Let’s talk about Rise of Skywalker

I just saw the movie last night with my brother, and like everyone says.. its alot to process. There’s so much happening at breakneck speed – but I still didn’t hate it as much as I hate The Last Jedi.

The reason is because most of the bad storywriting in this movie I feel is something that JJ kind of had to do because Rian (TLJ) wrote him into a corner. He killed off Snoke, he killed off Luke, gave Leia crazy force powers, gave Kylo/Rey this BS force teleportation thing (more on that later), and left JJ with little writing room out of it. Given those conditions, I felt that JJ did the best he could.

What I liked about the movie:

-The visuals are amazing

-The soundtrack as always, John Williams delivers

-Kylo Ren –  he’s been easily the most consistent and best character of the sequel trilogy

-C3PO gets great comedic relief in this film

-Luke Skywalker is actually Luke Skywalker again! Not that rambling miserable shell of a man that was in the last film!

-General Pryde – he’s Tarkin 2.0! does a great job of it

-Lando and some other cameos like Wedge are back! yay!

That said, there’s a huge number of problems with Rise of Skywalker and here it goes (spoilers obviously incoming)…

-Palpatine comes back. No explanation. He just comes back and we’re supposed to accept that

-Snoke is a cloned being… ok but …why? Why not just have Palpatine converse directly with Kylo? Why does he have to hide himself? And why have multiple Snokes?

-Apparently there were 10,000 Star destroyers (which are ALL upgraded and fully staffed!) who have been waiting years and years for Palpatine to lift them out of the water. What?

-Lightspeed skipping. How is this possible and how are TIE fighters following them? TIE fighters canonically do not even have hyperdrives (unless they are the more expensive versions like Darth Vaders TIE fighter or the TIE defender)

-They go on this chase for a Sith artifact but why is it even necessary? If Palpatine wanted Rey to come to him why not just speak to her directly? he has that ability but he has to wait for her to find those wayfinders? What?

-There’s people we are just expected to know and not introduced to. Who’s Ochi? Oh he was this assassin guy but I had to read Wiki to find that out. Who/What is this slug thing on the ship? We’re just supposed to get that he’s there now ok…

-Rey finds the dagger which points to the Sith wayfinder in a spot that Luke freaking Skywalker couldn’t find it somehow, its guarded by a worm thing. You’re telling me Luke couldn’t get past that?

-Rey is SUPER overpowered in this movie. She can heal people – yes the exact thing Anakin wanted to do to save Padme – she just learns it out of nowhere and uses it and keep people from dying. Wow. She also has ridiculous force jumps, can use force lightning (that kind of makes sense later) and can keep ships from exiting the atmosphere.

-Oh and this force teleportation thing, Rey and Kylo can just magically teleport things to each other. Gee that’s not overpowered is it?

-The Death Star II was completely vaporized. Why is there a MASSIVE wreckage on some random planet?

-Force ghosts are way more OP after TLJ. They can call down force lightning, and Luke can use the force – from beyond the grave! thats crazy! would have been helpful in many other battles for sure. Remember when all Obi-wan could do was talk to Luke?

-Leia dies from a force call with Kylo. OK I know they had limited footage of Carrie Fisher before she dies but this is still kind of weird?

-“Memory Han” uhh ok, whatever

-All the star destroyers are grounded except for a few star destroyers that Palpatine lets out to destroy a planet. What? So is there a limit? Why not just let them all out?

-Finn shacks up with a different girl each movie. First it’s Rey in TFA (he wants to tell her something in this movie but we never get to hear it), then it’s Rose in TLJ (they just completely forget that they kissed), then it’s Janna in this one. What a stud.

-Maz never explained how she got Anakin’s lightsaber in The Force Awakens

-Anakin’s lightsaber is repaired somehow – this is never explained so we just have to assume it happened offscreen

-How the heck did Lando convince the entire Galaxy to warp to this super dangerous place? Also, I wish Wedge Antilles got more than just 1 line in the scene.

-Ok so Rey kills Palpatine but that doesn’t make her a Sith like Palpatine said. So I guess she didn’t kill him in the right way? Or do the ritual?

-Also what’s with those Sith spectators? How long have they been there?

-Life force suck. Is that a new ability Palpatine has learned too? Somehow while tethered to this robotic arm? Otherwise he could have you know used it against Luke in Return of the Jedi….

-Palpatine’s force lightning is ineffective vs the Resistance (didnt destroy ANY ships) while it’s super-effective vs himself.. again.

-Hux and Kylo dies sooooo fast. And no one really cares about it after. Just they die, and next scene.

-Rey kisses Kylo before he dies. Why? I get you can hug the person who saved your life but … kiss? When was she ever attracted to him? She just hated his guts a few scenes ago!

-I still think Rey should have been the one to die and Kylo survived and went to the Skywalker ranch instead. He’s the real Skywalker. And having Rey live is just so… predictable. Rey dying and Kylo living would have been bold.

