Star Wars: The Last Jedi

3.5 stars

Theatrical release: 12/15/2017
PG-13; 152 minutes
Produced by Ram Bergman, Kathleen Kennedy
Written and directed by Rian Johnson

Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Laura Dern (Vice Admiral Holdo), Benicio del Toro (DJ), Lupita Nyong'o (Maz Kanata), Frank Oz (Yoda)

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

May 4, 2018

What is most striking about Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is that it has larger themes and aspirations that venture outside the space opera roots typically explored in this franchise. In that regard, it goes above and beyond perhaps any Star Wars movie to date and, in its very Star Wars way, moves into the thematic realm of — well, Star Trek. And, for that matter, also Battlestar Galactica.

Taken in its broad strokes, this entire film is a series of Star Wars takes on the Kobayashi Maru no-win scenario. It's not clear until the very end of The Last Jedi, but this entire film is actually about what heroes do when faced with a number of limited options that continues to shrink until there are almost no options at all. These scenarios force impossible decisions that are born from utter desperation, huge individual sacrifices for the greater good, and pyrrhic victories that are crucially symbolic — because otherwise, in practicality, they are crushing defeats.

I also must say: As the middle chapter of a trilogy, they burn through a lot more story here than I was expecting and in a way that's somewhat startling. Writer/director Rian Johnson is not spinning his wheels here. By the end of The Last Jedi there's the distinct feeling that Episode IX will have to be a story that is far more separated from the original trilogy than either this or The Force Awakens were. We are venturing into uncharted territory in the story of the Skywalker saga, and the torch-passing has more or less been completed. If the special guest star of The Force Awakens was Harrison Ford, then the special guest star of The Last Jedi is Mark Hamill. (One suspects had Carrie Fisher not died unexpectedly, she would've been the veteran to see the story through to the end in Episode IX.)

The film advances all the characters' stories in significant ways that are perhaps familiar in the overarching nature of Star Wars but don't feel like the beat-for-beat repurposing of the original trilogy the way The Force Awakens did. Rey goes to Ahch-To to learn the ways of the Force from the eponymous and reclusive last Jedi, Luke Skywalker, who is less than thrilled to see her, or anybody. (After he takes the lightsaber she has extended to him, he promptly throws it off the cliff over his shoulder.) Kylo Ren struggles with the conflict between the darkness and light inside him. (The Emperor-like Snoke berates Ren for his failures and mocks his Vader-like helmet and calls him a pretender, leading Ren to smash the helmet to pieces and leave it permanently behind.) Poe Dameron struggles with the balance between being a leader and taking impulsive risks, butting heads with his senior leadership, including Leia. (He wants to take action and get things done, sometimes without weighing the long-term costs.) Finn finds himself having to take on the role of Resistance Hero that has been attached to him, even though he doesn't feel he deserves it. (Legends are born from hope, not necessarily objective truth.)

These threads are driven by a main plot that's surprisingly bleak and in some respects almost too straightforward — the simple survival of the Resistance. The opening battle is a sensationally executed example of finding small victories in a desperate situation (the destruction of one of the First Order's fearsome Dreadnought vessels is achieved, but only at great cost to the Resistance). From there, the fleet finds itself on the run but with limited fuel and little hope for escape. Because they can be tracked through hyperspace, any jump they make will only expend their fuel while the First Order can simply follow them. So the Resistance must stay ahead of their pursuers at sub-light speeds, which extends the survival clock but turns them into a nearly defenseless convoy that can be picked off one by one as each ship runs out of fuel. This felt a lot like the fleet on the run in Battlestar Galactica's "33." It's high on extended crisis, while low on traditional adventure. For Star Wars, that's a bold choice. It might also be too structurally simple. One expects a kind of episodic variable structure to the scenes in a Star Wars movie. This is considerably less varied and more of a straight line from A to B.

Meanwhile, bad things happen, like the attack on the bridge of the Resistance's command ship (something that, tellingly, Kylo Ren himself can't pull the trigger on), which sucks the entire leadership, including Leia and Admiral Ackbar, into space. Leia is able to survive by using the Force, but lies in a coma for the middle passages of the movie, which gives rise to tensions between next-in-succession Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), who wants to continue running, and Poe, who wants to take a more active stand. Holdo has reasons for continuing the passive — and seemingly feckless — strategy, but half the problems between these two could've been solved if she were to simply share information that's being concealed mostly for the sake of a later reveal for the audience. (This is a plot device that exists mainly to prevent spoilers for itself.)

