Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
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The Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of THE FORCE AWAKENS join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks new mysteries of the Force. It's "everything you could want and more from a STAR WARS film" (Katie Walsh, Detroit Free Press).
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While I didn't love The Force Awakens, I did like all the new characters introduced. In The Last Jedi however I couldn't stand any of them. The conflicted but cool Kylo Ren was now a confusing and annoying brat and the competent General Hux was now a disrespected cartoon villain. The very likable Po was now a hot headed idiot and the incredibly interesting ex-stormtrooper Finn was just...just there. Then there's Rey, a character who I actually found endearing in TFA but was completely insufferable in TLJ. She goes to Luke Skywalker for training despite already knowing just about every force technique there is with absolutely no effort on her part. Instead she spends most of the film scolding Luke son-of-Darth-Vader Skywalker who is now a weak, grumpy, selfish, disappointing shell of what he use to be. One of the most iconic and loved characters of all time known for their bravery, optimism, kindness and determination is relegated to being a useless coward sucking down green alien jizz on an island in the middle of nowhere. And for what? So that expectations can be subverted? So Rey can look better than him while replacing him? Which leads me to something else I hated about these new Star Wars movies.
Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and the rest, all together for the first and last time in a Star Wars movie...and they wasted it. Not a single scene is shared with these iconic characters all together and thanks to Carrie's death, that will never happen. Han dies in TFA without ever meeting Luke or even Lando. Lando Calrissian is a no show and a no mention whatsoever and Admiral Ackbar is killed off dismissively in the background. Seriously I've seen red shirts die with more fanfare. What was even the point of bringing back these old characters? This movie left me utterly drained of all enthusiasm for everything Star Wars. I don't care about episode 9, the Solo movie, or even the games (which is another mess).
I've never actually hated a movie before. I've been bored by them, I've been annoyed by them, but never felt full on hate.
I hate The Last Jedi.
I’m sure I’m forgetting both some positives and some negatives here, but here are my Pros and Cons of The Last Jedi.
- Beautiful battle sequences. I loved seeing A-Wings. I loved seeing Kylo Ren pilot a TIE Interceptor. I loved the moment of silence when the ship is split in half. I loved seeing the red dirt under the salt on Crait as the speeders rushed past. The battles were top-notch. The dogfights were elegant.
- "Dreadnought Down."
- The fight scene with Kylo Ren/Rey in the throne room was beautifully epic (except for how Snoke died). "Let it die." "Please."
- Amazing aerial and exterior shots of Ahch-To (filmed on Skellig Michael in Ireland)
- The Porgs were cute, if definitely created exclusively for merchandising. They're basically just wide-eyed puppets on screen to sell toys. Well, mission accomplished, Disney. I bought one.
- Rey’s parents really did turn out to be nobody.
- Kylo Ren going fully Dark instead of getting redeemed.
- The pacing felt awkward. The movie was wayyyyy too long and bloated with unnecessary subplots. It needed a minimum of 30 minutes cut. The flow of the film overall was senseless. Bad, bad, bad script writing.
- Basically the entire plot hinged on the incredibly flawed idea of low fuel reserves…? So this is Speed 2 in Space, pretty much.
- Did Luke really just take green milk straight from an alien teat and chug it for laughs?
- I simply did not like Rose Tico. She felt childish in all the wrong ways, and I think she was pigeonholed alongside Finn for *reasons*. I didn’t like the forced heterosexual dynamic between them. Her backstory was contrived. Her hair was a joke (a petty complaint, but just a stupid aesthetic choice in an otherwise visually great film).
- The entire casino sequence felt entirely too human/Earthly. Aliens in tuxedos? No. There are no tuxedos in Star Wars. It didn’t feel like a cantina scene; it felt like James Bond. The idea of arms dealers selling to both the “good guys” and the “bad guys” would have packed more weight if the film had bothered to actually break down the Dark/Light binary it wound up reinforcing.
- The score was, at best, “variations on some very good John Williams themes” but had absolutely no stirring moments that captured my heart the way the TFA soundtrack did with its most powerful moments. I liked hearing brass used in Rey’s Theme when she pulled the Falcon away. I never thought I’d get sick of “March of the Resistance,” but by the end of this movie, I’d be cool if I never heard it again.
- Leia. Flying. Like. Superman. No. No. No. No.
- Did I mention Leia flying through space?
- One more time, let’s discuss Leia flying through space.
