The first screening of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” took place December 3 exclusively for the cast, and fans can only hope the J.J. Abrams-directed tentpole is as great as Richard E. Grant’s video reaction to it. Grant, fresh off a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” earlier this year, plays a new First Order character in the film. Grant took to Twitter to share his reaction to “The Rise of Skywalker” and was so excited he was nearly out of breath.
“I've just seen ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ and nothing prepares you for this,” Grant says in the video. “I cheered, I shouted, I fist-pumped the air, I cried, I stood and cheered. It's absolutely everything you hoped it was going to be.”
Grant accompanied his video reaction with a caption that heaped more praise on the upcoming “Star Wars” movie, writing, “What [the film] achieves, weaves, and resolves is a total emotional meltdown and resurrection of the spirit.”
Joonas Suotamo, who plays Chewbacca in the film, also took to social media to praise “The Rise of Skywalker” as a major achievement. “It was everything I had hoped for and more!” the actor said. “Thank you, J.J. Abrams, for allowing us to see it and allowing me to bawl and cheer in private before stepping in front of the world. Sir, we have a masterpiece!”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is the final entry of the Skywalker saga that first begin with George Lucas’ original “Star Wars” in 1977. Disney is releasing the expected blockbuster in theaters nationwide December 20. Watch Gran’t amazing reaction video in the post below.
Just seen the 1st cast screening of @starwars #THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. What it achieves, weaves & resolves, is a total emotional meltdown & resurrection of the Spirit. Bravo to @jjabrams & his astonishing cast & creative crew 💥🚀💥🚀💥🚀💥🚀💥🚀💥🚀 pic.twitter.com/EwtYghYTXK
— Richard E. Grant @RichardEGrant December 4, 2019
And thank you @jjabrams for allowing us to see it and allowing me to bawl and cheer in private before stepping in front of the world. Sir, we have a masterpiece!
There’s one particularly telling and effective moment in The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-lenght documentary that’s included on the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release that sums up much of the ambivalence and consternation that some had with J.J. Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe. After showing the intricate construction of a giant, practical snake monster, the doc cuts back to footage of Jabba The Hutt, that old analogue beast that slithered its way into our hearts. The sentiment is clear – we’re making movies like we used to! A celebration of practical effects, the dripping of k-y jelly to give viscosity just like the old costume days, it’s all there. There’s excitement on set, everyone talking about how amazing it looks, how lifelike, how this is how you’re supposed to do movies like this.
Cut to Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett who shatters the myth, letting us know the creature was replaced by a CGI version in post.
Guyett’s resume is mighty. Having made his bones on groundbreaking films like Twister and Casper, he helped Spielberg bring the events of D-Day to screen in Saving Private Ryan, helped bring to life the best looking film in the Harry Potter series, Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, and even made the theatrical version of Rent feel more than a stage production. Guyett has had many collaborations with Abrams – from the Star Trek Reboots through The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker he was even second unit director on the former, as well as working with George Lucas on Episode III to round off the prequels. He’s in a unique position to speak to these changing landscapes of epic filmmaking.
We spoke at length about the apparent contradictions and indulgences in making a Star Wars film, and he made the case for why nothing was wasted and all contributed to the final presentation. He was erudite and open to the discussion, making for a dream conversation with a man who quite literally has helped shape what amazes us on screen for decades.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
We see practical effects being championed as almost a marketing ploy with the “postquels” as a mix of nostalgia and an attempt to delineate from Lucas’ second trilogy. In some ways the love of the practically-realized snake undercuts the extraordinary CGI you and your team accomplished, and raises questions about why the need to fetishize the on-set inclusions when they’re replaced anyway. Could you talk about that ethos, that somehow doing stuff on a computer is a “cheat” while doing an effect practically is not?
I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the best that we can, trying to make the best, most dramatic or emotional movie we can visually. I’m coming from figuring out how do you get the most...