Sunday, 31 December 2017

Review: Star Wars - The Last Jedi (fifth-pass)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (fifth-pass / D-Box 3D / SPOILERS!)
Cert: 12A / 152 mins / Dir. Rian Johnson / Trailer

Previous reviews: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I heard you don't like The Last Jedi. Good.

The Jedi themselves said it from the start, 'don't get too attached to shit'. But did you listen? The lightsaber which Rey uses to help cut down the Praetorian Guards? That's the same one Anakin used to murder a room full of children. It's not good or evil, it's just an object, a tool to be used as the wielder sees fit. Obi-Wan stressed its importance to Anakin, and now Anakin's son throws it away like a fork arriving with the soup-course. He was mistaken in this action of course, and that's one of the things you didn't like; having to re-evaluate your heroes. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is about re-evaluation. And change. I heard you don't like change. Good.

Really though, you shouldn't get too attached to shit. The idea that the old-school, one-thousand-generation order are the arbiters of truth and static wisdom in a changing galaxy? Well, we know how that turned out around fifty years before the time of TLJ. The idea that you knew where a Star Wars movie was headed before seeing the BBFC/MPAA card? Well, like I said; I heard you don't like The Last Jedi. The past of the monastic order order may be a done-deal, but the future isn't. And although The Force Awakens took a safe path in bringing audiences back to the Galaxy Far, Far Away, TLJ takes the steps its forebear probably should have in not only shuffling the deck, but playing with new cards altogether. I get that you were always going to be upset by this.

And although I certainly don't want to pull rank on any section of fandom, good. While certain restrained words posted on social media hold fast and true in principal, at the same time… no. If you're going out of your way to incoherently badmouth the film on social media*1 and sign petulant petitions, you're not a fan of Star Wars. You may well be a fan of Some Of The Star Wars Films, but you're not a fan of Star Wars. The day I walk out of a cinema and 'hate' the Star Wars movie I've just watched is the day I hang up the lightsaber*2. I still won't be signing a petition.

The Last Jedi is a film about change. About passing on the baton. Kenny Baker is no longer with us as Artoo, Chewbacca is played entirely by Joonas Suotamo this time round, and Anthony Daniels' Threepio has a distinctly supporting role*3. Two of our main, central heroes have bought the farm in-universe, and the third won't be around to film the next episode. This is a story about letting go of all you've been taught, and yet trusting The Force all the same. The path is uncertain, our heroes are fallible (more on that next time). We can trust that good will prevail, but it's going to have to really try this time round...

If The Last Jedi isn't what you expected, that's fine. It's an amazing film, deep into its own entrenched franchise, which makes the audience re-evaluate why they're sitting there. Yet at the same time, this is quintessentially The Hero's Journey. It's just not the hero's journey some were expecting. Or wanting. But if you don't get goosebumps watching a kid grasping a broom-handle and gazing into a night sky full of possibility, like millions of us did when we were eight years old, then you've missed the point of Star Wars and I can't change your mind.

I heard you don't like The Last Jedi. Good.

That means I'll have less trouble booking my seat for the Solo movie in May…

+ + + + +

Oh, and the D-Box was great as always, but I was a little surprised the film was playing to fewer than 20 people. Even on the last shopping-Saturday before Christmas, in a location which isn't exactly a 'pass-through' (the O2 arena), and in the earliest screening of the day. Still, no matter.

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
The Star Wars.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
It's strong.
It's very strong

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
That all depends on how wrong you are.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There is.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 0: It is Star Wars.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Start a blog, write a review. Write several reviews. Of the same film if needs be, or of different films. Share your reviews on social media, by all means. You want to hate what you've watched? Fantastic, just think about exactly why you hated it. That makes you examine your opinions on movies a lot more closely, trust me. No matter how concentrated your rage, I assure you that 140 characters isn't enough to adequately express it, and a signature on a petition (for which you will be widely and justifiably mocked) certainly isn't. [ BACK ]

*2 I seem to come out of every first-pass of a Star Wars film unsure, whether I've indulged in spoilers or not. That's not that I don't love what I've just witnessed, just that I can't process everything in one sitting. It's only my ridiculous, self imposed blog-rules that dictate I type up a review for every separate showing I see. [ BACK ]

*3 And start bracing yourselves now because there's a distinct probability that next May's Solo movie may well be the first branded*4 Star Wars movie without an appearance by R2-D2 and C-3PO. I mean, Rogue One was pushing it, frankly. How small do they want us to think the galaxy is..? [ BACK ]

*4 The two Ewoks movies are a curiosity of course, as they were Lucasfilm-made (and clearly set on the same Endor as Return of the Jedi) but didn't feature the actual Star Wars branding until the 2005 DVD release, despite characters appearing in official encyclopaedia-type references until the 2012 'Legends' reboot. [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

No comments:

Post a Comment