Star Wars Episode X: The Rise of Mediocrity
By: Raedan Goldblum
Nearly everyone remembers their first experience seeing a Star Wars movie. The epic, soaring score, the large yellow space crawl; few movie openings are as epic and memorable. I remember my first time watching Episode 4: A New Hope. I was at my grandparents’ house in Canton, Ohio, watching on a small TV with my Dad. I was probably four or five years old. I’ll never forget the experience I had watching a lightsaber being ignited for the first time, or Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer towering over Leia’s cruiser, or Luke blowing up the Death Star in a daring race in the trench. Goddamn, what a movie. The first installment was followed up by one of the most memorable and well-known sequels of all time, and perhaps one of the greatest films ever: The Empire Strikes Back. I could write about this specific film for hours, and it would probably span across pages and pages. Just know, this movie is f*ckin awesome. Finally, the original trilogy is capped off by an excited third installment filled with incredible moments like Darth Vader finally balancing the force and redeeming himself to save his son, or the rescue on Jabba’s sail barge (RIP Boba Fett…?). It is also filled with less memorable moments – yes, looking at you Ewoks. Regardless, the original star wars trilogy is one of the most famous amongst films and will go down as some of my favorite movies of all time.
Then come the early 2000’s with the prequels, and oh boy, do they struggle. With a nauseating overuse of CGI and greenscreen, along with horrible dialogue and subpar acting, the prequels stumble towards the finish line in telling the tale of Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the dark side. While filled with great moments and incredible music from John Williams, they are, at most times, hard to watch. However, I credit George Lucas because the prequels are at least original. The story is fantastic, even though it is poorly executed. Bottom line, I can at least watch and enjoy the prequels, even if it’s to make fun of them.
Now comes the hard part; hating on Star Wars. When I first saw the trailer for Episode VII: The Force Awakens, I was extremely hyped. A hilt bladed lightsaber?! Sign me up. After watching the film, I’d say I enjoyed it. Yeah, it’s easy to say it’s a blueprint of A New Hope, and it is. However, I found the characters of Rey, Finn, and Poe to be refreshing, so I was feeling positive towards the rebirth of one of my favorite stories. And then…Episode VIII came along. It’s been over 4 years, and I still have a hard time finding things I like about this movie. Yes, Rian Johnson is a great director, and yes, the movie is original in its own right. However, the movie comes to a grinding halt with its atrocious Canto-Bight casino story line, not to mention I’ll never be able to unsee Luke squeezing green milk from an alien’s nipple. Like why. Above all this, I found characters in this movie made decisions that didn’t at all align with their characters. I like how Luke didn’t trust himself with training Jedi after the fall of Ben Solo, but he wouldn’t run away to an island to hide and read old books. He wouldn’t be so apprehensive to train a new, young, and powerful Jedi like Rey who wants to help the rebellion. Where did the Luke I know go? Don’t even get me started on Rose’s “Not fighting what we hate but saving what we love” line. That is probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. The first rebellion didn’t win by loving each other, they won by blowing up the f*cking death star…twice!
And then in 2019 came perhaps the worst star wars movie to date. The Rise of Skywalker. Ok, let’s rewind. Luke is dead. Carrie Fisher had passed during the filming of this movie. Kylo Ren is not a Skywalker. How exactly is a Skywalker rising…when they are all dead?? Right off the bat, I was nervous about this film. Above that, it’s never a good sign that Disney fired its first director and hired another one during the writing of the script. Oh, boy. After watching this movie in theatres, I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed leaving my seat. Rey…is a Palpatine?? There’s a new force power where you can just heal fatal wounds (Sorry Qui-Gon and everybody else killed by a lightsaber)?? Not to mention…Palpatine is just back?! Where is all of this coming from? There is no setup for any of these whatsoever. Not at all. Months after the movie debuted, I find out that Palpatine’s resurrection is a clone through a novelization. A goddamn novelization. Since when do we have to prepare for movies by reading books for important information. What is this crap? I don’t even want to talk about the ending. Rey is just a Skywalker because…she said so? I kind of liked her being a nobody. It sends a message that you don’t have to be a part of a historical or powerful family to be someone important or special. But no, I guess in Star Wars, all of the powerful and worthy people are related, so screw you average rebellion soldiers. Step aside for the big guns…?
The Rise of Skywalker is the epitome of a studio like Disney refusing to try something new. It lacks any sense of originality, given that the big bad guy…is the same villain from EPISODE 1 and his plan? Just to use more DEATH STARS. It is clear that Disney no longer cares about telling fun, powerful, and original Star Wars stories, but rather mediocre money makers that have no substance whatsoever. I half expect Luke Skywalker and Han Solo to somehow come back in the next Star Wars installment because in a giant galaxy I guess Disney can’t think of more than 5 different characters. I’d never thought I’d say this, especially after the prequels, but George, if you’re out there, just go back to directing the movies yourself.