Took the kids to see Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker yesterday afternoon. Before I tell you about the movie, I need to talk about what happened immediately afterwards. My son was thirsty and there was a McDonald’s across the road from the cinema. I figured it was the easiest and quickest way to get him liquid. For background: I have not stepped into a McDonald’s in at least ten years. My whole idea of what the central USP of McDonald’s was, prior to yesterday, revolved entirely around speed. You walk in, you pay your money, you get your food in less than 30 seconds. That was the whole idea. So, imagine my surprise when I walk into McDonald’s to get my son a drink, thinking this will be a speedy option, only to find out that McDonald’s has become Argos but with food. You have to go to a bloody screen and put your order in, get a number and then wait for it to come up. There were at least ten numbers on the board when I walked in, giving me no hope of getting my son a drink anytime soon. As I say, McDonald’s have seemingly destroyed their one unique selling point. Ever thought you’d quite like some fast food…..but you didn’t want it to be fast? No, me neither. Needless to say, I just walked on until I found the nearest newsagents.
Right, the movie. The following is spoiler-free.
Why is everyone so down on Rise of Skywalker? I thought it was great. I mean, for what it was. What I wanted was a fast-moving, action-packed thing filled with lots of great John Williams music, some funny droids and good triumphing over evil in a bombastic way. And it delivered. Isn’t that what these movies are there to do? I seriously don’t understand why everyone seems to go into the latest Star Wars movie expecting Citizen Kane. It is movie about space wizards with laser swords, people. Yes, Rise of Skywalker has what you might call plot problems. Lots of things in the film don’t make any sense at all when you think about them in any depth whatsoever. The plot contains a few too many McGuffins. It leans on space magic even more than most films in the franchise. Yet I was gripped all the way through and to me, that’s what counts.
On my way out of the cinema, I overheard someone say, “Well, that was a little cheesy”. Again, what had he come in expecting? As long as a Star Wars film isn’t taken up with boring shot-reverse-shot crap where two characters discuss space politics that make no sense and racist CGI creatures stepping in alien shit, I’m probably going to be relatively happy. Oh, it was too fanboy pleasing, some say. Again, what are you after here? Whenever Star Wars tries anything different at all, the fans say it’s terrible and that it may possibly have ruined their childhoods. Now, it’s too samey? There is no pleasing some. Also, while we’re here: when Star Wars tries something different it is usually unbelievably awful. Hayden Christensen trying and failing to look brooding over two horrendous films almost entirely shot against green screen? Give me Lando and R2D2 and the Millennium Falcon instead, please. Again, what else do you expect these movies to do?
It was my experience of the film compared to the critical reaction to it, combined with my unfortunate discovery of McDonald’s new “model”, that has sent me into grumpy old man mode this morning. Why do people continue to eat at a McDonald’s chain that has removed its one selling point, speed, seemingly happy to stand around and wait for 15 minutes for bad food that isn’t even all that cheap, and yet turn around and complain about Star Wars because it doesn’t fulfil the deep philosophical desires they have come to expect despite an entire trilogy in the franchise involving an idiotic Anakin Skywalker joining an even more idiotic Jedi grouping that gets collectively undone by the most ludicrous scheme ever conceived? As Bill Hicks once memorably put it, “I wonder why we’re so fucked up as a species? Anyone got any clues on that?” Anyhow, go see Rise of Skywalker. It is good.