Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion
By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Exciting movie boasts strong characters, positive messages.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Strong messages about teamwork, loyalty, trust, and serving a higher purpose. Mostly, though, this action-packed movie is meant to entertain.
All the protagonists are motivated by a solid sense of right and wrong, and their selflessness directly contradicts the oppressive control of the Empire's lackeys. Even so, they do break rules, but their intentions are good. Teamwork and a sense of trust are key to this group's success. Women have prominent roles that showcase their physical and mental strength.
Positive Role Models
Ezra must learn to put his faith in his new friends, which is difficult for this longtime loner to do. Even though he can't explain why, he's driven by a force that urges him to help others, even when it puts him in dangerous situations. All the characters act heroically at some point or another, and some have to overcome initial prejudices to work as an effective team. Kanan evolves into a mentor for Ezra's sake.
Violence & Scariness
Warriors on both sides use blasters, which kill when they hit their mark. Some scenes show bodies (mostly those of the enemy Storm Troopers) on the ground after a battle. Aircraft explode when they're hit, and some crashes are fiery. Other weapons include an electric shock stick, a lightsaber, and Ezra's slingshot, which hurls an object that also electrifies victims. Every mission has the potential to be deadly. In one scene, some people are sucked into space through a hole in the spacecraft.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The story hints at attraction between Ezra and Sabine, but it doesn't go further.
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No cursing, but some threatening language such as "I'm gonna end him." Also mild crudity: "Blow it out your exhaust vent."
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Products & Purchases
The show is associated with the extensive Star Wars franchise and leads into a Disney TV series of the same name, so kids who like the movie will want to tune in for the continuing story.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion is an action-packed movie that precedes the animated series Star Wars Rebels. The plot fits between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope in the grand Star Wars time line, but because all the central characters are new, your enjoyment of the story isn't contingent upon having seen the live-action movies. True to form, there's a fair amount of fighting here (mostly with blasters and various weapons that transmit electricity; to a lesser degree, a lightsaber), and some people involved are killed. The heroes are in constant peril, but they never let that keep them from doing what's right and helping others in need. When they break rules, it's for good reason, and they're motivated by selflessness and a strong sense of justice. This quality offering from Disney and Lucasfilm will be a hit with many kids' sense of adventure, but it's also well-designed to entice viewers to return for the follow-up TV series.
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Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion
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What's the Story?
STAR WARS REBELS: SPARK OF REBELLION is set between live-action movies Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope and centers on Ezra Bridger (voiced by Taylor Gray), a solitary orphan who lives on the streets of the Empire-controlled Capital City, sticky-fingering his way to a meager existence. All that changes when he intercepts a robbery already in progress and makes off with part of an empirical shipment that marks him as a target for Storm Troopers and a mysterious ragtag group of freedom fighters, who eventually take him in. But fitting in with Hera (Vanessa Marshall), Sabine (Tiya Sircar), and Zeb (Steve Blum) is no easy task, even for this smooth talker. As he joins them on rebel missions across the galaxy, Ezra learns about the Empire's recent purging of the Jedi that nearly cost the rebels' leader, Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.), his life, and begins to feel a strong connection to the Force himself.
Is It Any Good?
This action-packed movie serves as a pilot for the Disney series Star Wars Rebels and introduces an entirely new team of self-deprecating heroes to appreciative fans. Those who know the live-action movies' progression will appreciate the careful touches of imagery and sound that fit neatly between episodes 3 and 4, no doubt thanks to Lucasfilm's involvement in the project. The story sets just enough context -- including a cameo by Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) -- to satisfy the purists before launching into its own uniquely enticing plot.
Although the graphics' tendency to create slightly odd body forms and features leaves a little to be desired, Spark of Rebellion rarely falls short in any other regard. The story moves quickly enough to pack a lot of plot into its 43-minute block, and there's plenty of action to satisfy young adventurers in the audience. There's also a surprising depth to many of the characters, particularly Ezra and Kanan, and the fact that their personal stories are merely hinted at in the movie bodes well for interest in the follow-up series.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about right and wrong. Kids: Who gets to decide the difference between right and wrong? Do laws always make that distinction clear? Is it ever OK to break the law? If so, what sort of circumstances might make that OK?
Are Ezra and Kanan positive role models? In what ways? How does each use the challenges of his past to inspire what he does now?
Why is the Star Wars franchise so popular among fans? Is its story of good vs. evil any different from others you see on TV shows and in movies? If you've seen other offerings in this franchise, how does this one compare?
- On DVD or streaming: October 14, 2014
- Cast: Freddie Prinze Jr., Taylor Gray, Vanessa Marshall
- Directors: Steward Lee, Steve Lee
- Inclusion Information: Latinx actors
- Studio: Disney Channel Original Movies
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Great Boy Role Models, Robots, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 43 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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