-I also think it would have been better if Rey actually got to use her own lightsaber in combat. Maybe she could have built it on Ahch-To. But cmon you give us that beautiful yellow/orange lightsaber and then the movie just ends like that? You know there’s no next movie right?


Is all the hate towards Star Wars: The Last Jedi warranted or is it just people who don’t like that their theories about the movie didn’t come true?

It’s warranted, it’s not just because their theories didn’t come true. Let’s set aside Snoke for a moment, because all the hate to that character was mainly because of people’s theories not being true. Let’s also throw away the whole ‘Luke turned into an old grump’ thing as well since although disappointing for fans, is not really an inherent problem of the movie itself.

Let’s take a look at the movie from the perspective of a critic and not a Star Wars fan. There’s lots of other intrinsic problems with the movie and lots of plot holes.

-Ok so Rey, I’m ok with Rey being a nobody. I’m not ok with Rey being built up in the Force Awakens, a flashback being shown of her parents leaving, Luke’s lightsaber calling out to her as if she has some special connection with it, then Rey being revealed as a nobody. Why build her up in the Force Awakens? This is clearly a case where Rian didn’t like what JJ Abrams set up for him, and threw it away – and it shows.

-I still don’t understand the point of the alien milking scene with Luke. And apparently Rian threw away the scene of Luke reacting to Han’s death (in the deleted scenes) for that scene. What’s the narrative purpose?

-Ok, so the scene with Princess Leia flying back to the ship. It’s incredibly jarring for fans, but from a movie critic perspective – why does no one talk or react to this at all?

-I still don’t understand what the purpose of Admiral Holdo not telling Poe her plan was. Why keep it secret?

-The whole Canto bight scene – completely unnecessary. There’s no narrative purpose to get sidetracked on a quest to free the animals when the main mission was to get the Codebreaker.

-There’s no progressing of the characters. Rey goes down a dark hole, and comes out the same person. Same with Kylo teaming up with Rey, showing signs of an anti-hero but then goes back to being the main villain again.

-Speaking of the Codebreaker, we get one scene of him, and apparently another guy can fill in for him, that just happens to be in the same cell as them. What? I thought Maz said this was the only guy in the galaxy that could do this?

-Maz never explains how Luke’s lightsaber came to be in her possession even though she promised to in the previous movie.

-Finn can pilot in the second movie, even though no time has passed at all since the first film (where he couldn’t pilot and needed Poe’s help).

-I still don’t understand why Rose crashes into Finn’s ship. First – how did she go faster than Finn to catch up with him, second, she could have killed Finn, third, she said it’s because she loves Finn but she just knew him for 12 hours, and fourth, Finn was going to protect the Resistance – why would Rose sabotage that?

So yeah, there’s tons more problems with the movie if you were a star wars fan (that hyperspace ramming scene, Admiral Ackbar, Phasma, Porgs, Luke turning on his nephew, Snoke, Leia’s force powers, the Yoda force lightning scene, etc) but speaking from a purely movie critic standpoint – the film had a lot of issues. Still not sure why Rotten Tomatoes gave it 91% from critics. Surely some other critics must have noticed these issues as well.

Asia General

What are your thoughts on the movie Crazy Rich Asians?

I liked it, I guess as a Chinese-Canadian I’m glad to see a Hollywood movie come out that finally portrays Asian men in a positive light. In too many Hollywood movies, Asian girls and Asian men have been portrayed in a dichotomous way with double standards: Asian girls always the hot young beautiful sex fantasy for the white protagonist (see: Lucy Liu, Brenda Song, Jamie Chung, Zhang Ziyi etc) and the Asian guy some nerdy or kung fu stereotype (see: Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Ken Jeong, Jimmy Yang the latter two who is coincidentally in this movie).

But for the first time since Bruce Lee’s films back in the 1970s we see Asian men being portrayed in an American movie… looking masculine. The scenes with the abs and topless and stuff is actually a huge barrier breaker more than people realize – how many American films have you seen where an Asian guy has been shown like that? again I don’t think since Bruce Lee. and that was 40 years ago.

The plot itself is nothing special – its typical Korean drama affair – but its the significance of this movie being a Hollywood racial barrier breaker that is the big deal here.

And not just that, but the cast is perfectly cast. All of the main characters more or less resemble who they are in real life. Constance Wu was born in Richmond, Virginia, she is that scrappy Asian American girl who finally made it big in Hollywood with Fresh Off the Boat. Henry Golding is that charming, handsome half-Asian guy who had never acted in any film before. Gemma Chan is a posh, sophisticated goddess who graduated from Oxford – prim and proper just like her role as Astrid. Awkwafina was once an unemployed New Yorker – now she’s a successful actress and music artist and just as quirky and funny as her role here.

These Asian American / Asian British stars lived the American Dream, and I think much more than the actual movie itself, I enjoyed the movie for its significance in bringing Asians (especially for men) back into a positive light once again. No more stereotypical kung fu / nerdy guys.. this proves to Americans (Korean drama fans already know this) that Asian men can be both masculine and sexy and be romantic..