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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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Poster for the movie "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Every generation has a legend

20192 h 22 min
Overview

The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once again as the journey of Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron continues. With the power and knowledge of generations behind them, the final battle begins.

Metadata
Director J.J. Abrams
Runtime 2 h 22 min
Release Date 18 December 2019
Details
Movie Media Cinema
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Bad
Actors
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Mark Hamill, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Greg Grunberg, Shirley Henderson, Billie Lourd, Dominic Monaghan, Hassan Taj, Lee Towersey, Brian Herring, Dave Chapman, Richard Guiver, Lynn Robertson Bruce, J.J. Abrams, Claire Roi Harvey, Richard Coombs, Matt Denton, Nick Kellington, Mandeep Dhillon, Alison Rose, Amanda Lawrence, Tanya Moodie, Simon Paisley Day, Geff Francis, Amanda Hale, Amir El-Masry, Aidan Cook, Patrick Williams, Martin Wilde, Anton Simpson-Tidy, Lukaz Leong, Tom Rodgers, Joe Kennard, Ashley Beck, Bryony Miller, Cyril Nri, Angela Christian, Indra Ové, Richard Bremmer, Mark Richard Durden Smith, Andrew Havill, Nasser Memarzia, Patrick Kennedy, Aaron Neil, Joe Hewetson, Raghad Chaar, Mimi Ndiweni, Tom Wilton, Chris Terrio, Kiran Shah, Debra Wilson, Josef Altin, Vinette Robinson, Mike Quinn, Bill Kipsang Rotich, Ann Firbank, Diana Kent, Warwick Davis, Harrison Davis, Elliot Hawkes, Philicia Saunders, John Williams, Nigel Godrich, Dhani Harrison, J.D. Dillard, Dave Hearn, Rochenda Sandall, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Andreea Diac, Liam Cook, Denis Lawson, Carolyn Hennesy, Paul Kasey, Matthew Wood, James Earl Jones, Andy Serkis, Josefine Irrera Jackson, Cailey Fleming, Jodie Comer, Billy Howle, Hayden Christensen, Olivia d'Abo, Ashley Eckstein, Jennifer Hale, Samuel L. Jackson, Ewan McGregor, Alec Guinness, Frank Oz, Angelique Perrin, Freddie Prinze Jr., Liam Neeson, Harrison Ford, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Acord, Dan Adler, Dee Bradley Baker, Verona Blue, Steve Blum, David Boat, David W. Collins, Jonathan Dixon, Terri Douglas, Robin Atkin Downes, Amanda Foreman, Janina Gavankar, Grey DeLisle, Stefan Grube, Mike Holland, Karen Huie, Tom Kane, Lex Lang, Vanessa Lengies, Logic, Yuri Lowenthal, Vanessa Marshall, Donald Mustard, Nicole Nasca Supercinski, Michelle Rejwan, Julian Stone, Tara Strong, Fred Tatasciore, James Arnold Taylor, Jessica Tuck, Karl Urban, Reggie Watts, Samuel Witwer

Ok, so there is a lot to unpack with this movie. I set a pretty low bar going into The Rise of Skywalker and it still managed to walk clear under it unimpeded. There is much, much more going wrong with this movie than can be covered in this little review here. And some things that cannot be mentioned directly due to spoilers. But it would not be too far off to compare Episode IX to Game of Thrones Season 8.

Let’s start by looking at the definition of the word continuity: the maintenance of continuous action and self-consistent detail in the various scenes of a movie or broadcast. This needs to be defined here because J.J. Abrams did not do it. Episode VIII saw Rian Johnson ignoring a lot of Abrams work from Episode VII and it seems like Abrams decided to return the favor here. A lot of pre-established information including plot development, character arcs, and world-building is just ignored or outright broken. And not just concerning Episode VII; this also includes continuity going as far back as the Original Trilogy. It is bad enough to make audiences wonder if Abrams ever watched or even read a summary of the source material.

The next most glaring issue was the dialogue. This stems in from another issue, doing too much in too little time. It felt like Abrams was attempting to squeeze and entire trilogy worth of plot into this one film. So, despite the 142-minute run time, the movie feels incredibly rushed. Almost every line of dialogue comes across as need-to-know information. The delivery makes it all so in-your-face that it almost never feels like the characters are having a regular conversation. More like they are just running down a bulleted list.

The last issue was the same problem the previous two films had: a lack of world-building. The previous two films were admittingly guilty of this too. But The Rise of Skywalker was a lot more upfront about it. Instead of a half-hearted explanation or leaving this kind of open ended so the audience could fill in the blanks, Episode IX just said, “This is the way things are. Deal with it.” The film really leaves audiences with more questions than answers given all the plot-holes.

This was the first time in my life where I honestly, truly felt bored by something Star Wars. There were plenty of bad moments in the old EU, but you still had great moments to make up for it. The new Disney trilogy has progressively gotten worse. We have gone from an Episode IV remake to a mixed bag of a film to this dumpster fire of a cash grab. It is not too much of a surprise that the franchise was run into the ground after being bought out, but what is amazing is just how quickly Disney managed to do it.

December 29, 2019

Tomb Raider (2018)

Published Post author

Poster for the movie "Tomb Raider"

Tomb Raider

Her legend begins

20181 h 58 min
Overview

Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.

Metadata
Director Roar Uthaug
Runtime 1 h 58 min
Release Date 8 March 2018
Details
Movie Media Cinema
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Good

Tomb Raider (2018) is a soft reboot based on the popular video game franchise. Thankfully, this turned out to be a much better adaptation than the early 2000’s films featuring Angelina Jolie. Given that the Tomb Raider games were also rebooted a few years ago, doing the same with the films fits. Specifically this film is based off the first game of the new continuity, which itself starts an origin story trilogy. There are some differences between the film and game, but many other aspects are on the nose. Overall it does a fantastic job of fitting within the franchise and is one of the best video game movies to date.

For readers unfamiliar with Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander), she is one of the most well-known women among video game protagonists. She is a bit like a female Indiana Jones, but if Indiana Jones was much more of a badass. Intelligent, athletic, and skilled in combat and survival, Lara travels the world searching for ancient artifacts and archeological treasures (often just one step ahead of villainous organizations). Her origin has changed a few times as the series has rebooted over the years. Tomb Raider (2018) focuses on the character’s most recent incarnation.

Typically, video game movies do not work. Most of them just end of being bad. Lo and behold, taking a story from the video game format (a “short” video game usually being about 8 hours long) and transitioning that to a 90- to 120-minute format usually falls flat. Tomb Raider, thankfully, was a reprieve from that.  This was probably the best video game film made thus far. It is a bit better than the average good ones, like Prince of Persia and Hitman, and phenomenally better than the usual results like Doom or BloodRayne.

As a standalone film, Tomb Raider just works. There are plenty of allusions to the game that long-time fans will appreciate. Just little nods here and there that show the filmmakers acknowledge and appreciate the source material. That said, they also made the wise decision of changing things around a bit. They did not completely follow the events of the game, and that is fine. The changes here made the film more appealing to a general audience while still working within the story. This is Lara’s origin story; viewers should not (and do not) need to know anything about her going in. Seeing as the Tomb Raider (2013) game is the first of a trilogy, hopefully this excellent film follows suit.

March 25, 2018