Archive | December, 2017

Dare I post thoughts on “The Last Jedi”?

28 Dec

There’s been a lot of media supplementing the original trilogy, notably the prequel trilogy, and an extended universe which has been officially retconned. About two weeks ago, The Last Jedi premiered, and it’s been… polarizing.

I’ll talk spoilers below, so if you haven’t seen it and don’t want it ruined, now’s the time to skip.

 

Okay, I saw the film and among the group was my five year old niece who was scared, and I had to leave the film twice to take kids to the bathroom. So I might get a detail wrong.

I thought the premise was great and the first third of the film was great, but then it got slowly underwhelming. I thought Rogue One built up and got better and the fight sequences were excellent, but it’s almost like we got to the best visual fights and suddenly there wasn’t enough substance to carry the final act. Moreover, I found myself not caring about any of the new characters, and questioning the actions of the familiar (besides R2-D2 and Chewie).

I thought Finn was the most interesting character in The Force Awakens, and he felt like a tagalong for a pointless sidequest.  Rose was okay until she decided to sacrifice to save Finn from his attempted sacrifice, and I found myself saying, “You know you’re in a war, right? How many others just died!?” And I swear, that they must have had more planned for Captain Phasma that got cut from this version.

Jedi/Force powers greatly expanded in this movie. I’m okay with building on to the lore, and while it was fine to see Yoda again, I still think it should have been Luke to light that fire. More on him below. Leia using powers I was all for, but the way it was handled seemed… odd.

Finally, we learn that Luke was essentially tricked and considered killing his nephew, which triggered Ben’s turning and destroying the Jedi school, and Luke taking the last of the sacred jedi texts and hiding out at one of their ancient islands so that it would die with him.

A lot of the heavy criticism thrown at the film is that they don’t like what was done with Luke’s character. (And a lot of criticism thrown at the criticism is those who don’t like it hate diversity or whatever) I’ll throw out I get it as a writer, but there’s things as a writer we find interesting that an audience wouldn’t necessarily resound with. As a writer, if I jump time, I know that certain characteristics of a person are bound to change. Luke Skywalker as a 20-something is the same person as he is a 60-something, but he’s been through a lot more – he’s lived a life and experienced more than just being a hero – his failure with Ben, realization that the Jedi can’t live up to their ideals – all of it.

But as a reader, I can fill in some blanks, but I want to know what those changes are for that natural change in character. I’m not a huge fan of this prequel stuff (Young Han Solo, anyone?) and we don’t have footage of our beloved cast in the 90’s or whatever filming some off this very interesting stuff – Han and Leia’s break up, Luke abandoning the galaxy rather than face the monster he’s made (and likely, a pissed off sister if she figures this out). I’d get the ‘going into exile’ bit, but why he didn’t say, “Well, I made him I’ll unmake him” it could be with Force Kumbaya for all I care (okay, I would care; the apparating oneself across the universe was another choice I thought was odd) but I thought now that we got Luke, we’d get a more active character. Granted, what was established this movie with Force Ghosts, it’s not exactly like it would be hard for him to step in if need be, but it honestly feels like we’re getting into the realm of deus ex machina.

There were things that I liked – I didn’t mind killing off Snoke quickly and I don’t think Kylo killed him to save Rey so much as realizing he was being manipulated. If anyone knows Darth Vader’s history it was him, and realized he didn’t need Snoke. His character is built up as powerful, and since Rey is the closest thing he has to an equal with the force he’s able to take command easily. Was Snoke a powerful ally? Yup. Was Snoke prepared to sacrifice anyone – including Kylo – to further his goals? We don’t know, because we barely knew anything about the guy. Kylo, for all I could go on about him being not nearly as intimidating as the movie would have us believe, ain’t dumb. And from what little Snoke told us, Kylo’s got a lot of Solo in him.

As always, stunning visuals and I love watching the deep space battles. I liked when Rey and Kylo fought together.  Luke getting sent off was a great tribute to his character, and I hope they do something like that for Leia. I like that they’re taking the franchise in new directions, but I’d reign in the force powers and give the characters more distinct personalities. I swear, it’s a marketing thing to make generic heroines who teenage girls can project themselves into, but these are movies, not video games, people.

Anyway – in general I’m going to say I was excited but now that I don’t really have anyone to look forward to seeing for the next film, I’m hoping that they remember that these are supposed to be fun kids films and lay off the social commentary.

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