience with your kids.” She noted that the arc of the series was largely about family and full of callbacks, an evolving mythology and generational transitions.

“What we’ve seen is a lot of derivative activity, a lot of derivative characters, efforts to recapture the magic of the original trilogy,” she said. “That hasn’t caught on with audiences” in China.

Ms. Kokas said that the character known as Baby Yoda, from the series “The Mandalorian,” was an example of the franchise trying to recreate its greatest hits. “Yoda is gone, and we’re trying to bring the magic of ‘Star Wars’ into the next generation,” she said.
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