To be more proactive, Dameron signs off on a plan involving Finn and Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) traveling to the luxurious colony of Canto Bight to find the "master code-breaker" — the one man who, according to Maz Kanata, can rig the security on the First Order's star destroyer such that the Resistance's fleet will no longer be tracked through hyperspace and can escape. The "master code-breaker" feels suspiciously like a MacGuffin of a character (and indeed he's replaced entirely by a different character played by Benecio del Toro), and the whole Finn/Rose excursion feels oddly disconnected from the desperate urgency of what's happening back with the fleet (even though it directly ties into the overall goals). As was the case with The Force Awakens, the somewhat bare-boned plot of The Last Jedi is not hugely spectacular. The benefit here is more in how the plot informs the larger thematic and character canvas.

Finn and Rose are an effective pairing — both characters exhibit substantial likability and charm — and their visit to Canto Bight has a socio-political angle that has real-world allegorical value (as opposed to simply providing plot mechanics like the political backdrop of the prequels did). They find a colony of one-percenters (rich from selling weapons to both sides of the conflict) living the lives of endless luxury, frivolity, and gambling. Beneath them, almost invisible, are the peasants who do all the hard labor and are shabbily treated for their trouble. By the end of the film, we will see how the Resistance, even in facing huge losses, will have motivated the people across the galaxy being exploited by the wealthy and the fascist to take up the call to rebuild the Rebellion and fight. This is probably as overtly political as a Star Wars movie has been. (I'm less interested in talking about the action sequences on Canto Bight. Suffice it to say there's a big chase sequence involving CG animals racing through the city and it's about what you would expect it to be.) It's intriguing to see Star Wars embrace some socio-political ideas, especially as the Star Trek film franchise — ironically, given its pedigree — continues to run further away from it.

But you may not have come to this movie for implied socio-economic polemics. Fair enough; it's only a small piece of the pie. The main narrative thrust here is of course the interactions between Rey and Luke, as we learn who Luke has become during his self-imposed exile, and also watch Rey try to learn who she is as she struggles with her unknown origins as an orphan who happens to have a natural ability for tapping into the Force — including its dark side, which alarms Luke significantly.

Luke's adamant refusal to initially engage Rey feels a bit overwritten — doesn't he even want to know what has been happening to all the people he cares about during these years? — but Mark Hamill impeccably plays the part of the world-weary tortured soul, seguing into the grizzled-old-veteran Alec-Guinness-Obi-Wan role in a way that seems completely logical given the 30-some years of distance since the last Star Wars movie with "Jedi" in its title. Apart from the early obligatory stuff where Luke refuses to confront the situation in front of him, all the material on the island is absorbing and effective, as it looks at these two characters and tries to get to the heart of their inner-turmoil. For Rey, it's the question of what this newfound power means as she struggles with her crisis of self-identity. Trying to solve the mystery of her parents and why she was abandoned is shown here as Rey's true Achilles heel — something that has the potential to lead her astray. (As always, those who are strong with the Force also have a strong possibility of being drawn to the Dark Side.)

The intriguing "hall of mirrors" sequence where Rey hopes to find answers but instead finds nothing leaves her feeling more isolated than ever. The fact that she is connected to Ren through the Force and can have entire conversations with him from the island proves to be an effective new tool in the narrative toolbox. It not only allows us into Rey's mindset, but also into Ren's — who has an identity crisis of his own as he struggles with the Dark/Light battle he wrongly believed he had purged by killing his father. That Snoke berates him endlessly about his inner-conflict doesn't make Kylo's question of identity any clearer. (Snoke is a contemptible evil bastard in the same tradition as the Emperor — one might say too similar — and his sneering overconfidence in his own omnipotence is likewise his undoing.)

