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Star Wars: The Last Jedi film review: originality strictly forbidden in directed-by-committee blockbuster

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi – technically written and directed by Rian Johnson, but really, micromanaged every step of the way by committee at Disney – pretends to contemplate the end of an empire. That much is evident in the title, as in scenes where a grizzled and hermetic Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is so bothered by the arrival of potential protégé Rey (Daisy Ridley) to his tiny island home that he considers throwing in the towel on this whole Force thing.

That isn’t the whole story, of course, and nor is it even necessarily accurate. I’m being deliberately coy with details, such are these hysterical spoiler-paranoid times. The great irony, when it comes to spoiler paranoia and The Last Jedi, is that (like The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) the film doesn’t have an original bone in its body. If you’ve seen any previous Star Wars movies, most of the (recycled) story details have already been ruined.

There was great opportunity to explore in The Last Jedi – a bombastic blockbuster best appreciated as a coat hanger for impressive space duels and special effects – interesting questions about the potential end of religion. But The Big Mouse, which owns Lucasfilm, would never allow it. The studio has made it abundantly clear that, when it comes to new iterations of the universe first filled out by George Lucas in the ‘70s, bold ideas are forbidden – enforced by a strict ‘dance the way we tell you to or don’t dance at all’ policy.

The impersonal nature of the new Star Wars movies is starting to give me the creeps.

If this wasn’t clear by the risk averse nature with which the current crop of Star Wars films have obviously been constructed, Lucasfilm has so far fired four directors from three separate galaxy-far-far-way projects, in addition to ordering reshoots and a new edit of Rogue One. Johnson never had a chance of putting his directorial stamp on the material. The price you pay for the cheque from Disney, and an audience this size, is relinquishing even the slimmest notions of auteurism.

I read, with my mouth agape, reviews of the recent – and enjoyable – Thor: Ragnarok, which informed me that the New Zealand director Taika Waititi had ‘overhauled’ the franchise, moulding it in his image (or worse: that he ‘rejuvenated the franchise’ – an accolade more befitting of a CEO than an artist). What nonsense.

Waititi helmed a more party-like movie than Ragnarok’s predecessors, certainly, and made peripheral changes including inserting himself as the voice of a comedic supporting character. But to say he fundamentally changed Thor, or came remotely close to doing so, is flat-out fallacy. The same can be said of Johnson, whose authorship of The Last Jedi is even less tangible. The impersonal nature of the new Star Wars movies is starting to give me the creeps.

Just as the characters tend to be really good or really bad, the Star Wars films are either really stupid (prequels) or so safe and sensible they feel directed by computer (current crop).

At no point is the shareholder-approved, asset-managed nature of this new instalment more apparent than during the introduction of tiny, adorably cute creatures called porgs. These are chubby, big-eyed, sea bird-like things who pop up in a few scenes and have absolutely nothing to do with anything. You can practically see the head of Big Mouse merch in the background, Kodak grin on their face, thumb in the air. Ewoks were Happy Meal critters too, of course – though they at least played a part in Return of the Jedi’s storyline.

Despite being overlong and drenched in déjà vu (replete with conversations about one’s parents, whether or not one will ‘turn’, whether one is the last hope or the new hope, etcetera etcetera) I appreciated a lot of The Last Jedi, in the same way I appreciate re-reading a decent book – respecting the structure and craft of it, and feeling no sense of surprise. Dramatic story moments either involve the alignment of a cosmic equilibrium (i.e. a strange event justified by the hokum-pokum of the Star Wars religion) or interpersonal soap opera dynamics.

This is the genre to which Star Wars ultimately belongs, though I cannot recall any other soap opera this addicted to cloning characters – and believing that audiences won’t notice their favourite personalities have been photocopied. Rey is the new Luke; Luke is the new Yoda (or Obi-Wan Kenobi); Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is the new Han Solo; Kylo (Adam Driver) is the new Anakin; BB-8 is the new R2-D2; and on we go. The first of the current series, The Force Awakens, got away with a lot because it so cleverly manipulated our sense of nostalgia. The more the series continues, the more the writing feels self-plagiarised.

That terrible, wretched, galling Jar Jar Binks character created by Lucas for his prequels may have deserved to die a thousand tortuous deaths, though nobody can say he/she/it was an obvious rehash of a pre-existing character: for better or worse, a bold creation. So too were the poorly received prequels themselves, which have never looked more courageous than now.

