Tag Archives: joonas suotamo

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (2019) – My rating: 7.5/10

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (also known as Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker) is a space-opera and is produced, co-written, and directed by J. J. Abrams. It is the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), and the final episode of the nine-part “Skywalker saga”. This movie was produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams’s production company Bad Robot Productions and was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The Rise of Skywalker follows Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron as they lead the Resistance’s final stand against Kylo Ren and the First Order, who are now aided by the return of the deceased galactic emperor, Palpatine. I think I’m a little tired of Star Wars — this one was just ok.

Following a threat of revenge by the revived Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) obtains a Sith Wayfinder, leading him to the uncharted planet Exegol. There, he finds Palpatine, who reveals that he created Snoke (Andy Serkisas) a puppet to control the First Order and lure Kylo to the dark side. Palpatine unveils a secret armada of Star Destroyers and tells Kylo to find and kill Rey (Daisy Ridley), who is continuing her Jedi training under Resistance leader Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) deliver intel from a spy that Palpatine is on Exegol; Rey has learned from Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) notes that a Sith Wayfinder can lead them there. Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), BB-8, and C-3PO depart in the Millennium Falcon to Pasaana, where Luke’s search for Exegol ended.

While on Pasaana, the group encounters Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), who points them to the Wayfinder’s last suspected location. Kylo learns where Rey is through their Force bond and travels there with his warrior subordinates, the Knights of Ren. Rey and the others discover the remains of a Jedi hunter named Ochi, his ship, and a dagger inscribed with Sith text, which C-3PO’s programming forbids him from interpreting. Sensing that Kylo is nearby, Rey goes to confront him. The First Order captures the Falcon, Chewbacca, and the dagger; attempting to save Chewbacca, Rey accidentally destroys a First Order transport with Force lightning. Presuming that Chewbacca has been killed, the group escapes on Ochi’s ship.

I’m stopping here to reserve some semblance of integrity and of course, the element of surprise.  This supposedly last Star War film was not as good as some of its predecessors. I found the story rather robotic and cursory, it was all over the place. There were numerous scenes of fighting and often, without merit. The story jumped from subject to subject leaving me desperate for an explanation. Some parts were even a little boring. I think there was too much action to say very little. Despite the uneven flow, the acting was very good and the special effects were absolutely brilliant. Carrie Fisher lives through the age of repurposed unreleased footage from The Force Awakens. I also think I’ve had enough Star Wars, the whole battle between The Force and Emperor Palpatine and his stormtroopers after 43 years is a lovely adventure but is screaming for closure and “The End”. The movie received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the cast performances and visual effects but criticized the story, pacing, and perceived departures from the themes and story of The Last Jedi. It has grossed over $840 million worldwide against a production budget of $275 million, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of 2019. You Star War fans, Check It Out!

[STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is Oscar-Nominated for Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects — Totaling 3 Oscar nominations]

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (2018) – My rating: 8/10

Solo: A Star Wars Story, or simply Solo, is a 2018 Space Western based on the Star Wars character Han Solo. Directed by Ron Howard, it was produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the second Star Wars anthology film following 2016’s Rogue One. A stand-alone installment set prior to the events of A New Hope, it explores the early adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca. I was excited to see Solo based on trailers and my Star Wars history but wasn’t that happy about  how Solo turned out.  While I continued to be entertained, I didn’t feel as touched or as involved in the story as in the past.  Could it be that there are too many Star Wars movies giving one the feeling that it’s just a competition piece without rhyme or reason?  A money grabber, if you will.

On the shipbuilding world of Corellia, orphaned children are made to steal in order to survive. A young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and his girlfriend, Qi’ra  (Emilia Clarke) escape from a local criminal gang. They bribe an Imperial officer with a stolen sample of coaxium, a powerful hyperspace fuel, in exchange for passage on an outgoing transport, but Qi’ra is apprehended by their pursuers before she can board. Han vows to return and rescue her, he then joins the Imperial Navy as a flight cadet. Han is given the surname “Solo” by the recruiting officer.

In the meanwhile, three years have past and Han has been expelled from the Imperial Flight Academy for insubordination. While serving as an infantryman during a battle on the planet Mimban, he encounters a gang of criminals posing as Imperial soldiers led by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). He tries to blackmail them into taking him with them, but Beckett has him arrested for desertion and thrown into a pit to be fed to a beast – a Wookiee named Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo). Able to speak Chewbacca’s language, Han persuades him to work together to escape their confinement. In need of extra hands, Beckett rescues them and enlists them in the gang, which includes Beckett’s wife Val (Thandie Newton).  They then plot to steal a shipment of coaxium on the planet Vandor. The plan goes awry when the Cloud Riders show up with their leader Enfys Nest (Erin Kellyman), resulting in the deaths of two crew members and the destruction of the coaxium.  Beckett reveals he was ordered to steal the shipment for Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), a high-ranking crime boss in the Crimson Dawn syndicate. Han and Chewbacca volunteer to help him steal another shipment to repay the debt.

At this point, the film picks up a whole new adventure.  There are many twist and turns and some surprises you won’t see coming.  Solo is an excellent story with far fewer characters than some of the earlier Star Wars productions. You might note the character Lando Calrissian  (Donald Glover) who was formerly played by Billy De Williams has been replaced with a younger actor.  Also, Han Solo was originally played by Harrison Ford but is not played by Alden Ehrenreich.  Over all I think Solo is missing the grandiose feeling usually displayed in these type of movies but still is a very good film.  Solo is definitely not worth seeing in 3D but is worth seeing in the regular standard format.  Check it out!