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JJ Abrams
Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega
Writing Credits:
JJ Abrams, Chris Terrio

The surviving members of the Resistance face the First Order once again.

Box Office:
$275 million.
Opening Weekend
$177,383,864 on 4406 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Descriptive Audio 2.0
Spanish Dolby 7.1
French Dolby 7.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 142 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 3/31/2020

• “The Skywalker Legacy” Documentary
• “Pasaana Pursuit” Featurette
• “Aliens in the Desert” Featurette
• “Key to the Past” Featurette
• “Warwick & Son” Featurette
• “Cast of Creatures” Featurette
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker [4K UHD] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 23, 2020)

42 years after the original film became a massive hit and four years after The Force Awakens opened the “Sequel Trilogy”, 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker offers a conclusion of sorts. While Disney will continue to release plenty of Star Wars content into the future, this movie represents the end of the nine-episode “Skywalker Saga”.

As aspiring Jedi Knight Rey (Daisy Ridley) continues her training, fellow members of the Resistance continue to battle with the First Order. For the latter, leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) seeks to find Rey and either kill her or convert her to his cause.

A complication arises when the long-gone Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) seems to return from the dead. With this new threat on the horizon, Rey and fellow Resistance fighters Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and others try to locate the Sith headquarters and end this menace once and for all.

That’s what I call a quick and dirty synopsis, one that leaves out plenty of details. Rather than dig into a whole mess of subplots, I figured I’d rather keep things relatively brief.

As I’ve mentioned in prior reviews, the first Star Wars came out when I was 10 and part of the perfect target audience for the film. I won’t call the Original Trilogy my favorite of all-time, but I do believe the Star Wars franchise has meant more to me over the decades than any other.

While I understood the criticisms leveled at Force Awakens, I still loved it. 2017’s Last Jedi worked less well for me, but after a few viewings, I cane to like it quite a lot.

Going into Rise, I figured it’d offer a rousing finale. After all, writer/director JJ Abrams led the way for Force Awakens, so with him back in the chair, I thought he’d ensure a terrific conclusion to the Sequel Trilogy.

Did Abrams?

Sort of.


Probably not.

After three screenings, that “probably not” likely acts as my ultimate judgment on Rise, as it seems unlikely viewings four, five or more will substantially alter my opinion of it. Down the road, I may like it a little more or a little less, but unlike the more polarizing Last Jedi, this doesn’t feel like a movie that’ll lead to a major re-evaluation.

This means I’ll probably always see Rise as a disappointment, but not a major one. Whatever flaws that come with it, the film still delivers an enjoyable adventure.

However, I’m not sure “enjoyable adventure” seems good enough for the conclusion to this decades-in-the-making series. Perhaps we all set expectations too high, and nothing Abrams could’ve done would’ve been good enough.

Maybe. I think Abrams could’ve found a way to end matters with more spark and satisfaction, though, as something about Rise just leaves me a wee bit cold.

When I saw both Force Awakens and Last Jedi theatrically, they fired so many thoughts and emotions in me that I wrote up my reviews as soon as I got home. This didn’t happen with Rise, and even after my second big-screen screening, I still didn’t feel compelled to put my thoughts down on virtual paper.

That’s because unlike its two immediate predecessors, Rise just didn’t get a major reaction out of me. Oh sure – I enjoyed the experience, and I thought it became an engaging adventure, but the movie simply failed to dig into me the way the previous episodes did.

On third viewing via this disc, I can’t claim a change of heart. Even now that I’m forced to write a review, I struggle to come up with insights or emotions, as Rise still doesn’t get a strong reaction out of me.

Some have knocked as Rise as too much in the realm of “fan fiction” – ie, a story with too many “wouldn’t it be cool if…” moments and too little plot/character integrity. I don’t necessarily agree that this occurs here, but I do understand the point.

I think any new effort in the “Skywalker Saga” will inevitably fall victim to this prospect. After all, the filmmakers need to come up with new elements to keep us interested, so that means bigger ‘n’ wilder, factors that lean toward the aforementioned “wouldn’t it be cool if…” trend.

Again, I see some of this in Rise, but I don’t think it goes overboard. Unquestionably, it could delve into goofy tangents much more than it does.

Rumors abound that Abrams originally created a much longer cut of Rise, and I can’t help but believe it’d work better than the theatrical version. Beyond the “fan fiction” claims, probably the most consistent criticism of Rise comes from the way it seems to rush through so much action and plot.

I find these comments to be valid. While not paced at breakneck speed, Rise can feel like it’s in an awful hurry to cram as much into its 142 minutes as it can, and this can damage the film’s pace, as it comes across as hectic at times. I hope we get to see en extended version of Rise at some point, as I suspect it’ll prove more consistently fulfilling.

