Movie Review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 2019

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Probably no thanks to the bad reviews (or not), we had been setting aside the urge to watch this third instalment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy which incidentally also is the final episode of the nine-part “Skywalker saga” as soon as it comes to the cinemas. Poster source: www.starwars.com.

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But being a die-hard Star Wars fan – no matter how “bad” Star Wars movie is, we had to watch it on the big screen. After all, I had watched all the Star Wars movies (except for Solo which I missed because I was away on work assignment) in the big screen and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker being the last of the Skywalker saga, I knew I had to watch this on the big screen as well (my kids have had the same urge as well).

We opted to watch it at TGV Sunway Pyramid so, considering the parking madness at peak hours, we went there rather early. We booked the tickets early so we managed to get good seats even though it was packed by the time the movie started.

Some of the parents brought their kids as well and I guess they did not teach or explained to their kids to be quiet once the movie started. Because once the movie started, one kid at the front keeps talking loudly and screaming. Thankfully the sound system in the theatre was loud enough to drown this pesky sound from the kid in front.

One thing I agreed with the critics – this final instalment in the Skywalker saga had departed drastically from the core storyline started off in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and which continued in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It is almost like they started the story of the saga all over again in this movie. They had replaced the original director & writer, Colin Trevorrow and brought back J. J. Abrams due to misunderstanding on where the storyline supposes to head.

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(The fallen pieces of a Death Star in Kef Bir, surrounded by huge waves and bad weather. A must-see scene on the big screen. Image source:www.bgr.com)

So whatever we watched in this movie would have been primarily coming from J.J. Abrams (I guess). Interestingly a recent leak, however, gave us a glimpse of how the storyline would have been had Colin Trevorrow continued with his storyline & direction:-

So, what does the leak entail? First up, Episode 9 wasn’t called Rise of Skywalker. The original title? Star Wars: Duel of the Fates – a reference to the epic John Williams score from that Phantom Menace Darth Maul fight.

That’s not the only big change. Palpatine barely features in Duel of the Fates, with his only appearance coming via holocron message. It was originally meant for Darth Vader, telling him to take Luke Skywalker to ancient Sith Master Vor Talum. Instead, Kylo heeds the message and goes there himself – but not before being wounded by the holocron and forced to have the melted down metal of a Mandalorian helmet welded to his face. Ouch.

On the side of the Resistance, Rose (who reportedly had a much larger role to play than in Rise of Skywalker), Finn, C-3PO, and R2-D2 head to Coruscant in search of a beacon that will potentially call on allies to join them in the fight against the First Order.

Meanwhile, the details for Rey’s arc are less vague – and still shifting around at the first draft stage most likely – but she does meet Luke as a Force Ghost who, himself, spends the first half of Duel of the Fates haunting Kylo Ren. Just let that image linger for a second: Luke haunting Kylo. Wow.

It all culminates in Kylo being trained by the “Lovecraftian” Vor Talum, losing to a phantom Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel (which sounds like the coolest thing ever, let’s be honest) and confronting Rey on the mystical planet of Mortis.

It’s here where things end: Kylo reveals he killed Rey’s parents – identity unknown – on Snoke’s orders, and he’s later “extinguished” despite the best efforts of Force Ghosts Luke, Obi-Wan, and Yoda trying to bring him over to the Light Side.

That’s only the beginning. There’s so much to cover – BB-8 stealing a Star Destroyer, Leia’s role, and Kylo’s beard – so if you have a spare two hours, it’s worth immersing yourself in the entire video.

(Source)

It sounded like the original script would have done proper justice to the closure of the saga. Anyway, let’s move on with the review.

Ignoring what was written & analysed on the net, personally I feel this movie was well made and the storyline (even though departing from the earlier movies) was engaging enough even though I had a hard time understanding how the Emperor Palpatine can still be alive?

Palpatine’s return is only vaguely alluded to by the Sith Lord – he teases he cheated death without ever going into the specifics – but the film lays out a couple of clues. Firstly, there’s the fact the Emperor’s frail body is connected to a series of tubes on a machine, which is tended to by followers who cover their faces. Is there a chance someone recovered his body from the Death Star wreckage and hooked him up to it?

