Aside from the perfectly-passable-but-weightless Solo, it’s not a tough statement to say that The Rise of Skywalker is the worst (live-action, theatrical) Star Wars film. Maybe Attack of the Clones or The Force Awakens are kinda close, but it’s pretty clear to me that Episode IX is the least artistically accomplished, most flawed of the Skywalker Saga.
But I still love it anyway.
Rewatching the movie in preparation for this article, I was struck by just how overcome with joy I was by so much of this movie. It’s such an exciting and silly experience. Never for a moment do I get bored, even when I’m rolling my eyes at the dumber parts. Honestly, that’s what it was supposed to do, anyway; provide a smashing finale to the greatest epic saga in the history of film. It’s the climax to a nine-part series and thus doesn’t exactly need to be jam packed with new storylines and deeper themes. Even though… that’s kind of what it tried to do…
We live in an era
where Star Wars Episode VII really exists, and it’s hard to imagine
now that, at the beginning of the decade, that wasn’t even a thought
in anyone’s mind that that would ever come to pass.
Okay, maybe the absolute biggest turbo-nerds had kept track of all those offhand comments by Mark Hamill where he said George Lucas once wanted him to play the old man mentor character in a new Star Wars movie decades in the future. But for 99% of the population, Star Wars was a finished franchise, at least until the inevitable remake sometime after Lucas bit the dust.
But it happened. Lucasfilm was sold to Disney. JJ Abrams signed on to direct. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was filmed and released, and not only that but it became the #1 highest-grossing movie in North America by such a wide margin that no film has even come close to breaching it since.
2013 was the beginning of a renaissance for the Star Wars fandom. With the waning days of the post-Episode III Expanded Universe and the recent sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, things were about to change dramatically for the franchise and its massive fanbase. But in 2013, things were still simmering.
And with that simmering came the Auralnauts Jedi Party Saga…
If you know me at all, you know that the Star Wars world is by far my favorite fictional universe and favorite media franchise of all-time. Nine of the eleven theatrical Star Wars movies are in my Top 50 favorite movies list, I have shelves upon shelves full of Star Wars books and comics (I have about 75% of all Star Wars Legends novels that were released in hardcover, and over 50% of the Dark Horse comics in omnibus or trade paperback form).
But most of all, what I love about the Star Wars universe is its ability to tell all sorts of stories, large epics or small-scale romps, and just get so weird and idiosyncratic that it can tell the kinds of stories you just can’t get anywhere else.
I’ve been listening to the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith audiobook lately, and by golly is it well-written. I read it when I was like fourteen or something, and remembered that there was a Count Dooku POV chapter that was good, but otherwise I didn’t recall anything about it.
Which meant that when I listened to the opening minute-long prologue, I got to experience this for the first time all over again. What a way to start a space opera tragedy. I friggin’ love it.
While I absolutely adore the film–probably my #1 favorite movie ever–there is something to be said by a novelization that takes the same plot, the same material, and imbues it with such freshness that it becomes even MORE of an epic.
That’s right. We’re all super old now because Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is now twenty.
Pop culture’s favorite movie to make fun of is now old enough to drink in most countries, and we’re supposed to be okay with that? No, we should never be. We must fight against the passing of time and destroy the temporal oppression.
Until that, though, I guess it’s time for us to reflect back on the movie that consumed the world for a couple months back in 1999.