Don’t regard any of these as fatal flaws, though, for Rise boasts enough Star Wars magic to work. We get lots of action, some humor, some emotion and a reasonable wrap-up on the series.

Is that enough to make Rise a good film? I think so, but as I’ve noted, “good” doesn’t seem satisfactory for the final chapter of this legendary decades-long saga.

Still, it’s what we have and what we must accept. Rise isn’t the weakest entry of the nine episodes, and with the possible exception of Revenge of the Sith, it betters any part of the Prequel Trilogy.

I simply dearly wish I could offer more enthusiasm about Rise. At the end of the day, it provides a competent Star Wars adventure but not one that concludes the saga with the impact I hoped to find.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus B+

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. As expected, the film came with a fine transfer.

Sharpness looked strong from start to finish. Even wider shots came across as accurate and well-defined, so anticipate no problematic softness.

The film lacked jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. No signs of source defects emerged either.

In terms of palette, Rise went with a fairly typical emphasis on teal and amber, though some other hues materialized as well. I’d like a broader array of hues, but given the choices on display, the hues looked solid. The disc’s HDR added some punch, though the limitations of the palette meant that factor didn’t bolster the colors a bunch.

Blacks appeared dark and dense, while shadows seemed smooth and well-depicted. The HDR gave zing to contrast and whites. No issues arose via this appealing presentation.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack worked well, though as occasionally occurs with discs from Disney, it came mastered at a somewhat low level. I’ve read complaints about that with other Disney releases and tended to find the issue overstated, but it seemed more obvious here.

Though the slightly anemic volume level tended to depend on the scene or element involved. Music felt too quiet much of the time, and some effects followed suit, but other effects packed a loud punch.

I deducted a point due to this erratic sense of volume, but the soundtrack remained compelling overall. Like all Star Wars movies, Rise boasted a dynamic, active soundscape from start to finish.

All the channels brought a lot of activity, and the elements seemed well-placed and integrated. Material crossed the spectrum in a concise way and gave us a wide, involving soundfield with lots of action on display.

Audio quality worked well, with speech that felt accurate and natural. Despite the slightly low volume, music still came across as well-rendered and full.

Effects fared best of all, as that material seemed accurate and robust, with clean highs and deep lows. I wish the track didn’t suffer from slightly inconsistent volume, but otherwise this turned into a very enjoyable mix.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The 4K’s Atmos mix felt a little more expansive, though it shared the volume issues with the BD’s DTS-HD MA audio.

Visuals showed an upgrade, as the 4K appeared better defined and showed darker blacks. Colors got a more modest boost than anticipated, mainly because so much of Rise went with less than vivid tones. Still, the 4K UHD turned into the more appealing rendition of the film.

All of the set’s extras appear on a second Blu-ray disc, and the big attraction comes from The Skywalker Legacy, a two-hour, six-minute, 11-second documentary. It presents comments from writer/director JJ Abrams, producers Michelle Rejwan and Kathleen Kennedy, writer Chris Terrio, production designers Kevin Jenkins and Rick Carter, executive producer Callum Greene, editors Stefan Grube and Maryann Brandon, 1st AD Tommy Gormley, visual effects supervisors Patrick Tubach and Roger Guyett, visual effects producer TJ Falls, makeup designer Amanda Knight, hair designer Lisa Tomblin-Fitzpatrick, supervising standby props Sonny Merchant, stunt coordinator Eunice Huthart, production sound mixer Stuart Wilson, HOD sculptor Conrad Lindley-Thompson, special creature effects supervisor Neal Scanlan, costume designer Michal Kaplan, 1st AD (Jordan) Tamir Naber, creature movement choreographer Paul Kasey, supervising art director Paul Inglis, animatronic designer Rebecca Simm, art director Claire Fleming, puppeteers Mike Quinn, Damian Farrell, Liam Cook, Claire Roi Harvey and Lynn Robertson Bruce, drapesman Alex Lewry, VFX trainee Ali al Khadra, 2nd unit director Victoria Mahoney, SFX lead senior technician Phil Ashton, director of photography Dan Mindel, set decorator Rosemary Brandenburg, workshop supervisor Martyn Doust, composer John Williams, CFX supervising animatronic designer Gustav Hoegen, CFX electronics design & development supervisor Matthew Denton, dialect coach Jill McCullough, ILM visual effects art director Chris Voy, Lucasfilm designer supervisor James Clyne, property & weapons master Jamie Wilkinson, supervising sound editor David Acord, assistant art director Laura Miller, special effects supervisor Dominic Tuohy, supervising sound editor Matthew Wood, draughtsperson Chris Vincent, and actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Billy Dee Williams, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Arti Shah, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billie Lourd, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford, Ian McDiarmid, Aidan Cook, Sally Guinness, Richard E. Grant, Geff Francis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Nigel Godrich, Keri Russell, Shirley Henderson, Naomie Ackie, Denis Lawson, and Dominic Monaghan.

