Is the new Star Wars sequel ok for children to see? Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, an honest parent look at the last Star Wars film of the series. No spoilers. #TheRiseofSkywalker May contain commissioned links.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Movie Review | Safe for Kids?
Bless his heart.
Who’s the one person in this galaxy I’d never want to be? J.J. Abrams.
“So, can you take 40+ years of obsessed fandom and wrap it up in one movie? Mmmkay, thanks.“
Before my husband, there was Star Wars. Star Wars and I have a relationship that goes way back, (not surprisingly, to a galaxy far, far away). From growing up with two brothers who could recite Episodes 4, 5, and 6 by heart, to raising nerdy kids who love Star Wars jokes and memes, and more recently my obsession with everything The Mandalorian (Baby Yoda is my spirit animal), my love affair goes deep.
But I was hurt. The Last Jedi did NOT meet my expectations as I had hoped (see explanation below). So this time, I stayed away from all trailer talk, spoilers and conspiracy theories related to Star Wars Episode IX. One part ignorant bliss, one part wounded animal, I was determined to go in with an open mind and a better spirit for this, the last Star Wars movie of the saga.
Ironically, Episode 9 is my first pre-screening of a Star Wars movie despite interviewing celebrities and attending press junkets for both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. But does this record breaking, trend setting, die-hard following, genre shattering empire end with a high note? Or blow up again like the Death Star? In this Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, we are breaking down the visuals, the story (no spoilers!), and every aspect of that PG-13 rating for parents while keeping our children in mind. Should we be rushing our kids into the theaters? Or is the force too powerful for these younglings?
If you have the opportunity to view this film in one of those fancy IMAX/Dolby surround sound/vibrating chair/3D theaters, do it. Between the CGI effects, the music, the crisp details, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the eye candy you’ve been wishing for. Lightsaber fights, full sci-fi space battle explosions, epic planet terrains and creatures of fantasy, the visual feast alone is enough to satisfy Star Wars fan appetites.
Star Wars broke my heart when The Last Jedi was released. Everyone raised my expectations with the addition of Kelly Marie Tran to the cast. The first Asian lead character in Star Wars film history, I kept hearing over and over that “she’s NOT the Asian sidekick.” Y’all lied to me.
There’s so much to say about the story, and yet no words can accurately portray how this story made me feel. Overwhelming. Emotional. Gut wrenching. Empowering. Mind blowing. Head scratching. And yes, even disappointing. In less than 3 hours, Star Wars has the ability to take your soul from stillness to lightspeed. And this story pushes everything we thought that we knew about our beloved characters, the force, and Star Wars franchise as a whole.
Can I get a hallelujah that Director J.J. Abrams is back? Sorely missed after the “Luke” warm Episode VIII with Rian Johnson at the helm, I was anxious to see if this lens flare loving, time travel obsessed director was going to close his Star Wars legacy with a bang. New characters, new toys, new plot twist, new camera angles – there was so much “new” thrown at us, it felt chaotic at times to try and keep up. Sensory overload times a billion.
But then you have to balance 8 other movies, EPIC cameos, quotes that will be repeated until the end of time, raw emotion, a huge fan base, political agendas, diversity and inclusion, tying up loose ends, answering burning questions, constantly keeping the “big picture” in focus, and oh yeah – the fact that this is the last Star Wars movie of the epic saga. Like ever. I can’t even wrap my head around what impossible task J. J. Abrams had.
But somehow, he did it.
The story was not perfect, by any means. There were flawed moments that certainly didn’t add to the 2 hour and 21 minute run time. For instance, there were plenty of scenes thrown in purely for selling future product. There were muddled moments that probably needed an extra 5 films to cover correctly, without it feeling rushed and crammed in. There were awkward moments that made me cringe. A lot. And the posthumous Carrie Fisher scenes affected me more than I was prepared for.
To sum up The Rise of Skywalker, this film is NOTHING like The Last Jedi. As comforting as the original trilogy mixed with the excitement of watching The Force Awakens for the first time, this movie’s closure felt painful, but satisfying. Like the prodigal son finally coming home. Though I could have used a few more one liners.