Turn of the century Star Wars is nothing if not a story of extremes. Just as the characters tend to be really good or really bad, the films are either really stupid (prequels) or so safe and sensible they feel directed by computer (current crop). Because the franchise has been around for so long, it’s easy to forget the original movie was a terrifically bold, innovative, industry-realigning blockbuster. Lucas dreamed big and took massive risks. In that sense, The Last Jedi could not be more different to the Star Wars created four decades ago.

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43 responses to “Star Wars: The Last Jedi film review: originality strictly forbidden in directed-by-committee blockbuster

  1. I have spent my morning reading puff piece after puff piece, finally I have found a review that is a true representation of the disaster this movie is.
    Luke has hit the nail on the head in a lot of ways. Disney has missed the mark by so far its hard to fathom. The script is weak and takes the viewer on a very bumpy and uncomfortable ride throughout the vastness of this universe we once called home.

    Whether or not Rian Johnson or Disney are the ones to blame for the poor script writing, the intolerable slap stick comedy and the in your face marketing and merch campaigns some one needs to be held accountable and the voices of Star Wars fans need to be heard and acknowledged.

  2. This is an accurate and polite review of The Last Jedi. As a life long Star Wars fanatic I am extremely disappointed with virtually everything about it except the parts with the Millennium Falcon and lovely effects. The characters are just plain awful and I found myself hoping for their deaths throughout the movie.
    There are far superior fan theories on YouTube opposed to the sickening SJW, corporate crap I just watched. I really wanted to like The Last Jedi and it brought a tear to my eye but not in a good way.
    I am unlikely to bother going to a theater for any more Star Wars films; The Last Jedi has killed the franchise for me.
    Thanks Mickey!

  3. Could not agree more. As much as I enjoyed Last Jedi I felt a great sadness at how much it lacked bravery. Every point where they had the opportunity to explore a risky turn, the film quickly reverts to safe, crowd-pleasing territory. It’s incredibly populist.

    This couldn’t be further from what we got from Empire Strikes Back where SW challenged audiences with a shocking plot twist and the seeming loss of one of the main characters. ESB was like an episode of GoT – it made it so audiences had no idea where the series was going.

    By contrast this new series reverts to simple linear story-telling with no shocks or surprises to challenge audiences. Even worse, they tease shocks and surprises before cowardly retreats to safe ground.

  4. I really enjoyed this film, unlike The Force Awakens. I am a sci-fi fan and have always been down on Star Wars for its nonsensical elements but I think this film finally did away with the half-in/half-out nature of it and fully committed to fantasy. It was not science fiction and it is not an allegory for Earth politics. And it was all the better for it. I was pleasantly surprised.

  5. I saw it yesterday, and I was in two minds about it. I thought it was better than the last two efforts (I was cheering for the Empire in ‘Rogue One’ thinking that it would the film earlier). And I dlisliked it mildly.

    I thought it was a little too original, not not original enough. I was irritated that a continuation of a franchise introduces elements not seen and inconsistent with earlier films as in the Star Trek’ franchise which introduced a version of the transporter which allowed transport between star systems. For plot purposes.

    In this one, the Force allowed characters to appear, and interact with other characters, in completely different star systems, somehow.

    1. “In this one, the Force allowed characters to appear, and interact with other characters, in completely different star systems, somehow.”

      Yeah, that would be as crazy as Leia knowing where Luke was in Cloud City despite being in a ship probably miles away. Or for Obi-Wan Kenobi to sense the destruction of a planet from a completely different part of the galaxy. Or for dead people to come back as ghosts. Or for a woman to become pregnant without a father. In order for those kinds of thing to be possible, the Force would have to be some kind of… I don’t know, energy field that connects everything together. 😛

      The stuff Luke pulled at the end was certainly unprecedented, I’ll give you that, but it clearly took a lot out of him, since it, you know, killed him. Even so, it wasn’t THAT much of a stretch given some of the other crazy things the Force is capable of.

  6. Yeah.. why would they choose to do something crowd-pleasing? LOL. They should have definitely tailored to the people who wanted what Lucas wanted, which was a soap opera type structure. I mean he did such a good job on the prequels, you know because the fans loved it so much. Sorry but I can’t agree with you, especially since you gave a better rating to Geostorm. And as for Disney, maybe it is just me but you should probably listen to the company that made the highest grossing franchise of all time as well as two other Star Wars movies that gross the most out of all of them so far.

