DIR: J.J. Abrams • WRI: Chris Terrio, J.J. Abrams • DOP: Dan Mindel • ED: Maryann Brandon, Stefan Grube • DES: Rick Carter, Kevin Jenkins • PRO: J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan • MUS: John Williams • DES: Michael Giaimo• CAST: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley
When George Lucas produced and directed the astoundingly successful lightning in a bottle that was Star Wars he very soon had a hindsight moment in were the whole thing was always going to be a nine-part saga, though Gary Kurtz the original producer might not agree. Whether Lucas likes it or not or whether we like it or not, the promise has been fulfilled, the ‘conclusion’ has finally been reached. We can only hope.
Opening with the usual Flash Gordon style primer for the adventure ahead, we are told that rumours of Emperor Palpatine’s demise have been greatly exaggerated and he is plotting the final push on universe-kind. Cut to Kylo-Ren looking suitably pissed off and doing some unconvincing lightsaber moves on a band of Palpatine’s soldiers in his attempts to retrieve an exotic looking GPS device to help him find the emperor. One device retrieval later and Kylo is chatting to the Emperor in his hidden lair. Of course it was the Emperor who was behind Snoke and every other darn bit of evil you can think of in the last two chapters while he has been readying himself for the real evil master plan.
Palpatine makes Kylo the same offer he gave his granddaddy. As part of the deal, Kylo must kill Rey as she poses a deeper threat to the Emperor’s success at evilness and despot type behaviour than your average resistance fighter. Soon he is trying to track down Rey as she and the merry band of resistance fighters are trying to track down a similar device to the one Kylo used to find the emperor in the first place. Got it? That’s basically a synopsis of the first half hour and it continues much in the same vein for the rest of the story as plot logic and what has gone before adds up to very little.
Back in the helm is JJ Abrams, directing with the safe pair of hands that seems to be required for the fanboy service this trilogy began with. Pretty much 70% of Rian Johnson’s plotting for the last ‘controversial’ Star Wars chapter, The Last Jedi has been ignored or laughingly turned on its head in this chapter. Rose, a key character from the last film and an enjoyable one to my mind, has been treated very shabbily here, relegated to hanging out with Princess General Leia as they plan their final attack on the emperor. The character and the actor suffered nasty comments from internet bullies and it seems that rather than defy the lambasting, the powers that be have kept her to one side to avoid the ire of such numb nuts that have nothing better to do than troll the internet.
The film is not without thrills and is definitely an amusing jaunt for the most part once you don’t think too hard about who, what or why. But if you do prefer character story over spectacle and a decent amount of logic to aid the storytelling then you will come out of the cinema frustrated. At least things are wrapped up well enough by the end of the credits that we really don’t need to visit this story again. But those nine chapters might easily end up being twelve chapters when the box-office count comes in.
12A (see IFCO for details)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is released 19th December 2019
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Official Website