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Ryan Rabideau
Tue, Apr 23, 2019, 11:28am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Reading through these comments and such... well I'm ruminating on a couple of things...

1) Discovery has suffered by it's breakneck pace, it's lack of "substrate" character development (the bridge crew/etc.) and it's ever increasingly grandiose plot.

Perhaps... the constraint of being a prequel felt like pressure to continually keep the stakes "global". So maybe... just maybe... in season 3... being in a future where most likely the Federation is long long dead... we will see the plot's stakes being more humble... survival/getting back to their time/etc.

That would feel nice...


2) By being in a hostile future with presumably no strategic support, we see Discovery in the same position as Voyager was... but this time perhaps the authors will do a better job of showing Discovery forced to adapt, forced to do more with less... and not be able to spawn infinite numbers of spare shuttle-craft :)


3) By not showing us any of the aftermath for Discovery in the end, they cleverly positioned themselves to remove any actor from the show they'd like. Obviously it would be difficult to justify Michael or Saru... but minor characters like Reno or even Stammets can be justifiably killed off-screen as a casualty of their journey.

I'm not advocating for their removal... just saying that there are real life concerns and more than most shows... Discovery is under intense scrutiny... so being able to make some cast removals etc. for Season 3 keeps them flexible.


4) I wonder if they are learning from the Orville's moderate success. The Orville possess the relaxed "day to day" living scenes that TNG and other Treks were truly known for... if Discovery could slow down the pace JUST enough to let in more of this sort of humanizing moments, I'd really feel better about their terribly convoluted plots.
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J Ryan
Sun, Mar 24, 2019, 10:36am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

With 288 comments already I suppose everything has been said about this episode, so I'll be brief and try to stick to the positive points.

- Staments and Staments scenes were good, and I like how they seemed to have switched ships when they came out of the mycel-whatever network

- like Saru handling L'rell with the Tyler situation.

- Burnham and Georgiou relationship stuff was ok, interesting how it was more of an overt Mother - Daughter thing than in Prime Univ

- Kelpien cuisine ,. Unexpected and so effective for me.

- Lorca reveal, less effective because I knew it was coming.

One negative point worth mentioning. Georgiou killing her staff or whatever when Burnham revealed herself seemed gratuitous if not stupid. Supposed to show her ruthless mirror nature I guess. It didn't make sense.

Looking forward to how they end the mirror arc.
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J Ryan
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

Show continues to develop. Actually this ep has a couple memorable scenes. The Tyler, Michael confrontation was tense and engaging. Michael personally beaming Tyler to his "death" as a means to get the data thingy to Discovery was good. The reveal that the Emperor was Georgiou (??) Fell flat because I knew it was coming. Overall Discovery is coming together, which is in line with the maturation process other Trek shows went through in their first year. I'm looking forward to season 2 as the reviews and general consensus on this site indicate it really begins to find its footing.
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J Ryan
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

Very good episode. Unique tech solution requiring 133 spore drive jumps to collect enough sensor data to defeat the Klingon cloak. Decent action and character moments. Nice ending on a foreboding note. Discovery finally pulled it all together and gave us an engaging story.
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J Ryan
Thu, Jan 31, 2019, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

This one was ok bordering on pretty good. My problem with it is that the premise is so derivative of TNGs Cause and Effect that it can't help but be in that episode's shadow. I'm biased because Cause and Effect is one of my all time favorite episodes and any similar story will be judged against it. That said, Discovery handled the loop premise well, albeit the plot holes Jammer mentioned in his review. Burnham grew as a character and we get some insight into the emotional struggle of a human raised on Vulcan. So far Discovery is performing well, better I think than TNG and DS9 in their freshman year.
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J Ryan
Wed, Jan 16, 2019, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Lethe

This one didn't do much for me. Then again I was never much into Vulcan mysticism. And maybe I missed something but after Discovery spore-drived to the nebula where Sarak was trapped, how did the admiral woman just show up on their doorstep?
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J Ryan
Mon, Dec 31, 2018, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

My goodness, people, this show is not as bad as so many seem to be saying. WTF Burnham is developing as a character. The show sets up an intriguing premise: a ship in a time of war treading close to established lines of moral behavior. Lorca is a guy you want in command of a starship in a time of true threat to the federation. I know what he is revealed as later, but now he is a captain trying to win a war that threatens to Federation's existence. So far I am enjoying the show...
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J Ryan
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: Solo: A Star Wars Story

