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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Action-Packed but Confusing
by James Colt Harrison

Time for another Star Wars saga. It doesn’t matter about the title, for these movies are almost indistinguishable from one another. You’ve seen everything a million times before -- the explosions, the races through the planets, and the ugly monsters that sometimes turn out to be cuter than the leading actors. This year it’s somebody called Baby Yoda. He’s ugly as can be, yet fans are going berserk clamoring over bodies at the nearest Walmart to get a fuzzy version of the little monster.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is packed with action, of course, and a thrilling number of explosions that blast zooming fighter planes or gigantic Mother Ships into oblivion. Lives are snuffed out and creatures turned into cinders in an instant. Yet, this is what audiences cheer about. It’s a warped sense of what a community of “mankind” (or creature-kind) really is and how we regard it. Not very nice -- when joy is derived about killing creatures, no matter how different they are from us.

On our galaxy side we have the attractive Rey, played sexily in half-there mini-dresses. Rey is a tough broad, as we used to say, and can handle any battle with aplomb as well as just enough guts to neuter any man who tangles with her. She’s pixie-like with a steel spine and played gingerly by British actress Daisy Ridley.

The most startling thing about the movie is the “starring” role the studio gave the late Carrie Fisher. We all loved Princess Leia (later General), and it’s sweet to see her again. The studio must have dug deep into all the film vaults and trash cans looking for unused footage of the late actress. They found some of these scenes which were stitched together by clever film editors Maryann Brandon and Stefan Grube and the creative eggheads in the CGI department. Voila! Carrie Fisher lives anew! Director J.J. Abrams has snuck Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd into a few scenes as Lt. Connix, so the Carrie Fisher-Debbie Reynolds-Eddie Fisher dynasty will continue in the great Hollywood tradition.

Although Mark Hamill (as Luke Skywalker) is still with us, he appears ghost- like in a hologram to scare everybody. Now long-in-the-tooth, and almost as hairy as Chewbacca, the once California beach-boy beauty has been battered by the weather and now looks more like Ian McKellen as Gandolf. The two welcome additions to the Star Wars epics are Oscar Isaac and John Boyega. A little injection of youth is needed to keep the series afloat, and these two will bring in fans to drool over both of them.

There has been a great hubbub over a split-second scene where two women kiss each other during a celebration. Abrams was trying to bring things up to date and cater to the LGBTQ community. It was so mild and so quick that the audience will hardly notice. Besides, this is the 21st century, and there is diversity in the world.

Can’t say much for the plot. It’s difficult to follow all the confusion. With six men contributing to the script, it seems each was writing a different movie. When they got together to compare notes, they must have thrown all the pages into the air and shuffled them together to make the movie. It doesn’t matter as die-hard Star Wars fans won’t give a hoot.

(Released by: Lucas Film/ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and rated “PG-13” foci-fi violence and action.)

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