The script does a good job of connecting all these characters in a way that makes logical and emotional sense. Luke himself falls into the storied, traditional mold of Extremely Reluctant Former Hero Turned Laconic Curmudgeon. He says he went into exile to truly be left alone and wants nothing to do with training Jedi ever again — which is somewhat understandable considering the disaster that begot Kylo Ren from Ben Solo. Rey's presence means Luke has to confront this reality all over again and revisit the mistakes he made in losing Ben to the Dark Side.

The story smartly frames the actual moment of Ben's turning with some point-of-view ambiguity that proves interesting. The flashback where Luke contemplates killing Ben before Ben turns to the Dark Side is shown from both Luke's and Ben's points of view, allowing you to understand from both sides why it played out the way it did — and also why it can be viewed as the final push that turned Ben into Kylo. It's a failure in a long line of Jedi failures that the story fully acknowledges as a reason that helped seal the fate of the Jedi in the prequels and seems to be an unescapable repetition of history. (One could validly argue that repetition is a necessity mostly created from the desire to spawn more Star Wars sequels, but at least it's dealt with intelligently within the story.) Yoda appears in a key cameo with Luke that speaks to the importance of failure, in that it often offers the best lessons. Yoda's scene gets the character right — wise but irreverent. Yoda here is performed by Frank Oz using a faithfully re-created traditional puppet rather than CGI. The result is Yoda's most Yoda-like appearance in decades. (And this is not a commentary on puppets being inherently better than CGI. Many will remember from the 1999 release of The Phantom Menace how a Yoda puppet can go badly awry — badly enough to be replaced with a CGI version in subsequent releases of the same film.)

The action and excitement pick up in the last third of the movie, when all these plot elements converge with a clockwork precision. Rey surrenders herself to face Ren on Snoke's star destroyer in an attempt to turn him to the Light. Suffice it to say this does not go as she planned. Nor does it go as Snoke planned. The traditional structure would have you assume Snoke would be tormenting our heroes late into Episode IX, but Rian Johnson has other plans and dispenses with Snoke swiftly. In a clever scene revealing complicated motivations that happen to align with the fact that Snoke is so hopelessly evil that drawing out his use beyond this movie would not likely be worthwhile, Kylo bisects Snoke with a lightsaber in a manner that Snoke never saw coming, on the account of his spectacular myopia.

This doesn't suggest that Rey correctly foresaw Kylo turning to join her. Rather, Kylo intends to take over as Supreme Leader and wants her to join him. He makes a case that has a logic to it from a certain point of view (as Obi-Wan once said). I find it's always better when a villain has motivations that ring true and have a psychological foundation (as Kylo's do) rather than arising from purely cartoonish evil (as Snoke's did). As in The Force Awakens, these characters get a lot of mileage out of being well-performed by Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver.

Meanwhile, we get our requisite caper with Finn and Rose sneaking aboard Snoke's ship to disable the tracker along with DJ (Benicio del Toro), an amoral hired-gun who was not actually the code-breaker they went to Canto Bight to recruit, but, hey, beggars can't be choosers. Being all about profit and nothing else, DJ eventually sells out our heroes. This is all fairly standard "infiltrate the enemy fortress" material, but it does ultimately lead to Finn facing off against the awesomely chrome-plated, not-crushed-in-the-trash-compactor-after-all Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) for a major action-fight sequence. This showdown ends with Phasma falling to her apparent death through a fireball, but I actually hope they bring her back yet again for Episode IX; it would be a good joke in the Saturday-morning-serial tradition that was the inspiration for Star Wars.

Through all the action, the Resistance achieves mostly tiny victories amid increasing desperation. Even Leia's plan to escape the command cruiser in a secret retreat to the former Rebel base on Crait is upended by DJ's betrayal, resulting in the plan being exposed and the defenseless evacuation transports being targeted and destroyed one by one. This prompts the extreme and desperate move by Holdo to ram Snoke's ship at light speed, an act that is depicted with an imaginative mix of soundtrack silence, repeated multi-angle cuts, and shimmering light that is at once oddly beautiful and yet fully conveys the epic, gasp-inducing calamity of the moment. This is something we haven't seen in Star Wars before.

