Sunday, December 29, 2019

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker and Mandalorian thoughts

No, this is not a full review of either Episode IX or the first offering from Disney+. And I shouldn't have seen either property yet. Ep IX doesn't come to Korea for another week and a half, and Disney+ won't come for I don't know how long. But through the power of the Force (internet), I've viewed them.

And I WILL got see Rise of Skywalker on the big screen when it finally comes here. That's one reason for this not being a full review. Just a comparison. Will I subscribe to Disney+ when it finally comes to Korea? Based on the strength of The Mandalorian and my enthusiasm for the MCU shows they're gonna put out (especially the What If...? show!), probably.

So, both properties really market in Star Wars nostalgia for us older folks that have grown up with the original trilogy. I'm sure people who grew up on the prequel trilogy also find nostalgic stuff in the new film trilogy and the new show, but it seems to me that a lot of the nostalgia is for US.

Re. Rise of Skywalker: J.J. Abrams is, I think, overrated. He came back to "save Star Wars" from Rian Johnson and give fans what they wanted. And that's pretty much what the movie was. 2 hours of fan service. Was there a lot of cool stuff? Sure. Were there plot holes? Sure. It's Star Wars. It's space wizards doing space wizard stuff. But overall, I felt like the movie was just OK, and it would have been better if it had striven for something better than just fan service.

Looking back to Episode VII, I was just thrilled the first time I saw it in the theater. Star Wars was Star Wars again! Then, watching it again, it seemed just a bit too similar to what had come before. Episode VIII had a lot of problems, but what IMO Rian Johnson did right was set up a new paradigm for the Force. But J.J. did to Rian what Rian did to J.J. Can't say I'm too happy about that.

Re. The Mandalorian: Favreau knows how to tell an entertaining story. Yes, there's a lot of fan service as well. And yes, there were a few filler episodes that had cool stuff but could have been cut and the story would have been the same. But what Favreau is doing right that J.J. is doing wrong (again just my armchair director opinion) is that the fan service and nostalgia are mostly incidental to the story. A mention here. A background character there. A vehicle based on a toy. Occasionally part of a scene. But the story of Mando and The Child is its own thing. It's not stuck in the shadow of the movies.

I hope, in the future, when more Star Wars movies get made, that they take more cues from Favreau and Johnson than from Abrams.

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