- "Fishnuns," as someone put them. The caretakers on Ahch-To. The icy foxes. The enslaved racing creatures. I can't be bothered to remember these aliens' names, because we already have a canon of hundreds of species to work with. But, that's cool; let's just pretend canon doesn't exist and make up everything from scratch.
- And just in case you missed it, a frozen Leia soared through space with all the grace and believability of a 1987 made-for-TV sci-fi special.
- Leia flew in space.
- Saw Luke’s Force Projection fifteen minutes before it was revealed (no footprints in the salt; he used the blue lightsaber that had been broken). It was 0% surprising to me to see him sitting on Ahch-To. I rolled my eyes.
- The fact that one instance of Force Projection was enough to kill Luke Skywalker. Luuuuuuuke Skywalkerrrrrrrr. Died from one instance of Force Projection, which has been canonically established to not kill a whole ton of people much weaker in the Force.
- Luke tossing the lightsaber away as for a cheap laugh when we ended TFA with the emotional cliffhanger of Rey holding it out to him. Would have been better for him to just walk away from Rey. Not a good way to start this film.
- So much of the “humor” felt forced, stilted, or actually counterproductive to the emotional gravitas of the film. “I’ll Hold for Hux” was the dumbest sequence I’ve ever seen in my life. The humor was cheap, cheap, cheap and there was wayyyy too much of it. Most of it garnered a few chuckles at best from my theatre full of lightsaber-wielding Star Wars fanatics.
- The overall tone and writing style of the film felt more like a Marvel film than a Star Wars film. This felt like I can expect to see Rey, Poe, and Finn in Infinity War (Hey, Disney, don’t freaking do that).
- Snoke literally just kind of toppling over dead after failing to foresee the lightsaber strike against him was anticlimactic, to say the least. Apparently he had the capacity in the Force to bind minds together, but not to avoid getting sliced in half. Weak sauce.
- WHERE AND WHO ARE THE KNIGHTS OF REN.
- (I feel stupid saying this but) shirtless Kylo Ren for the sake of shirtless Kylo Ren. Cheap. Fan service. Stupid joke about putting a towel on. No. DId not like.
- Admiral Holdo felt wildly out of place, both visually and in terms of character. I know why she was there, but I disliked her presence and found it jarring. Visually, her creation was lazy (”Look, it’s a human lady with purple hair”) in the same way that the casino’s visuals were lazy. Also, droids pilot ships all the time. A droid could have done what she did and the rest of her character’s actions could have been undertaken by Akbar (without killing him). Better yet, have Leia handle all of this instead of going off into space and flying back like Superman. Have Leia go out by crashing her ship at lightspeed. Holdo shouldn’t have been in the film at all.
- Yoda’s Force Ghost was too opaque. And his appearance felt like a fever dream or acid trip on Luke’s part.
- Why did Yoda blow up the tree if he knew (and he definitely did) that Rey had already taken the Jedi texts to the Falcon? I’m open to an explanation that I didn’t receive.
- Yoda’s speech pattern was inconsistent and didn’t match the “abnormal syntax” from Original Trilogy or Prequels Yoda. Half the time he used the familiar (but not 100% consistent) OSV construction, and half the time he used VSO.
- It’s been confirmed that Snoke was *not* a Sith, so their use of terminology like “master and apprentice” and “complete your training” is, at best, something needing explanation. Explain these things, Rian. Explain them.
- Benicio del Toro overacted his role. The stutter was too much. He was an interesting enough character without a speech tic. It felt campy to a level I didn’t like, especially given that his character was the one revealing the notion of gray, of neither side being truly black or white. His weird mannerisms were just hat - weird. They added nothing to his character.
- Maz’s holo scene was a freaking mess. This is not the Maz we met in TFA.
- Hux was implausibly incompetent given his extensive training by his father. He basically wound up begging to serve Kylo Ren, which makes no sense given their loooong history of animosity and competition. Give us a good officer villain like we saw in Rogue One.
- Phasma has now turned out to be the most useless POS character to ever be promoted by the actor in press junkets and have merchandise of her sold. I mean, she used a beetle to kill Brendol Hux, so that’s cool, but all we ever saw was foot soldier stuff. And her dying line - “You were always scum” - and Finn’s response, “Rebel scum,” was fan-service to the point of cringing. She was in one freaking scene and Gwendoline Christie’s in every interview. What the hell.
Obviously, I could go on and on and on and on and… yeah. As a DIE-HARD FAN of the Star Wars universe and franchise, this film was unacceptable.
I did not like it. I'm mad about not liking it. I'm gonna watch Revenge of the Sith now, because it's a better movie than The Last Jedi, and at least it has Obi-Wan.