Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi
.. and then we get to “The Last Jedi”. This film seems to have divided fandom more than any other. Even the Holiday Special. I watched this film last weekend as part of the movie project, but I’m finding it difficult to think of what to write about it a week later. I really did like it, I don’t agree with those who slam it, but part of me wants to go with “What’s wrong with you people?” as my full review :)
In short, the main reason people seem to not like this movie that I can tell is that they did something “totally different”. I don’t get that. You can’t just make the same movie over and over again, or you become AC/DC basically (I love AC/DC, but they don’t have the widest musical scope). They took some chances with the plot here. Did something different, and I loved it for that. However, that exact reason is why most people seem to not like this film.
The film starts off with a pretty cool action sequence where Poe’s squad leads an attack on a Star Destroyer Dreadnaught, and violates the orders of Leia to take it down. Some drama with the bombers and losing characters – in fact, that’s a major theme of this movie. We lost Admiral Ackbar in this movie, as well as the majority of the existing resistance, not to mention Luke himself later in the film. But it was a good bang to the start of the movie.
Thing is, as I write this, it’s mostly the action pieces that I’m interested in saying anything about. Of the three “middle” movies (Empire, Clones, Last Jedi), this is probably in the middle. The emotional pieces didn’t resonate as much with me here as they did in the others, but the action was amazing. That’s not to say it’s totally devoid of emotion that works. I did like the scene where Ren was made to look like he was going to fire on his own mother, and then didn’t. That was good. The interplay between Poe and Holdo was good, although that was more drama than emotional stuff.
The side track to the casino to look for a code breaker was probably the weakest part of the movie. I didn’t care for that part, and there were much quicker ways of getting that info they needed than a full sidetrack there. The scene where Rey goes into the cave on Luke’s island was a bit odd, I didn’t really understand it (especially the bit with the dozens of Reys in a line). Events in Episode IX however gave this more flavor on rewatching, however.
I did enjoy the training sessions with Rey and Luke. Luke’s mocking of Rey was a good laugh, and Luke’s training of Rey was cool. Much was said in interviews about the “choices” made with the Luke Skywalker character in this movie, even Mark Hamill himself had stuff to say, but I didn’t have a problem here. He tried to train Jedi, failed, and withdrew into himself. Rey’s existence on the island forced him to look back and what he failed at, so no – I had no problems with the way the character played out. The only thing I would have done differently is not kill him at the end. You didn’t HAVE to do that – he could have survived. Although had Carrie Fisher not died in real life before this came out, we probably would have gotten a good death scene for her in Episode IX. Leia died in that movie anyway, but with the real life Carrie Fisher gone, I don’t hold JJ for having a somewhat “eh” death for her – hard to film a death for her when the real life actress is gone, but I digress.
There was much fun with Rey on the island, especially with the Porgs. My wife LOVED the Porgs. The bits where Rey was made to look like “The Destructor” to everything the Porgs were doing was funny. They ended up in the Falcon, which was good. The Porgs were cute, and a nice comedic balance to everything else that was going on.
Going back to characters that died, Snoak and Phasma died. Phasma was made out to be this big important character, but they never did ANYTHING with her. Made her out to be this powerful First Order officer, and wasn’t more than C3PO with a gun. Then Snoak died. The scene where Snoak dies is great – lots of good force and light saber action and a team up between Rey & Kylo Ren. Liked that. But I was a bit surprised they killed Snoak in this movie, as I presumed he would be the big bad of Episode IX as well.
I really REALLY loved the big battle scene where Luke uh, “comes back” to fight with Leia and what’s left of the rebellion. That was darned cool, and no I didn’t figure out he was a force projection. There were hints there, because his movements didn’t dig up red sand like everything else did. I didn’t catch that right away, but in followup viewings you can see it. When Kylo Ren unloads on him with every weapon they have all at once, Luke comes out, rubs off his shoulder, that was major laugh. Enjoyed the hell out of that scene.
My single favorite moment from this movie – and one that is up there with the greatest Star Wars moments of all time was when Laura Dern’s Holdo character took the ship and went into light speed – right through the big First Order Cruiser. Tore right through it – in a great effect. Killed herself (we assume), and took down a whole lot of them. It was also well done in that there were zero sound effects – looked great, sounded great, was just a damn great scene.
I could spend some time talking about the mental zeroes that attacked this movie for any number of reasons (Kellie Marie Tran, Luke died, the female dominated storyline, etc…), but I’m not going to do so beyond this. There’s one person I know who after seeing this movie called it “An example of the Pussification of the United States – they took another job that should be a man’s and give it to a woman” (referring to Poe), and thought – wow, I do not know if I want to talk to this person ever again in my life, and I haven’t to date. That someone could be that angry and misguided with life and have THAT reaction to a Star Wars movie is incomprehensibly short minded and stupid. Fortunately, my mind is not that closed.
- Biggest Problem: Large chunk of movie taken up by irrelevant casino adventure
- Biggest Strength: Lots of good action, IMO.
- Overall Rating: B-
Overall, it’s a great movie that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.
I loved LOVED that they took some chances with the characters and did some different stuff. Other than the casino side adventure, I really did like this movie – a lot. Was a lot of fun, good action, and some character development, not just fan service to see characters again.
Shame it didn’t stick and was mostly undone in Episode IX.