Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
Director: J.J. Abrams
Year Released: 2019
Yet another (!) rehash of the original Star Wars movies, with Abrams cobbling scraps from George Lucas' mind and making dumb decisions: Rey (Daisy Ridley) is the new Luke (Mark Hamill), Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) was not (?) killed by Darth Vader, a new robot appears that looks like a cheerleader's megaphone on top of a tricycle wheel, there's a fake death of a beloved character (Chewy!), the real death of an icon (Carrie Fisher) and, most importantly, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) pops up in a cameo role where he just smiles and gives emotional support. Abrams is just spoon-feeding its audience watered-down helpings in another case of déjà vu: hell, even the final fight between Rey and her grandfather is just an alteration of Luke fighting his own father. That said, what everyone should be watching is Jon Favreau's The Mandalorian series on Disney's streaming service (with Pedro Pascal as the heavily-armored bounty hunter) which is a truly immersive interpretation of Lucas' Pre-Built World with a major nod to Lone Wolf & Cub ("The Child" is super cute), creative casting decisions (Werner Herzog, Nick Nolte, Bill Burr) and the welcome use of puppetry instead of a deluge of CGI.