Ultimately, it leads to the final showdown on Crait (a salt-covered landscape that bleeds red soil beneath it), where the dwindling population of the Resistance holes up in an ancient Rebel base with, it seems, no hope of escape. But that's where Luke Skywalker re-enters the picture. And what he does at the end of The Last Jedi is, for my money, epically satisfying. One man, knowing what he must do to ensure the survival of a movement, however decimated, stands against an entire army. It appears to be an act of certain suicide. And in its perfect way, it is both wonderfully badass (Luke casually brushing off his shoulder after emerging unscathed from a torrent of firepower is one of my favorite moments) and also a classic example of a cunning Jedi mind trick — outsmarting the enemy by using the Force and evasive techniques instead of with overpowering violence. The twist here is that Luke is only projecting his image, conducting the whole charade from the island that, true to his word, he promised he would never leave. Apparently, using the Force in this way will kill you, which is adequate explanation for me as to why we've never seen this particular trick before. It's a bittersweet way to send off an iconic character. Here's a man who ends his life in isolation, but at least gets to die with a grand, final purpose. (And, of course, death is never quite the end where the Force is concerned.)

Hamill plays this scene, as all his scenes in this movie, with a no-nonsense starkness that is a million miles from the kid in A New Hope. And that's as it should be given the circumstances. He gets to save the day, but what he saves is the smallest sliver of hope, and how he saves it is by sacrificing himself. As I said, this is a movie of pyrrhic victories — at best. The entirety of the Resistance that escapes fits on the Millennium Falcon. "How do we rebuild the Rebellion from this?" Rey asks Leia. It's a good question that one suspects might only be answered after a significant time jump between this film and the next.

For all the darkness in this story, one thing I'd better say is that this movie is still, at heart, a fun and entertaining experience. The balance of characters ensures that there's plenty of pure enjoyment to be had here, especially in lighter moments involving Finn, Rose, Poe, and even General Hux, who becomes a kind of hapless second-banana comic foil to be abused by Ren. (The opening scene where Poe prank-calls Hux is a fun moment that deflates Hux's self-important evil bombast and mocks it for what it is.) As grim as this can be in its story implications, the tone itself never gets as grim as, say, Rogue One sometimes felt. The way it maintains its adventure pedigree while also being substantively dark makes this feel like the true tonal progenitor of The Empire Strikes Back.

The Last Jedi has a final shot that is more thematically contemplative than the final shot of any other Star Wars movie. A young boy looks to the stars with a steely look of determination for the struggle to come. It's a struggle where others like him will presumably join the Rebellion and rebuild it to what it once was, in the hope of defeating tyranny. It's a final shot that is not focused on any of the story's main characters, but about communicating the importance of ideas and symbols. This message comes through even though the story's heroes have been hunted almost to extinction. It's simultaneously a darker and yet more idealistic ending than any of the other movies. And for Star Wars, it feels different and new.

Previous: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Next: Solo: A Star Wars Story

◄ Section Index

296 comments on this review

Del_Duio
Fri, Dec 15, 2017, 7:00am (UTC -5)
This thing's sold out for days around here but I can't wait to see it. I've heard some reaction (w/o spoilers) and everybody seems to think it's the second coming which is GREAT news.
Elise K
Fri, Dec 15, 2017, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Gotta say, I wasn't impressed. Solid movie- enough continuity nods and character scenes and finally some A-wings, my favorite of favorites) to keep me happy. I especially liked the flashback scenes to Luke and B/Ren, and the idea that Rey can be special without having important parents, whether or not it is true.

That said...

I feel like I was getting toyed with for a lot of this movie and retroactively for Force Awakens, with so many characters being set up to be important and then getting unceremoniously bumped off. I will need to ponder whether this is effective use of Anyone Can Die or whether they went overboard. I found Luke to be ridiculously tantalizing to both Rey and the audience- maybe that's the only way to handle the return of a character we've been wanting to see cut loose for 45 years- let us have our cake without eating it?

Showing the gambling town and its regime of cruelty was a powerful touch, making us think there are actually stakes to this. Too often, Star Wars defines evil as an informed attribute of powerful people, rather than showing the actions that constitute evil on a broad scale. The problem is, after 9 movies, we don't see the good guys making things any different for the common people, ever, so showing it here is either a cynical appeal, or great meta commentary showing people enjoying Luke's adventures but not experiencing any improvement in their lot under imperialist capitalism.
Dom
Fri, Dec 15, 2017, 9:11am (UTC -5)
Overall, I really liked it, but there's a LOT to process. Not a perfect movie by any means, and some of the humor felt a bit too slapstick and self-referential. But this movie took risks, unlike TFA.