I agree with many by saying it was an ok film. But for a Star Wars Story that just sounds so damning. I'd like to paraphrase a line from the substandard Eragon movie a while back. The big bad guy meets the hero kid, who is supposed to be the Savior, or chosen one, or whatever (I forget ), and says something like, "I was expecting someone more ... Well ... More." Guess that's how I went into Solo. Expecting something ... More.
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J Ryan
Sat, Dec 29, 2018, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

Three episodes in, and it's getting better. It obvious Discovery is not your standard run of the mill Federation ship, and that's all we need to know to not go over the deep end on how the show is behaving un-Trek like. DS9 frequently did it. Voyager did it in some episodes (see Equinox). Even Picard violated the Neutral Zone when extreme circumstances called for it. To me that is what Discovery is showing us.
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J Ryan
Fri, Dec 28, 2018, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

Got the Blu Ray of season 1 for Christmas. Finally saw Battle at the Binary Stars after only seeing the broadcast first episode. Lots of dramatic things happened, but I found myself not caring about the characters. The battle wasn't staged with clear tactics or sense of who was gaining the upper hand. When the admiral self destructed his ship it should have been a moment like the hyperspeed ram in Last Jedi but instead it was a yawn. Perhaps the writers tried to stick too much in these first 2 episodes. I didn't feel this was an epic moment for the Federation, although it's supposed to be. Hope the narrative pacing and dramatic payoffs improve over the Season.
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Bryan
Fri, Sep 21, 2018, 9:29am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The Abandoned

Not that I’m agreeing with Elliot’s argument in whole, but he’s right in the sense that a 20-year-old and a 16-year-old sleeping together is statutory rape in most states and most of Europe. These numbers presented in this episode aren’t coincidences; the writers purposely chose controversial ages to maintain the no one right, “shades of gray” aspect of the show.
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J Ryan
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

Re-watched this great ep recently. Did anyone else's ears perk up when before the final combat scene Riker mentions a previous battle that Starfleet won at a place called Archer-4 (not sure on the number)? I immediately wondered if this reference had any bearing on the creators of "Enterprise" naming their captain Archer. It's probably unlikely and I suppose we'll never know, but it did make me sit up a bit when I heard it this time around.
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Bryan
Sun, Jul 22, 2018, 8:49am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Captain's Holiday

@Prince of Space

“Their comments are gassy, overly long, unbelievably critical, and usually full of big words to emphasize the validity of their litany list of complaints. One could easily think they do not watch ST for pleasure, but rather to demonstrate their ability to dissect others’ work. ”

At least they’re commenting on the show instead of digging around the comment section of every episode and commenting only on the comments.
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Bryan
Tue, Jun 26, 2018, 8:01am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

“Yes, they honestly think the problem is that the episode ISN'T SEXY ENOUGH!“

They might have a point there. They’re trying to depict Risa as a special pleasure land for sexual desires and yet it hardly comes off any more daring than a day at a public beach. Perhaps if Risa were depicted as advertised, we might be willing to side with the Essentialists’ and Worf’s protests to some degree.

Another issue with it not being sexy enough is, even if they couldn’t make this a good episode storywise, it could have at least been a guilty pleasure to tune in to see our usually buttoned-down Starfleet crew engaged in some sci-fi-laden erotica. But alas, it fails on this level too.
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Bryan
Sat, Jun 23, 2018, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

In all the fairness, Riker only calls the Vulcans “aliens” when not around Cochrane in his Captain’s log. And even then, it sounds like Riker is describing a historical event from Earth’s perspective, so “alien” essentially works in context.
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David Ryan
Fri, Jun 8, 2018, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: Solo: A Star Wars Story

As with a few others on here, I haven't seen this in the cinema and I must admit I'm in no real rush to either. The Force Awakens, Rogue One and especially The Last Jedi have sapped any enthusiasm I had for future films (which even the prequels didn't manage), and judging from the box office performance I suspect I'm not alone in that respect. Fingers crossed Disney takes heed and changes tack, but equally I'm not holding my breath.

