In the days leading up to my viewing of "The Rise of Skywalker", I tried to remain untainted and open-minded, without preconceived notions of how much I should reasonably expect to enjoy it. This was difficult to accomplish while being confronted with reviews like "'Rise of Skywalker' is the Worst 'Star Wars' Movie Ever'" or these Facebook posts.
I watched the movie with a small group of friends. We had really good seats except that I was next to a guy who, infatuated with his own voice and unable to understand how public theaters work, thought he needed to verbally react to almost everything that happened onscreen. I wanted to break his nose, but that would have been a path to the Dark Side. I did flip him off a few times but I don't think he noticed in the dark.
My spoiler-free preliminary review of "The Rise of Skywalker": it feels rushed and confusing, tries too hard to exploit nostalgia for the original trilogy, and incorporates several plot points that either too predictable or make little sense even by Star Wars standards. The retcons and justifications for several of "Last Jedi"'s controversial decisions are painfully obvious, making it painfully obvious in turn that the sequel trilogy was made up one movie at a time with no overarching plan or outline from the beginning. The new characters felt awkwardly shoehorned in with little purpose other than to sell toys, and I'm apparently the only person anywhere who doesn't think Babu Frik is cute. Seriously, what's so cute about a ninety-year-old space leprechaun who moves like a crappy stop-motion puppet, looks like his head was squashed and sounds like his brain was damaged in the process? Is this a fricking joke, pun intended?
Notwithstanding all that, the movie has some cool and creative stuff and wraps things up about as well as could be expected given what J.J. Abrams had to work with. The humor, while still not as funny as Disney thinks it is, doesn't feel totally out-of-place and obnoxious like in three of the other four Disney Star Wars movies. I think I like "The Rise of Skywalker" better than either of the previous sequel trilogy installments. It's not a ripoff of an earlier film like "The Force Awakens" and it's not totally bizarre like "The Last Jedi". It was originally announced to be nearly three hours long and I'm guessing there's a lot of cut footage that shouldn't have been cut, that would have made it more coherent and better paced. I thought it would make perfect sense for the finale of nine movies to be the longest one anyway, but nobody asked me.
In any case, with the Skywalker saga out of the way, I hope Disney and subsequently fan films will give the era of the Empire a much-needed rest and move on to other parts of the galaxy's multi-thousand year history. I'd be fine with never seeing another stormtrooper again.
So that was Star Wars. The next and final major event of the year for me is Christmas, or Life Day as they call it in some places, or Impeachmas as several of my left-leaning friends have recently started calling it for some reason. As I'm tired from staying up from the movie, on vacation in sunny Idaho, and generally not in the mood to try and peel back my cynical exterior and wax all poetic about feelings and stuff, yet still feel an obligation to recognize this special day that comes but once a year and only lasts two months, here are some better words from a better person.
"This Christmas mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love, and then speak it again." - Howard W. Hunter
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.