Re @Elise K, I like how the movie, especially the ending, ends on the point of view of an ordinary kid. In fact, the movie had several characters who would normally have been marginalized, like Rose, take the center stage. Gives me hope that we're going to see some sort of major societal change in Episode IX, where it becomes clear that victory isn't just about killing the bad guys but also improving life for people.
Daniel S Williams
Fri, Dec 15, 2017, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
Absolutely loved this movie but it wasn't without it's problems. The biggest one being the whole side plot with Rose and Finn on that casino world. It just felt like needless filler that in the end accomplished bugger all.

Rose herself was ok right until the ending battle when she more or less screws the whole Resistence by saving Finn for her own selfish crushing on him, which came right the hell outy of nowhere. Ugh...

I really like the idea of Rey being a random nobody chosen by the Force to rise up against the mounting darkness. This more or less proves that there is no one single Chosen One. The Force brings about a Chosen One at any time when one is needed to restore balance unto itself. Anakin, Luke and Rey have all done this (although Rey's job is unfinished currently). It's a never ending cycle and unless the whole galaxy suddenly embraces the Grey Jedi philosophy by Episode IX I don't see it ever ending. This whole galactic conflict is eternal with a permanant peace being a pipe dream.
Dexter Morgan
Fri, Dec 15, 2017, 9:43pm (UTC -5)
Elise summed up my thoughts pretty good. This was a fine movie, but it was missing.....something. Whether that be the charm of Hans Solo, or good pacing, or the overall length being too long (this movie was way too fucking long). I found getting fairly annoying halfway through by the 11th scene of the Rebels lazily fleeing to the left.

Captain Phasma will go down as one of the most disappointing and useless characters in the history of the franchise. Seriously, what was her role other than to sell toys? General Hux was a one-dimensional, yelly, frowning, growly character who has 1/100000th the charisma of Peter Cushing which is disappointing because Domhnall Glesson is an excellent character actor who I think would have done very well with some better material. So you cast Laura Dern as this supposed bad ass Vice Admiral but someone has to stay behind to pilot the Cruiser to its doom (for whatever reason someone has to stay behind?) Admiral Akbar just....dies?!?! Leia can survive a bridge explosion and exposure to space.....why? Rose, ugh. The Casino planet, ugh. The Bait And Switches, ugh. Snoke dying, ugh (so much for the thousands of hours people spent into his identity, he really was extremely pointless even though it appeared he was the most powerful Sith lord we have ever seen in the franchise. What a waste of time. And how exactly did Snoke turn Kylo Ren?

What this movie did well? Kylo Ren was excellent. This was the stuff he should have had in TFA. I thoroughly enjoyed his character this time around. Rey was very good and the scenes with Luke stole the show. Mark Hamill played the role to perfection. The final battle on the salt planet was a visual masterpiece.

I dont know what to expect from Episode 9. Carrie Fisher dying changes things immensely I imagine.


Geekgarious
Sat, Dec 16, 2017, 12:09am (UTC -5)
This film felt like the result of the creators trying to throw everything but the kitchen sink in. It was certainly entertaining, and there are touches I really liked. Getting a more military sci-fi feel in the resistance fleet was nice. But there is no cohesive narrative, and that's why Disney's version of Star Wars feels rather hollow. It is just another action franchise now.
Tempeh
Sat, Dec 16, 2017, 8:12am (UTC -5)
Before going to the movie, me and my childhood friend of 40 years ate at a restaurant. I mentioned to him how most movies being made today don't have anything "new" in them. When I watch one, I feel like I've already seen it. This is how I felt while watching The Force Awakens. The old trilogy brought stuff to the screen that people had never seen before (Imperial Walkers, sarlac pits, etc.) . There just isn't much creativity going on inside these large corporations that own the big franchises. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that way to me. They play it safe and don't take risks.
Then I watched The Last Jedi, and for the most part it was full of surprises. It took risks, including some creative ones. Just to list a few of of the ballsy things they did:
-Death of Snoke
-Destruction of the rebellion (just about)
-Leia floating in space
-New force powers
That being said, some of the Finn stuff seemed unnecessary. In particular, his over the top fight with Captain Phasma. Why would she bother to fight him while the ship is being destroyed? As a leader, she should have been managing the evacuation. The "rebel scum" line was cringy.

