Rarely has a major studio film been so decisive with fans as The Last Jedi has been. You have one side that hates the film because it’s not what they expected or wanted and there is the other camp who seems to have to prove how great it is to themselves.
I am the generation of the original trilogy and while they are wonderful and blew my mind as a kid, I later discovered that they were far from original. George Lucas borrowed very heavily from Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai along with other influences such as John Ford westerns and of course Buck Rogers serials. Lets be honest here Star Wars was just a big budget fancy Saturday afternoon kiddie matinée wrapped in a shiny package. So my point on this is that every film in the series are derivative of other influences so to say that The Last Jedi is original and bold and new is a misnomer. My point here is not to convince anyone that my opinions on the film are more valid than others. I have had people ask me my thoughts on the film and so here they are.
There are Major Spoilers below so if you haven’t seen the film yet then please wait to read this after you have seen it.
I went into the film with no pre-conceived ideas of what it should be. I thought that the Force Awakens was OK but just a greatest hits package of the original trilogy while hitting the giant red reset button. I did like the new characters and thought they were the most interesting things in the film. I really enjoyed Rogue One and felt that it tried and succeeded at trying not to be such a Star Wars film.
Now my personal take on The Last Jedi is that the film itself is too long and the editing is not very good. Many scenes are way too long and the overall pacing of it is not very good. Most of the humor felt forced and out-of-place such as the scene with Chewbacca and the Porg roast where the joke is dragged out for minutes and becomes not so funny. The entire casino scene virtually adds nothing to the story and seems to go on forever. It’s a side quest that is an extravagant mess and simply should have been cut out of the film.
The Poe Dameron came off as a real asshat during most of the film that just made him annoying after a while. He seemed to far off the mark from his character in the Force Awakens. While I loved Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Holdo there was simply not enough time (ironically) to set her up so when she sacrificed herself to save the others it offered little impact to the viewer. It should have been Leia that had been the one to save them and that would have made a much more emotional impact but with the passing of Carrie Fisher and that would affect merchandise sales that was never going to happen.
One of the most laughable scenes is Leia suddenly gets Kryptonian powers of being the sole survivor of a huge blast to the bridge that kills everyone else and then surviving in space for far to long and then floats back in and all hunky dory.
A lot of the dialog in the film is clunky and cliché and sadly Adam Driver suffered this fate the most. He ended up being very two-dimensional and flat and that’s a shame because he’s a good actor and was much better in the Force Awakens.
While the story arc of Luke was a good idea Johnson torpedoes a lot of that with him being old man Skywalker who ends up practically yelling for those damn kids to get off his lawn. I get he’s tired and tortured but his brooding just goes on for way too long here and again back to the editing issues. Also the throwing away of the lightsaber from Rey is practically out of a Loony Tunes cartoon and goes for the cheap laugh that again put an odd tone on the film with this and other jokes.
For people who keep saying that this film is so fresh and new makes it difficult for me to see that when the film is littered with clichés and homages abound. I have no problem with new and fresh ideas but the familiar tropes far outweigh the “fresh” ones here. Take the Captain Phasma that turns into Boba Fett all over again. She showed promise in The Force Awakens but here she does nothing and falls into the sarlaac pit, oh wait it’s just another type of pit that she falls into and never fully developed character falls to the wayside.
You also have the fact that Johnson can’t simply end the film but has multiple ending and not one of them are very satisfying and the last one with the kid looking into the sky was just an emotional heart pulling moment that was incredibly forced and unnecessary.
Look I’m not one that is stuck in the past and while the original trilogy are from my generations, I’m all for telling new stories. Heck people forget that there were new stories while the original films were being made with both novels and comics and there were some great stories that are not necessarily cannon. This is not my problem with the film it’s that fact that Johnson had the keys to the kingdom with an unlimited budget and simply delivered a mediocre film that is overstuffed, poorly constructed and boring and full of plot holes.
If you loved the film, great for you because not everyone is going to have the same opinion as you and that is perfectly fine. Healthy debate is a very good thing but this film is bringing out the ugly in people. A friend posted that if you didn’t like the film then you just didn’t understand it. I made the comment that I felt the movie was boring and edited poorly and he went on to delete my comment and chastised me for saying it. I disagree with a number of things with both friends and in life but guess what, I’m not always right and that’s perfectly OK. It’s called life folks and you don’t always get to win all the time.
Star Wars films are not sacred cows they are popcorn films and sure they have defined generations that doesn’t make them yours. While they can be great fun they do not have the deep roots of storytelling or are true works of art. They are certainly no Citizen Cane, Lawrence of Arabia or 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Justifying if you love or hate this film is simply ego stroking and trolling and ultimately serves no purpose in life. It’s like making your own birthday card and asking people to sign it for you. If you feel the need to pat yourself on the back to prove a point or feel the need to have everyone approve of your opinion then your really missing what a healthy conversation means.
Simply put it’s just a movie that is no more and no less. Films are art and the point of art is that there is both good and bad art. Art moves different people in different ways. There is no right or wrong here if you loved it then why would you need to keep justifying to everyone to just stroke your ego. If you hated the film then that’s fine too but at least try to articulate why you didn’t care for it and just not try to find reasons like “it’s too politically correct” or it didn’t do things that you thought or wanted it to do. An opinion is just that AN OPINION! It’s neither right nor wrong and your opinion carries no more weight than anyone else.
There are two good stories about this issue,
This first one is by far one of the best debates about the film over at the Hollywood Reporter with a very heathy debate that shows you can have different opinions and not be self-serving.
This one is Dashran “Dedpewl” Yohan who is trying to justify why he thinks that the film is the greatest thing since slice bread and goes back to the whole self-serving his ego. And don’t get me going on that his calls it a misunderstood masterpiece. The definition of masterpiece is; 1) A person’s greatest piece of work, as in art, 2) anything done with mastery skill, 3) a consummate example of skill or excellence of any kind. I challenge anyone to call The Last Jedi any of these definitions.