  7. I swear to God, I just came out of a showing of the Last Jedi, and I agree with absolutely every single point you stated. I am beginning to appreciate Lucas’s prequel trilogy a lot more – at least its merchandise tie-ins weren’t lazy retreads and its plot/dialogue formed entirely out of repurposed Star Wars quotes, mantras, and archetypes. Couldn’t be more disappointed with Rian Johnson as a filmmaker, Star Wars as a franchise, and the general moviegoing audience (critics included) who are acclaiming this piece of shit. This might as well be Transformers in Space.

  8. The Last Jedi basically ended my decade of obseesion with Star Wars. I enjoyed Rogue One more than TFA and The Last Jedi. I cringed when Leia turned ” Superman”, how in the world could anyone come up with that crap. The movie is busy, exhausting, unlike ESB where the story segment has focus. The “Running out of fuel” concept was so exhausting, at 1 point i was rooting for The First Order to just blast all the characters to death. Adam Driver is the worst cast ever for a Villian, the less said about General Hux the better. At least the prequel had a structure and a story that needs to be told. The new saga had every opportunity to create a new Story line but its basically a re-hash with different characters and settings. Bye bye Star Wars

  9. Have to agree with the review. There is much to appreciate in the crafting of the movie, little to enjoy about the story. I’m reminded of Steven Spielberg’s “AI” where there was fertile ground everywhere, and yet it took us nowhere, really. The same is true of this film. The only character progression is with Kylo Ren, well acted, I should add, by Adam Driver. Laura Dern’s character is barely more than a stand in and only more because of a single line uttered by Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron. I’m still not sure why to like the Rose character other than she suffers loss. Sympathy is not a substitute for a well-written supporting role, and loss is hardly unique in a fictional universe defined, at least by the canonical material, by military conflict.
    The original trilogy created a new mythology (and that is a tough thing to be compared to); the prequels, however flawed, fleshed it out. The new Episode movies add nothing so far. It’s a shame, particularly when there was already significant and intriguing content in the books now referred to as “Legends.” This was a set of action sequences occasionally interrupted by much shouting and little substance.

  10. Hardly ever comment on critics who do reviews for a living but I must say I was looking for that thing that I was feeling when I left the theater after watching this movie and I must say your review was spot on. For any to say this movie or the Force Awakens was Star Wars at it’s best is being delusional. There was no heart in this movie what so ever. I felt nothing for any of the bland relationships between any of the characters. The story was everything we’ve already seen in every Star Wars movie before only with different faces and more fancy effects. Luke’s role made him seem more of a A-hole and less the legend he should have been. It’s hard to follow any of the new characters as they have so much harmony on screen that feels forced or awkward to the audience. Finn and Rey’s relationship is the worst as he seems more creepy in his infections towards her than endearing. The pilot is over skilled like taking on an army with an hand gun. The empires massive war ships can’t destroy or keep up with a few struggling transporters. And in the end the rebels were left with less then 10 people and a few Aliens as the rest were annihilated and they all just happen to be all the main character’s. Leia’s last comment to Rey was we this is all we need….meaning for another movie. And the cute birds sucked too!

    1. “The empires massive war ships can’t destroy or keep up with a few struggling transporters”

      That point is literally brought up in the dialogue. One of the First Order (not the “empire” as you say, good job paying attention) officers literally expresses frustration that their massive war ships can’t catch up or destroy the rebel ships, and one of the other officer tells him why. And it makes logical sense, too. Larger ships would require more power to move faster because laws of physics, plus transport ships are designed to move fast. That’s why they’re TRANSPORT ships. Just because a ship is big, expensive, and deadly doesn’t mean it’s also fast. If anything, having to propel that much more matter means that speed is the one big thing you’d have to sacrifice to make a massive destroyer ship. If the First Order’s fleet still had their dreadnought (the ship they used to attack the base at the beginning), they probably could have made mincemeat out of the Rebel Fleet, even with the considerable distance between them and the rebels, but Poe and Rose’s sister blew the dreadnought up at the beginning of the movie, so the First Order lacked the epic firepower they needed to win the battle quickly. When Poe disobeyed orders so he could destroy it, he even posed the argument that the dreadnought needed to be taken out because it was, and I believe I’m quoting here, a “fleet-killer”. The First Order no longer had their “fleet-killer” and the transport ships, even damaged, were able to nearly match the non-hyperspeed speeds of the First Order’s big, lumbering death-machines, and the distance meant they could only use long-range weapons, none of which packed enough punch to penetrate their shields, meaning that the only option the First Order had was to wait until they caught up or hope the rebels would waste their gas on another hyperspeed jump (which Leia was wise enough not to do).

