Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker – Review from a Visual Effects Artist (Spoilers)


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Haven't seen it yet? Watch out! This article contains spoilers :)

Matt Curtis, Journalist

Recently, I had the opportunity to watch Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Being a Star Wars fan since birth, I had high expectations. However, I was a little nervous to watch the movie after looking at some of the reviews made by critics before it was released to the public -their comments were more negative than positive.

Before I had the chance to explode from anticipation, I saw the movie, and I loved it!

Don’t get me wrong, it was far from perfect. However, JJ Abrams did an excellent job of recovering the saga from Ryan Johnson’s impact on the Star Wars Franchise. He also did a great job putting to rest Carrie Fisher’s character, Leia. The humor was on-point in this movie and far better executed than The Last Jedi.

I really liked what they did with Luke Skywalker. Luke Skywalker had always been known as a hopeful person, a man who chooses light over darkness and never gives up. In The Last Jedi, they stripped Luke of that hope. In The Rise of Skywalker, Luke once again had that hopeful spirit about him (it nearly brought me to tears when he lifted his X-Wing with the force)!

I also liked Kylo Ren’s redemption. I think that was, “The rise of Skywalker.” Ben Solo was able to throw away his persona, Kylo Ren and see the light side of the force. It was a well-executed transition of the character.

Now what you’ve all been waiting for, the opinion from a visual effects artist.

Just so you know my background a little bit, I’ve been a visual effects artist for about five years and have experience in many CGI related topics. To finish off this article, I will share my opinion of the Visual Effects in this film.

I’m amazed! Everything in this movie looked photo real! All of the effects and animations were executed perfectly. This is the case with most movies nowadays because of advancing technology. It’s really easy to produce photorealistic scenes/characters with the advancements in technology today. It truly amazes me how real all of the effects looked in the movie.

The scene that is my favorite -and most likely hardest to create- is the Kylo Ren vs Rey water fight scene. Water simulation is one of the hardest effects to get right. It is so easy to miscalculate the lighting, motion, and particles of the effect. In this scene, they created stunning water simulations that made me drool. Another thing I’d like to note about this scene is the combination of actors in front of blue screens and completely CGI backgrounds. It was flawless and hard to tell if they were actually fighting on a water planet or not. 

I’m absolutely stunned by the effects of this movie and can’t wait to see how they advance as the Star Wars franchise progresses.