Monthly Archives: December 2019

We Review: #StarWars: The Rise of #Skywalker #IMAX #3D version “Entertaining, but nothing extraordinary. 4 stars” – MR

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by J. J. Abrams
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on Characters
by George Lucas
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Dan Mindel[2]
Edited by
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • December 16, 2019 (Hollywood)
  • December 20, 2019 (United States)
Running time
142 minutes[3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $275 million[4]
Box office $453.6 million[5][6]

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (also known as Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker) is a 2019 American epic space-opera film produced, co-written, and directed by J. J. Abrams. It is the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), and final episode of the nine-part “Skywalker saga“.[a] It was produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams’s production company Bad Robot Productions, and was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The ensemble cast includes Mark HamillAdam DriverDaisy RidleyJohn BoyegaOscar IsaacAnthony DanielsNaomi AckieDomhnall GleesonRichard E. GrantLupita Nyong’oKeri RussellJoonas SuotamoKelly Marie TranIan McDiarmid, and Billy Dee Williams. It also features Carrie Fisher, who posthumously appears through the use of previously unused footage.[2]

The Rise of Skywalker follows ReyFinn, and Poe Dameron as they lead the Resistance‘s final stand against Kylo Ren and the First Order, who are now aided by the return of the deceased galactic emperorPalpatine. After the new trilogy was announced following Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, it was originally reported that The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson would write the script for Episode IX. In August 2015, Colin Trevorrow was hired to direct and to write a script with his collaborator Derek Connolly; both ultimately retained story credit with Abrams and Chris Terrio. In September 2017, Trevorrow left the project following creative differences with producer Kathleen Kennedy, and Abrams returned as director. Principal photography began in August 2018 at Pinewood Studios in England, and wrapped in February 2019; post-production was completed on November 24, 2019.

The Rise of Skywalker had its world premiere in Los Angeles on December 16, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on December 20, 2019. It received mixed reviews, with critics praising the cast performances and visual effects, but criticizing the plot, pacing and perceived departure from the themes and plot of The Last Jedi.

*** Spoiler Alert *** Spoiler Alert ***


Following a mysterious galaxy-wide broadcast by the late Emperor PalpatineKylo Ren obtains a Sith wayfinder device leading him to the broadcast’s source on the planet Exegol. There, he finds a physically impaired Palpatine, who reveals that he created Snoke as a puppet to control the First Order and lure Kylo to the dark side. Palpatine unveils a secret armada of Star Destroyers and tells Kylo to find and kill Rey, who is continuing her Jedi training under General Leia Organa. Meanwhile, FinnPoe Dameron, and Chewbacca receive information from a First Order spy confirming Palpatine’s return. Rey discovers notes in Luke Skywalker‘s Jedi texts about a Sith wayfinder that will lead them to Palpatine. Rey, Poe, Finn, Chewbacca, BB-8, and C-3PO depart to the planet Pasaana to seek the wayfinder, while R2-D2 stays with Leia.

On Pasaana, the group encounters Lando Calrissian, who points them to the wayfinder’s last suspected location. Kylo learns where Rey is through their Force bond and travels there with the Knights of Ren. Rey and the others discover the remains of the assassin Ochi, his ship, droid, and dagger inscribed with Sith text, which C-3PO‘s programming forbids him from interpreting. Sensing that Kylo is nearby, Rey goes to confront him. The First Order captures the Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca, and the dagger; Rey, attempting to save Chewbacca, accidentally destroys a First Order transport with Force lightning. The group escapes on Ochi’s ship, presuming that Chewbacca was killed in the explosion.

Poe suggests traveling to Kijimi to have the Sith text extracted from C-3PO’s memory. The process wipes C-3PO’s memory, but reveals coordinates to a wayfinder on Kef Bir. Rey senses that Chewbacca is alive, and the group mounts a rescue mission. While Kylo searches for Rey, the group infiltrates his Star Destroyer with the help of Zorii Bliss, an old acquaintance of Poe’s. Rey recovers the dagger and has visions of her parents being killed with it. Kylo informs her that she is Palpatine’s granddaughter; the Sith lord had ordered Ochi to recover Rey as a child, but her parents hid her on Jakku to protect her. General Hux saves Poe, Finn and Chewbacca from execution, revealing himself as the spy. He lets the group escape on the Falcon, but is executed for treason.

The group arrives on Kef Bir. Jannah, an ex-stormtrooper and Resistance sympathizer, leads them to the remains of the second Death Star, where Rey locates the wayfinder. Kylo, having tracked the group to Kef Bir, destroys Rey’s wayfinder and asks her to help him supplant Palpatine. Rey and Kylo duel, while the rest of the group returns to the Resistance base. Leia, dying, calls to Kylo through the Force, distracting him, and Rey impales him. Sensing Leia’s death, Rey heals Kylo and takes Kylo’s ship to exile herself on Ahch-To. As a Force spirit, Luke encourages Rey to face Palpatine, giving her Leia’s lightsaber and his X-wing. Rey leaves for Exegol, using the wayfinder on Kylo’s ship. Kylo converses with a memory of his father, Han Solo; he throws away his lightsaber and reclaims his identity as Ben Solo. Palpatine has a Star Destroyer obliterate Kijimi as a show of force.

