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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 2019 * * * Stars

Star Wars: The Rise of SkywalkerDirector: J. J. Abrams
Year: 2019
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill

It was the fall of 1977. I was only three when my dad took me to see the original Star Wars (A New Hope). I may have fell asleep during the opening crawl but it still remains my earliest childhood memory. Now forty-two years later, J. J. Abrams has come to wrap up the Star Wars saga via Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The Jedi are still battling the Sith, Rey and Kylo Ren are still confronting each other with badass lightsabers, and Poe and Finn are still on rescue mission mode.

Reflecting on the first three Star Wars films (episodes IV, V, and VI), "Rise" resembles them somewhat even if it lacks their fabled, magical dust. Abrams returning to direct the final installment, doesn't get all artsy and cerebral like Rian Johnson did in The Last Jedi. He fashions "Rise" as rather a fast-clipped, popcorn pic. At 142 minutes, it's long but far from being boring.

Image result for star wars: the rise of skywalker movie scenesThere are critics who say that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is confusing, poorly edited, and lacking in continuity. This critic followed the flick just fine. Abrams packs every frame with action to the gills, some friendly Resistance ribbing, and some whizzing set pieces. His CGI is effective without being overdone yet his tying up of all things "galaxy far, far away" is a little brusque. Oh well. It's not easy trying to finalize nine movies over the past four decades.

Let me put it this way: J. J. Abrams improves greatly on his foray into Star Wars lore sans the meat and potatoes vehicle, The Force Awakens. He keeps it old school in the heirloom-ed, space opera universe. Look for a Harrison Ford-Han Solo cameo, the return of Emperor Palpatine, and the return of good old Lando Calrissian. Bottom line: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker rarely feels retreaded or riskless nor does it bring back any annoying characters (I'm glad I didn't have to see Jar Jar Binks). It's exciting, knife-edge, and aerodynamic in its approach. Rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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