Movies / Reviews

MOVIE REVIEW: The Force is Average with STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Princess Jeia (the Outlaw fiance) and I found the photo op we were looking for.

 

Making a new Star Wars movie can be tricky business these days. Sure, most releases make more dollar bills than Harvey Weinstein makes inappropriate propositions towards women. However, like the latter, not all of them go over well with the movie going public.

Case in point, George Lucas’ prequels made money hand over fist, but many a fan of the Force laughed them off as pop culture faux pas, leaving the franchise with a reputation it wasn’t looking for.

Enter Disney. The media monstrosity pulled off a major coo acquiring Lucasfilm and all properties attached back in 2013. The mouse-earred enterprise wasted little time with their new multibillion-dollar toy with the release of The Force Awakens, the seventh episode of the saga. Was there negative reaction? Does Yoda have bad grammar? As to be expected, many voiced their disappointment with Disney’s first attempt, although most of the criticism being it felt too familiar A New Hope (the first Star Wars film released back in 1978.)

 

Oh El Capitan, my El Capitan.

 

Regardless of the accuracy of that claim, familiarity is what many mainstream fans wanted. The familiar actors, practical effects, and tone from the original trilogy helped reignite The Force far more than anyone could have anticipated.

Fast forward to 2018 with the worldwide release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and initial sentiment seems to be much more divided. I don’t want to spend much time on the polarization of the ‘loved it’ and ‘hated it’ camps, but my immediate observation on the subject is that society seems to have banished the grey area of ‘so-so’ to a galaxy far far away. One only needs to observe the U.S. political landscape to notice black and white, my way or the highway mentality which has left no room for shades of gray. (Granted I’m happy to do without the films of the same title.) In any event, I blame the internet – although who doesn’t? – and its marriage to everyone’s opinion is the right, and those who disagree are all rebooted incarnations of Adolf Hitler.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I will now bless you with my personal opinion of The latest Star Wars installment because I know you are all holding of on purchasing your tickets until my thoughts have been forever chiseled onto the World Wide Web. With that, I have three spoiler free words. It was “entertaining.”

 

This is the biggest Star Wars The Last Jedi spoiler you will see within this entire review.

 

I know what you’re thinking, “Dude, that was a completely ambiguous copout answer meant to appease lovers and haters of the film so as not to scare of any of your four followers.” First of all, your right. But secondly, is there really anything wrong with that? Especially when it comes to Star Wars?

Were there issues with The Last Jedi? Yes, and I’m not afraid to list them. Among those most prevalent to my wandering eye were the odd pacing, overly grumpy Luke, the overtly political overtones of categorizing all rich people as evil, the cheesy new romance subplot with Finn and Rose, the cheesy (and really annoying) new character of Rose, and the semi-confusing new features The Force is now equipped with for the new model year. On the last point, what was the deal with the Leia space scene? You know the one. I was just waiting for Keanu Reeves to pop out and start dodging tie fighters in slow motion.

 

You haven’t lived until you’ve taken a photo in front of every Star Wars poster on display at Disney’s El Capitan theater in Hollywood, CA.

 

Also going against The Last Jedi is its position in the franchise. While it’s the eighth episode in the saga, it’s also the middle child between bookend of a trilogy with a semi-new arc. Like with any trilogy (for which the audience knows a final chapter is coming), the second film often finds itself as forgotten filler eventually lost in the shuffle of the fresh first chapter and the epic final confrontation. Outside of The Empire Strikes Back, I dare anyone to name a trilogy whose middle chapter was more epic than it’s surrounding stories.

For my money however, the most disturbing part of the film was its length. There was no Jedi mind trick powerful enough to convince my bladder not to explode during the two-and-a-half-hour runtime; not counting previews and the lightsaber show shown exclusively at the El Captain theater in Hollywood. Regardless of the awesome pre-game show and half-hour of trailers I’ve already seen online, my biggest qualm was there felt like there was about three different endings. Every time I clapped and was about to head towards the exit, the film found another wind. Luckily, I have a bladder of steel. (At least that’s what I kept telling myself as I did the pee-pee shuffle in my seat.

 

Even if I wanted to go to the restroom, these guards made sure no one left the theater… for any reason.

 

Still, even with all my qualms, I still found the film what I expect from a Star Wars film, entertaining. Despite their pre-release vilification, I found the Porg cute and not forced on the audience as much as they could have been (see what I did there?) BB-8 stole the droid show per the usual, although C3PO provided for some laughs as usual. Speaking of laughs, there were more than a few moments of humor that caused some out loud chuckles, albeit there were also some that caused some eye rolls. Nevertheless, there were some great action sequences, cool light-saber fights, and enchanting space battles that are to be expected of the franchise at this point. In addition to Luke’s larger role, there was even an additional cameo by a character from the original trilogy that sent the pleasant chills of nostalgia through my geeky veins.

After all is said and done, the Outlaw is going out on a limb by saying the film was… entertaining. Definitely more so than the prequels (Rogue One included), but less so than the original trilogy and The Force Awakens. This middle-of-the-pack depiction may sound vague and somewhat mediocre, but I feel as if the film doesn’t really rise above those descriptors to warrant anything more congratulatory.

 

What do you mean you didn’t like Luke’s new salt and pepper beard? You aren’t a true Star Wars fan!

 

Some of you may feel I’m playing it safe with my overall take, but I’d argue otherwise.  If anything, based on the polarizing love-it or hate-it camps that have all but saturated social media, my middle of the road “it was good, but nothing spectacular” attitude will almost certainly draw the ire of both sides of the aisle. Even Mark Hamill seems uncomfortable with the way his character was handled and some of the events within the latest installment. When the man behind Luke Skywalker has conflicting feelings about how a Star Wars episode played out, it probably shouldn’t be any surprise many other Star Wars fans do as well.

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Comments

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2 Comments

  1. Philip Hoffman says:

    Sup Haydon! Tried to post this as a comment but the FB plugin crapped out, so I thought I’d at least send it to you.

    This was exactly how I felt about The Last Jedi. It was good, not great. I enjoyed it as I watched it, but afterwards I was left with a hollow feeling. There was almost no story at all (“we’re up aaaaand we’re down.”) The entire thread with Finn had zero impact to the plot and reminded me (in a bad way) of Episodes I – III. While I liked Rose the character, I felt the actress didn’t pull it off. She had no gravitas, unlike Rae. Everything with Snoak turned out to be… disappointing. Lastly, I can’t help but agree – WTF Leia? After that odd beginning, I can’t believe she wasn’t the one to play the sacrificial role in the end. It would have leant so much more weight to everything.

    The core elements around Rae, Luke and Kylo Ren were good, but everything else felt like the noise of a blender blending too much ice into a watered down smoothie. So it’s weird, I would watch it again and probably enjoy it… but I don’t really know why. And I’m a little uneasy with the direction they seem to be going by diluting the core story and power of the force out into the random rest of the universe.

    In summary: there’s been a great disturbance in the Force. It remains to be seen what ripple affect that has on the rest of the universe.

  2. Philip Hoffman says:

    Well maybe it worked after all… feel free to delete the dupe.

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