Saturday, December 28, 2019

Revising Rise: Some Ideas While Driving

Mrs. Spew and I returned from visiting her family, and so we had much time to ponder what could made Rise of Skywalker better.  I liked the movie upon second-watching, but rather than revise my first post, (although after watching some of the original movies over the break and seeing Rise again, and, yes, responding to the commentary, I would move Rise from tied with RoTJ to the Ambivalent Tier, perhaps tied with Force Awakens with the conclusion of s1 of Mandalorian pushing it to Rogue 1 territory) I suggest how to revise the movie.

So, various ideas beyond the break, but no wayfinder needed:
I have not listened to the entire Binge-Mode episode yet, but they point out enough inconsistencies (on which Tie Fighter is Kylo's wayfinder?) that I am not going to go there.  Instead, I will focus on some missed opportunities that would have made some better connections and closed some loops.  In the comments, please add your own revisions.

Before going on, I will only suggest relatively modest changes--not starting from scratch (which would mean having either Rian Johnson or Jon Favreau or Deborah Chow direct all three).  That means, yes, accepting Rey and Palpatine's granddaughter.  Mrs. Spew and I argued about whether there were any seeds of this in the previous movies, which means I am now required to re-watch Force Awakens and Last Jedi, which I was doing to do anyway.  I will also not change the canon-revising hyperspace sliding that starts the movie--it is unnecessary except it leads to a nice, very Star Wars-esque argument between Rey and Poe.

I am more concerned with some of the bigger themes stuff that could have been wrapped up, so:
  • Janna explains that she and others defected from the First Order because of the example set by Finn. This helps clarify Finn's arc, as a key ingredient in the fall of the First Order.  The end of the movie hints a bit at this as star destroyers all over the galaxy seem to be in distress.  Why?  Because the kidnapped kids that became the personnel of the fleet rise up.  How about a little footage of that inside a few ships to show this is what is happening?  Maybe they too might invoke Finn?
  • As Lando reminds us, these movies are about the love/support among the dyad triad and their supporters, so Luke/Leia/Han with the key scene of Leia explaining her relationship to Luke in Return of the Jedi with Han's wonderfully confused mid-kiss face.  In this movie, there is some stuff that is good, but they need the trio before Rey's silhouette and the two suns of Tatooine.  What should have happened is this scene:
    • Shot of Millennium Falcon landing on Tatooine with Chewie and Rey piloting, Poe and Finn in the back seats.
    • Poe asks: is this a good idea?  Doesn't Finn need one?
    • Rey responds: No, he will build one of his own as all Padawans do as part of their training.
    • Rey then leaves the ship to bury the two lightsabers.
    • This would resolve the whole "Finn is force sensitive but doesn't tell Rey yet...." thing.
  • Cut one or two of the steps of the wayfinder hunt.  Just too much on that, at the expense of character development and story stuff.  I am tempted to cut Keri Russell's character and the planet she was on as she didn't add much (despite being delightful) to Poe's character.  Yes, we get it, he has a checkered past, but very little is done with it.  So, as Yoda would say, do or do not ...  talk about Poe's past.  Indeed, there is a lot of that in the movie--hints at stuff that is under developed--which again speaks to the need to cut some stuff to give other stuff time to breath.  
  • Cut the whole C3PO losing his memory thing--yes, we get the wonderful Dobby moment where he wants to look at his friends, but this is entirely undone at the end of the movie by R2's fix.  So, stakes, no stakes.  Like Chewie's death/no death thing.  Once in a movie? Ok.  Twice?  No.  Also, this trilogy needed more R2.  
  • Ok, this violates the old "show, don't tell" dictum, but damn it, the Emperor needs to explain where he has been and how he either survived the shaft toss in RoTJ or is a clone or whatever.  How did he conquer death? Temporarily, that is.
  • Cut the kiss.  This outraged Hollywood executive assistant Spew (my daughter), and rightly so.  Yes, the relationship between Rey and Ben is tangled, but he did spend a fair amount of time not just being a genocidaire, but also being abusive to her, negging her.  So, as Mrs. Spew recommends, have him hold Rey's face in his hands and then die.  No kiss. 
  • Give Rose more to do.  She is the Lando of this trilogy, entering during the second movie.  She is not the core three, but she deserves more to do and a moment.  Given that 50% of the crap aimed at her was from Russian bots and the rest from folks who should not be encouraged/rewarded, she deserved more.
  • Please, please, please change the sequences of events so that there are more than 16 hours to the deadline, so that we have some smidge of realism to Lando/Chewie summoning a huge force.  I hate that JJ Abrams hates time/space/distance math, but at least nod in that direction.  It was incredibly moving to see the huge fleet there, but it was undercut by the damage done to the suspension of disbelief by how little time they had to complete their mission.  

I am sure there is more I could suggest, but I spent today driving eight hours or so.  So, what do y'all think?  What else would you change, if you couldn't change the entire enchilada? 


Rob Chasen said...

So you're basically saying, Give the movies back to George Lucas to re-jigger. What could possibly go wrong?

Unknown said...

No, that's a terrible idea. Just make Lucasfilm a subsidiary of Marvel Studios, since they seem to have an idea about how 1) make good movies, and 2) string films together into something greater than the sum its their parts.

Steve Saideman said...

Not that we need George to make the series--but having JJ, then Rian, and then Colin T and then not Colin T but JJ did the series no favors.

what is frustrating is that some of the big mistakes in Rise are easily fixable (as I just did). The distance/time/space thing was inevitable as soon as JJ was picked.