The Last Jedi : A Review
I know it is a month too late, but here is my official review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
You should know that I love Star Wars. I love Star Wars the same way that car people love cars, or sports fans love watching sports. Star Wars to me was this grand epic Science Fiction Fantasy where the philosophies of good versus evil were debated in these fantastic battles featuring fantastic characters. Star Wars almost always delivered nuanced fun stories that would swallow my imagination and still leave me wanting more.
To be honest Disney’s time as master of the Star Wars franchise has been to me a very mixed bag with bad moments and good ones too.
While I found Force Awakens to be a boring and lazy repeat of Star Wars: The Last Hope, I found great enjoyment watching Rogue One. That movie introduced great new characters, solid stories, and introspection about the nature of sacrifice, and fit perfectly into the canon.
So what do I think of the newest Star Wars adventure?
Fun to watch, but not great overall. And the worst the Star Wars product Disney has put out so far.
The biggest problems with the movie can be divided into two categories: movie filler and character mismanagement.
The first major problems with the Last Jedi are pretty much universally agreed upon, and there are few defenders.Trying to sit and watch this film makes the problem very clear. Seriously, there is at least 1 hour of useless plodding that contributes almost nothing to the movie.There is a good movie somewhere in all this footage. However, you will have to sit 2 and 1/2 hours to see it.
And if you think that is bad you should see how it treats the original trilogy characters. The sin of legacy character mismanagement and just poor character writing is much more bothersome to me and other longtime fans.
Luke, Leia, and even Chewbacca are poorly written and untrue to their portrayals in the original trilogy of Star Wars movies. This not only hurts the interest of fans in this movie but how people will now look at the Star Wars franchise as a whole. And Despite what the Holly-Wood writers say, the character portrayals aren’t just fan complaints that need to be blown off. I imagine the long-term financial prospects of The Last Jedi are hurt by this corporate decision making.
Luke is a weakly sarcastic humdrum Ebeneezer type character that is almost 180 degrees of difference in philosophy and morality. His backstory plot and his decision making for most of the film is very un-Luke Skywalker like. Yes, there is a cool moment at the end of the film, but even here The Last Jedi disappoints. The one time that we get to see Luke get off his couch take a shower, and help turns out to be a nothing but a mirage.
Spoilers, he turns out to be a mirage.
There are powerful moments for Mark Hamill to strut his acting ability, and there this film doesn’t disappoint.Hamill has for decades proven himself one of the most capable actors in venues like dubbing animation, and audio plays. It is nice to see he gets a chance to shine.
However, we don’t get the same opportunity to watch the usually funny and powerful late actress Carrie Fisher. Here Leia is indecisive, quiet and plays little into the decision making of the resistance when she does manage to speak. It is obvious that the footage they did get of the late, awesome actress was much less than the PR Disney wanted us to believe. And this movie is all the poorer for it.
To make up for this, a new actress is cast to play the lines Fisher couldn’t and it doesn’t help much. The Purple Haired general is probably the most forgettable character for the amount of screen time given in this movie. A weak subplot involving her and the character Poe is not only boring but nonsensical and riddled with plot holes. Even the great sacrifice this character makes is hard to watch and does little to redeem her.
Despite all these problems, I still recommend you watch this film. The Jedi parts with Luke, Rey, and Kylo Ren are fascinating and bespeak of a much better movie. If this relationship had been used as the sole focus of the movie instead of adding so much filler I’d be happy to give this movie at least a seven even if Skywalker is now a curmudgeonly grouch who likes to murder children in their sleep.
I hope dear reader you noticed that I haven’t yet nodded to the extremely strange and disbelief killing parts of this movie. In particular, the scene where we get to see Leia use the force turns out to be this weirdly whimsical resurrection in the style of Marry Poppins. Plus the time Luke milks an alien walrus, or Yoda helps Luke in a book burning. The last of which bothers me more than probably anything else.
No way in Ewok hell would Yoda ever try to destroy the legacy of the Jedi nor authorize book burning of any kind. But this is exactly the thematic message that Star Wars know wants us to understand.
To quote Kylo Ren: “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to”. Isn’t that the same message that fascistic nations and dictators want their citizens to believe. If Hitler was in the theater, I could imagine him giving a thumbs up.
I doubt I’ll be able to sit-down and happily watch this film again in the same way I do for all of the other films. This movie has damaged my love for the Star Wars franchise. The prequels which I overall enjoyed and often made fun of; never spat upon the legacy and beloved characters of the original trilogy. Jar Jar never took away from the dynamic story and character that is Luke Skywalker. This movie does and does it with pride.
I still recommend most people to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It is a visually stunning film, and the Rey/Kylo Ren storyline is entertaining and thought-provoking; even if it concludes with the wrong sentiment. Just be prepared to wait 2 1/2 hours to see it, and know coming in that you will hate what they do to the old Star Wars crew.
If you can stomach all that the let the Force be with you. (as if I could have ended with anything else ;0)