      And before you say I’m just making up excuses for a plot hole, literally everything I mentioned was either brought up directly by characters in the movie, or just plain common-sense. Sure, you could have just ignored all of that and just shut off your brain (like you apparently did), but in that case, you should probably not try to criticize the movie for plot holes that you only think exist because you weren’t paying attention.

      Sorry you didn’t like the movie.

      1. Yes Patrick I would agree you are filling in plot holes for things that were vaguely explained to forward a weak and recycled story line. The Empire or New Order (same folks on same agenda) take their massive “fleet killer” war ship to battle rebels accompanied by not one but several star destroyers that all stood by and offered zero support not even speed. These New Order massive warships has no shields but are all capable of light speed. I’m thinking (when my brain was turned on) a shield would have prevented the bombing run in the beginning, ended the the Laura Dern “Kamikaze” attack at the final space battle, and possibly prevent a rock from crashing through their wind shield while traveling at light speed. And that is just a small thing with this movie I had issues with but I’m not in the mood of writing a novel. However, I really did want this to be epic and when I saw the rating well over 90% I went out night one popcorn in hand and saw a by the numbers money grab whose agenda is to give the fans their thrills…watchable yes…memorable not at all.

      2. I don’t think it’s common sense to think mass matters for speed of a ship in the weightlessness of space. Common sense says that mass doesn’t matter at that point. A bigger ship should have room for a larger engine and be able to fly faster in deep space than a smaller ship with a smaller engine. Look at Episode IV as an example. The Star Destroyer Conquest is actually catching up to the Millennium Falcon before the Falcon jumps to hyperspeed.

        How can anyone defend this movie? The Battlestar Galactica style space-fuel plot that acted as our underlying narrative and timing mechanic for the entire film. The stupid casino tangent. The forced moments in the action scenes at an attempt to build suspense (I mean, that last bomber over the dreadnaught was just brutal storytelling). The forced comedic efforts. The waste of all the characters. Not only was it an unoriginal Star Wars film that did nothing to improve upon the franchise, it was a bad movie, devoid of proper character development, suspense, story-line and pacing.

  11. I am a huge fan of Star Wars and in fact I run a Star Wars event in Australia each year. What was served up was pleasing in some aspects but terrible in others. As others have commented the Leia flying through space thing was ridiculous. For mine it would have been much better to reshoot her later scenes and end her amazing story in space. It would have been a fitting tribute.
    After reading Phasma I find her to be a very interesting character. For little to no screen time again along with Chewbacca, R2, 3PO, Finn etc having nothing to Do annoyed me.
    Plus it would have been fitting for Akbar to fly the ship as we also lost Erik Baursfeld this year. R2 at his side in memory of Kenny baker. Fitting tributes to 3 actors we Lost in the universe.
    That said the Porgs were a nice addition I liked Rey And Kylo Ren, Hux was Great so was Kelly Maree Tran, visually great, space battles good and Oscar ISaac great. Mark Hamill exceptional. Still trying to figure out where I have a bad feeling about this is said

  12. Finally, a decent review. Star wars TLJ is a crap movie like The Avengers, Thor:ragnarok, and the rst of Disney’s impotent vanilla based movies loaded with tons of clorfil CGI. How do american audiences enjoy crap like that? Disney caters to the video game/porn generation, that is why.

  13. SPOILERS!

    Wow, I wasn’t expecting to disagree so much with this review.

    “The great irony, when it comes to spoiler paranoia and The Last Jedi, is that (like The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) the film doesn’t have an original bone in its body.”

    I don’t recall a whole subplot in any prior film that leads the characters to a place where we see the people who profit from the war. That’s just one example of one piece of originality in this film. We even get new stuff done with the force. And even stuff done that’s similar usually have a twist to it (i.e. the villain turns on his master but doesn’t go good afterwards).