I would give the movie three stars overall. It felt about equal to Episode III. I have an urge to see it again, so that's a good sign.
Trent
Sat, Dec 16, 2017, 11:06am (UTC -5)
This whole franchise, especially since Disney (which has now accquired Marvel, Pixar and 20thCFox), just feels so conveyeor belt, soulless, mass produced and made-by-committee. It's art by banksters and factory robots and reliant almost wholly on nostalgia. Old-man Mark Hamil - who is amazing; why does nobody else cast him? - seems like the only real human being here, much like Harisson Ford seemed in the previous installment.
Dixie
Sat, Dec 16, 2017, 11:59am (UTC -5)
The word 'manipulative' comes to mind. Movies and television are manipulative, we all know it, and we all know that the best movies are the ones that can manipulate you without it being obvious - the ones that give us compelling characters, memorable moments, stunning visuals, emotional catharsis, and make us genuinely forget that we're just asses in seats as far as the studios are concerned.

... and then there's movies like The Last Jedi.

Without getting into spoilers, so much of this movie, so many of the characters, so many of the designs, so many of the scenes all just reeked of something developed, not by writers, artists, and filmmakers, but by executive committees trying to maximize profit margins. There are entire scenes, hell, entire subplots in this movie that just feel like they only exist to cash in on the nostalgia-factor, or because some focus group campaign found that some demographic wants to see more X, Y, and Z, and because of this the finished product doesn't come together very well. It feels sloppy, it feels soulless, and most of all it feels manipulative.
Mike
Sat, Dec 16, 2017, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
I am a guy that saw the original trilogy in theaters (saw Star wars in 77 on my 9th birthday) so I have been a fan since day 1. I was super excited about the prequels and found them to be very disappointing.

Then I got excited again about TFA, but while it was a decent Star Wars film, It left me a little flat. It was simply a rehash of the first Star Wars for the most part.

I really enjoyed Rogue One, and felt it had a solid original trilogy feel to it.

Thursday night I saw The Last Jedi and again, it left me flat. Overall it was a solid film. The special effects were excellent and the acting was solid, but it just seemed kind of dull to me. Some thoughts:

The movie was very long. As many have pointed out, they could have dumped the entire casino plot and no one would have missed it.

I was not a fan of Laura Dern's character.

I didn't like Rose preventing Finn from sacrificing himself for his friends. Luckily for all it worked out in the end. Good thing for the Resistance she was not there to keep her sister from making her sacrifice or it would have been a much shorter movie.

I liked Snoke in this movie and thought he was an effective villain, but much like Darth Maul in Episode One, he was killed off too soon.

The whole Princess Leia surviving the vacuum of space was really odd. I do not understand how that was possible. She apparently is able to fly also. Why not use those force skills earlier?

I just cannot get into Kylo Ren. I am not a fan of Adam Driver so that may be why these films don't do it for me.

Mark Hamill did great, and I thought the ending with him was very effective.

I am also not a big fan of the Hux character. I do wish he had killed Kylo when he had the chance.
I did like the guy that was commanding the Dreadnaught. Much more believable as an Imperial commander.

What was the point of Captain Phasma? Just an excuse to say that Brianne of Tarth was in Star Wars? Brought nothing to either film.

I was not a fan of Benicio Del Toro's character either. His manner of speech was kind of annoying as well.

Everything else was fine. Like I said, not a bad movie at all, but this series just doesn't have the Star Wars feel anymore.
-Mike



Chrome
Sat, Dec 16, 2017, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
I came into this movie expecting it to kind of wander off the way other big Disney franchises like Marvel and especially Pirates in the last few years. But I’m delighted to report I enjoyed The Last Jedi even more than The Force Awakens.