Never thought I'd end up such a negative nancy about Star Wars, but I guess life is full of surprises.
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Bryan
Thu, May 31, 2018, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

@Cody B

Interesting story and I like the idea of Scotty outsmarting everyone (like it should be!). But would you really get rid of the Dyson Sphere? I thought that was the most memorable part of the episode.
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J Ryan
Thu, May 31, 2018, 9:52am (UTC -5)
Re: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Enjoyed the movie. Considering we all knew what was going to happen in it based on every film until now they did a pretty good job with the story and the bunch of "firsts" everyone expected. I liked how Han dealt with Beckett at the end. It moved the character toward who we know a bit more. And the Big cameo surprised me. Had to piece together a timeline in my head to see if it was possible. Guess I missed some stuff by not following the novels and cartoons . It was good. Could have been better. And to be honest I was hoping for a short Harrison Ford cameo somehow. Perhaps it's better that didn't happen.
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J Ryan
Fri, May 25, 2018, 11:44am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Zero Hour

I enjoyed this season ender. Better than several other finales from other series. But the writers missed an opportunity. Since they had already chosen slow motion Archer, slow motion explosions, and other action movie clichés, and had seeded some wise ass Archer comments during his torture scene a few episodes ago, here's what I would have loved to see ...
...Archer and Dolum fighting.
...Getting his ass kicked, Archer sticks explosive charge on Dolum's back.
...Dolum realizes this a moment before Archer presses the detonate button
...Reptilian blood spatters
...Archer looks down, "Turtle soup."
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Bryan
Sat, May 19, 2018, 11:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

“I am astonished by the immense number of comments concerning Sisko's dialogue with Kasidy; I mean, really?”

It’s really the only deep part of the episode. There’s only so much to say about poor Vic’s holographic misadventures.
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David Ryan
Sat, May 12, 2018, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Likewise surprised by Jammer's review, and stand by my 2.5 (at best) assessment. Can't help but feel it's been given a bit of a free pass on account of being 'different from previous Star Wars films' if I'm honest, but each to their own.
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J Ryan
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Tacking into the Wind

Great ep. But when Kira made her comment to Damar at that moment I just felt it made her look like a cold hearted bitch no better than the Cardassians she hates. She could have made her point another time or way. That's honestly the first time I felt that toward a Star Trek main character.
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J Ryan
Mon, Apr 16, 2018, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Omega Glory

Just watched this one again. Love it. Kirk's recital of the declaration preamble is classic Shatner. The haters of this episode crack me up. The parallel earth scenario seems to put a bunch of people off. Please. In a TV show that regularly employs technologies that will never come to pass, like matter transporters that basically disintegrates human and reassembles him without I'll effect, or warp engines the enable travel at several magnitudes of light speed, you refuse to accept a parallel earth? LMAO. Classic ep. Good Kirk/Spock moments. Good McCoy lines. It beats the heck out of most of season 3.
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David Ryan
Wed, Mar 7, 2018, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@SlackerInc: on balance, I was probably a bit harsh about the score. I think my biggest issue was that, like you say, it was 'fine'...but that's about it. I can't actually recall a standout bit of original music from the score (even The Phantom Menace had Duel of the Fates), which may admittedly say more about my memory but for me it was a shame given John Williams' previous work. Mind you, he still got an Oscar nomination so that shows what I know I suppose!
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David Ryan
Sun, Feb 25, 2018, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Bit late to the party, but here goes...

I wanted to like The Last Jedi. I really did. I wasn't keen on the second half of The Force Awakens (not just for killing off Han Solo for no good reason, but because of ultimately how derivate and 'A New Hope Rehash' it became), and I disliked Rogue One so much it remains the only Star Wars film (so far) I will not buy on DVD, but at the same time I'm not a hater by nature and I was encouraged by the news I'd heard in the build-up. So I sat in the cinema with my family and hoped for the best.

Ultimately, I left with extremely mixed feelings.

First off, the good (because there were good bits, when all was said and done).

- Individual performances: Mark Hamill for me put in the standout performance - he had a more substantial and nuanced part than the previous 'farmboy turned galactic hero' routine, struck a good balance between humour and serious turns, and despite his misgivings about where the character was taken (on which more below) I felt he gave Luke Skywalker a good send off. Barring any Force Ghost antics, of course (Yoda opening the door on that, after all). The scenes with Yoda were a nice touch too, and lifted the overall bleakness of the film (on which more also below).

