I cried, I whooped (inwardly, of course, I'm British) and I applauded (quietly, see earlier).
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker was everything I wanted (needed) it to be and more.
|The old jedi psyching himself up for one last adventure at Showcase Cinema de Lux, Bluewater today|
I have loved and adored the Star Wars Universe since I was a youngling, seeing the first movie (then just called Star Wars) in the cinema with my dad in 1977.
And I have watched every episode of the Saga in the cinema since, except for Revenge Of The Sith, which was released while I was hospitalised.
However, one of the nurses - knowing of my passion for the movies - "acquired" an "unofficial" DVD of the film, which we watched on my dad's tiny, portable DVD player - Rachel and a collection of nurses huddled round my hospital bed, straining to see the action on the teeny-tiny screen.
Everyone of a certain age has their "Star Wars Story", about how they discovered the franchise and how it changed their lives.
Everyone's "Star Wars story" is the best - because it's theirs. Here's the one I roll out on most May 25ths (anniversary of the opening of Star Wars back in 1977... as well as my wedding anniversary!).
And this is what makes Star Wars great: it's a modern mythology that means different things to different people, a Homeric Odyssey for the 21st Century, a new canon of Grimm's fairy tales.
J.J. Abrams, back in the driving seat (thankfully), knows and understands this.
With co-writer Chris Terrio, J.J. deftly undoes all the "oh so clever" post-modern subversions of the Saga's enduring mythic structure inflicted on the story by Rian Johnson in The Last Jedi.
And artfully, J.J. turns those missteps back into plot points worthy of the Saga.
|The Rogue And The Princess: Me and Rachel getting ready for the big show|
Taking a leaf out of Mad Max: Fury Road's book (of all places), The Rise Of Skywalker - barring a few brief pauses - is a gloriously bombastic chase from start to finish, a quest through space against a ticking clock (even if the time threat gets a bit hand-waved along the way, but then Star Wars has never really had a solid grip on its internal universal timekeeping anyway).
There are plenty of welcome nods to The Original Trilogy, both as fan service and as key moments in the dramatic narrative. Even elements from the Ewok movies get a look-in, which is beyond cool.
As well as some surprises along the way, every major character's story arc reaches a satisfying conclusion, the death of Carrie Fisher (i.e. Princess Leia) is handled beautifully and powerfully, and we finally discover the secret of Rey's (Daisy Ridley) heritage, explaining why some people were keen to writer her off as an OP Mary Sue in the last two movies.
Down to its bones, The Rise Of Skywalker feels like Star Wars.
While The Force Awakens was, for all intents and purposes, a rerun of A New Hope, and The Last Jedi felt like a generic sci-fi movie, with some Star Wars dressing on top, The Rise Of Skywalker is a truly magnificent and satisfying conclusion to this third trilogy of films in the Saga, and a pitch perfect climax to the entire Saga.
Simply put, The Rise Of Skywalker is the most fun I've had at the cinema in an age. I came out grinning from ear-to-ear, asking Rachel if we could go back in and see it again.
There's every possibility that this will be the last film I see in the cinema, and if it is I couldn't be happier.
For those two hours - and quite a while afterwards - I was 10-year-old me again, watching that enormous star destroyer rumble into view for the first time, chasing Princess Leia's blockade runner... and welcoming us into a galaxy far, far away and an adventure that took place a long time ago.