    “Rey is the new Luke.” Yeah, because Rey was in denial about her situation in life and believed her family was coming back for her just like Luke….wait. Or how about how Rey first rejected the idea of being the hero of the story and ran away just like Luke…..wait. Or how about how Luke was often told that he was reckless and impatient just like Rey…..who was fine staying and waiting on Jakku patiently. Oh.

    “Luke is the new Yoda (or Obi-Wan Kenobi).” Yeah because Luke had gone away to die just like Yoda or Ben…..wait. Or how about how Luke literally closed himself off from the force just like Ben and Yoda…..except they didn’t do that. Or how about how Luke wanted nothing to do with the war and lost all hope just…..not like Ben or Yoda. Oh.

    “Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is the new Han Solo.” Yeah because Poe’s a real…..scoundrel? Han is a thief with a heart of gold. Poe is a a Resistance pilot devoted to stopping The First Order. Han was really only into money. And he was not such a clear-cut good guy either. Poe is a bit reckless but he’s more of a soldier than he is a smuggler/scoundrel like Han. How are they the same character?

    “Kylo (Adam Driver) is the new Anakin.” Ren is literally insecure and feels he can’t live up to Darth Vader. When was Anakin ever like that? Ren wears a mask because he feels like he needs it to hide the fact that he’s just a kid. When was Anakin ever like that? Ren rejects his Jedi Master and Sith Master but remains evil? When was Anakin ever like that? Ren feels the pull of the light but does everything in his power to stop that i.e. killing Han. When was Anakin ever like that?

    “BB-8 is the new R2-D2.” I’ll give you that one but otherwise it feels like you’re talking in very broad-stereotypes. You could do this with the prequels as well. Anakin is the new Luke; Padme is the new Leia; Qui-Gon is the new Obi-Wan, Jango Fett is the new Boba Fett; Jar Jar is the new Chewbacca (or he was meant to be until no one liked him) etc.

    Some of the stuff you say I agree with but other stuff……..I have completely different views on. Still an interesting review though.

  14. Thanks for your review. I had a feeling the early reviews couldn’t be trusted as they needed to be invited by Disney and became a biased source. I don’t like Disney’s deceptive courting of the previously trustworthy redlettermedia and screenjunkies who are now sellouts and I can no longer trust their opinions. It’s sad that to understand truth, motives need to be understood. Unlike the prequels I at least cared about the characters in TFA a little since they were more human, but I didn’t necessarily like them as they weren’t relatable. This movie sounds like it’s even worse than TFA and ruins the meaning behind the OT, so I’ll be skipping until I can watch it for free.

  15. How could someone genuinely say that this is a good film -let alone a great film. This is cringe city. There is nothing bold or risky about this film so how do you really care? Okay, I get it, this is for the new generation and for kids. But the first 3, maybe even the first 6 episodes, were not told or displayed as this piece of crap was. The easily forgotten characters and poor attempt to making any interesting story shown on full display for 2 hours (which felt like 3). The first 2 acts were horrible – as if it were written in a week and then put to image. I honestly wonder if a computer writes these scripts and comes up with a plot. I keep coming back to these characters – who really cares about them. Fin? Who gives a shit. Okay he is the Han Solo of this era but it’s not even close. Is Ren considered a bad-ass villain? Snoke – Where did he come from? Who the hell is he? Thanks for just trowing him in and not explaining anything. I’ve asked my Star Wars nerdy friends about him and they all have a different answer – Maybe that’s the point. And now that Leia and Luke are gone, do I really even care anymore? Who do I really care about now?

    There is nothing worse than a movie that is strictly there as a business. Which we obviously see a lot these days. This has no artistic flair or creativity – everything has been done before and over and over again. Just like me saying this. I wonder if Lucas even watches these films anymore -could be like the ex lover that you check in with but I’m sure this is an ex lover that he never wants to see again.

    The only thing that made sense when I left the theater was the question: when is enough?

  16. I agree completely. I am almost 50. I’ve followed everything that is Star Wars. I have never been more disappointed in my life.

    1. I agree completely Oliver.

      Not only was it disappointing on nearly every level, but it put me in this weird place of being embarrassed by the idea of telling the friends and family I watched it with that I was so let-down by it. I didn’t want to dampen the heightened mood that always comes with a new Star Wars release, so I tried to be as democratic as possible in how I talked about it. But deep down inside, this was the end of the hope I’ve had for so many years that a new Star Wars movie could recapture the magic of the original trilogy. I now know that’s an impossibility.

