DVD Corner's blog

News, dvd and blu-ray reviews

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker 4K Review

Rise

The end of an era.

In the ninth and final installment of the Skywalker Saga, Rey and the Resistance once again have to face off against Kylo Ren (now a Supreme Leader) and the First Order, but a new threat emerges…or rather reemerges. Palpatine has returned and he has an entire fleet set to wipe out the Resistance once and for all. Meanwhile, Rey finally learns about her past which could change her entire world. 

Upon its release, “Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker” was met with wildly different reactions. Some found it to be the weakest of the trilogy, others found it to be too conventional, others thought it ignored “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” too much while a fair amount of fans thought it was the best of the sequel era. Personally, I fall in with the latter category. Now, I fully admit the movie is a mess (I will get to the shortcomings later on), but, to me, it boils down to this- it’s the most emotional sequel trilogy film and, more importantly, it best captures the spirit of Star Wars. 

There’s so much that resonates here especially for longtime fans. Seeing Billy Dee Williams as Lando (in cape) again was something I’ve longed to see in live-action form for years. Seeing Luke as a Force Ghost and a learned mentor was more satisfying than anything in the last two films. Seeing Threepio have his best character moments here was pure joy (although I do think having his memory restored downplays his actions). I think most fans were thrilled to see Rey, Finn, and Poe embarking on a mission together (alongside BB-8 and Chewie) and that storyline did not disappoint. The cast members have such great chemistry together and the character interactions are rewarding as their friendship is such a major component of Episode 9. Much has been said about Rey’s arc and while I understand that some are upset that she is ultimately not from nowhere, I found her arc to be much more powerful the way it was presented here. Not only did it mirror her mentor Luke in that she thought she was from nowhere until she learned about her lineage, but it was much more compelling to see Rey reject her lineage by embracing her own destiny and becoming her own person. Kylo Ren (who has been the MVP of the entire sequel trilogy) gets a grand arc here. His moments with his family and his connection with Rey gave the character so much depth and said so much (even when he had nothing to say). Finally, seeing how director J.J. Abrams paid tribute to Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa really grabbed my heart. I won’t go into spoilers, but the character’s selfless act truly elevated the entire movie.

In terms of new characters, they were all welcome additions to the series and I hope to see more of them sometime in the future. The mysterious Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell) made quite an entrance and her connection to Poe and his past was a nice surprise. I won’t go into who Jannah (Naomi Ackie) is, but her character was quite memorable and, if her last scene is any indication, we may be seeing more of her down the line. General Pryde (played by Richard E. Grant) brings back the grand tradition of British Officer villains. He also has one of the best scenes of the movie too. Finally, there’s the one and only Babu Frik. The strange little alien character who shouts “Heeeey heeeey” steals the movie has justifiably become a fan favorite. 

Now, as much as I enjoyed ‘Skywalker,” it’s clear that this sequel trilogy did not work as a whole. Episodes 7-9 represent a clear failure to plan and communicate. With J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson, you have a clash of visions that makes the entire trilogy lack cohesion. Not only does it feel like a patchwork story, but it feels like you’re watching a trilogy in which 2 filmmakers are undoing what the other has set-up. J.J. tries his best to make it all gel, but it’s a real mess that also lacks the vision and input of the maker himself- George Lucas.

Perhaps the most puzzling and controversial element here is the inclusion of Palpatine. I love the character and I especially love Ian McDiarmid’s performance, but was it necessary to bring the character back? I’m not convinced. It feels like a forced decision that undercuts “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.” Moreover, it doesn’t particularly feel well thought out as we know so little about how he returned, the Sith Acolytes, the story behind Snoke, his mystery fleet, and so on. I understand the need to connect the entire saga with Palpatine, but the execution of the villain’s return left a lot to be desired. 

Sprinkled throughout the rest of the movie there are other noticeable issues such as Rose and R2 being sidelined, the Knights of Ren being much ado about nothing, clumsy exposition, the most bizarre and rushed opening half-hour, constant story fake-outs, and a lack of any scenes between Kylo Ren and Luke (Luke’s last line was “See you around, kid” in TLJ!). None of these elements ruin the movie, but they do stick out.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 2160p. How does it look? Simply put, this is the best way to watch the movie at home. The clarity of the image is so striking.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? It doesn’t get much better than this. The John Williams score, the hum of a lightsaber, the Tie Fighters screeching by, it all sounds so immersive with this Atmos track. 

Extras:
* Blu-ray copy
* Digital copy
* Multiple language options
* “Pasaana Pursuit: Creating The Speeder Bike Chase”- An in-depth behind-the-scenes look at how the action sequence was made through visual FX, practically with vehicles and rigs, green screen, and, of course, filming with actors.
* “Aliens In The Desert”- A look at the making of the Pasaana celebration sequence filmed in Jordan.
* “D-O: Key To The Past”- The new droid character and the associated plot gets the spotlight in this extra.
* “Warwick and Son”- A wonderful extra about Warwick Davis reprising the character of Wicket alongside his son as the other Ewok.
* “Cast Of Creatures”- A closer look at the alien puppets, masks, costumes, animatronics.
* “The Skywalker Legacy”- The centerpiece of the extra features is this 2 hour making of documentary about ending the saga with Episode 9 that contains an extensive amount of behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with cast and crew members, a look into how set pieces were filmed, behind-the-scenes footage of the original trilogy (sad to say the prequels are largely ignored here), and much more. Highlights include the John Williams section, anything with Billie Lourd, and some Babu Frik outtakes.

 

March 18, 2020 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: