by Ray Keating
December 21, 2019
DisneyBizJournal.com Movie Rating: 4 stars out of 5
DisneyBizJournal.com Box Office Rating: $$$$ out of $$$$
When I was growing up and the Star Wars-vs.-Star Trek battle raged, I ranked as a Trek fan. However, while still appreciating Star Trek – particularly the Kirk, Spock and McCoy relationship in the original series and related movies – I gradually have become much more of a Star Wars than a Star Trek fan. Why? I came to an answer only recently. In the end, Star Wars has more heart than Star Trek. And yes, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has plenty of “Star Wars heart.”
So, what’s “Star Wars heart”? Well, in the lingo of “The Force,” it’s a feeling emerging from a combination of joy, adventure, courage, determination, optimism, humor, a willingness to sacrifice, and hope, along with characters who moviegoers come to love.
After Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which suffered from a severe shortage of “Star Wars heart,” many people wondered if Star Wars could bounce back with The Rise of Skywalker. Director J.J. Abrams and the film’s cast pulled it off in stellar fashion. The Rise of Skywalker is a worthy end to the nine-movie, three-trilogies Skywalker tale. (Not, of course, the end of Star Wars stories.)
As for the reviewers who either didn’t like The Rise of Skywalker, or found it middling or uneven, I struggle wondering what movie they wound up watching. Because it certainly wasn’t the film I saw and thoroughly enjoyed. Maybe each of those less-than-pleased critics had a bad day, or perhaps they don’t like epic films that excel in storytelling (including some needed repairs after The Last Jedi), visual effects, emotional power, drama, and humor.
And unlike the character mess in The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker stays true to and advances each character, which should be appreciated by Star Wars fans and filmgoers in general
Quite simply, to not like The Rise of Skywalker is to not like a great time at the movies.
As for the box office numbers, things look strong for Star Wars and Disney, with the opening box office tally as of Friday, December 20 (i.e., opening day), registering $149 million globally.
So, grab the popcorn (check out the cool souvenir popcorn bucket I picked up at an AMC theater) and a cool drink, and enjoy Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. And when you get a chance, go see it again. That’s my plan.
Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.