Movies continue to play an important part in the lives of many and few films have had a bigger impact than Star Wars. I had the chance to see the last movie in the series with my family.
I attended the second night opening of the last Star Wars Movie, No. IX, Rise of Skywalker. It was my first. It is estimated that 2.5 billion people have seen at least one of these movies. There is no hard data, but one pundit estimated that 90% of people in the U.S. has seen at least one Star Wars movie in some form. That makes me an outlier. Though this is the last movie in the series, people will be viewing Star Wars for years to come with re-runs and on video.
As a lucrative media brand, Star Wars is surpassed only by Pokémon and Hello Kitty, both from Japan and internet based. Each of these has earned in the tens of billions.
The theater was filled with people of all ages, but I was one of the oldest. Our family group was made up of my daughter and son-in-law and their two children in their mid-twenties. They had all seen every Star Wars movie in the theater and again several times on video. This final wrap up episode would be closing lots of familiar story lines for them.
In order to bring the audience up to date a long introduction was provided by the original Luke Skywalker. Several of the original cast had died including the iconic Princess Leia played by Carrie Fisher who died three years before the beginning of production of this film. It was promised she would be in the film, but how? When I asked my grandson he said, “this is Star Wars Grandpa, they’ll do it.” It turned out they did. Scenes filmed with Carrie Fisher but not used in the previous film were included with the current action adjusted appropriately.
In the introduction the ten most valuable artifacts from prior movies were shown. The most expensive had been offered for $53,000. It was a figure of a minor character from an early film wearing an orange vinyl cape. The figure was in its box untouched. It cost $2.00 originally.
Rise of Skywalker featured a steady dose of intergalactic warfare with clearly identified bad guys and good guys. Guess who won? Amid fireballs and mangled spaceships, scores would have lost their lives, but the action was depersonalized. When a person was victim of a laser sword, the death was only symbolic. These toys have been wielded by youths for decades without harm. The movie was a benign PG13.
Two of the three-generations in our group and likely in others attending would have been introduced to Star Wars between their pre-teens and twenties. They would not know an adult life without Star Wars.
For my generation and the other seniors of the silent generation born between the late twenties and the mid-thirties there was a real war. World War II was the most consequential of the 20th century and possibly of all time. After that war, our generation enjoyed the big band era as we started our family and began our career focused on home. We watched Leave it to Beaver, Dick Vandyke, Mary Tyler Moore, and Ed Sullivan.
Anyway, I am glad I saw the movie.
When I finished writing this, I read an in-depth news feature online called the Dispatch. After chronicling the news of the day and touching on the economy the baby boomer columnist, who is the age of my daughter, paying homage to the movie said this:
…But it is a Star Wars movie. There are laser gun fights. There are more lightsaber battles than you can count (if you can count only to, like, six). Old friends make an appearance… [T]he light and dark sides of the force duke it out for approximately two-and-a-half hours—we’ll let you guess which one wins.
By Savvy Senior
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