      In fact – all things considered with the legacy of Star Wars and how much hype and anticipation went into this new release – I think it was one of the very worst movies ever made. .. of any genre.

      Now I got to go watch the prequels to make myself feel better 😉

      1. Loved your review, Patrick!

        I also felt a little strange about saying that I thought it was utter dross. But that’s the truth.

        The one positive thing that I can say about this movie is that it cured me of being a fan.

        Of course, I will always have my Despecialized Blu-Rays, because that’s all that is worth re-visiting.

        Star Wars is dead. Long live Star Wars.

  17. I loved reading all the Disney puff pieces all year about Rian Johnson being such a risky filmmaker. So risky that Disney gives him a trilogy before this is released! Oh so risky.

    Overrated hack. This was bilge, the writing was putrid — anything that has you thinking fondly of the prequels has to be screwy.

  18. I have loved Star Wars since I saw that first Star Destroyer zoom over my head in 1977. I don’t often agree with this reviewer, but this time I am forced to (I haven’t the energy to deny the pun).

    I went to a 12.01am showing of the movie, munched into my choc bomb, and sat back to enjoy the movie. It was utter rubbish. Sorry, Patrick, but it was so bad, on so many different levels. I would go into detail, but it is truly unworthy of the effort.

    I have a strong stomach. The number of movies I have walked out on would be less than a small handful. I have never even considered walking out on a Star Wars movie. Even the dodgy ones have been worthy. I very nearly walked out on this one. I saw “A New Hope” more than 100 times at the cinema. I have watched the other movies less times than that at the cinema, but many, many times in my home theatre. This one is a once only deal. The only way I will own a copy of this is if someone gives me a BlyRay of it, I will take it just for the sake of completion.

  19. While I actually enjoyed close to 90 percent of this film and thought this critique went too far to the negative, I will concede there are some points made here that are indisputable.

    By the accident of Disney attempting to clean up the holes Abrams left behind with The Force Awakens (Snoke or Captain Phasma, who needs him or her? /sarcasm), The Last Jedi will be probably be the best Star Wars film under Disney’s corporate umbrella, or at least as under the current powers that be at Disney are in charge (allegedly Iger has re-upped through 2021, no idea on the status of Kennedy’s position at Lucasfilm, Ltd.). Kennedy admitted back during the release of The Force Awakens that they really had no Kevin Feige-style master plan of the Star Wars franchise / universe. Josh Trank’s Boba Fett standalone getting deep-sixed, the thoroughly awkward Rogue One in its final form, and the apparent train wreck of the solo Solo film has proven that. It’s like karma is slowly stinging Disney with their Marvel golden goose yang vs. Warner’s DC but now getting some yin with Star Wars.

  20. This movie is not only a virtue-signaling piece of garbage, but also a horribly written, boring, clunky mess. The dialogue is laugh-out-loud bad. Carrie Fisher is, to put it mildly, rusty; to put it less mildly, she comes off as slightly retarded (my friend leaned over at one point and asked, “Did she have a stroke?”). John Boyega is bland and completely unnecessary, as is Kelly Marie Tran. Their failed mission amounts to an hour-long set up for an awkward kiss between a black guy and an Asian chick.

    WE GET IT, DISNEY. YOU’RE NOT RACIST.

    Every scene is a ham-fisted, self-conscious product placement for leftist virtue and inclusiveness, to the point where it’s preachy and distracting. In addition to every race imaginable, there are ugly people, old people, and even some gingers. The only thing missing (to paraphrase a Janeane Garofalo bit) is a fur-covered Eskimo and a shady gangster type, nervously fingering a violin case. Of course, the leads are still young and beautiful; Disney isn’t THAT progressive.

    Some other observations: We’re told a few times that it’s impossible to track a ship when it jumps to light speed. Then we’re told, with little explanation, that one of the Star Destroyers has a tracking device which makes it very possible to track a ship when it jumps to light speed.

    Although Daisy Ridley is a charisma vortex, we’re bludgeoned by the theme that GIRLS RULE AND CAN DO ANYTHING MEN CAN DO. That being the film’s key message, Disney should have picked a lead who isn’t instantly forgettable. I still don’t understand why she’s so good with a light saber. In addition to being a plump-faced little killing machine, she lifts thousands of pounds of boulders by using the Force, which calls into question whether Jedi training is even necessary.