Our Thoughts

As I watched this one, I saw almost every scene was “extra” reminiscent of a scene from a past episode. I saw the original Cantina, the Ewoks with a ship crashing through their atmosphere, pod AND canyon races (as a land speeder chase,) our heroes on a destroyer in everything save for a garbage disposal, and Chewy in cuffs.  Reaching for the nostalgic feel was a wasted effort. This is episode 9, and if these are all the sets/settings there are, why bother?

I enjoyed the film, though I could pick the plot apart like fried onion. I won’t bother, but a HUGE gripe is the kiss at the end. Dude killed at least a hundred of her pals over three films, and she just forgets it?  That part was ignorant and whoever wrote it should be held accountable. She should have head-butted him, and then put him in a cell, forever.

But gripe(s) aside, it was a great film, and good fun for the whole family. We saw it in IMAX 3D and it was well worth the premium ticket price.  I’ll give it 4 stars. It could have been 5, but the drive to diversify the cast, left behind the NEED to diversify the on planet and on ship settings. – MR

Find Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker and see the new trailer: here

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of ‘The Sword and the Dragon’

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of ‘The Sword and the Dragon,’ we created handsome 2020 Edition ‘The Wardstone Trilogy’ paperbacks.

See 1,250-5 star combined reviews here:

Click a cover to start reading the FREE Kindle preview,

on the device you are using right now!

The Sword and the Dragon

(The Wardstone Trilogy, Book 1)


Brothers torn by magic. A sorceress with dragony aspirations. A wolf king, a royal wizard, a squire fleeing with a coveted sword. What could possibly go wrong when they all collide in Highwander, where the very bedrock is formed of the powerful substance known as Wardstone?

2020, 10th Anniversary Edition

The Sword and the Dragon
When the Royal Wizard of Westland poisons the king so that his puppet prince can take the throne and start a continental war, a young squire is forced to run for his life carrying the powerful sword his dying monarch burdened him with from the death bed.

Two brothers find a magic ring and start on paths to becoming the most powerful sort of enemies, while an evil young sorceress unwillingly falls in love with one of them when he agrees to help her steal a dragon’s egg for her father. Her father just happens to be the Royal Wizard, and despite his daughter’s feelings, he would love nothing more than to sacrifice the boy!

All of these characters, along with the Wolf King of Wildermont, the Lion Lord of Westland, and a magical hawk named Talon, are on a collision course toward Willa the Witch Queen’s palace in the distant kingdom of Highwander. There the very bedrock is formed of the powerful magical substance called Wardstone.

Who are the heroes? And will they get there before the Royal Wizard and his evil horde?

Whatever happens, the journey will be spectacular, and the confrontation will be cataclysmic.


Kings, Queens, Heroes, & Fools

(The Wardstone Trilogy, Book 2)



Join Hyden Hawk Skyler, and some great new friends, on an adventurous quest, over land and sea, to find the Silver Skull of Zorellin.

Fight with Mikahl, Ironspike, and fierce King Jarrek as they try to free the enslaved people of Wildermont from King Ra’Gren and his Dakaneese Overlords.

Patrol the skies with Shaella, and her new black dragon, Vrot. With her father’s spell books, and the Priests of Kraw, she decides to aid King Ra’Gren, while scheming to free her lover, Gerard, from the hellish Nethers.

Demonic love, valiant battles, and foolhardy heroics await readers in this 180k word (600+ page) continuation of the epic Wardstone Trilogy that was written in a Texas prison cell by author M. R. Mathias

The Wizard and the Warlord

(The Wardstone Trilogy, Book 3)



**The Wizard and the Warlord – The Wardstone Trilogy-Book III** is the gripping conclusion to the epic fantasy trilogy that M. R. Mathias wrote in a Texas prison. This compelling volume brings the elves, dwarves, giants, and the dragons into the story again as our heroes, led by High King Mikahl and the great wizard Hyden Hawk, are forced to fight for the fate of the Kingdoms. This time, they do so against the terrible creature that Gerard Skyler has become, and the legions of demon-beasts that he commands.

From M.R. Mathias,
This is the CONCLUSION to The Wardstone Trilogy. It has taken me several years and a lot of sleepless nights to complete this grand work. I gave it my all, from the moment I put the inkpen to paper in prison, until the day I published Book III. I hope you like it.

You may see some of these characters and locals again, but the story of Claret and mighty Ironspike comes to its magnificent end here. Enjoy, M.R.


Click any of the covers to start reading right from the device you are using now!