What works for this film is the great dynamic between Luke, Rey, and Calo Ren. Notably, even among these big established characters, there weren’t many clear cut heroes and villains, but a lot of soul searching by the Force users in this story. This works great in a film the describes the Force as being balanced by Light and Dark, with every Jedi and Sith capable of traveling down either path.

Of course, with all these force users we get the expected crowd-pleasing lightsaber fights and starship battles. But I found it was the more quiet scenes like Luke confronting his former disciple and winning without violence or anger to be one of the films more powerful scenes. Calo’s betrayal of Snoke was also a delicious payoff for the character giving the us in the audience a moment to consider Calo Ren may not be villain after all.

Another thing that worked well in this movie is that it set out to be its own story. I saw notable moments where TLJ could’ve repeated some of the same beats from Empire Strikes back but notably did not. For example, we don’t learn that Rei’s parents were Sith Lords the whole time but rather understated every people. That’s refreshing not only because it diverts from ESB, but also makes Rey’s story a bit more grounded and even relatable.

What didn’t work for me were the slower moments in the B and C plots, especially Finn and Rose on the casino planet. Not that the story didn’t have its moments, especially when Benicio del Tor showed up and pranked everyone, but a lot of it didn’t pan out into the films larger story and ended up just adding runtime. That said, I do like Rose reminding Finn what the rebels were fighting for, and there was a touching if not low-key kissing scene between the two which was genuinely sweet.

Finally the there was a moment at the end after Luke passed on where a boy on Canto Bight picked up his broom like a lightsaber while the Republic insignia shined brightly which made my eyes weld up. Although most of the resistance’s military force was devastated, the hearts of the people still looked ready to fight the good fight into the next film.

I’m giving this 3.5 stars. A worthy addition to the Star Wars film franchise.
J Fenzel
Sat, Dec 16, 2017, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
Excellent movie. A lot of ways better than TFA. Snoke's death surprised me, and saved the trilogy from running down the same old ground the original trilogy did with the Emperor. And I actually thought Rey and Ren might do a role reversal and switch sides, which is good because it kept me on edge. The last scenes with Luke were great. The casino planet stuff went on a bit too long, but overall a really good Star Wars film, one that took the story in unexpected directions and added depth to many characters. IMO one of the best in the franchise (light years ahead of the awful pap of the prequels). 3.5 out of 4
Mike
Sat, Dec 16, 2017, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
J Fenzel,

Rey and Kylo switching would have been an epic move. So much is invested in Rey that her turning evil would have been huge. Like Frodo choosing to keep the ring.
bleankness
Sun, Dec 17, 2017, 6:26am (UTC -5)
The real problem with TJ (which overall I liked a lot) is something that is happening a LOT in cinema right now, and that is what I call the retro-pancake syndrome.. it happens with these on-going stories, that a movie that works makes you realize that the previous movie is pretty bad. Like a Dan Brown novel, written just to keep people at the beach turning the pages as fast as possible so that they can get to the end and tell their friends but each page is shoddily written and you forget about each one as you rush through to the next one. I mean with the MCU, if you are a huge Civil War fan how often do you go back and watch the phase one movies? What are the chances you will just skip to the airport scene and see how cool that is? With TLJ you have a film that makes TFA even worse. For example, snoke is a red herring,simply put there so Kylo can kill him at the right time and go down his path.. but the rules of cinematic storytelling today are such that JJ (hired because he does this all the time for TV) can thread us along.. there isn't enough going on in episode seven that he could NOT reveal that Snoke was just the first BIG person Kylo had to kill to do his journey, but JJ couldn't do it in the first movie because Disney felt we needed the buildup and we needed to wonder who Snoke was between films so that he could only be killed in the second movie. So the first third of the this new trilogy is simply "biding time" and not much STORY actually happens.. same with Luke's map. Why did Luke HAVE a map? How did Kylo found out about a map? why didn't Kylo arrive on Jakku right behind Poe, and who is Lor Van Tekka? These questions are even worse omissions after watching TLJ and are just JJ's busywork, giving his movie something to do until we get to TLJ. This manner of storytelling is what guides cinematic universes and it's appalling..
John Harmon
Sun, Dec 17, 2017, 11:43am (UTC -5)
What a disappointing follow-up The Force Awakens.

