movies: star wars: the last jedi

star wars: the last jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi... Episode 8...

The short version of the review... Did I enjoy it? Hell yes. There is also a 'but' in there.

The longer version is going to involve spoilers... because there's absolutely no way I can talk about the points that I thought were important without them. I know I usually try and avoid them as much as possible, and I may try and do what I can, but you have been warned.

Let's start with the less spoilery things first up... the movie, for the most part, looks beautiful. Once again I have to compliment the art direction and wardrobe departments, as well as all the CG that did look good. But special note goes to the design of Snoke's "throne room", which absolutely put me in mind of a 1950's musical (American in Paris is the one that sprung to mind), with the blood red backdrop.

However there were some inexcusable instances of incredibly shitty CGI that bugged the hell out of me. I think most of them take place on the island with Luke and Rey, around the mountain peak... not sure what was going on there. And yes, I could have done without some of the CG inhabitants of the island.

Also, for the record, I have no opinions about Porgs. I don't know what I was expecting, but they were just... there. They do look delicious though.

The story felt... less derivative this time. Not to say that it didn't steal massive story moments from the original trilogy (the escape from a base at the start, the look of the base at the end, going to a remote location to train with a Jedi Master, the "Dark Side" cave), there is also direct lifts of dialogue on a least a couple of occasions, but my opinion here is much the same as my opinion of The Force Awakens... they remixed and rearranged things enough that although there were "copy/paste" sections of Empire and Jedi in this movie, that doesn't bug me.

What does bug me is that Po Dameron is an asshole and Finn is a moron.

Yes, I know, I can hear the nerd brigade warming up their laser pitchforks as I say that. But Po (and Finn (accomplish nothing in this movie other than getting people killed. What the hell else of worth do they actually do? I'll even give you the opening battle sequence, which is amazing and kick-ass, but Po's arrogance that if he's not in on the plan then there is no plan... or that he knows better than the people in charge and Finn's stupidity in not going and finding the person they were supposed to find and instead picking up the first random guy they run into do nothing productive in this movie. Their entire storyline is pointless, they contribute nothing to the overall story or final battle other than getting good people killed.

I never understood why people got their panties in a bunch over Dameron/Isaacs in the first movie anyway, but by the end of this one he needs to be court-marshalled and stripped of his rank. Likewise, Finn needs a slap.

Take them and newcomer  as Rose Tico out and then tell me how the end of the movie is any different. No, more specifically, tell me that the story doesn't end in a better place without the three of them and their collection of fuck-ups.

Do you want to know who are total and complete bosses in this movie?  and .

I did wonder if they beefed up Dern's role to take over some of the scenes that Carrie should have been in but couldn't be because of her death (obviously). But I hope not and that she was written exactly as she ended up, because her character, Vice Admiral Holdo is amazing. From the wardrobe to the purple hair to everything that Dern does in that role... she's amazing. It's not a massive role, but Dern really puts some gravity behind it.

I was also incredibly surprised that they didn't kill Princess/General Leia Organa on screen. In fact, they managed to have their cake and eat it too... and the scene where you assume she's dead and how she comes back is without a doubt a fistpump moment. But now they need to find a way to either kill her off offscreen, or mostly leave her off-screen for the final movie. I think I heard something where they said they were going to use unused footage from this movie, but that feels kind of like cheating. Yes, you would have lost a great moment at the end of the movie, but somehow it didn't feel right that that door is still open.

We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

As with the first movie (and by which I mean VII), this one comes down to Daisy Ridley as Rey and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren... and to a lesser degree to  as Luke.

Once again Ridley and Driver were the whole movie for me. And the fact that the characters are both equal parts of the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force is a brilliant choice. Not to mention the connection they share and the way it's used in the movie... fantastic.

The pair of them also act the living crap out of their scenes together. Ridley remains tough and confused, Driver is volatile but still provokes empathy. And not just because I think Driver is a beautiful man (and that was even before they had him take his shirt off for seemingly no real reason).

I also love that they responded to the last two years worth of "who are Rey's parents?" with the only logical and sensible answer... of course she's not a Solo, of course she's not a Skywalker, of course she's not a Kenobi.

Ridley is also amazing in her scenes with Hamill. The scenes themselves are an odd mix... definitely a call-back to Luke on Dagobah with Yoda, but they're enough of their own thing as well (to be honest Rey's whole arc in this movie is a combination of Luke's arcs from Empire and Return of the Jedi). 

I also really loved that Hamill was none of the things we expected him to be after the end of the last movie... he's crotchety and sullen and unhelpful, but it all makes sense for the character, and he managed to pull it off incredibly well.

Even with all that nitpicking, I did thoroughly enjoy the movie though. And I'd even go so far as to say that it was better than the last one.

yani's rating: 4 broken lightsabres out of 5

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