Adam Driver also put in a good performance for me - less of the whiny angst teenager in The Force Awakens and a more plausible (and complicated) character for it. The bait-and-switch in terms of seemingly turning good before actually being even worse worked for me, even if I didn't find the accelerated promotion thing particularly convincing (surely there'd be others with a better claim to the title within the First Order?). Daisy Ridley did well with what she had, although I don't think the script did her justice - Rey's 'journey' lost its way at times, and didn't really explain how she went from 'raw potential but no real clue' to 'look at me shift a thousand boulders' in the space of about 3 days and 3 rather weak lessons. John Boyega put in a decent turn as Finn, and even if the whole patient-turned-deserter-turned-agent-turned-saboteur-turned-kamikaze thing didn't mesh together I still felt the character has some interesting potential for the last film. And whilst I'm on the main characters, Oscar Isaac was decent to watch as well (which is a bit damning with faint praise, I admit, for reasons below), and the late Carrie Fisher was on good form and fun to watch (although again, I wasn't convinced about the character overall).

- Special effects: Enough said really.

- Locations: even if some of them were, ultimately, completely pointless, it was nice to see a bit more of the Star Wars galaxy being explored.

- Emotional depth: whilst the film was hit and miss on this throughout, it was nice to see them trying to bring more depth to the characters and explore their strengths and flaws. By and large the characters were more believable for it, and in particular the consequences of characters' choices being explored in this way was welcome (even if it did mean others characters suffered in comparison).

- Return of the A-Wing: okay, it is stretching credulity that they'd still be using a 30-year-old design with no changes whatsoever, but it was one of my favourite ships and I liked seeing it regardless.

Now the not-so-good...

- Premise: I hate to say it, but the whole premise of the new trilogy just doesn't work for me at all. My honest reaction on reading the first few words of the opening crawl ("The First Order reigns") was to groan. I mean, seriously - this is like, what, 24 hours after Starkiller Base destroyed Hosnian Prime, and the whole New Republic has fallen to pieces? I know suspension of disbelief is part and parcel of science fiction, but this is stretching plausibility to say the least. The notion that a collective of hundreds of planets - with their own governments, militaries and resources, as the prequel trilogy showed with Naboo and Kashyyyk - wouldn't have contingency plans and the wherewithal to launch a counter-attack against the First Order (who, let's not forget, had lost their main military base immediately), and would, quite frankly, be stupid enough to keep its fleet in one convenient-to-hit location is just ludicrous. Particularly given how many wise heads from the original trilogy era would be able to say "this is a really stupid idea, you shouldn't do it" and such like. (I understand there is apparently extra material between Episode VI and VII which explains how this sorry state of affairs is supposed to come to pass, but I've looked into it and it still doesn't persuade me that this premise works. It's like everyone had collective amnesia as to how the Empire rose up in the first place, and just left their brains at home.)

- The Resistance: considering how many former Rebel leaders are (or were) taking part in the Resistance, they do seem to be completely useless as a military outfit. It's starting to make the destruction of Starkiller Base look like a fluke. Between sending possibly the slowest, and least well-armoured, fleet of bombers in existence into a certain death attack (or even contemplating it in the first place), having everyone assemble in one location to be snuck up on by the First Order, having an unshielded and very convenient tunnel leading right to their only fighter squadrons and not even considering using their only armed ship as a diversion until most of their transports have been destroyed, they just seem to be a bunch of morons. If this is the best the New Republic had to offer, perhaps that explains why they fell apart so quickly (even if I still don't buy that premise at all).

I seriously hope they portray them as more competent in the last film, because right now the Three Stooges would put together a better fighting force.

- Wasted characters: where to begin with this one? Supreme Leader Snoke snuffs it with nary a hint of who he actually is, how he rose to power, how he commands the dark side so strongly and yet still couldn't predict his own (rather ironic) demise. Captain Phasma goes from being potentially strong female character to disposable, and appears to have been a marketing ploy to sell shiny stormtrooper action figures. General Hux just seems to be a frustrated Nazi in the wrong universe, and far too in love with the sound of his own voice to be an effective leader of anything.

It goes on: Pretty much every Resistance fighter pilot or bomber crew member. The ENTIRE Resistance leadership (including Admiral Ackbar, who didn't even get to say "It's a trap!" before being blown into space). Chewbacca - did he actually do anything significant during the entire film? The droids - ditto. Vice Admiral Pink Hair (I honestly can't remember her name, probably because of how much her role amounted to cannon fodder). Rose (social commentary and battering ram on Finn aside, why was she there?). The crypto-hacker guy Benicio del Toro played (quite honestly, if he died on the First Order flagship I couldn't care less). Perhaps more contentiously, Poe, Finn and even Leia (my test being would the film still have worked without any of them in it, and quite frankly it would have - never a good conclusion).

