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Star Wars The Last Jedi

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Mark Suszko
Star Wars The Last Jedi
on Dec 22, 2017 at 4:35:00 pm

Spoiler-free review:


Better than the last one, it does a decent job at its main task of wrapping up the plotlines of the original cast leads and setting - or re-setting - the stage to continue forward with new, younger cast members. In a way, it's a "soft re-boot", in that it re-visits a lot of themes and basic situations from earlier films in the series. Watching those scenes, I felt they were sort of cheating by not finding more unique ways to carry the story conflicts forward. They are re-treads- good-looking, visually exciting re-treads - but re-treads, all the same.

This is a long movie, and perhaps a little bloated in the story department, in that it sets up redundant desperate "Alamo" style situations when focusing on just one of those would perhaps have been better. And there's another twenty minutes of bonus scenes that were cut already from this release. It's a bladder-gabber in the theater. I think Mackee would say you're breaking from the traditional plot arc format in this movie, and I'm not sure the pay-off for the extension is there.

I think where this movie works really well is in the scenes with Mark Hamill, and his arc is exceptionally well-developed; an excellent treatment of this particular Hero's Journey extended to a reasonable and satisfying conclusion.

The film dwells long and hard on failure, and the lessons it teaches, along with self-confidence and determination, and it does that pretty well. It leaves me with the same emotions as the end of "Empire Strikes Back", that victory for the heroes is not assured, but it is achievable, and that hope springs eternal. In this, the writers give a strong nod to the now-aging audience members who grew up with the franchise from the beginning, who can look into their own lives and struggles and see their existence as one point on an advancing continuum.

It's always tempting to look for political messages in films, and I think you can find some superficial political themes in TLJ if you look deeply, but this movie took a long time to make, and had a lot of conflicting influences on it, so claiming the film is commentary, one way or another, on current affairs might be a bit of willful stretching to fit an individual's own inclinations. If I had to pin down a "political" theme here, it would roughly be: "don't give up, endure and resist, even when things seem hopeless, and in time, things will come back around your way."

Minor observations:

Adam Driver is better in this than he was in the last movie; mostly because his character is written better, I think. He's not a bad actor (I thought he was impressive in "Logan Lucky").

The humorous moments in this film, I will, rightly or wrongly, attribute to J.J. Abrams. They "feel" like his work, or at least his influence. Some of them are pretty goofy, and ride the ragged edge of taking you out of the story. But they are needed tension-breakers in a film that's one doggedly desperate situation after another.

This may be the first time I ever thought a score by John Williams was unmemorable. The themes and motifs for the new characters just didn't "zing" for me like any of the older ones did. It was all sort of a mish-mash background, punctuated by quotations from the classic SW character themes and motifs. Or maybe I'm just old.

Plot holes abound in the movie, but just relax and enjoy the overly-long but entertaining ride.


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Chris Wright
Re: Star Wars The Last Jedi
on Dec 30, 2017 at 6:03:45 am

spoiler*

nice post. if anyone could tell me Rey's motivation for anything...she's not connected kinwise, there's a scene cut from the film with Luke's training where he lies to her, she doesn't care about po, fin, chewy, leia(who strangely hugged her(a complete stranger) in the previous film. The only real motivation she would have is gaining power and finding her parents. She cares more about Ren than leia, tell me I'm wrong! and they go back to being arch enemies after teaming up... pleeease. Fin's motivation was being with Rey, now he's got a shoehorn love. Po gave Fin his jacket before, and is greeting Rey like a celebrity now. (fill in the blank) This movie had one goal, to democratize the force, and ironically democratized lazy story telling. Anyone can do it!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Star Wars The Last Jedi
on Dec 30, 2017 at 6:40:33 am

*spoilery*

She states her motivation: she's awakened to her Force powers, she feels out of control, she seeks help and guidance because she fears it will consume her. She doesn't start out with a noble goal, she just wants to survive. She's halfway down the Maslovian pyramid.

Wanna put money on it that Disney will wimp out and the next movie has yet AGAIN more "Alamo"
scenarios with plucky underdogs menaced by a gigantic superweapon? Wouldn't it be more fun if the REBELS got a superweapon of their own, and then had to decide if they would put it to use or not?

There's historic precedent. Some of the Manhattan Project scientists suggested to Truman not to drop the A- bomb on Japanese soil, but rather, to stage a harmless public demonstration in the desert for Japanese and other foreign diplomats, to show we had it, and that it worked. Trusting that that knowledge would be enough for sane men to capitulate. Truman of course subscribed to a different strategy, in the end, that demanded the weapon be actually fielded for full effect. Twice. And of course we have our own nuclear dilemmas today.

At some point the rebels have to actually win and start running the government themselves, and I wish that day would hurry up and arrive because it makes for more interesting stories than the lather, rinse, repeat of the last 7 movies.


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Chris Wright
Re: Star Wars The Last Jedi
on Dec 30, 2017 at 3:49:25 pm

in rogue one, they did a little guerrilla fighting, a little terroristic style if I remember correctly. I don't think rebels have any better morality than empire. If they had a deathstar, they would blow up a whole planet too. Remember, storm troopers are people too ☹ An interesting story might be freeing their minds from brainwashing camps because I bet some of those stormtroopers are blood related to rebels. hahah?

if corruscant blew up, why would any bankers trust the new order? Banker vs banker is the true enemy. In the mist of pain and suffering, the political landscape is controlled by bankers. Somehow snoke is connected to these bankers. How is it 'his' army' anyway? The bankers control him because any system of government still needs a world bank supporting the system. wouldn't they make more money not letting the rebels lose so badly if selling to both sides?

If the new order was actually a political machine or a type of facism then it makes more sense, but that only works if the military took control of food supplies and money. The problem with this is that the universe is vast and it would take billions of stormtroopers across the entire galaxy to enforce their will. Gran Moff Tarkin alluded to this in the original movie and said fear would keep the other systems in line. I don't think the new order has enough ships now. Are bankers protected on their gambling planet?


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Stephen Smith
Re: Star Wars The Last Jedi
on Jan 2, 2018 at 6:10:55 pm

I enjoyed the film but didn't like it enough to want to see it again. Also, I thought the salt flats scene with the red below the white salt was really cool to look at...but I give it minus 1 star for not filming at the Salt Flats in Utah ☺ I'm confused about the Han Solo movie. There was a poster in the theater saying it was coming out in May. I haven't seen a trailer or anything. Is it really coming out this year?

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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