    Why does General (formerly Princess) Leia wear so much make-up? Does she apply it prior to battle in a sort of war-paint ritual, or is she trying to outshine Laura Dern and her attention-whoring purple hair?

    Kelly Marie Tran has a (very earthly) pendant that’s shaped like half of a yin-yang symbol; her sister wears the other half. The yin-yang symbol is Chinese and the actress is Vietnamese, but that’s close enough for the stupid, race-obsessed producers at Disney. This is reminiscent of the “Karate Kid” remake starring Jackie Chan, set in China, with Kung Fu. Close enough. Asian is Asian, am I right?

  21. A confusing storyline and a waste of good actors. The new franchise’s obession with Kylo Ren confounds me. Laura Dern was wasted and the Casino Town subplot added lots of confusion to the mix. Porgs were cute but useless. Agree with the reviewer. Even the reviled Ewoks had some agency. Most critics reviews have been glowing. Can only assume they drank Disney brand Kool Aid beforehand.

  22. I appreciated this thoughtful review. The Last Jedi wasn’t “awful,” by any stretch; it was unique, sometimes to its own detriment at best, bland at worst.

    The 90+ on Rotten Tomatoes comes from franchise-weary critics who were delighted to see something “new, bold, inventive.” I agree with Buckmaster in that it barely possessed any of those attributes.

    One phrase often repeated in reviews is that the movie is self aware, and they’re applauding that as though it is a new benchmark in intelligent filmmaking. For me, this isn’t the venue for that. Use the other Star Wars Story films for that. Make a Spaceballs and Galaxy Quest for that. The constant winking to the audience is not boldness but a lack of confidence in the material. It was hyper colloquial, trying to be hip.

    I keep thinking about The Empire Strikes Back. That film was not self aware. It was voyeuristic. It was a camera in a galaxy far, far away that we were privileged to peer through. It did not wait for us to catch up. It dared us to look. It neither took itself too seriously nor checked out with marketability. It simply… WAS.

    All that said, The Last Jedi contained beautiful, jaw-dropping moments. Kylo Ren became the most interesting character in the story, which was a great surprise. I loved the locations, photography, and visual innovations. Overall it was fun! I just wish it had a more reverence. You can be real without being solemn.

    I’d give it a B. Probably my #5 of the 8.

  23. First Comment my friend made after the movie was about the “SJW” ruining the movie….. if Disney’s intent was to push a Narrative of diversity, then this movie was an example of complete incompetence. After all, of the 4 leaders of the Rebellion 3 are white females, and one was a rash mutinous white male who was kept around to send on near suicide missions despite the fact that he didn’t know how to step back and let the women make all decisions and simply follow them blindly, and whose sole skill rested in blowing things up.

    We re left other than that with the Token Black Guy who throughout the movie manages to accomplish absolutely nothing, only managing to introduce the slicer to the imperials and thus is along with Poe almost directly responsible for the massacre of the fleeing resistance transports. just when he might accomplish the saving of the day or at least the buying of Time his trusty Asian side kick manages to ruin it.

    Almost seems that if TLJ is pushing an agenda it is that We should all shut up and do what the rich white women who know best tell us to do without question.

    Honestly though I can’t say the movie is pushing an agenda, rather it’s just really poorly written, and really poorly executed.

  24. I really enjoyed this movie and in fact was a little bit emotional watching what feels like the first gender balanced film I’ve ever seen. It felt like a whole lot of roles were written and distributed across men and women pretty randomly. I’m so happy my daughter is growing up in this environment. Instead of being told “Girls can do anything” like we were in the 80s, with very few examples, she is seeing it in the most exciting and natural way possible.

    In terms of the Star Wars universe, I thought it was a lot less corny that The Force Awakens (which I enjoyed as a nostalgia trip but it really did just revisit every Star Wars concept). The space battles were thrilling and I enjoyed the humour in the dialogue. Nice not to be so po-faced (I really didn’t like that about the prequels) while still holding on to the grandeur.

    I thought they did really well – 3.5 stars for the movie plus a bonus star for the gender balance.