So much potential, so much running time, so little substance.

- Meaningless side plots: the whole casino planet trip, eye candy and cute final scene aside, was just such a waste of time and actually quite boring. I got the whole social inequality message (and the slightly contrived 'it's all a shade of grey' bit with the weapons dealer's ship, however hackneyed that actually felt), but it felt like a knock-off Cloud City with no purpose other than to divert from The Galaxy's Slowest Chase Scene. I wouldn't have missed any of it if it had been left on the cutting room floor.

Same goes for the whole 'Poe tries to establish himself as fearless leader, fails spectacularly' routine. Quite how someone gets to the rank of Commander with so little common sense or tactical nous is beyond me, and it just felt as contrived as his heroine worship of Leia. (There's a limit to these things, surely?) And the whole 'Luke hates the Jedi Order' thing just jarred so much that I found myself missing the Expanded Universe timeline.

- Questionable character decisions: I think this probably sums up my biggest misgiving about the filme, which is that a number of characters make (or have made) decisions which are meant to highlight their flaws but instead seem jarringly out of character. The most obvious example is probably Luke Skywalker, and I could see right away why Mark Hamill made his (quickly backpedalled) comments about not being happy with how Luke was written. This is, after all, the same character who ignored pretty much everyone saying "Darth Vader is pure evil, there's no point trying to save him", turned him back to the light side and dealt a crippling blow to the Empire - and yet, when faced with a pupil who has been corrupted and seems to show no prospect of redemption he decides the best option is to take a lightsaber to him? (I know some people have said it's to show the flaw in trusting his gut instincts, but for his gut instincts to have gone so wildly off piste in the intervening years is a bit of a leap). Likewise, would he seriously have just washed his hands of the whole enterprise and not sought to put right the mess he created?

Same goes for Rey even contemplating trusting Ben Solo/Kylo Ren after he butchered Han right in front of her in the previous film (bizarre connection notwithstanding), Leia's tactical dead-ends, Finn's attempted kamikaze (surely he'd just be vaporised?), and pretty much every call made by Poe in the entire film. I get the whole 'people make bad decisions' thing, but there were some right humdingers happening far too regularly.

- Music: controversial, perhaps, particularly for a fan of John Williams, but the score didn't do anything for me really which is a shame.

- Overall bleakness: granted, there's nothing saying Star Wars has to be all levity (and I don't think it ever has been) and there's plenty of room for serious storytelling. But between this and Rogue One, they're laying the bleakness on with a trowel and then some. I'd lost count of how many people were killed simply for the sake of perceived drama, and the whole 'anything that can go wrong will go wrong' vibe just went overboard as well. Were it not for something of a salvage job in the final battle, I'd have left the cinema feeling thoroughly depressed.

I'll leave it there on the not-so-goods as I'm starting to rant and ramble, but despite (somewhat confusingly) feeling more satisfied with where The Last Jedi left off compared with how The Force Awakens left off I must confess I was disappointed overall and generally not feeling too thrilled about Disney's handling of the Star Wars saga. I very much doubt anyone at the House of Mouse will care or lose even a second's sleep over it given the box office takings, but for me it's getting to the stage where I'm losing interest in the direction they're taking things - and I've been a fan of the films as long as I can remember. This isn't about harking back to some perceived "golden age" or the like - the new films do some things very well, and the original trilogy had its flaws (and God knows the prequel trilogy did), and it's only right to acknowledge as such. But my motivation for watching Episode IX is now purely to see how they tidy up the mess and resolve the various plot threads they've left for themselves - and to see if JJ Abrams makes it as much of a Return of the Jedi copy as The Force Awakens ended up being of A New Hope. I can't say I'm particularly fussed about Solo aside from passing interest, and Rian Johnson's purported new trilogy likewise doesn't grab me. Perhaps it's one of the signs of growing up and (maybe) outgrowing the material, but it's a shame nonetheless and particularly to see that I'm not alone in my viewpoint on the new movies. Either we're all becoming old curmudgeons or something has gone a bit awry. But hey, as long as the bank registers keep ticking over and recouping the $4bn+ investment then who cares?

2 stars for me (maybe pushing 2.5 if I'm feeling generous). Episode IX may mark the end of my interest in Star Wars at this rate.
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