It’s been over 2 weeks since I saw The Last Jedi at the big screen.
Going down with Aussie Flu shortly afterwards and losing my writing mojo for a bit (posts in the past two weeks were already written and scheduled!) It was time I sat on my ass and started writing my thoughts down about the latest Star Wars epic.
By now we know that the film has been universally praised by critics, whilst fans of the sci fi series are having very mixed opinions. To put into context, on Imdb this is the 3rd lowest rated Star Wars film in the franchise rating higher than only the two first prequels.
What did I think?
I thought it was pretty solid, and will rate it as highly as the rest of the more enjoyable Star Wars films. I’ve never given any Star Wars film higher than a 8, and over the years after re-watching them numerous times, I’ve actually downgraded the ratings of a number of them, including the original (I think it goes on too long, and majority of it is actually quite boring) and think Return of the Jedi is just awful.
The latest film continues to stay true to the original trilogy with it’s look and feel, as well as another great soundtrack from John Williams. The computer generated graphics are superb and we get two stories going on at once.
Rey and her quest to convince Luke to re-join the Rebels (is that what they are still called) to take on the First Order, and Poe, Finn and Rose’s quest to find a code breaker who can turn off a tracking device fitted to one of the First Order’s ships that is able to track the Rebels even through light speed.
I’m not going to go into a full breakdown of the movie, as there’s plenty of places for people to do that especially with a franchise like Star Wars, so I’m just going to go into the good and bad points from my point of view:
- The space fights were great, although I don’t quite understand why you’d have bombers in space!
- Rose adds a new dimension, a sensible engineer type head to the team, which probably makes sense as Rey is obviously far too interesting now to be be seen as someone that can suddenly repair some injector couplings on the Falcon like in TFA, so that part needed a new character, and she’s also quite charming, some excellent casting there that also in the real world is good, as a seemingly every day normal woman is seen as a solid engineer and someone that can get her hands dirty with technical stuff. Should become the more inspirational character going forward for young girls rather than voodoo wielding Rey.
- DJ the code breaker, I get we haven’t seen the last of him and strikes me as the sort of new Lando.
- Yoda and the burning of the Jedi books temple. To me this scene sort of made connection with modern day realisation that religion is a load of rubbish and causes nothing but wars. The force can be found in anyone and everyone, and I hope this is the way they go with Rey, that she is just a normal girl, from a normal family, and that her parents were indeed just poor people. Proving that blood lines and religions mean nothing and that everyone has the power inside them to be something amazing. I believe this is also emphasised in the very last scene in the film with the young boy on the ‘casino planet’Also kind of touched upon in why was Luke training of the force. Why would he bother teaching a load of regular kids the force?
- The Casino planet, showing that there’s still a class of people, and that the rich profit from war. Again giving the story a more modern and realistic take, although this wasn’t really explored upon much.
- Kylo’s desire to kill the past, which also vibes with the above.
- Seeing that Rey and Kylo can get to each other obviously opens the door to a very long story arc of who will turn where, but this is Disney now, so we know how that is going to end.
- To see Snoke defeated already made his character look weak and nothing like the original emperor, this should allow Kylo to take the helm and now separates the movies going forward to being too much like the original trilogy of having this ‘masterful emperor’ calling the shots from afar.
- Carrie Fisher, almost every scene with her in made you feel emotional, probably part of the reason I enjoyed the film more than others, because I felt emotionally into it.
- Leia, for the first time finally uses the force to save herself from impending death in outter space. Most of us were probably thinking as we sat in our seats that this was her death scene, but clearly not. It seemed an odd way to finally see her use the force.
- Laura Dern, who seems to pop up in everything takes over, whether she was carrying on Leia’s original plan or not, but what seems daft is that her plan really isn’t that much of a plan, so why on earth did she decide to keep it to herself. Even if she told Poe and the others the plan the likelihood was that Poe would have gone and done what he did anyway due to him being the hot head swash buckler that he is. It made her character not be likeable, and I don’t like not liking a Laura Dern character because she’s ace.
- Luke’s death. At this point I thought the film should already have ended. Yes the whole planet scene was very much Empire Strikes Back, and perhaps if they had started the next film this way then it would have been considered even more of an Empire ripp off, but personally I think the planet scene would have been a much better way to start the next film, than how to end a film. Or at least starting the next film with Luke’s death could have been more meaningful as a new film progressed rather than being a not very good way of ending a film with little explanation. If he intended to die, why not just do it in person rather than from a far.
- Chewie, R2 and C3PO are barely in the film, if you’re not going to use them going forward, please just find a good way of writing them out of it. As a result the humour in the film falls flat on it’s face.
- The length. As kind of pointed on in Luke’s death, the film goes on for a bit too long.
I wish Rian Johnson was doing the next film, I think he has opened up the story to be something much more than just force light vs dark, where as JJ is just going to do another fan service.
Clearly Disney are going to milk the franchise for all it’s worth so I think it’s important a different avenue is opened and that old ground is not trod on over and over again, otherwise it’s going to get very boring, very fast. I appreciate the films are targeted at kids rather than 40+ year old males, but that demographic is also going to bring a lot of money to the table for the franchise so older minds need a story to get their teeth into, and why not try and make Star Wars more modern. Kids need as much inspiration and encouragement as possible to understand that they can challenge Religion, race and greed, and that together as a collective force, we can bring change to our own planet to make a better world for everyone. If the way of sneaking this into their heads is via Star Wars films, under the nose of their parents. So be it.