Star Wars: Episode IX -The Rise of Skywalker
starring Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Billy Dee Williams
written by J.J. Abrams & Chris Terrio
directed by J.J. Abrams
by Walter Chaw J.J. Abrams's Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker (hereafter The Rise of Skywalker) is a breakneck, National Treasure-style quest flick so intent on the prize that it takes its eyes off the goal. It's slick and frictionless, offering nothing to hold on to and holding on to nothing in return. In it, our heroes rattle off facile one-liners and play around with childish surface emotions as though they were experiencing them for the first time. There aren't any stakes, and because of that most of the dialogue centres around how everything is very desperate and the Last Time and run! hurry! don't look back!, but looking back is really all it does. By turns dishonourable and irritating, it plays on fond nostalgia with invasive, clumsy fingers, undoing the considerable goodwill engendered by a trilogy series that began with the same director, hitting the right notes to resurrect the franchise in The Force Awakens--and continued with a genuine auteur piece in Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi that seems a unicorn in an increasingly fearful marketplace. Those films, whatever their flaws, were for fans that had grown up in the last forty-two years: the one for their remembered joys, the other for their grieved losses. This one's for an algorithm.