Yeah, this is another late review by me but I finally managed to watch The Last Jedi. Felt more like the Last Star Wars that ought to be created just because it was quite bad for the most part. As someone who grew up with Star Wars, it just breaks my heart as the quality of the series has plummeted. There was some redemption with Rogue One but the combination of Disney and a senile Lucas still maintaining a certain level of control has turned this beloved franchise into vomit dookie.
Although I read the occasional spoiler, for the most part I wasn’t all that excited. The previous one ended up being a letdown and with Disney taking ownership of the Lucas franchise, I didn’t have high hopes that would motivate me into rushing out. I probably saved enough money just on overpriced theater hot dogs and soda by watching at home in fact.
My first overall impression is that this movie clearly was made in a boardroom. It really had no sense of identity outside of the occasional callback to previous movies. The review summaries on Wikipedia declared the movie being “safe” not dissimilar to episode 7. Watching this movie was like eating whatever the latest Taco Bell concoction of tortilla, pink ground beef, cheese sauce and millions of other goopy ingredients merged into a diabetes fiesta.
As always the dialogue was horrid. I’m sure if Alec Guinness thought the original writing was crude, he probably would’ve lightsabered himself if anyone asked him to play a part here (granted if he were still alive). I felt as though the boardroom in writing most of the scenes believed that the target audience was sub-caveman level in terms of intelligence as every idea was spelled out with little room for most of the actors to actually act.
The plot itself was a confused mess. The whole middle section just meandered and I would frequently check how much time had passed because I had become unfathomably bored and lost at the direction. The part where they go to the casino world was senseless at the end of the day. There was a clear liberal type of agenda at play with the whole “save the children” and “save the animals” moments. I found those scenes to be typically hypocritical of Hollywood where the things that are criticized are exactly what is representative of Hollywood. Thus, there was no pathos for me in seeing some stupid CG animals liberated along with dumb ass kids that were another Disney/Lucas trademark hook.
Finn’s character is one of the more mysterious to me in terms of what they intend to do with him. He feels like he’s just there but gets a lot of scenes without any real hint at what he’s supposed to be. Yes, we know he’s a former stormtrooper. Yes, he has a connection to Rey. Yes, he’s partly comic relief. But so what? Is he supposed to be a hidden Jedi? If he is then the story does an awful job at alluding to this plot point.
Then there’s Poe. He’s basically another version of Finn; in short, someone with zero purpose but has a LOT of scenes. I don’t understand why he’s around. He’s neither interesting nor does he do anything significant in the scheme of things. At least with say Lando Calrissian, he does something major and has a good character arc in Empire Strikes Back.
Next you have Rose Tico. This was a very painful character in all respects. She was horribly annoying and served more like a token role. Her dialogue was some of the worst in the movie. I wanted to shoot myself after her last lines in the show. I think if she had died, then those words would have meant something. Instead, she got to live apparently. But why? Again, another extra character that serves no real purpose.
There was Holdo who at first seemed useless, annoying and confusing. Honestly, I was hoping she would turn out to be an insider for the First Order. The way her character was portrayed would have made that plotline make some sense. Heck, even Poe declared her to be a traitor and I was like, “Wow! At least, they went with something somewhat logical!” That plotline went nowhere and once Leia came out of her coma, Holdo suddenly was Mrs. Good Guy (girl?) again. I will give this character a small benefit of a doubt just because SHE ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING USEFUL. She basically saved the remaining alliance through self-sacrifice. Nonetheless, beyond that point I did not understand her having any significance to the main story and it felt like wasted space.
I will admit that the Luke and Leia scenes were heart warming, knowing that Carrie Fischer would pass away (which is ironic considering that it was both Han and Luke now who have died in the movie). The little time they shared still demonstrated how A class actors can take a small scene and make it meaningful as they still have good chemistry.
Rey, I will say is probably one of the few of the newer cast that I actually enjoy. Although she was a little wooden at first in her scenes with Luke, I think she does a reasonable job with the little wiggle room she’s provided. I do think she’s a bit of a polarizing character though in that she feels confused just as the audience is about her identity. Thus far, we haven’t really moved the plot of the sequels that much ahead since most of the real questions are centered around Rey and Kylo. But I’ll get back to that in a bit.
I’ll save Kylo for last as he’s someone that in most circumstances I would say I would have liked. In the current context, he just does nothing for me. He’s neither interesting nor a bad guy makes much sense to me. And what I mean by bad guy is that he can’t compare to say Loki from the Avengers series. At least the Avengers, Loki (and the person playing him) has a charm that you can side with. In Kylo’s situation, you’re not given anything to real feel one way or another. I think the biggest problem with Kylo is that it’s very unclear what his motives are. Yet for a character like his that they are making into a primary character, his motives should be crystal clear. Thus, it’s impossible to really side one way or another with him.
Now, let’s discuss the real elephant in the room: Disney. I feel that anything and everything Disney touches becomes instant trash these days. You can even see the internal guidelines in every scene like invisible sticky notes attached just off to the side. Lucas had already poisoned his own well but now it’s just painful.
The only clear purpose of this franchise is merchandising. There’s so much useless background noise like those little monkey-bird things. This is about on par with World of Warcraft; the difference is that World of Warcraft did it for fan servicing, this does it to sell plushies. If I were a father with a child, I’d far prefer to give that kid a Ramsay Bolton doll clutching a Theon Greyjoy/Reek pork sausage than whatever furry chicken freak creature this movie was marketing.
With the original Star Wars (and Empire), the creatures were used to demonstrate a glimpse of what an alien world could look like. Even a cute creature like the original Yoda had a very clear purpose and there was thoughtful design put into place. This current Star Wars lacks focus and prefers to distract the audience with masturbatory noise to demonstrate that the artists can do whatever they want. But what’s the point beyond allowing Disney to make a few hundred million more in the bank?
The thing is that there was some original vision in the older series that made it a cultural phenomenon. This current installation is a lame copy with whatever agenda some boredroom member managed to sneak in. If anything this movie tries to borrow from other things without any coherency.
Now, here’s where I think the series lacks vision: I partly believe they’re waiting for Game of Thrones to finish up. I think there’s a bit of plot inside of the Game of Thrones that the last Star Episode will use to finish off the series. There’s just too much ambiguity about Kylo and Rey, their relationship to one another, Rey’s parents and questions of power. I feel like they flipped some of the major plot points from Game of Thrones around (minus the incest) and purposefully have kept everything ambiguous because they want Game of Thrones to finish first.
That might sound like a long shot but given what’s being written and the direction (or lackthereof), I just feel that Hollywood has been inspired by Game of Thrones in terms of certain ideas that they’re basically borrowing from it because it’s original, risky and has become mainstream. Once the end of Game of Thrones comes around, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more movies and TV shows play out in a similar manner. I’m not just talking as a fan of Game of Thrones but just seeing how many people are trying to emulate the edgier side of things.
At any rate, this was NOT a good movie by a long shot. It’s an entertaining movie in that you can watch it during dinner or as a Saturday night filler. But this won’t be a classic. The things that made the original Star Wars classics are lost because Lucas forgot himself and Disney is an evil empire intent on dominating commercialism.