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‘The Rise of Skywalker’ delivers a messy but satisfying finale to the new Star Wars trilogy – TechCrunch

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“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is the ninth and final film in what Lucasfilm is calling The Skywalker Saga. It’s the end of the story — that’s both its greatest asset and its heaviest burden.

Certainly, if you’re hoping that a single movie can effectively wrap up every storyline, complete every character arc and answer every lingering question from the eight preceding films, you should abandon that hope now. Director J.J. Abrams is pitching this as the culmination of a nine-film epic, but how could any single movie live up to 40 years of theories and daydreams from millions of Star Wars fans?

(This review describes the general plot of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” but contains no major spoilers.)

Yes, you’ll see some returning faces from the original trilogy, including Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, the late Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa (courtesy of unused footage from “The Force Awakens”) and Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian.

But their roles are pretty small. In fact, I’d argue that only Williams is used effectively. That’s okay, though — this isn’t their story anymore. They’re here to pass the torch.

Anthony Daniels is C-3PO, John Boyega is Finn and Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

So it’s the new characters who fully step into the spotlight this time around. More than anything, “The Rise of Skywalker” serves as one last chance for the new trilogy’s three main heroes — scavenger-turned-Jedi Rey (Daisy Ridley), stormtrooper-turned-Resistance-fighter Finn (John Boyega) and ace pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac) — to have an adventure together.

The film begins with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) having ascended to the role of Supreme Leader of the First Order (a.k.a. the new Empire). He lands on a mysterious planet to track down transmissions that appear to come from the long-dead Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid, clearly relishing his return to the role).

It’s quickly established that Palpatine somehow survived his death at the end of “Return of the Jedi,” and he’s been the secret mastermind behind the First Order all along. Now he’s assembled a giant fleet of even deadlier ships — and if Kylo wants to take command, all he has to do is kill Rey first.

This scene sets the template for the rest of the film, combining moody, gorgeous visuals with a breakneck pace, while delivering any and all exposition with the absolute minimum amount of detail.

The first half of “The Rise of Skywalker” turns into one long chase, as our heroes search for a mysterious artifact that may be crucial to defeating the Emperor, while Kylo and his Knights of Ren are close behind.

The Rise of Skywalker

Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron, Daisy Ridley is Rey and Anthony Daniels is C-3PO in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

It’s not hard to notice that many of these early plot developments seem designed to fill time, keeping our heroes busy before the grand finale. The film is both hurried and drawn out — constantly coming up with new destinations to visit, then rushing over as quickly as possible.

This didn’t bother me as much as I would have expected, largely because the plot brings us from one richly imagined world to another. They’re filled with some of the most delightfully bizarre aliens in the franchise, and they adds up to the most expansive tour of the Star Wars universe that I can recall.

As for the film’s second half, you can probably guess where the story will end — especially if you’ve watched “Return of the Jedi” recently. But even it doesn’t surprise you, you can still appreciate how Abrams has expanded on the older film’s scale and stakes.

When he revived the franchise in 2015 with “The Force Awakens,” Abrams seemed largely content to remix the original trilogy. With “The Rise of Skywalker,” on the other hand, he was apparently inspired to be more “daring,” and the film contains some of the most striking images of his career — a tiny skimmer struggling to stay afloat on an impossibly choppy ocean, a vast, ancient throne room filled with shadowy figures, a light saber duel amid the floating ruins of an old Death Star.

Daisy Ridley is Rey in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

Sadly, Abrams the screenwriter (working with co-writer Chris Terrio) didn’t do quite as good a job. The dialogue is clunkier and more obvious than it was in the past two films, with jokes than rarely land as effectively.

There’s a slipshod quality to the plotting as well, with many major events seemingly to transpire for no reason except that they have to, because it’s the last movie. And while “The Last Jedi” tried to put the mystery of Rey’s parentage to rest, “The Rise of Skywalker” can’t quite move on. It takes up the question again, providing a final answer that’s reasonably satisfying on its own, but doesn’t quite justify the enormous build-up and back-and-forth over the course of three movies.

Ultimately, while I liked “The Rise of Skywalker” well enough, I also thought it was the weakest installment of the new trilogy. I’m particularly hard-pressed to recall any moments that affected me as deeply as the end of “The Last Jedi” — there’s nothing here that can match the quiet sadness of Luke’s reunion with Leia, or his lonely last stand against the First Order.

But even if “The Rise of Skywalker” isn’t the grand culmination that I’d been hoping for, it’s still a diverting adventure, not to mention a worthy farewell to Luke, Leia and all the others. When the forces of good and evil lined up for one final battle, I felt that old Star Wars thrill. And when I saw the last shot, I knew the story was ending where it was always supposed to end.



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The Real Reason The US Cancelled This Multi-Billion Dollar Helicopter Project

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Prior to UAVs like the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper capturing the public’s attention during the War on Terror, stealth aircraft were all the rage. Aircraft like the B2 Spirit showed the potential for stealth attack aircraft. The RAH-66 Comanche was supposed to follow that same trend. 

The Comanche was a joint venture by Sikorsky and Boeing and was originally intended to act as a reconnaissance aircraft and pinpoint targets of interest, according to Boeing. 

Looking like a PlayStation One render of a helicopter, the Comanche was designed to operate stealthily. Its angular body panels allowed it to fly into enemy territory virtually undetected. The Comanche was not designed to be a flying weapons platform like the AH-64 Apache, but it wasn’t a slouch either. It boasted a 20mm chin gun and the wing pylons could be equipped with air-to-air or air-to-ground missiles (via Hotcars).

With nearly 20 years of hindsight, it’s easy to see why the military favored drones over the stealth wizardry of the Comanche. But back then, a stealth helicopter was the future of warfare.  

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American Airlines New Supersonic Jets Could Slash Flight Times In Half

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Being built to travel at Mach 1.7, or about 1,304 miles per hour (when traveling over water), the Overture would get passengers to their destinations much faster than the average commercial flight. Though one of its primary trade-offs is capacity, as Boom says the jet can only manage between 65 to 80 passengers at a time. That’s roughly half of the commonly-used Airbus A320’s 140 to 170 passenger capacity or the 149 to 220 maximum seating of the Boeing 737 series. Though on paper the Overture does boast more range — up to 4,250 nautical miles — than either of its mass transit contemporaries.

A ride in an Overture aircraft should also be just as safe as today’s typical flights, with Boom on the hook to make sure the new plane meets the current industry standards. Additionally, the new models will also have to meet American’s own requirements even before it delivers its first plane.

If all goes according to plan, Boom should begin rolling out manufactured Overtures sometime in 2025. It expects to start carrying passengers by 2029. So far nothing has been said about the availability of Overture flights to American Airline customers once it has the planes in hand, nor anything about ticket pricing.

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The 5 Best Ways To Celebrate May The 4th: Star Wars Day

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While you’re perfectly welcome to head to your local LEGO retailer to pick up a set and snap it together, we’ve got another bit of a treat for you. Straight from yesterday’s Toys-R-Us “May The 4th Be With You” Star Wars LEGO event, here are the directions to the Wookie Gunship mini-build.

Above you’ll see the first half of the directions, below you’ll see the second. These pieces should be relatively easy to find – supposing you’ve got stacks of LEGO blocks handy to build with.

These sets weren’t sold – they were given away to the tiniest and newest fans of Star Wars, the kids! The next generation!

Below you’ll see a gallery provided by Toys-R-Us of the Star Wars event held at (most) Toys-R-Us locations across the United States.

Celebrate along with us by sharing your Star Wars Day experience right now!

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