This is Pastor Tim’s weekly newspaper article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, Dec 30, 2019
I saw the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker twice over its opening weekend. I wanted to take this chance to share a few thoughts on the movie. I grew up with Star Wars. Some of my earliest memories revolved around The Return of the Jedi. I was 8 years old in 1983 and I wanted force powers so bad that I could barely stand it. I wanted to do what Luke Skywalker could do, to have friends like Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, and I wanted to win giant battles and save the world. You will have a hard time finding a man in his 40s today who didn’t grow up feeling that way. Yes, I am sure they are out there, but they are the exception.
I have a strange relationship with the new trilogy of Star Wars that’s coming out. Going to watch these movies at 8 years old and going to watch the same style of movie when I am 44 years old is probably a big part of my difference. Everyone is hating these movies because they aren’t perfect but they never stop to take in the fact that everyone goes to see them, hoping to feel like they are 8 years old again but then refuse to suspend their 40-year-old sensibilities to do it.
Will there ever be another Empire Strikes Back for me? No, because I will not ever be able to go back to that period of my life to experience it at such a young age where I was far more willing to just accept things than I am now.
Before I get to any more comments on The Rise of Skywalker, I need to say a quick word about the previous Star Wars installment: The Last Jedi. I am willing to allow some leeway between 8-year-old me and 44-year-old me in seeing these movies. Even with that, given that this is a family publication and I am writing an article as the pastor of a church in this town, I can not use the proper language in this article to fully express my hatred of The Last Jedi. I don’t ever want to wish anything bad on anyone but I hope that Rian Johnson, the director of The Last Jedi, never is allowed to make a big budget movie again. He probably will get to, but what he did to Star Wars in that movie was terrible. He changed a lot of the rules of how the Star Wars universe worked with no explanation or reason, he inserted a ton of identity politics and he just disgraced and disrespected the legacy of Luke Skywalker, the greatest hero in fiction.
In order to prove just how correct I am about how bad Rian Johnson messed things up, well over half of The Rise of Skywalker was spent fixing what he broke. J J Abrams, the director of the Rise of Skywalker, was doing his absolute best to right the ship here, but this well had been thoroughly poisoned. Johnson killed offer the main villain and forced Abrams to go find a new villain. There were multiple points in the script where the only thing that would have made the point more obvious is if the character would have looked directly into the camera and apologized for The Last Jedi. I really enjoyed how much this movie did its absolute best to fix what Johnson did. However, I am not sure that was what I wanted to enjoy about the movie.
I feel bad for the actors portraying the main characters, especially Oscar Isaacs. I believe that Isaacs could have easily stolen this show with his smooth and charismatic portrayal of Poe Dameron. If they just could have focused on him in this movie rather than trying to fix The Last Jedi, Poe Dameron could have easily become the next Han Solo.
To be honest, I actually enjoyed this movie. I enjoyed it the most when I managed to forget that there was a movie called The Last Jedi. I would recommend to anyone considering seeing The Rise of Skywalker to forget that The Last Jedi exists at all and go see this movie. There is a lot of McGuffin chasing and a lot of busy work, but let’s face it, it is Star Wars and we love seeing anyone do anything in Star Wars.
Will this be the end of the Star Wars saga? Keep in mind, Disney paid Lucasfilm 4 billion dollars for Star Wars. Do you think there is any way they will just put this on the shelf?