Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (J.J. Abrams) - 2019

After 42 years, the nine books of George Lucas have finally been screened.  The final film versions may not have always met the expectations of Lucas but the 25+ hours of entertainment represent a landmark achievement in movie-making.  The plot of Episode 9 is not much different from the other eight.  The evil empire is stronger than ever; however the ragtag, seemingly disorganized groups of resistance must find a way to overcome the incredible odds.  Many of the original stars have returned for the final battle either in person or as spiritual forces that float above the ground.  There is an enormous amount of light-sabering here with a significant amount of finger-lightning and invisible thought-power from the usual sources.  The unending supply of white, armor-clad empire flunkies scurry about like ants with an exoskeleton that provide zero defense against the ever-accurate blasts from every resistance weapon.  Our main hero (Daisy Ridley) is wiser and much more powerful than in Episode 7 & 8.  The son of Han Solo (Adam Driver) is also extremely powerful but destined to go through a lot of changes.  And, surprisingly, the incredibly evil emperor (Ian McDiarmid) has risen from the dead to once again spill hatred across all of the planets. It is hard to say what drives this emperor guy but probably not the Nobel Peace Prize.  There are some amazing special effects created by legions of coders whose names dominate the list of credits that go on and on.  The movie was fun to watch and an absolute must for Boomers like me who have seen them all; but once again - no Oscar for you.  [JAM 12/26/2019]