Forget The Rise of Skywalker — Watch Asterix & Obelix instead
When you feel like an old Asterix & Obelix film is worth more than the latest Star Wars (and by a lot), there’s clearly something wrong going on.
I was disappointed in Episode IX. I was expecting an amazing finale for the new Star Wars trilogy and all I got instead was a bunch of fan-service, a group of barely outlined characters and a rushed film lacking clear directions from the start.
It’s worth saying that, when I went to watch the film with a friend last week, we both had pretty low expectations as we walked into the screen room. Little did we know that The Rise of Skywalker would crush those feeble hopes too.
It might also be worth mentioning that I’ve never been one of those gigantic Star Wars fans, but I’ve enjoyed almost every single film in the Saga. Because of that, you can easily picture how excited I was when I walked out of The Last Jedi’s screening with a smile on my face, so happy that Disney would finally dare introducing new elements of risk into the Rey trilogy. And then, Episode IX happened.
Please note: this rant is intentionally controversial and it will be as spoiler-free as humanly possible.
Respect Your Eldest
The Rise of Skywalker tears into pieces any good thing its predecessor was able to establish. Which isn’t a flaw in itself, to be fair — the problem is it does so intentionally. Most of the first half of the film is spent dismissing the ideas of Episode VIII, as if it were a sincere apology from Disney for screwing things up in the last film. And when the new movie actually starts, you realise more than an hour has passed, and you still haven’t seen an interesting idea to mention one.
There was a clear section, right in the middle of the film, in which my friend and I realised Episode IX was supposed to be split into two. Some scenes are supposed to feel dramatic, but have a bitter taste of rushed production instead. For most of the time, the film introduces new ideas, characters, concepts to defy the old film, then asks the viewer to just play along and trust that everything will be alright. And it will, be alright, it is a Star Wars movie after all. You’re not walking into the room hoping for a bad ending.
What you’re hoping for is at least to sit back and enjoy a nice journey.
When, at the end of the film, I realised that clearly hadn’t happened, my friend and I decided to head back home and watch something else to clear our minds. I found Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cleopatra buried deep in one of my film archives. I thought it was worth a rewatch.
I wasn’t wrong.
Not only Mission Cleopatra is less pretentious than the latest Star Wars, it also doesn’t care about being taken seriously. The plot works (it is one of the most famous Astérix & Obélix stories, after all), the characters were flawlessly adapted for the screen, and director Alain Chabat’s personal take on the story is full of crazy, amusing twists you would never expect.
The moment you’ll hear the sound of a car in reverse gear applied to a roman cart, you are certain to dig a special place in your heart for Mission Cleopatra.
Although it must be said that the Italian voices were chosen with the utmost care, which makes the Italian adaptation definitely one of the funniest out there.
And for a while, we had forgotten all about Palpatine and his weird old man traumas.
Of course, tweets came out and statements were released in which either curious fans or the production team confirmed some scary details to us all — such as new information on the lost child of Lando Calrissian or the acknowledgement that there was too much on the plate for one single film. Tough luck, Chris.
To follow up on The Last Jedi would have been the logical thing to do. Instead, here we are with something that plays safe and doesn’t even show an ounce of courage, walking on the same footsteps that Episode VII left behind a few years ago. The main difference is that The Force Awakens was clearly more enjoyable than the rushed draft of a mediocre film, too scared to take a resolute stance to actually be worth the money it asks for.
I hope the average Star Wars fan will be happy with such a result, especially after the release of Episode VIII was welcomed with all that crap.
And, here’s an unpopular opinion for you: The Last Jedi was actually a good film.
On the other hand, The Rise of Skywalker will make you laugh for all the wrong reasons. If you want to have some genuine belly laughs, instead, do yourself a favour and go watch Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra. That one at least won’t try to sound unworthily pretentious.
Because the real matter isn’t that Episode IX wouldn’t apply itself — it’s that it ain’t even a smart boy.