This is an obligatory blog post about the new “Star Wars” movie. Most of my most loyal readers are older than 60 and totally not into “Star Wars.”
Parents 2.0 have already stopped reading. Most of my surviving teachers have moved on.
So, I’ll pause here to let people who see “cinema” by Scorsese and Coppola to drop off and be snobs at a wine tasting event.
OK, anybody whose left wants to talk “Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker.”
Oh, wait. One more thing: I don’t do spoiler warnings. Never ever.
If you don’t want to know something about a movie you haven’t seen yet, it’s your responsibility — not the whole of society’s — to avoid that which might spoil your good time.
The only thing worse than spoilers is people who whine about spoilers. It’s the journey, not the destination.
And “The Rise of Skywalker” is a destination not really worth the journey.
“The Last Jedi” was worthless. It wasn’t just a bad “Star Wars” movie, bad “Star Wars” movies are called the prequels.
“The Last Jedi” was a horrible movie. It continued the trend of dismembering the heroes of the original trilogy, turning Luke Skywalker into a guy who once thought about murdering his nephew and then went to hide on a mountaintop for 35 years.
The best thing about the “The Last Jedi” is that it appropriately lowers expectations for “Rise of Skywalker.” And in that, and only that, it succeeded.
I can’t imagine having less anticipation for a film in a movie series I once enjoyed. At least if Warner Bros. ever make another “Justice League,” the first one was so bad, how could I be disappointed more?
“Star Wars” was once good. These movies aren’t and neither is this latest one in particular.
I went to “Rise of Skywalker” with the same sense of perfunctory duty that I attended “Revenge of the Sith” with 19 years ago.
I walked out of that movie thinking, “Well, at least it’s over.”
But nothing is ever when there’s money to be made. And Disney knows how to make money.
They make a lot of money selling us the same stuff in different forms. See also the live-action remakes of all those 1990s Disney cartoon movies.
This is the clear pattern with the sequel trilogy. “The Force Awakens” is to “A New Hope” as “Rise of Skywalker” is to “Return of the Jedi.”
“Rise of Skywalker” is an homage flick; a pale imitation of a better movie made 36 years earlier.
The movie assumes Poe, Finn and Rey have enough gravitas that their camaraderie comes off as anything other than forced.
Poe gets promoted to general. You remember Poe, the insubordinate jerk who got most of his squadron killed in “Last Jedi.” But, hey, at least he had swagger.
Finn is apparently force sensitive. Fine. It gives him something to do besides being doltishly confused and useless.
There are a few classic cameos, all of which you would expect. The use of unused Leia footage from previous movies proves that Carrie Fisher was consistently wooden in these films and probably should have been the first of the old heroes to die rather than the last.
Lando’s back. He starts out wearing the costume of the natives on some dust planet but — SURPRISE — it’s really a Lando in disguise. Saw that coming from 36 years ago.
Lando is not Rey’s daddy. He’s not much of anything other than in the movie. One more tug on the nostalgia cord. It’s as empty as a Fareway grocery cart on Sundays.
Rey finally answers the “Who’s your daddy?” question that was never as compelling as the writers and directors seemed to think it was.
Remember when they could surprise us with stuff like the parentage if one of the main characters?
Well, that was 39 years ago in “Empire Strikes Back.”
That trick is played out.
That director JJ Abrams tried to jam a “and the father is moment…” in like an episode of Maury Povich isn’t really surprising.
What if, just spitballing here, they tried something new? And, please, don’t tell me “Last Jedi” was new and old man fans like me didn’t get it.
“Last Jedi” was a crime scene. It was an attempt to destroy or subvert the entire basis for “Star Wars,” turn heroes into cowards and true believers — including Yoda — into atheists with no faith in the religion they were the last caretakers of.
I’m talking about new as in, fine, Rey’s parents are nobody. Then she’s someone new. What do you do with that?
