Andy Zachariason’s review published on Letterboxd:
*Brian De Palma voice* “what is the force?”
this film is a rosetta stone for how NOT to make a movie. seemingly written with furious disdain and misunderstanding of its predecessor, Rise of Skywalker is like a reddit post by a dude who probly has an action figure of slave Leia.
i’ve never seen a movie completely reject and misunderstand its previous entry (a film that was thoughtful and well crafted no matter how you feel about its decisions) and then proceed to run back to a safety net of nostalgia and literal characters/plot points. it’s like your mom reheated thanksgiving leftovers for you but they’re a month old and moldy.
characters spew either exposition, cringey forced jokes, or literally just yell what they’re feeling. It’s unbelievable that they’re saying some of these lines. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega look like they’re having fun but who are these characters now? Rey was never thought through and Rian Johnson gave her pathos but Abrams says oh wait none of that counts now. and Finn has nothing to do in Force awakens so when JJ picks this back up he just has Finn yell “REY” all the time. I guess Rose Tico just doesn’t exist?
Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac are different though. Great actors given nothing. every close up you can almost see the disdain for the product they’re in and the material they have to spew. it’s 2nd hand embarrassment to watch — like making a Shakespearean actor go perform for an 8 year olds birthday.
the plot is sewn by a series of macguffins but a macguffin is meant to drive plot and you can build other things around it: character interaction, explore interesting locations, action, anything you want. BUT THIS MOVIE only has macguffins to get to more macguffins until you FINALLY reach a character that you already know and is somehow not dead now? it’s paradoxical and pointless.
this is the film where JJ Abrams’ flaws are front and center. the man does not have an original thought. he cannot fathom that people would not want to see something they’ve already seen in star wars. he completely misunderstands the myths and fairy tale quality that initially drew people in. “OH YOU LIKE THE STAR WARS MOVIES WELL GUESS WHAT HERES ALL OF IT.” and Abrams cannot figure out how to tell this story visually because the script is just throwing mud at a wall and hoping it sticks. this story has no clear conflict beyond questions that abrams set up in force awakens (which he obviously had no idea how to answer even then)
on the simplest levels of filmmaking this movie is incompetent. the film moves so fast and is so poorly cut, trying to fit plot and jokes in that it’s like you’re watching a movie on double speed. action scenes have no rhyme or rhythm, CGI explosions aren’t molded with a sense of scale or threat. i’m genuinely shocked at how ineffective the action is considering Abrams actually has some solid sequences throughout his career.
even the moments of spineless fan-service that are supposed to be big reveals are too quick and never stop to let a character be a human reacting and emoting. the choices creatively aren’t that far removed from this series’ retconning but the direction doesn’t pull it off. the characters just move on like they’re in a video game and off to the next level.
Rise of Skywalker is an embarrassing film for a number of reasons. as a piece of filmmaking it’s expensive but inept. as the final film to a series and money hungry trilogy it’s soulless and the exact opposite of the creative expansion and imagination that george lucas envisioned with these films. HATED it. disney will burn.
the whole movie should’ve been a close up of Babu Frik, easily the best part.