Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
— Ultimate Collector’s Edition —
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Disney | PG13 – 142 min. – $29.99 | March 31, 2020
Date Published: 03/26/2020 | Author: The Movieman
Buena Vista Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
Note: The screen captures were taken from the Blu-ray disc and do not represent the 4K Ultra HD transfer.
THE MOVIE — 2.25/5
Plot Synopsis: When it’s discovered that the evil Emperor Palpatine (IAN MCDIARMID) did not die at the hands of Darth Vader, the rebels must race against the clock to find out his whereabouts. Finn (JOHN BOYEGA) and Poe (OSCAR ISAAC) lead the Resistance to put a stop to the First Order’s plans to form a new Empire, while Rey (DAISY RIDLEY) anticipates her inevitable confrontation with Kylo Ren (ADAM DRIVER).
Review: Probably mentioned in my previous Star Wars reviews (including off-shoots Solo and Rogue One) that I am not a massive fan, approaching it like any big budget science fiction movie, including any of the number of Star Trek feature films. Generally I did enjoy The Force Awakens even though it’s a rehash of A New Hope, although over the years it has diminished in my mind. Then came The Last Jedi, much controversial and visually Rian Johnson hit it out of the park, logically from his script, it was a horrid mess, characters making odd decisions and Johnson’s clear dismissal of anything J.J. Abrams set up prior.
Now two years later we get Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, the long-awaited(?) conclusion to the “Skywalker Saga” and the finale for the new cast of characters introduced in The Force Awakens. For myself, my anticipation level was near zero, mostly because knowing that it’s apparent Disney/Lucas Film failed to have or at least follow some basic blueprint for this trilogy, leading to two competing visions: one with Abrams the other with Johnson, with the former clumsily attempting to realign by doing a retcon of sorts — the big one being Rey’s parents not be nobodies at all — and even ignoring the out-of-nowhere romance between Finn and Rose who was all but an extra with a few lines and maybe 5 minutes of screen time; but not complaining.
However, to be fair to Johnson, Abrams screwed the pooch from the get-go, not at least giving one scene between the trio of Luke, Han and Leia, with only those last two getting a few scenes together and Mark Hamill’s Luke relegated to a credited 5-second cameo at the very end, which Johnson unceremoniously made a joke out of it…
But for all of the many faults that plagued The Last Jedi, it’s hard to imagine that The Rise of Skywalker would lead to numerous plot holes such as, how in the hell did Emperor Palpatine survive not only following his tumble down the reactor shaft… but also the complete destruction of the Death Star… which somehow was also semi-intact. Why is there a dagger, the one that killed Rey’s parents, had writing leading to the location of the a Sith wayfinder which then leads to Palpatine on the planet Exeol, when said dagger belonged to an assassin sent by Palpatine. Mind hurts.
There are numerous others, and plenty of video on YouTube outlaying them all, some minor others major and rather convoluted. Add in lightsaber fights that aren’t particularly well choreographed or even shot with any sort of style, but The Rise of Skywalker wasn’t all that entertaining or worse, held very much emotion, saved only one scene when Chewbacca learns of Lea’s passing. Otherwise? These new characters now in their third and final film and… I don’t really give a damn about any of them, Rey especially looked more bored than engaged, although if I knew or could do anything and everything…
I still do not understand that a large studio like Disney couldn’t have at least had a loose blueprint, one that would be malleable to the filmmaker for that project, but story points that would need to be adhered to, plus live within the rules of the Star Wars universe (hyper drive jumping is one instance). What we get instead is the mashing of the heads; Rian Johnson saying F-U to J.J. Abrams and Abrams in turn giving the middle finger to Johnson, no bigger example than Force Ghost Luke telling Rey: “A Jedi’s weapon deserves more respect.”
In any case, even though I’m not a big fan, there were too many poorly executed moments, as well as too obvious plot holes either created in this film or retroactively done for The Last Jedi, for me to ignore. I generally like J.J. Abrams as I did like his Star Trek film (Into Darkness not so much), his Spielberg-influenced Super 8 and even parts of The Force Awakens, but with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, he completely whiffed, some of it not his fault, but a fair portion was (alongside LucasFilm and Disney).
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
This 3-disc set comes with a slightly embossed and matted slip cover inside of which is a Digital HD code which comes with a digital exclusive featurette, The Maestro’s Finale (11:10) with composer John Williams reflecting on his body of work for the Star Wars saga.
While the slip cover is nice looking, don’t like the back doesn’t have the bonus listings or technical info.
Discs 1 & 2 are the 4K UHD and Blu-rays which do not have any features. Disc 3 contains all of the bonus material. No deleted footage, unfortunately.
The Skywalker Legacy (2:06:11) — This massive documentary chronicles the franchise with focus on The Rise of Skywalker and includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with members of the cast and crew including Abrams, Boyega, Isaac, Hamill, Williams and more. Obviously does not touch any of the controversy surrounding the production, particularly in post, but still well made especially seeing some footage from the original trilogy and the legacy cast (including Carrie Fisher).
Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase (14:16) — Breaks down the speeder chase sequence in the desert where our characters are surprised the Storm Troopers can fly…
Aliens in the Desert (5:59) looks at the alien festival goers; filmed in Jordan.
D-O: Key to the Past (5:33) — This is on the creation of the ship and the droid D-O.
Warwick & Son (5:37) — This is on Warwick Davis playing an Ewok once again, this time along with his son. Lot of work for a 5 second shot.
Cast of Creatures (7:46) — Breaking down the various creatures in the movie.
4K VIDEO – 5.0/5, BD VIDEO – 5.0/5
|Disney releases Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker onto 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray where it’s presented in its original 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio and given 2160p and 1080p high-definition transfers. No real surprise here, but this does look fantastic in both formats with a slight edge in 4K and a fine enhancement with the colors which do have a nice vibrancy, such as the blue glow of the lighsabers or coming from Palpatine’s hands. Blacks also are impressive, pretty deep especially noteworthy during the finale.|
4K AUDIO – 5.0/5, BD AUDIO – 4.5/5
|Another release where the 4K and Blu-ray come with two different audio codecs, the former with Dolby Atmos, the latter a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track. Even so, you can’t really go wrong with either of these. The Atmos is a little more dynamic in comparison, however both do provide clear dialogue and whether in space or on an watery moon crashing against a destroyed Death Star, there is some incredible depth.|
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker isn’t a terrible movie as there are a few entertaining moment and the performance from Adam Driver, the only consistent of the cast throughout this new trilogy, was quite good even when he’s straddled with poorly written dialogue. The problem is, the inconsistencies are hard to ignore and does make the trilogy hard for a re-watch.
The good news is, the 4K/Blu-ray combo pack offers up excellent video and audio transfers and a fine selection of bonus features, highlighted by the two-hour documentary, though sadly no deleted footage.
The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.