A massive case of deja vu overcomes you in the latest final chapter of the Star Wars Saga, in which you can’t help but say, “I have a bad feeling about this……”
A lot happens in the two hour running time of The Rise OF Skywalker. There are epic space battles, lightsaber duels aplenty, many plots are tied up and there is a brisk pace to the entire story-line. But once the final credits roll, until the inevitable next chapter in a few years time, a sad realisation dawns on you. Have we really moved forward in the 37 years since Return Of The Jedi closed off to a generation of fans?
Its a question that only die hard fans can answer themselves as if there are a trilogy of films that were so divisive between the fan-base then Disney’s new saga that began in 2015 will surely hold top spot!
Many loved The Force Awakens for being a love letter to its original set of films, but a same amount of fans hated it for not being new or different to what was before. The Last Jedi dared to branch out and show that there was a whole wide world away from the landscape created by George Lucas, but was met with harsh criticism and a sluggish box office with fans hating it for not doing Star Wars things and so JJ Abrams was back in the director’s chair to basically remake Return Of The Jedi! Which in-turn will no doubt annoy fans for not being different from before and refusing to move away from the landscape created by Lucas……….can you see the problem here?
JJ more or less ignores everything that The Last Jedi set out to do! Rey’s parentage plot-line that was instantly dismissed in the last film, is now resurrected, much like Emperor Palpatine, who is surprisingly back from the dead, seeking revenge towards the Resistance and wanting to bring fear through the depth of space.
It seems the desire to get back the footing that The Force Awakens set out, leaves a breathless pace and the film is very much once more in tune of the old original set of films, but there is a feeling that the plot itself is very disjointed, mainly thanks to the re-writes that engulfed the writers before a camera started rolling.
Rey (Daisy Ridley) is now very strong with the force and has been training with Leia, the wonderful late Carrie Fisher who offers a bittersweet sadness to every scene she appears in. They discovers that Palpatine is alive and well, so Rey along with the usual bunch of Finn (John Boyega) a very Han Solo inspired Poe (Oscar Issac) and of course Chewie and C3P0, go off on a treasure hunt to have find clues to where the evil Emperor now resides.
Its basically an A to B of storytelling with the gang going from one planet to another, with the next basic evil threat only five minutes away. That is not a complaint, because most Star Wars films follow the same blueprint, but after eight films before this, you do yearn for something spectacular to jump out on you.
It all feels a bit too safe and samey. There is nothing on show here that we haven’t seen before and for the older fan, you will get frustrated. Don’t get me wrong, for the much younger generation, they will lavish what is appearing on the screen and in someways that is probably what Star Wars is set to do, to appease the young children, for them to be blown away like we were, way back when the first Scrawl appeared on the big screen in 1977.
The best character in this new re-boot is the tortured Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and its here that his scenes with Rey that create the film’s heartbeat. Both are fantastic in this and while the reveal of who Rey is, will not bring the huge “OH MY” like when Darth Vader uttered that famous line to Luke, its the development of Kylo that brings the much needed surprises and is quite a pleasing watch!
There is nothing in Rise that reaches the majestic heights of the “Duel Of The Fates” and the climatic showdown is more or less Return Of the Jedi’s offering, but more grand scale and better special effects that keeps your attention but never really grips you with excitement.
Some surprising cameos will delight fans of old and there is a final bittersweet scene that will bring a smile, but overall you sense that while there was a lot of potential in bringing Star Wars back to a whole new generation, its somehow got lost to appease the entire fan-base.
Now that the new saga has ended, we look back at the trilogy of films, in which we have an Evil Emperor, a young Jedi, being trained by an old Jedi, a parenting reveal, deaths of a loved character, a dashing rogue in control of the Millennium Falcon and two droids by the name of C3P0 and R2D2 in the middle of the chaos, and we ask…
What have we really learnt?
That in the universe of Star Wars, nothing much changes and history has a habit of repeating itself. Lets hope, somewhere in the future of this vast galaxy, where the Skywalker name is nothing now but legend, a new hero awaits and a brand new threat emerges to bring excitement once more….
If The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda has showed us fans something, there is new hope in the old saga yet!