We’re living in the back of beyond here, but somehow Star Wars Episode IX opened in Italy two full days before the US release. Go figure. So I’ll take the opportunity to tell you to go see it.
This is the first of the many sequels that understands what made the original trilogy great – it’s the characters, not the special effects. The visual effects in this movie are stunning, as always, but they are smaller and more human in scale than the overdone CG of the the last few episodes. Even the new droid is low-tech. They remind me of the special effects in the original episodes, when everything had to be done by hand — although with dramatically improved light-saber technology.
Princess Leia’s role was substantially reduced after the death of Carrie Fisher in 2016. Rather than “reanimating” the character via CG, which would have been creepy, they used “archival footage” (i.e., outtakes) from the earlier movies and CG’ed new backgrounds. The effect is to give her scenes an aura of unreality – she is more of an oracle than a character, which is completely appropriate in the Star Wars universe.
There are plenty of callbacks to the older movies, most of them (thankfully) to the original trilogy. No mitichclorians. John Williams’ music is also back, complete with the leitmotifs (musical signatures) of many of the original characters, which help you follow the action.
There is a plot, of sorts, but since this was the last episode the focus is on wrapping things up. Secrets are revealed, mysteries resolved, and we learn things about The Force that, in retrospect, we have always known. As to the ending, well, Game of Thrones this is not.
And the love you take is equal to the love you make.