    1. Dear Penny,

      You said, “I’m so happy my daughter is growing up in this environment. Instead of being told “Girls can do anything” like we were in the 80s, with very few examples, she is seeing it in the most exciting and natural way possible.” Really??? Explain to me how it benefits your daughter to be fed a message that she can achieve anything with absolutely no training and no guidance???? How is Rey, who is portrayed in theses movies as a nobody who is able to use the Force like a seasoned Jedi Master with no training and able to fly spaceships with no explanation, sending a positive message to young girls?? Life is a journey and on this journey you are going to face trials and obstacles that you are not going to conquer alone or flawlessly. Both Luke and Anakin (and for that matter every hero in just about every movie) had to go through loss, pain, and challenges in their quest . Sometimes they past the test and sometimes they failed, but they HAD to go through!! How is it even a remotely positive message to girls to say that you can do just as good or even better than a man without any teaching, help, or guidance … struggle free? This movie and for the most part these set of trilogies don’t due anything but present a fake narrative in order to promote the feminist agenda!

  25. I wonder what it would be like if 1980 was 2017 – the howls of derision that would have been visited on “The Empire Strikes Back” by fanboys and sniffy critics (actually, there were sniffy critics who didn’t give TESB high praise). “It’s too confused. All those subplots!” “That’s a Jedi Master? It’s a f***n Muppet!” “What’s with that long drawn out BORING hide and seek and chase thing?” “He’s his father? NO WAY! Ruins Star Wars for ever! Lucas is destroying his own vision!” Etc.

    Also, if you are complaining about “SJW” influences in the recent films, then you are the problem and I have no time for you.

    As for Mr Buckaster’s review – it is as expected, given the way he reviews films. He and all the whiney fanboys are in the minority. If Rian Johnson was so cowered by “Disney” (read: Kathleen Kennedy/Lucasfilm) and not allowed to make the film he wanted, then why has he been given his own SW trilogy to create?

    This film sits at the top end of the saga. I am no “fanboy” – though I was there at the very beginning and was there at all stages. I’ve never whinged and complained about what George Lucas did with Return of the Jedi, the Special Editions (Hayden Christensen as Anakin Force Ghost though is not one I’d endorse), the prequels (apart from a couple of issues), even JJ Abrams and The Force Awakens I have a high regard as I do with Gareth Edwards and Rogue One.

    I am sure all those whiners will be back for Episode IX, even if just to do what they have done since 1997 – whinge and complain across the internet, but still pay their dollars to see the greatest saga that has define modern storytelling.

  26. In addition to the points above

    I cringed at the use of light speed as a weapon. Surely that would not be such a novel idea in the SW universe and surely the Empire or First Order would have made missiles or torpedoes using light speed drives — making the entire plot of outrunning the First Order for as long as they have fuel nonsensical

  27. I saw it last night and was quite pleased with it although 30 mins could have been cut without any detriment to the story.

    Gripes:
    Yes we know that all men/women/black/white/asian/wookie/ripped/chubby are created equal and can do anything that the other can and can fancy each other (actually maybe not wookie?) blah blah blah.
    I’ve never liked the muppet characters like Yoda, ewoks, those little penguiny things.
    How did the resistance last so long when every mission they undertake is kamikaze?
    Dialogue from those fiendish (brit) first order commanders (esp General Hux) is diabolical.

    Like:
    The female Luke is pretty good and the new Solo goes ok as well.
    Battle scenes are exciting and well done.
    Pacing only lapsed a couple of times.

    An observation. 3D lends absolutely nothing to this movie except losing definition, brightness and colour. Watch it in 2D.

  28. I’m not sure if Luke Buckmaster and I saw the same movies. Whilst there was the potential for the characters in the movie to relate directly to characters from the first 6… they didn’t. The deviations in their relationships are so extreme compared to the relationships described in the first 6 movies, that none of Mr. Buckmaster’s review makes any sense.

  29. If Chewie has just chomped the head right off that porg pullet and made all the little kiddies squeal, I could have been dragged on one bleeding fingernail to liking a tiny part of this thoroughly rotten and ethically contemptible movie shot through with socialist cultural-warfare identity politics. (When Rose wakes up, she can choke on her quasi-Islamic crescent moon pendant, btw. They tried to disguise it by making it round on the bottom, but they’re not fooling anyone paying attention to how Kathleen Kennedy’s Red Hollywood does things. Yeah, that’s right: They crammed bloody *Islam* into a “feminist” Mary Sue movie.)

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