A Long-Overdue Post about The Last Jedi
The Last Jedi The world doesn’t need another review of The Last Jedi. Did I like it? Yes. Were there problems? Yeah. Honestly, I’m still torn on my feelings about the movie, and have yet to make up my mind about it. What I’m going to do is go through some of the major points and help you understand them. I know people are teetering in the fence and maybe some extra knowledge can help them make their decision.
1) No Lightspeed? The whole movie centers on the galaxy’s fastest, slowest chase. Granted, I had a few strategies way better than “Keep calm and carry on”, we’ll chalk it up to the sudden change of command. But the biggest thing people have trouble with is the idea that if a ship can travel at lightspeed, why can’t the First Order catch them? The answer is simple. A ship carrying a hyperdrive doesn’t mean the ship goes from 0 to the speed of light. That’s why it’s called a “jump”. You plug in the coordinates and jump there. Separate from that is the regular engine that powers the thrusters that move the ship. The smaller the ship, the better their maneuverability. So the chase ends up amounting to a bunch of 16-wheeler trucks chasing a school bus. Why they didn’t send a ton of small TIE fighters to disable the shields like Kylo Ren did, I don’t know, maybe the Resistance shields are as powerful as the one from The Phantom Menace. 2) A more wretched hive of scum and villainy The most consensus for the weakest part of the film is the arc on Canto Bight. I can’t disagree with them, but there are a few things I want to point out that I liked about it. First off, I do have to agree and say that it very much felt like a story for the books or even the comics. There is a lot of undertones that work better that way than hinted at in the movie. I personally didn’t think the “animal cruelty” PSA was that hammering in of a theme. I thought the more poignant messages was about the “war machine”, profiteering off war, or that how the most lavish things are usually built off the backs of the poor and helpless. Canto Bight is a barren planet with the largest artificial ocean built on it. The city only exists because of all the money that was poured into it. Think of Abu Dhabi. They house the Last trees of Alderaan, where only the mega rich can see them. Canto Bight uses forced child labor and slavery. Rose really emphasized to Finn how it didn’t matter that they caused a ruckus; the victory is that they saved the horse/dog thingies. 3) How do we blow it up? There’s always a way to do that. A major theme of the movie was that destroying the bad thing is not always the best option. In fact, what good is it if it costs more lives than it saves? I just explained how Rose and Finn learned that, but it’s far from the only arc to do so. Luke wanted to burn down the temple. Yoda explained that it doesn’t matter, especially since Rey already took the books, but Luke didn’t know that. Kylo Ren tried blasting away Luke’s astral projection to no avail, and after he confronted Luke, slowly came to realize his folly. I guess it takes him a while because killing Han Solo only split his soul and weakened his resolve. Poe Dameron. Oh boy, was he in for a costly lesson! He destroyed the dreadnaught at a terrible cost. He staged a mutiny that proved to be the wrong thing to do in the end. And, finally, on Crait, he realized the merit in falling back and regrouping. Living to fight another day. 4) Let the past die Kylo Ren is a super interesting villain. Though he idolized his grandfather, he also wants to bury the past. He tells Rey that he wants her to let go of her ties to the past as he has and just start from scratch. I like that. The Sith didn’t work, the Jedi order was massively flawed, the Republic didn’t work, the Empire didn’t work, his family failed him, and his abusive mentor is an abusive pompous jerk. Kylo Ren is just a ball of torment and angst and by god, he is trying to find a positive way out of all this horribleness. He isn’t really evil, as much as sad and angry and lost. Kylo Ren just needs a hug, and It seems like Rey was his last attempt to reach out to anyone.
And now he is the last Skywalker and Solo, so I guess it fits to have the numbered episodes about the Skywalkers end at 9. 5) There was no father Rey’s parents: womp womp! I like the fact that Rey came from nowhere equally as much as I don’t like it. It echoes how Anakin came from nowhere. But this movie and the Force Awakens emphasized the significance of Rey’s parents. I mean, if they weren’t so important, then why is her last name withheld!? Especially in The Force Awakens, Han seemed to know who she was, Kylo Ren seemed to know who she was, Snoke wasn’t super surprised to find out about her. Remember when Maz asked Han, “So, who’s the girl?” You’re telling me that if instead of cutting and we saw his response, Han Solo just shrugged and said, “Your guess is as good as mine!”!? Bantha Fodder! It is interesting that people aren’t buying that answer and maybe Kylo Ren lied to her. It’s a possibility. When Darth Vader told Luke that he was his father, people didn’t fully believe it, either! That’s why George Lucas had Yoda confirm it to Luke in Return of the Jedi. 6) Knock it off, Fuzzball Disney is an empire. Evil? Probably. I don’t think Disney has “ruined Star Wars” yet, but they are still on thin ice. We are dangerously close to Star Wars being a Disney movie, rather than Disney making a Star Wars movie.
The Last Jedi kept going back and forth between childish and mature. From Porg shenanigans to child abandonment. From gremlins playing slots to messages about war profiteering. The tone was just inconsistent. The three Disney Star Wars films all have something in common: DOLLS!!!
I know, Star Wars and toys, and Luke had a little model ship in A New Hope, but all three films feature a close up shot of a doll. The way this is going, I wouldn’t be surprised if Han and Chewie have to build a Millennium Falcon Lego set in the new Han Solo film! I might not have problems with the Canto Bight arc as much as others, but I still agree with them. It felt too much of the Capital from Hunger Games, and not so much Star Wars. Did they really need a party boat? Or play roulette and slot machines!? There wasn’t anything that made it Star Wars. Las Vegas has a ton of casinos and each hotel is themed. Canto Bight has one medium sized casino with the theme of “brown and bad acoustics”. I mean, wooden floor? No live band? A slave-supported world with droids being butlers?
Anyways, my point with bringing it up in the Disney section is the very last scene of the film. Ew! A few dumb kids are playing with dolls, enacting the legendary tales of Luke Skywalker, like YOU can do at home with YOUR action figures! Then, one kid uses the Force to grab a broom and fake sweeps the floor, (meaning that the broom hovered OVER the dirt!) Then he looks out to the stars and a blue line streaks through the stars. And the “shooting star” looked too bold and blue: like your parent’s signature on a check. There might as well be a voice that said, “Now YOU can wield the force with the NEW BROOMSTICK lightsaber collection!” It also felt like Looper where some people had minor telekinesis, and no one cared, and everyone went on like it doesn’t matter. (I should note here that I did not care for Looper). So, I guess without the Jedi hogging all the force-sensitives, we’ll just start seeing people with a bit of force power.
—— There you have it: a few closer looks into some of the hard-to-grasp elements of The Last Jedi. I hope this helps you either appreciate or come to terms with some of the different/new concepts introduced.