Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Rise of Skywalker Beckons

This December is rightly dedicated to Star Wars. After all, The Rise of Skywalker makes its debut and it’s a movie that ends a legendary franchise. 

But reviews have been lackluster and downright negative. In fact, Scott Mendelson wrote in Forbes that it serves no purpose other than to reassure adult fans of the original Star Wars that they are still the “chosen ones” of the pop culture galaxy. 

Even the headline is telling: “The Worst ‘Star Wars’ Movie Ever”. 

I have not seen the said movie – but I shall reproduce Nicholas Barber’s review he did for BBC and quote it verbatim. 

“Will this agony never end”, bleats C-3PO in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, and you can see where he is coming from. Not that the film is agony as such. It’s actually a fast-moving, action-packed, swashbuckling swords 'n' sorcery space opera with typically high standards of production design and visual effects, and a pleasing blend of gloom and humor. 

But you would be forgiven for being tired of the whole palaver well before it finishes. Just as the first two episodes in the third Star Wars trilogy were retreads of the first two episodes of the original trilogy from the 1970s and 80s, this final episode is a retread of 1983’s The Return of The Jedi. The trouble with that is that The Return of the Jedi was a perfectly satisfying conclusion to the Star Wars saga, wrapping up everything that needed to be wrapped up. 

All The Rise of Skywalker does is wrap up everything a second time, answering the same questions and revisiting the same themes. It’s an encore as awkwardly unnecessary as when you bid a tearful farewell to a friend, and then you bump into them and have to say goodbye all over again”. 

Never mind what has been written about the movie because the rest of the world will still go and watch it – me included – and then, we will most likely pile on the negativity about the pretend-blockbuster. ('We' of course, exclude the die-hard Star Wars fans).

I’m saying this because I don't think there's anything fresh about this particular film, whether in terms of plot and/or action.  It's going to be a familiar story. I guess, it's best to treat it as popcorn fare and none of us will be disappointed.

Heck, The Rise of Skywalker still beckons – and I promise you I will buy a ticket and after the viewing, I shall pen some lines about it. 

I was in Bangsar South, KL for the Air Products Toastmasters meeting yesterday – and just like on Tuesday, I took up two roles. 

This time around, I was both the General Evaluator and a Project Speaker. 

And I presented an Advanced speech from the Special Occasion Speeches manual, project #2 Speaking in Praise. My speech title: “I Know That Guy”.

Hmmm, I was voted Best Speaker:

Four more speeches from this manual and I will have earned another Advanced Communicator Silver award. For the seventh time.

I have enjoyed this meeting and again, it is simply down to the speeches and evaluations that were awesomely good. And it's not often that you get to listen to authentic speeches.

Additionally, I was very encouraged to see newbies summoning their courage to do Table Topics speeches. 

What makes it special was the fact that many of their members have just started to dip their toes into Toastmasters and yet, they showed a quiet yearning to want to learn to be effective communicators, to experience public speaking and to do Toastmastering.

An absolutely wonderful meeting!

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