I’ll be up front: unless you are what Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) refers to as a “UPF” (Ultra-Passionate Fan [qualifications include naming every planet and recognizing each spot in the saga by just listening to a piece of the soundtrack]), then you probably will not enjoy Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, what is intended to be the final installment in the Skywalker saga (until Disney begins to count their box office receipts).
Still reeling from visionary filmmaker Rian Johnson’s attempt to add diversity and change to the saga through Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (which had the same consequences of the introduction of “New Coke”), I anticipated the release of this film with as much enthusiasm as awaiting a prostate exam: clearly do not want to do it, but I am obliged to. There was no excitement upon the release of the trailers, and it did not help that my brother shared early reviews published a week before the release. But I was wrong with this one, much to my relief. This proved to be my favorite installment of the sequel trilogy, as it tied together every loose detail by alluding to instances throughout the previous eight movies.
Unfortunately, if you need to ask “who is who” and what happened in certain instances, this movie may fly over your head and you may leave confused. The term “spoiler alert” may not apply. I do not believe this film was made for your average movie-goer, it was made for us fans. Mark Hamill made the distinction between those who go to see the movie and may enjoy it, and those of us he refers to as UPF’s (as I explained earlier): fans who approach him on the street who not only make clear how much they enjoy watching the movies, but will confess that the saga was their escape vessel during their mother’s illness or declaring bankruptcy.
It was made for those of us who owned merchandise as children, and may still purchase collectables well into their adult lives (such as the Force FX Lightsabers that are guaranteed to bring out everybody’s inner-child, regardless of how “suave” or “sophisticated” they may view themselves to be). It was made for those of us who still daydream about living in that galaxy far, far away, and groan when cosmologists and astronomers tell us that our favorite scenes are physically impossible.
But the biggest question is how did they give resolution to the character of General Leia Organa, due to the death of our beloved Carrie Fisher? Through unused footage and their creative editing, I can answer that Fisher was given the conclusion that her iconic character deserved.
If you can name Chewbacca’s home planet right off the top of your head: why are you waiting for me to review this movie? You should have seen it already! Shame on you!
If you think that Chewbacca might be the name of Indiana Jones’ Egyptian ally… you have my pity.