By Marc Woodfork
Well, it’s not entirely horrible, but it’s not good. The ninth and final installment of the “Skywalker Saga” has arrived and it disappoints. Everything that audiences did not like about the eighth film “The Last Jedi,” there are some of those elements in this film as well. Firstly, there is more than one film taking place. There’s actually three films going on in “Rise of Skywalker.” J.J. Abrams decided to not worry bout giving us a good story and went with the “wow” factor. He throws everything including the kitchen sink into this film. Very heavy on noise, i.e.: SFX and CGI. As you would expect, there’s tons of action and loud explosions.
We deserved more. The characters deserved more. Chewbacca, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, C3PO, R2-D2, Lando, all deserved a better send-off. What we got is a very “Disney” Star Wars film – even more so than the others. Disney has a specific formula for their films and they stick to it no matter what. But, “Star Wars” doesn’t fit into that formula. How was “Rogue One” able to avoid the Disney formula and be so good? “The Mandolorian,” also a Disney product, is excellent. But the franchise sagas are unsatisfying and disappointing. “Rise of Skywalker” relies heavily on nostalgia. A little nostalgia is fine, but at some point we’re going to need substance. The filmmakers didn’t try to give us what we deserved. We deserved a much smarter story.
Those of us who stood in line for hours back in 1977 for Episode IV, those of us who bought the toys, the costumes, and the tons of other merchandise deserved better. Shame on Disney for selling us out. Most of us are now in our late 40s and early 50s and we can handle a film that didn’t rely on fuzzy creatures and lame one-liners from underdeveloped characters. Half way through “Rise,” I didn’t care if everyone died. I found myself hoping something dramatic would happen so I could feel something. But no. My hopes were dashed. Instead, we got Adam Driver struggling to find something he can grab onto with his poorly written shell of a character. I like Adam Driver. In any other film that he has been involved with, he has been brilliant. I hope this role hasn’t tarnished his career.
What has been tarnished, is the “Star Wars” legacy. For new younger fans, they’ll love it. For us, who literally grew up with Star Wars, it’s a sad ending to not only a franchise, but to the wonder and imagination that it gave us. In the final analysis, Star Wars needs to go away for a long, long time. Filmmakers need to walk away from it and dream it up all over again.