Archival footage provides Original Trilogy-era comments from Ford, Hamill, Fisher, Daniels, filmmaker George Lucas and concept designer Ralph McQuarrie. We also find vintage shots from the sets of those films.

“Legacy” examines story/characters, cast and performances, sets, locations and production design, various effects, stunts and action, creature and costume design, photography, music and audio, and general domains.

Though the title may imply a broad view of the entire nine-film “Saga”, expect “Legacy” to mainly focus on Rise. We do get visits to the Original Trilogy and an occasional nod to the Prequel Trilogy, but Rise dominates, along with some glimpses of the other entries in the Sequel Trilogy.

Also don’t expect “Legacy” to follow the standard “A to Z” progression one would usually get from a “making of” program. Some of that comes from the inclusion of the glimpses of earlier shoots, but it also stems from the program’s decision to simply take the Rise production in a semi-loose manner.

This can feel disjointed, and I admit I prefer more linear documentaries. Still, “Legacy” offers a ton of good information, and it proceeds at a breezy pace. Ultimately “Legacy” delivers an engaging program.

A few featurettes follow, and Pasaana Pursuit fills 14 minutes, 16 seconds with notes from Abrams, Daniels, Guyett, Mahoney, Isaac, Ridley, Boyega, Fleming, Falls, Huthart, Tuohy, Brandon, ILM animation supervisor Paul Kavanagh, action vehicles fabricator John Randall, virtual production supervisor Kaya Jabar, assistant stunt coordinator Marc Mailley, stunt performers Joe Kennard and Luke Tumber, SFX lead senior technician Phil Ashton, SFX senior technician Phoebe Tait, storyboard artist David Allcock, and 2nd unit 1st AD Stewart Hamilton.

As implied by the title, “Pursuit” provides a look at elements related to a big action scene. It throws a lot of good nuggets at us to become a satisfying overview.

Aliens in the Desert goes for five minutes, 59 seconds and features Abrams, Greene, Naber, production manager (Jordan) Martin Joy, production supervisor (Jordan) Diala Raie, Princess Raiyah bint al Hussein, production coordinators (Jordan) Nada Atieh and Erin Duffy, supervising location manager Mally Chung, UK/Jordan construction paramedic Rachel Bucknor, location managers (Jordan) Saeb Abu Ragheb and Duncan Broadfoot, Royal Film Commission Former Managing Director George David, and Prince Ali bin al Hussein.

“Aliens” discusses the location shoot and challenges related to work in the desert. While some of this brings useful material, too much of it feels like a commercial intended to draw movie crews to Jordan.

With D-O: Key to the Past, we find a five-minute, 33-second clip that includes notes from Terrio, Jenkins, Acord, Wood, Ridley, standby art director Peter James, CFX concept designer Jake Lunt Davies, and puppeteers Brian Herring and Dave Chapman.

“Past” looks at the design of a spaceship and a droid. It delivers a short but interesting synopsis.

Warwick & Son goes for five minutes, 37 seconds and offers info from CFX senior animatronic designer Morna MacPherson, and actor Warwick Davis. This primarily looks at how Davis returned to reprise his role as Wicket the Ewok.

The program includes the “Son” part because Davis’s kid also worked on Rise, but it doesn’t focus much on him. While not packed with substance, “Warwick” manages to give us a charming enough view of the veteran actor.

Finally, Cast of Creatures occupies seven minutes, 46 seconds and brings remarks from Scanlan, Abrams, Boyega, Davis, Cook, MacPherson, Denton, Hoegen, Falls, CFX concept designer/senior sculptor Luke Fisher, puppeteers Claire Roi Harvey and Tom Wilton, CFX paint finish design supervisor Henrik Svensson, animatronic designer Becky Simm, asset and environment supervisor Elvin Siew Xiangyou, and CG supervisor Nihal Friedel.

Here we get insights related to the design and execution of various alien beings. It’s too short to dig into the topic as well as I might like – we could get a couple hours on the subject – but it still provides fun notes.

With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, a decades-long saga concludes in a moderately satisfying manner. That feels like faint praise for a film with such high expectations, as Rise becomes an enjoyable but not entirely fulfilling finale. The 4K UHD offers excellent picture and audio along with a solid selection of supplements. While not the classic one might hope to find, Rise still does enough to work.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main