Mostly satisfying conclusion to the saga 4.5 Stars

JJ Abrams brings the Skywalker Saga to a close with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, aka Episode IX.

Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Released: 20 Dec 2019
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 142 min
Director: J.J. Abrams
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Cast: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley
Writer(s): Chris Terrio (screenplay by), J.J. Abrams (screenplay by), Derek Connolly (story by), Colin Trevorrow (story by), Chris Terrio (story by), J.J. Abrams (story by), George Lucas (based on characters created by)
Plot: The surviving members of the resistance face the First Order once again, and the legendary conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its peak bringing the Skywalker saga to its end.
IMDB rating: 6.8
MetaScore: 53

Disc Information
Studio: Disney
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 7.1 DD+:Spanish 7.1 DD+, French 7.1 DD+:French 7.1 DD+
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 2 Hr. 22 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-spindle UHD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 03/31/2020
MSRP: $39.99

The Production: 4/5

Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) is alive and not exactly well, living in seclusion on the uncharted planet Exegol, preparing a new army to launch what he is calling The Final Order, in hopes of obliterating all free worlds. Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega), and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) have received a transmission aboard the Millennium Falcon from a First Order mole warning them of the danger and that they need to find passage to Exegol to stop Palpatine as soon as possible. Meanwhile Rey (Daisy Ridley) has been continuing her Jedi training under the tutelage of Leia (Carrie Fischer, using outtakes from The Force Awakens) as Kylo Ren, aka Ben Solo (Adam Driver), continues his assault on the free world taking down rebels one by one with his light saber. Rey, Poe, Finn, Chewbacca, and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) head out in search of a GPS (for lack of a better Star Wars term) that will lead them to Exegol, with Kylo Ren hot on their tail. But Ren also knows the true secret to Rey’s lineage, and hopes to use it to turn Rey once and for all.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the ninth and final “episode” in the Skywalker Saga brings back director JJ Abrams, who helmed the popular seventh episode, The Force Awakens, and uses the nostalgia factor favorably, as he did in his previous outing. Like that seventh film, Rise of Skywalker has a familiarity to it, although not quite to the extent where we fell like we’ve seen most of this story before. In other words, while Force Awakens quite often felt like a rehash of A New Hope, Rise of Skywalker never feels like a remake of Return of the Jedi (thank goodness!), although we do return to the Moon of Endor eventually and even Ewok Wicket (Warwick Davis) and his son Pommet (Warwick’s son Harrison) get a brief cameo. Some have called Rise of Skywalker a course correction attempting to polarize the divisiveness caused by Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, and Rise of Skywalker succeeds more than it fails in doing that without turning the knife too far in Last Jedi’s side (the Disney+ series The Mandalorian was much more successful in polarizing the fan base), although Rise of Skywalker rarely if ever takes any real risks. Where would I rate Rise of Skywalker among the nine film saga (plus the two stand alone’s)?

1. The Empire Strikes Back
2. A New Hope
3. Rogue One
4. The Force Awakens
5. Return of the Jedi
6. Rise of Skywalker
7. Solo
8. The Last Jedi
9. Revenge of the Sith
10. The Phantom Menace
11. Attack of the Clones

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was shot on 35mm film with certain IMAX sequences shot on 65mm film, and then completed as a 4K digital intermediate in the 2.39:1 theatrical aspect ratio with Dolby Vision HDR for some of its premium theatrical engagements. Disney’s HEVC-encoded 2160p transfer uses HDR10 high dynamic range for this UHD disc release. This disc impresses with its deep blacks from the get go during the opening text crawl, providing a black background with pinpoints of bright stars compared to a dark grey on the included Blu-ray). This continues throughout, providing excellent shadow detail during the night time scenes on Kijimi. Whites are bright and crisp while never blowing out detail in the image, as evidenced in the laser duel in Kylo Ren’s sterile white quarters. Colors are bold and vivid, providing excellent and natural gradations in tones while also helping to reveal minor imperfections such as wear and tear on droids and ships. Detail gets a nice boost compared to the included Blu-ray, with noticeably more defined textures and a light layer of film grain.

Audio: 5/5

When played at near reference levels, the default Dolby Atmos track is a real treat. The soundstage here is wide and deep, utilizing every speaker in your set-up and providing fluid movement of sounds. Ships and laser blasts zoom overhead, TIE fighters and speeders whizz by you, John Williams score envelopes you, all the while dialogue is well-prioritized, clear and understandable throughout. LFE is strong where needed, from Palpatines footsteps to laser blasts to all-out explosions. Your mileage may vary as you decrease your master volume.

Special Features: 4.5/5

The UHD disc release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a three disc set – a UHD movie-only disc, a Blu-ray movie-only disc, and a Blu-ray disc of Special Features.

The Skywalker Legacy (1080p; 126:11): The big highlight of this set is the two-plus hour documentary on the making of The Rise of Skywalker, intercutting with similar incidents (using archival footage and interviews) from the original trilogy.

Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase (1080p; 14:16): An informative look at the speeder chase though the Pasaana desert.

Aliens in the Desert (1080p; 5:59): Creating the planet Pasaana in the Jordan desert.

D-O: Key to the Past (1080p; 5:33): Creating the D-O droid and the ship it inhabits.

Warwick & Son (1080p; 5:37): Warwick Davis and his son are fitted for new Ewok costumes as they prepare for their cameo in the film.

Cast of Creatures (1080p; 7:46): A look at the various creatures and their performers.

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy (in UHD where available) on Movies Anywhere.

Digital Extras:
A Look Back: Lando’s Journey (1080p; 1:09): The return of Lando Calrissian! – Movies Anywhere exclusive.

The Maestro’s Finale (1080p; 11:00): John Williams conducts his last (?) score for a Star Wars movie. Available on most digital retailers.

Legacy (1080p; 3:13): An EPK piece on the making of the movie, almost an extended trailer of sorts for The Skywalker Legacy. Vudu exclusive.

End of the Saga (1080p; 7:39) A fluffy EPK piece featuring cast and crew Q & A. Vudu exclusive.

Overall: 4.5/5

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a satisfying conclusion that doesn’t take too many risks. Disney’s presentation on UHD disc is excellent.

Published by

Todd Erwin

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Osato

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Love the film and can’t wait to pick it up.

trying to decide on Disney movie club or Barnes and nobles.
The target exclusive disc is tempting too....
 
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Dave Moritz

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Am going to pick this up in the Skywalker UHD set to add to my collection. Will need to add Rogue One by itself on 4K UHD. These titles will join many other titles as the last time I will be buying them. Only UHD title scheduled for repurchase is Terminator 2!

Star Wars_f.jpg
 

Scott Merryfield

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Thanks for the review, Todd. I have not seen this one yet. Hopefully the price will drop around the holidays so I can complete my saga collection - - I own episodes 1-7 on BD and episode 8 on UHD. In the meantime, I will watch it initially on Disney+ when it hits that service.
 
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Johnny Angell

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Am I correct in assuming this will not be available in 3D anywhere? Also, what is on the target disc that would make me want to get it there?

Edit: Nevermind, it is available in 3D from Amazon UK. Question for Target still stands.

This proposes a conundrum for me. 3D or Atmos? I shouldn’t have to choose, but it will be necessary.
 
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Johnny Angell

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I found a pic of the back of the 3D box. it shows DTS:HD MA 7.1. I think that will sound fine on my atmos system, so I’m sticking with 3D.
 

Mike Frezon

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Funny thing. As I was posting here, UPS delivered my 4k version of Rise of Skywalker from Target.

I've never seen a release (that I can remember) double wrapped in plastic. In other words, the black plastic case is wrapped in plastic and housed inside a cardboard sleeve which is also wrapped in plastic. When I saw the rounded edges, I thought I maybe had mistakenly ordered a steelbook or something. But I didn't. Momentary confusion.

The artwork on the cardboard sleeve is much nicer than what's on the case artwork.
 
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Todd Erwin

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I've never seen a release (that I can remember) double wrapped in plastic. In other words, the black plastic case is wrapped in plastic and housed inside a cardboard sleeve which is also wrapped in plastic.
Shout Factory titles come like that quite often.
 

Carlo Medina

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For those interested in the “Target bonus” it’s a cool and informative 25 minute behind the scenes...



...on a DVD.



So moderate your expectations. I will say my Oppo 203 to Sony 900F did a respectable job in the upscale. But yeah. DVD.
 

Todd Erwin

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For those interested in the “Target bonus” it’s a cool and informative 25 minute behind the scenes...



...on a DVD.



So moderate your expectations. I will say my Oppo 203 to Sony 900F did a respectable job in the upscale. But yeah. DVD.
Yeah, I thought the same thing with Warner's massive Big Bang Theory Complete Series set on Blu-ray, with a bonus DVD of additional interviews.
 

Carlo Medina

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The little booklet is nice, so that kept me from feeling like I literally set fire to a five dollar bill.

But honestly, not many of these were made, and the difference of burning a dvd vs bd at this point is pennies. And you know the documentary stuff was natively shot 1080p so...#stilldisappointed
 

Dave Moritz

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Well not including the unlikely release of the original trilogy theatricals hitting 4K Blu-ray and the addition of new Star Wars titles in the future. Now that I have all current Star Wars titles on 4K Blu-ray this is finally the last time I feel the need to purchase any of these titles! I am glad to have picked up the Skywalker Saga and the individual Rouge One all on 4K UHD Bluray! I think there is a possibility I kinda like this franchise? ;)

Star Wars OLD.jpg
Star Wars_f.jpg
Star Wars Collection 4_2020.jpg
 
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Dave Moritz

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I like the printed photos on the pages but the discs are a total pain to get out, who in the world approved this design?
 
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