Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker

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Re: Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker

Unread postby homomorphism » 26 December 2019, 04:05

Going to jump back in.

Marmaduke wrote:I’ve always found the Skywalker saga to be a bit empty to me. I get the Sci-Fi appeal, but all of the Skywalker characters have largely felt hollow and poorly acted and I could never really invest. I never liked Mark Hamill as Luke. I never liked Carrie Fisher as Leia, though she was better than Mark. The original trilogy was carried by the supporting cast.

I'm not going to comment on the casting (like I don't think the actors were A-tier actors but they also weren't A-tier actors at the time anyway and I think it's totally fair to say that they became famous largely from being in the right place at the right time and not by their merits). But I'm going to argue that the lack of investment isn't entirely their fault.

I think the largest issue facing Luke in the OT is that he has a very unsatisfying need which leads to stale character growth. Generally speaking, we'd look to have a want setup in the first act of the movie (Luke wants to go off and have an adventure) and his need is to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like his father. Luke's want is satisfied partway through the first film and the remainder of the OT is watching Luke satisfy his need. But satisfying his need doesn't really lead to any personal growth for Luke. From the beginning, he was a caring guy who wore his heart on his sleeve and wanted to do the right thing. By RotJ, Luke is more powerful, more confident, and more in control, but he's still roughly the same person he was from the beginning. And it's definitely a stale arc to just watch him attain a relative power up.

RotJ plays off a silently different dynamic -- Luke needs to defeat Vader and wants to save his father. Seeking out his father on the Death Star and refusing to kill him inevitably leads to the Emperor's death. What's really odd about how this all plays out though is that Luke's anger and tendency towards murdering helpless people (as Vader is at the end of the fight) weren't really character flaws of his. And the death of the Emperor is really symbolic. Luke does nothing aboard the Death Star to assist the assault team on Endor and does nothing to help the Rebel fleet destroy the Death Star, so there's no real point to the fight. In fact, it appears that it doesn't really matter what happens in the Emperor's throne room. The Rebels would have won regardless and Vader and the Emperor would have died in the explosion of the ship. So Luke's final arc is supposed to play out as a proxy for the larger conflict going on between the Empire and the Rebels, but it isn't a culminating point of personal growth for the character. It's a culminating point of him being better with a laser sword than he was before. Which feels weak.

I think this is why people identify with Han a lot more. His arc is defined by a more character driven want v.s. need -- his want is to get paid and his need is to learn to care about someone other than himself. And we see elements of his growth as a person throughout all three of the films, culminating with his volunteering to lead the Rebel assault on the Death Star's force field on Endor, something he never would have done in ANH (incidentally, this is why people get so offended over Lucas's decision to recut the Cantina scene and have Greedo shoot at Han first). He doesn't become a better pilot or fighter or tactician by the end of the series; idk, maybe he does, but there's no real evidence of it one way or the other. Luke's arc is one of narrative utility, and Han's arc is one of personal growth.

I'm not going to comment on the prequels (they've been dissected to death), but...

Marmaduke wrote:The newer films have gone back to the same casting mistakes as the originals, reserved actors playing roles quite straight and down the line and failing to entertain. Kylo Ren has got to be one of the emptiest characters written into a major franchise in decades and Adam Driver is just an awful casting choice. The whole thing rests on good versus evil and you just cannot give a fuck about that character either way.

I don't really think the casting is the issue, and I don't think the problems with the ST has to do with the binary nature of good v.s. evil (it's present in the OT, PT, and ST regardless). Rey's arc is similarly bland to Luke's in that it only exists for narrative utility and by the end of the series she's pretty much the same person she started as, but is a more powerful Jedi. It'd be fine if there was more of a world built up or a similarly Han like character, but there's really not someone who serves that purpose. The key difference between the OT and ST though is that the entire plot of the films is driven by Rey in the ST, whereas that's not really true in the OT.

The fate of the rebellion doesn't hang on Luke's duel with Vader or defeating the Emperor, but the ST does place the entire fate of the galaxy on how these level 20 Force users fair in combat with each other. And it makes the entire universe feel really small and trite. It also makes all of the other characters feel really irrelevant when the presence of a person with max level space lightning is enough to stop your army. So I think the real issue here is that the blandness of the Jedi arc infects the rest of the film because the entire film is revolving around it. Luke is our central POV character in the OT which means the blandness of his arc is felt, but we follow along with a larger conflict that Luke is just one small piece in. In the ST the entirety of the plot and all the action is premised on that same blandness.

Which is why I think the ST are shitty movies.
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Re: Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker

Unread postby mxguy01 » 26 December 2019, 18:54

I seen it on a date so it scored a 10. Had I not been on a date it would have been much like the rest - a little bit better than meh.
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Re: Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker

Unread postby theone » 21 April 2020, 03:46

So I'm a little late to this conversation, but I preferred Episode IX over the other two in the sequel series. As someone who ready the novels from cover to cover, prior to Disney's takeover, the storyline in these films pales in comparison. The books had so much depth, and storylines that I think fans would enjoy on the screen.

I loved what they did to close our Leia's storyline. Her anti-climatic death was less than to be desired for, but those clips gave me closure that I didn't think I would get. I was very disappointed with Luke's overall role in this series, and IX still left a bitter taste in my mouth. However, between the small amount of scenes with Luke and Leia, I was satisfied.

Overall, it tied up the last three movies nicely. For the longest time, I didn't know where they were going with it. Still, I think the books are better and if they were able to take out a fraction of the content from those and made them into a set of movies, I think it would have been immensely better. Would I have differing thoughts if Duel of Fates was the final film than Rise of Skywalker? Who knows...
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