In addition, we see a lot of Force healing in this movie (more on that later) and we already know the Dark Side gives people the power to “cheat death”. Does this, plus the fact he manages to regenerate when he drains the life from Rey and Kylo, suggest he was able to return? We reckon it’s a mixture of these elements.

(Source)

I also had a hard time understanding how the long-dead Emperor managed to build up the huge armada of Star Destroyers – each of it capable to destroy a planet without the Rebels (or the First Order) finding of it. I also had a hard time accepting that Supreme Leader Snoke was nothing but clones created by the Emperor.

Considering that it is the last of the series in the “Skywalker saga”, I liked how J. J. Abrams brought back all the past characters of the Star Wars. Hans Solo is back and so are Lando Calrissian, Luke’s X-Wing, Hans Solo saying “I know” and a return to Tatooine. We now also know the back-story of Rey’s parents – her father is actually Emperor Palpatine’s son which makes Rey the granddaughter of the evil Emperor Palpatine. So who is Rey’s grandmother then?

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(The next best thing in the galaxy far, far away – Babu Frik who don’t talk much but extracted key information from C-3PO’s brain. Image source: www.collider.com)

There were indeed lost opportunities – for example The Knights of Ren. They were shown briefly but nothing much came out from them. And the other one is the rebelled storm troopers hiding away in Kef Bir. We all loved the new character – Babu Frik, the engineer who extracts Sith text from C-3PO’s memory. Poe’s decision to do hyperspace jump the Millennium Falcon was crazy and something will get you totally glued to the scene and resist to blink your eyes.

Rather impressive is also the planet of Kef Bir where Rey locates the wayfinder on the remains of the second Death Star – the huge waves is a must watch on a big screen. You can feel the raw power of the waves and also the comparative size of the Death Star.

But in the end, they had to pull out the iconic scene from the Avengers End Game movie – the part where Thanos’ army comes to wipe out everything in its path and Captain America standing alone facing them and all hopes had lost. Captain America gets a message from Falcon “on your left”.

The same happened here. Poe Dameron: My friends, I’m sorry, I thought we had a shot. There’s just too many of them. Lando Calrissian: But there are more of us, Poe. There are more of us.

And of course, being the last of the Skywalker saga, in the end, you will hear the past Jedi mind voices encouraging Rey in her fight against her grandfather, the Emperor (it was something very cool):-

As Rey lies on the floor, having been beaten by the Emperor, she reaches out to the Jedi to be with her. As the camera zooms into space, we hear voices. Here’s a list of every Jedi voice we hear, plus what they say.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (both Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness): “These are your final steps, Rey. Rise and take them… Rey… Rise.”

Anakin Skywalker: “Rey… Bring back the balance, Rey, as I did… The Force surrounds you, Rey… Let it lift you.”

Ahsoka Tano, from Clone Wars animated movie and series: “Rey”

Kanan Jarrus, from Rebels TV series: “Rey… In the heart of a Jedi lies their strength.”

Luminara Unduli, seen in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, speaking role in Clone Wars TV series: “The light. Find the light, Rey.”

Qui-Gon Jinn: “Every Jedi who ever lived, lives in you… We stand behind you, Rey… Rise.”

Aayla Secura, seen in Revenge of the Sith, main role in The Clone Wars: “Let it guide you.”

Mace Windu: “Feel the Force flowing through you, Rey.”

Adi Gallia, seen in Phantom Menace, main role in The Clone Wars: “Rise, Rey.”

Yoda: “Rise in the Force, Rey.”

Luke Skywalker: “Rey, the Force will be with you. Always.”

(Source)

That was a huge disappointment despite the huge battle in the background, X-Wings being blown again, Star Destroyers battling huge Rebel fleet and Rey & Kylo battling the evil Emperor on the ground.

Despite the confusion relating to the storyline, overall this movie did not disappoint the die-hard Star Wars fan. Given the point that this will be the “last of the Skywalker saga”, the closure was worth it. Now I am waiting for the spin-off movies from the Star Wars galaxy – will we see some of the lovable characters again?

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