A long long time ago ….. back in 1977 my son and I viewed the first Star Wars episode. He was twelve and now he is fifty-four and he along with my daughter and I have sat in at opening day for each of the nine episodes.
We each remember the impressions of the floating paragraphs in the first film, episode IV (similar to what was used in the old cliff hanger serials during the 40’s and 50’s). The perfect score by John Williams and the enormous space ship that enters the screen from the top and goes on endlessly exposing its gigantic size.
Forty-two years later the final episode IX has arrived. It’s filled with light saber fights challenges for the leadership of the rebels, spectacular space battles which are all enhanced on the large screen and in 3D.
There are two basic stories, one of the battle of good vs evil and the development of the Skywalker family tree. Early on Leia (Carrie Fisher), appearing by using shots from past films, encourages Rey (Daisy Ridley) as she heads out to secure a device which can give the rebels the tool needed to defeat the empire. Along the way Rey picks up Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), Finn (John Boyega) Poe (Oscar Isaac) C3PO (Anthony Daniels) and others including Lando Cairissian (Billy Dee Williams).
While the battles are engaged we slowly learn where Rey fits in the family and we are reintroduced to characters from the past who as one character states “no one is completely dead.”
Abrams uses the up-to-date power of the digital screen to stage the battles and we are able to view large space vehicles being destroyed by one side or the other. New places are explored and new relationships are developed.
Audiences will react as the old friends are introduced but mostly when the rag-tag-army finally comes together (just in time) to save the heroic figures in the rebel ranks. Its like the calvary charging in the old westerns and it works well. It is also interesting to note that most of the folks viewing this film were not alive when the first film was released and they appear to be among the viewers most excited and reactive during the screening.
Light moments filter in from time to time and a sad departure is played out but mostly The Rise of Skywalker brings it all together in a very satisfying process, as we would expect.