Oh, never mind. Shes related to another character. Because of course she is. The force is not strong in the writers’ room.
There are only so many characters left that Rey could be related to if you follow the exceptionally lazy fictional trope of having all the central characters be related.
And “Rise of Skywalker” is lazy, as has this entire sequel trilogy.
There’s a new droid. D-O. Looks like a coffee cup on a golf cart tire. Totally pointless other than as a new Funko Pop to sell.
There’s the Knights of Ren and Sith Troopers. Keep your eyes peeled for the latter. That’s a blink and you’ll miss them moment.
As for the Knights of Ren, they’re like Boba Fett: They may look cool, but they never do anything of note and go out like tools.
But I bet they’ll be badass downloadable characters on the new “Star Wars” PlayStation game. Just $50 each.
The film is rife with red herrings to the point of them becoming an embarrassing running gag.
Oh, he’s dead.
No, he’s not.
Ha, ha. Fooled you.
Oh, no. She’s dead!
Nope, all better.
Death isn’t so much a tragedy as it is a minor inconvenience.
That catchphrase you heard 5 seconds ago? It’s being repeated.
And it’s being repeated again.
And a third time.
Is this really “Star Wars” or an especially shitty episode of “Family Guy?”
Lest we forget the least of the sequel trilogy: Kylo Ren. Remember his grandpappy, Darth Vader? You were legit scared of this guy.
Well, as Rey said in the first movie, Ren is not worthy.
Kylo puts on his funny hat again. And he mentions it in a meeting. Darth Vader did not talk about his accessories.
But here’s how little respect Emo Darth Vader has: His own commanders joke about how good it looks.
Oh, we’re supposed to believe they say this stuff because they’re scared of him.
But we really know it’s because he’s a brat prone to tearing up his room when he doesn’t get his way.
Oh, it’s also because the people who wrote this movie are bad at writing.
Kylo Ren was scarier in the SNL skit.
Let’s talk about the force. In “Last Jedi,” we learned the force was like Oculus Rift for Rey and Kylo.
Now it’s Oculus Rift with Amazon Prime Instant Delivery. Yeah, they’re actually handing things back and forth between the force.
Man, porn in that galaxy is about to get really outrageous.
Yeah, I made a porn joke in a blog post about “Star Wars.” That’s how little I was into this movie.
This shit just isn’t fun anymore.
“Star Wars,” at least in theater anyway, is a perfunctory experience.
You’re going out of some sort of perceived duty, at best fond memories of playing with a toy Millennium Falcon in the living room on Christmas.
At worst, attendance is driven kind of sad obsession of a collector’s completist who must consume all things “Star Wars” without any thought or discernment of quality.
The latter group will be most likely to enjoy “Rise of Skywalker.”
For them, the story is finished, another trophy notch in the never-ending checklist of that which must be purchased, catalogued and discussed until the sun goes supernova.
For those in former group, like me, who loved the original trilogy and became disappointed with each wrong-headed, misdirected and straight terrible outing since “Return of the Jedi,” well, stop the ride. It’s time to get off.
The failure of the sequel trilogy, like the prequel trilogy before it, is complete.
Just two things before we go:
1. Don’t believe the actors or Disney when they say they’ll be no more with this cast of mediocre characters.
The people who played Luke, Han and Leia said that. Someone showed up with a big enough check. Disney has that bank account.
Don’t be surprised if we see a 60-something Daisy Ridley strapping on the lightsaber in 35 or 40 years.
Probably sooner. I’m sure there are super fans who loved this movie no matter what happened.
2. There is a new hope for “Star Wars.” It’s in “The Mandalorian” with baby Yoda.
If by some chance you read this blog post before you saw “Rise of Skywalker,” do yourself a favor. Go see the movie. Love it, hate it or be somewhere in the middle.
But save Chapter 7 of “The Mandelorian” until after you’ve endured “Rise of Skywalker.”
That will remind you what good “Star Wars” is.
With love and hope, dpf