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Midday Movies: Bringing The Skywalker Saga To An End

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Jade Hindmon hosts a "Star Wars" edition of Midday Movies as KPBS film critic Beth Accomando and Moviewallas' Yazdi Pithavala recall how they got introduced to George Lucas' franchise and how they think "The Rise of Skywalker" wraps it all up.

Plus ranking the best of the "Star Wars" films and even some of the small screen fare. The finally, picking the best movie to watch this Christmas.

Speaker 1: 00:03 The final chapter in the Skywalker saga is finally in theaters star Wars. The rise of Skywalker brings more than four decades of cinematic storytelling to an end. And we are convening mid day movies, film critics to give a spoiler free reaction. Once again, we have KPBS film critics and cinema junkie podcast host Beth haka, Mondo and movie Wallaces Yazdi Pathar Villa to share their views. Welcome to you both. Thank you. Thank you. Beth. You have been a fan of the star Wars film since the beginning, so, and you know, so that we don't give anything away. We will play a little bit of that famous John Williams score. Take a listen.

Speaker 2: 00:47 [inaudible]

Speaker 3: 00:47 Beth, how do you feel when you hear that music and what does that mean to see star Wars come to an end? Well, it's a lot, so there's not just a lot riding on this film, but I feel like I have a lot invested in it because I saw it when it first came out. I was 17 years old. I remember that music and the ship flying over your head and it became such an important part of my life and it was part of the reason I wanted to go into filmmaking and into film studies. So there's a lot, a lot of hope and expectation and trepidation going into this last film. So I just want to say you can breathe a sigh of relief cause I feel that this final film holds it pretty well. And as I, I had to say in my review, JJ Abrams does not pull a jar jar on us. Ah, yesterday you saw the first film, a new hope in India. What was that like?

Speaker 1: 01:42 I recall it very clearly. I saw it at the Sterling theater, which is this theater theater theater in, in Mumbai, in India. And I distinctly remember that after that famous opening scroll, you know, wisdom by a VC, the underbelly of this impossibly large space vessel, just like Beth mentioned, in retrospect, you'd go back and see it and it's only about five seconds, but it was so indelible watching this big thing go overhead that it's seared in my brain. It was awesome. So, so with no spoilers, what can you say about the rise of Skywalker?

Speaker 3: 02:15 You know, I loved Ryan Johnson's last jet. I for reminding us that you can be anyone to become a hero or a heroine in a story. And that was kind of the key thing about the films moving forward that I didn't want to see changed. And so without giving anything away, I can say I was satisfied by the end of this film with how that went. And I was happy with the film. I loved a lot of it. I felt like it did a lot of fan service, some of it great. Some of it that felt kind of calculated. But the one thing about this film is I didn't feel kind of like the excitement about star Wars that I feel every time I watch empire strikes back or even with the more recent rogue one you guys do. What'd you think?

Speaker 1: 02:56 I love the movie as well. I think it's difficult a movie to be everything for everybody. And I think that's the level of difficulty that JJ Abrams had. And I think the difference between Ryan Johnson's version and a JJ Abrams version, you know, speaks to the creative process itself. Like do you try to be different and we're off the mainstream or do you stick to the tried and true what people expect. And I think Ryan Johnson did that and JJ Abrams is now tasked to kind of course correct and bring everything back. I thought the film is very crisp. Even though it runs two and a half hours long, it's, it moves along very quickly and it was just very satisfying. You know, I came away feeling okay all as well.

Speaker 3: 03:37 Okay. So, so do you guys feel Abrams plated safe? Yeah, I think you kind of played it safe. I mean he kind of wanted to keep everything on track. I mean in a certain way this film is almost just like force awakens. They stick to a tried and true kind of formula. And you know, with a franchise like this, maybe you don't need to break like really new ground. But I want to feel some sort of sense of excitement from the filmmaker that there's something about this story that really gets to him. So I think he played it safe. But on the other hand he also got some genuine emotion in it. And it's nice to have some characters returning that we expect and also don't expect. And to me it, it does wrap it up in a nice way. I mean, you feel kind of good about the whole franchise and you know, like I said, the main thing with this is I, I just felt relief that they hadn't screwed anything up and I'm going to see it again on Friday so I can watch it with less tension and maybe appreciate it more seeing it a second time.

Speaker 3: 04:38 What'd you think?

Speaker 1: 04:39 Yeah, I think, uh, even even when this trilogy was first set up, the Ray Finn Paul, you know, dynamic as an archetype of the Luke Han and Leia grouping. So they were kind of re retreading a very safe path. I liked that. Uh, the second movie kind of weird away from that a little bit. And in this one, I think it's just bringing all the characters together. It's kind of allowing everybody to breathe and kind of reach the finish line together. So I, I found some sort of like elegant dignity to it, you know, just, just bring it to the finish line and let everybody be, who are they, who they were meant to be.

Speaker 3: 05:16 You know, the rise of Skywalker brings the original set of trilogies George Lucas had imagined to an [inaudible]. But is this the end of star Wars really well? Anything that has the potential to make money is never going to go away. And the hopeful thing about that is right now Disney is streaming a TV show called the Mandalorian. The first three episodes and the most recent one have been great. They're kind of a spaghetti Western take on star Wars and they're really fun. I want to thank film critics, Beth, Armando and yawns Pathar for joining us. And if you want to hear our critics rank the star Wars films or suggest what to check out on Christmas day, been listening to the mid day movies podcast available on kpbs.org.

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Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.