Film: Star Wars Rise of the Skywalker
Cast: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamilton, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac
Director: JJ Abrams
Rating: *Counts the teardrops!*
I am still thanking my stars for the opportunity to witness this film, before most others. Star Wars took film form in 1977. And I dived into this fictional universe much, much later. But that's the magic of this generational saga. Four decades and 10 (Rouge One, that's there too) films later, the film continues to have a cult following and a fanbase that's spread across generations. If you, like me, are a fan of the Star Wars film franchise, you already know what's coming your way. So, let's get right into it.
The trailer of Rise Of The Skywalker gives us a good idea of all that's set to take place in the last and final episode. The film, too, checks off all the boxes that we expect from a Star Wars film. Does that mean it is the perfect end? Well, most of us have been too emotionally invested in this space science-fiction to answer that, so simply. But let's try. The film gave me all that I asked for. I got out of my seat with tears streaming down my face - not because it was bad, but because it was 'the end'. Yet, something didn't feel complete.
The first trilogy was about the Skywalker siblings. They find each other, their true identity and their father, Darth Vader. The second trilogy was about the journey of Anakin Skywalker to the dark side. We saw his childhood, his life as a Jedi and the reason he turned to the dark side. So far so good. The final trilogy introduced us to Rey and was the story of a scavenger on a hunt to find her parents. The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi touch upon this matter, but they also keep us hanging. So, we expect to get closure, like Rey herself, in the final film. And we do get it this time, but again - packed within a sequence or two. However, this means that we can expect a standalone film about Rey and her parents.
Now, finally, about the film! The visuals are stunning and every frame is aesthetically beautiful. There are space wars, newer planets and newer species, and droids along with the old ones. A few locations look me back to Rouge One. This film has all of our favourite characters and has introduced some kickass new ones. Zorri Bliss as Poe Dameron's ally/enemy, played by Keri Russel, definitely deserves another standalone film. Of course, I cannot get Babu Frik out of my head. The sound! As the film opens with its signature scroll, it feels like homecoming. Every time the lightsaber fires up, I had goosebumps. And when the sound of Star Wars played... you know if you know. Although, I do wonder why the makers felt the need to slow it down, just a little.
The story! Even though the final episode does all that's necessary, it doesn't feel right. For starters, the events in this film are picked up from the blueprint of any Star Wars film. There's nothing more. Yes, Palpatine is back but he's not the only one. Some more characters revisit the present day and help the ones who need help. Rey finds out about her parents but we do not (technically, we do. But that's not enough). Kylo Ren finds a solution to his constant battle between the light and the dark side. And finally! Yes, finally! There's a meaningful closure to Rey and Ben's relationship. Finn almost lets out his feelings for Rey. But doesn't. Lando Calrissian rides the Millenium Falcon again, after all these years, and saves the day.
A few times, I teared up when I thought it was time to say goodbye, only to be told otherwise. This gets repeated and almost feels like a prank. There's one scene in the film where we see Leia in her last round of Jedi training. It adds value to one element in the film and I think the effort could be skipped away. The makers tried to complete the arcs of pretty much all-characters. It might have been a good idea on paper but on screen, it makes the experience too rushed and becomes a fast-forwarded watch.
The climax! The film deals with Carrie Fisher extremely well. She gets some OTS shots and fewer dialogues. We know that the makers have used stock footage and advanced tech to make it happen and the effort is commendable. She has been put to rest, even in the films now. And it is done respectfully. Our beloved characters return to bid goodbye and that has a deeper, more emotional effect. It all plays out well and leaves enough scope for more films. Hopefully, just not like Solo. And thankfully, do not extend the scope of the main episodes.
Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker is definitely not the best of all, but it is a good film. I am not sure if this is the finale that we deserved. But is surely a climax that we can make peace with. For all I care about, the end has not ended anything. The saga continues to live on, for another four or 40 decades ahead. We're in this together and May The Force Always Be With us.