Today, we engaged in a Jewish tradition from time immemorial, we had Chinese food, and went to a movie.
Actually, we saw 2 movies.
What follows is a spoiler free, and hence vague, review.
Last night, we watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TFA) on pay-per-view, (we also had Chinese food), and tonite, we saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (RoS) in a movie theater. (also Chinese food)
They were both decent movies, but I much preferred TFA to RoS.
I could consider TFA to be the 3rd best of the Star War movies, though I was never able to sit through the first two of the prequels.
TFA was self-aware, actually commenting the Star Wars mythology and conventions, and it was true to the characters, and the plot, while possessing some holes, was relatively coherent.
Also, there was what is arguably the least subtle anti-fascist message of any of the films in the series. (Anti-fascism is IMHO a common throughout the series)
Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), who was introduced in TFA, was firmly relegated to the background in RoS, probably as a result of the Twitter sh%$-storm from alt-right fanboi after TFA.
Also, as befits J.J. Abrams, he directed the RoS but not TFA there was a big Chekhov’s gun* violation.
In both movies, the performances of Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver’s performance was better, though I think, particularly in RoS that it served to highlight some of the shortcomings of the script.
Mark Hamill’s performance in TFA, largely playing the role of sensei from many Japanese Samurai movies, is arguably his best performance in a Star Wars movie.
Carrie Fisher’s performance in TFA was good, but that might be colored by her death following filming, and in RoS, her performance was a combination of archival footage and possibly CGI.
Of the supporting characters, the best performance was probably that of Kerri Russell in RoS, who did so either fully or partially masked, and the always entertaining Benicio Del Toro in TFA.
*Chekhov’s gun (Russian: Чеховское ружьё) is a dramatic principle that states that every element in a story must be necessary, and irrelevant elements should be removed; elements should not appear to make “false promises” by never coming into play.