Updated: Dec 28, 2019
I hated Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I remember getting out of the movie theater loaded with vitriol, spewing obscenities at Rian Jonson, and not wanting to live. I mean, it was one of the rare times when after seeing a movie and passing by a Panda Express stall at my local mall, that I didn’t hear my tummy grumble. And to me that pretty much signifies that there is no distance left to run, the game of life is over, thy kingdom come!
Flying Leia, Rey-Lo telepathy, Luke’s character betrayal, and hologram fighting? Come on! The hatred for this Star Wars movie is well documented and has spurned multiple rebukes from fans, Star Wars cast members, and even directors.
And then, in preparation for the final chapter of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, I re-watched the two sequels.
Four years after The Force Awakens, and two years after The Last Jedi, I revisited these two films with a very different mindset. I watched it as a fan and not as a critic in search of a thick plot, fully developed character arcs, meaty motivations, political correctness, crisp footage, pristine sound, balanced lighting, intelligent dialogues, and truth in cinema. I watched it with just the expectation of seeing the beloved characters interact with each other, dive into galactic quests, and topple the evil lords of the Dark Side.
• Did R2-D2 bleep enough to warrant a funny quip from C-3P0? Check!
• Did Chewbacca howl as he piloted the iconic Millennium Falcon with Han and later on, Rey, Poe, and Finn? Check!
• Did the lightsaber hum and hiss whenever Kylo Ren or Rey wielded them? Check!
• Was Princess Leia there? Check!
• Was the Dark Side as menacing as ever? Yup!
• Did Tie Fighters chase X-Wings? Sure did!
• Did we see old and new cute and horrible creatures? Of course!
• Were there laser blaster battles? A lot!
• Stormtroopers? Hundreds of them!
• Luke? Hell yeah!
• Yoda? Yes!
• Did I geek out seeing all these? 100%!
Star Wars is not Space Odyssey or Moon or Interstellar. George Lucas even said that he didn’t create the films to be a hard-hitting science fiction. You think Hyperspace is not physically possible or lightsaber tech is bullshit? Star Wars is not for you. You have PBS’s Nova or the Discovery Channel for that.
I had issues with the flying Leia, but then I am cool with a 3-feet tall old-green alien wizard who speaks linguistically in an object-subject-verb form. I raised a flag when Luke betrayed his heroic nature and succumbed to the temptation of giving into hate by trying to murder his nephew yet I was fine with Darth Vader disregarding decades of darkness by saving his son and throwing his master into a bottomless pit (it actually has a bottom).
Star Wars is a ride. It is a journey from point A to point B with all the characters we all love through the years operating within John Williams’s stellar score. That’s it! Sure, we can question plot, character development, structure all we want but we should not wage wars and spew harsh words over it. There are real-life issues worthier of our anger and action.
So, it is in this mindset that I watched the final instalment of this franchise. And I must say that The Rise of Skywalker is a great movie and a fitting end to this saga. It is a true Star Wars movie just like all of them, including the prequels. Peace, Jar-Jar Binks!