Australian Council on Children and the Media

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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Not suitable under 10; parental guidance to 13 (Violence and Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  • a review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 24 December 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not suitable due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 10–13 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children over the age of 13 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Science Fiction Violence
Length 141 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

In this final episode of Star Wars, the evil emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who was previously thought to be dead, has been amassing a vast army of Siths to once again take over the galaxy and complete his task. Palpatine has been building the First Order with the help of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and together with his new super weapon and Sith fleet, it seems it will be an easy task. Rey (Daisy Ridley), one of the last Jedis, however, is determined to prevent this evil force from taking over the galaxy. Rey must call on her Resistance friends Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) to help fight against this latest attack. The Resistance, now led by General Leia Organa (archive footage of Carrie Fisher), has dwindled in numbers and is no match against the vast army of Siths and the Galactic Empire.

Kylo Ren, who believes he will take over from Palpatine, is conflicted by his feelings for Rey and also the forces of good and evil. He needs to locate the Wayfinder device to help him take control, but Rey and the Resistance forces are ready to do battle. They travel to Exogal, a dark and icy planet surrounded by huge waves, and where Palpatine has been hiding, to finally confront Ren. At this point, Ren decides to rejoin the good side and goes on to help Rey in the final battle against Palpatine and his Sith Fleet.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Science Fiction; Fantasy/Supernatural; Separation from a parent; War.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is a lot of violence in this movie including:

  • Many scenes of fighting between men, creatures and Stormtroopers, using light sabres, guns, axes, grenades and other weapons; several battles between spaceships shooting and destroying one another; and the destruction of a planet.
  • Allegiant General Pryde, supernaturally holds a man by the throat by extending his hand and throws him into the air using his powers.
  • During one battle, Chewy shoots a Stormtrooper out of the sky. Stormtroopers then shoot down a Resistance spaceship and the occupants all fall to the ground.
  • Using her force, Rey tries to prevent a spaceship from departing because she thinks that Chewy is in it, but Ren appears and he repels her force. The spaceship explodes.
  • During a battle, Poe is shot and is arrested along with Finn and Chewy. Pryde orders them to be terminated and they are about to be shot when a spy in the First Order saves them at the last minute. Finn has to shoot the spy in the leg to make it seem as if they escaped on their own.
  • Pryde shoots the spy dead.
  • Rey and Ren fight with lightsabres on a shipwreck.
  • Palpatine sends out a mighty force from his fingers and has both Rey and Ren in his clutches. They both fall to the ground, then Palpatine sends Ren flying. Rey and Palpatine then fight each other with their forces with Rey using both her lightsabres to increase her powers.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There are many scary alien type creatures with strange bodies/eyes/faces etc.
  • Kijimi is a dark planet, covered in snow.
  • Exogal is also a dark, icy planet surrounded by huge crashing waves.
  • Many of the environments are scary, grey places with lightning flashes.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • There are several sudden shocks, light blasts and loud explosions and music.
  • At one stage Rey and some of the Resistance members, sink through a gravelly quicksand. They fall into an underground cavern where they find human bones. A huge snake appears with large fangs and appears aggressive but Rey sees that it’s wounded. She heals it by using the force within her.
  • Chewy is seen being led off with a metal clamp around his neck.
  • Rey and Ren often talk to each other when in different places by telepathy.
  • Rey sails out into mountainous waves on a skimmer- she goes over and just makes it.
  • Several main characters die or appear dead.
  • Several survivors from the final battle are seen bloodied and wounded.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Rey walks on a deserted, grey planet with lightning flashes around. She hears a loud, menacing voice threatening her.
  • Some skeletons are seen suspended in glass containers.
  • Palpatine is very scary looking with a ghostly face and white eyes. He’s covered in a shroud and has long, skeletal fingers. He orders Ren to kill Rey and destroy the Jedi.
  • In a scary scene, Rey walks into the hidden chamber where Palpatine has been hiding. She sees a tall spiky structure, which is a throne, and hears Palpatine’s scary voice. He tells her that if she kills him then his spirit will enter into her and she will be the new Sith leader. An army of shrouded Siths appears from the background shouting and roaring.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Rey and Ren kiss at one point.
  • A same-sex couple kiss briefly.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some mild, infrequent coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Damn
  • Shit
  • Arse.

In a nutshell

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is an action packed, fast moving sci-fi thriller. There are many fights, crashes, explosions, and spaceship wars, using spectacular special effects. All of the known characters appear, including several cameos from past players as well as archive footage of Carrie Fisher. The supernatural use of powers by both good and evil forces can be quite scary and parental guidance is therefore recommended for children aged 10 to 13.

The main messages from this movie are that redemption is always possible and that hope is a driving force for good.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Bravery and courage
  • Inner strength
  • To follow one’s own conscience rather than to just follow orders.
  • Teamwork
  • Friendship
  • Trust and loyalty.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The fact that most humans are capable of both good and evil and it’s often a choice of which one to follow.

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