As an author, what makes a good, indifferent, or terrible story is always a subject of interest to me. It’s something I’ve been pondering having watched the – possibly – final Star Wars movie of the first nine… Rise of Skywalker.
I think one of the main failures for me, story-wise, is that the last three films (The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker) feel as if they are not particularly linked as an integrated trilogy. The Force Awakens is just a better SFX’d re-make of A New Hope, with a weird contextless reset of everything we were left with from Return of the Jedi, right back to factory settings.
The Last Jedi then just meanders about without much story arc from the first film, and without feeding towards the last movie, and finally, The Rise of Skywalker almost reinvents everything again with its resurrection of you-know-who as the big bad.
Too many cooks in the kitchen, heapings of direction by committee, and everything all too important money-wise to trust to a single main competent story-teller, I suspect. At least with George Lucas as the boss, it was one person’s vision and the buck always stopped with G.L. – and it was his money to urinate up against the wall if he so wanted. That leaves one-off movies like Rogue One as the standard-bearer for half-decent films in the universe.
Picard episode one has a strong opening, story-wise, and The Mandalorian was certainly watchable – if only to spot all the Spaghetti Westerns it was riffing on, along with a healthy dose of the Lone Wolf and Cub manga, and the Western-flavoured sci-fi novels of the now sadly departed author Mike Resnick (Santiago etc).
It all feels a bit artificial when compared to something truly original and strange such as Jo-Jo Rabbit – my last date night movie: stunning photography and an original script not based on a comic-book or part twenty-eight of any franchise (well, it was based loosely on Christine Leunens’s novel Caging Skies … which just goes to show you).
I have spoken.