That PG-13 Rating
Is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker kid friendly? I’ll admit, I’m a little rusty in the world of PG-13 rated films. My Avengers: Endgame review is my most recent movie for 2019. And honestly, being the first ever Star Wars film that I have been able to pre-screen before the release, despite doing press junkets for both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, I was really nervous for my fellow Star Wars fans.
That being said, I take our firmly planted Star Wars roots and parent fears into consideration, especially since Episode 9 is also rated PG-13. Are we talking “Star Wars PG-13 rating” or much worse in this Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Movie Review | Safe for Kids to see?
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, this is probably one of the most shocking PG-13 ratings I’ve ever had to criticize. What age rating would I recommend for parents wanting to bring their kids for this epic saga finale? To quote Luke Skywalker: “This is NOT going to go the way you think.”
Violence/Suspense. Think Star Wars level – then take it to the next level. Much darker than previous films with a hint of suspense, this sci-fi violence/action rating is actually pretty accurate. Too scary for my 6-year old but perfect for my 11-year old, it’s a little bit more intense than the usual Star Wars violence and very realistic. Much worse than Episode III.
Adult Themes. I haven’t been this hot and bothered since Return of the Jedi. Adult themes are definitely present in this movie, stirring up some feelings you probably didn’t realize were missing with this new trio of films. The intro of opposite sex and same sex kisses occur. Nothing dramatic, but something to be aware of.
While G/PG rated in the romance department, I will say that some of the death and borderline “horror” scenes are much more traumatic than your normal “pew pew a Stormtrooper” kind. Potential nightmare scenarios for young kids, this movie has the potential of scarring some who are squeamish around blood, wounds, death and creepy characters.
Language. This section surprised me the most. Because according to the MPAA rating, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is supposed to have ZERO swear words. NONE. And yet there I was, shocked each time a word was used on screen. 4 curse words, to be specific. All of them spoken by the “good guys,” I couldn’t believe what my ears were hearing: *ss, H-E-double-hockey-sticks, d*mn, and d*mmit.
From a mom who grew up with the original series (with a total of 5 language instances of H-E-double-hockey sticks and d*mn in the whole trilogy. All disclosed as “mild brief language” in the original PG ratings, with Return of the Jedi having ZERO swear words), I was sorely disappointed with the script additions of four in one movie. And I’m even more upset that language wasn’t even mentioned in the MPAA rating. Have we watered down our bad language standards so much so that curse words are just part of everyday conversation? Not in this household.
“Please don’t let this movie ruin Star Wars for me.” I think we can agree that all Star Wars fans are begging this statement to be true. And overall, I would agree. Episode 9 did NOT ruin the other 8 movies for me. In fact, the painful closure of the story is also strangely satisfying. (*wipes tears from eyes.*) J. J. Abrams was given the impossible task to wrap up 40+ years of fandom. Let’s be honest, no sequel could ever complete that circle for us. But hey, it makes up for The Last Jedi.
But as mom and a Star Wars lover, I was also disappointed. The “family films” I grew up with do not accurately reflect what my kids are exposed to today. I honestly would not recommend Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to kids younger than age 7-8 years old. That PG-13 rating is more accurate depiction than The Force Awakens rating or even The Last Jedi. Those who normally would take young kids to see Star Wars movies together in the theater, I highly encourage you to pre-screen for your young kids. This film may not be appropriate for toddlers, preschoolers and even kindergarten/first grade age between the violence/suspense and use of swearing.
Final Trailer – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on Disney Video
It may be the end of a 40+ year era, but it’s far from the end of the hype. The discussions, controversies, opinions and theories will be enough to fuel a new generation of Star Wars lovers. But for this period mark on another era of Star Wars films, Episode IX brings balance to the force within all of us. And I think that’s all we can truly ask for.
Be sure to catch all of my family film ratings and reviews over at my Rotten Tomatoes page!
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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, aka Episode IX, aka the last Star Wars movie sequel ever, is in theaters on Friday December 20, 2019. Are you taking your kids to see this Star Wars film history finale?
I was invited as press to screen this film in exchange for this Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Movie Review | Safe for Kids? All photos courtesy of Disney. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for more movie updates, celebrity interviews, entertainment and behind-the-scenes info!
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