I don't know if I've ever seen another movie this expensive where NOTHING HAPPENS. There was no plot.

It was embarrassing. I think it might be as bad as the prequels.
msw188
Sun, Dec 17, 2017, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
Overall, this wasn't as good as Force Awakens for me. See, in Epi7 there's a clear (recycled, but I don't care) character arc for Rey. We see how shitty her life was on Jakku, we see her get caught up in other people's bullshit, then we see her become awesome. Maybe too easily, but I don't care. The movie's big moment for Han is big for sure, but is arranged so that the true climax is really Rey vs Kylo. These are the new characters, the ones who really matter. And holy shit, the light saber choosing her (with music to match) is just an awesome moment.

As opposed to Epi8, where the Rey vs Kylo vs Snoke moment is pretty great, but it's sort of in the middle? And afterwards Rey kind of barely matters? Her stuff with Luke, with Kylo, in the end it's irrelevant, she just has to do some flying and then move some rocks. I mean, she does a good job moving the rocks, sure.

You could say that Rey isn't really the main character here, it's all about Ben and fleshing out good and bad with some of the ancillary characters. Which okay, that's not terrible. And I don't think the movie's terrible at all. I think I liked a lot of the ideas, but the overall package and execution wasn't working for me. Examples:

(+) I really love the idea of the Luke fakeout at the end. But there were so many little problems:
(-) Making it the climax (see above)
(-) Why was Poe the one to recognize it was a distraction? I get that he was supposed to have learned his lesson, but shouldn't Leia be the one to make the declaration, then maybe Poe quietly realizes she's right?
(-) Did Luke guess, or know, that there was another exit? Maybe he had a great scene beforehand talking to one of those crystal-fox things.

(+) I really love the idea of the turnaround that the lady rebel wasn't actually an asshole, and Poe was in the wrong. But there were so many little problems:
(-) Was it ever made clear why she didn't tell Poe what was happening, especially once he took armed control?
(-) As cool as this turnaround is, it kinda invalidates all the Finn and Rose stuff from a plot standpoint.
(-) Stock complaint about lightspeed ramming not being a thing until it's a thing.

(+) I love the idea of Finn meeting someone like him, and then seeing the concept of the rebellion take shape 'out there'. I also like the idea of characters honestly trying to make things better, but inadvertently making them worse. But there were so many little problems:
(-) Do Finn and Rose ever actually realize they're the ones who made things worse?
(-) The casino was a kinda boring environment; their 'adventures' there didn't work for me.
(-) Why is Phasma?
(+) BONUS POSITIVE I liked the kiss scene though. Like, she's dying, could give a fuck, and just goes for it. And he's just totally surprised.

Another unfortunate bit was that the humor was a bit more 'noticeable', but was missing as often as hitting for me.

I guess I don't know how I feel about it overall. I do like that this one feels like it takes some chances here and there. A handful of great scenes, and some good ideas in the background. But too much silly humor, too many 'nick of time' saves, too many endings, and not enough of Rey mattering.

Some great Leia though! I loved watching her give Poe a look then shooting him like the dumbass he is. And I like Poe! It's really too bad that we won't get to see Leia anymore moving forward.
Commander Jameson
Mon, Dec 18, 2017, 8:44am (UTC -5)
As the world probably hasn’t had nearly enough insights from white cis males on the latest Star Wars film, I thought I’d offer up my two cents, so be prepared for some spoiler warnings.

On the good side, as per The Force Awakens and Rogue One, the visuals are utterly astonishing, with some great and memorable touches. In this department at least, the new batch are equal to what they follow. It’s also good to see more women and PsOC take more prominent roles once again – just as they should be.

But on the minus side… where to begin?

Perhaps at the most important aspect - what is this trilogy FOR? WHO is it for? What does it aim to achieve?

With the prequels, one could charitably say that they were there to introduce a new generation to the Star Wars world, and to provide some backstory as to how the original trilogy’s characters came to be (if one was uncharitable, you could say they were merely an opportunity to market merchandise). Whether they succeeded or not is still in many ways a matter of individual opinion – I didn’t like them personally, but some do indeed enjoy them. That said, I’m part of the generation that grew up with the originals, so maybe I’m biased.

Or am I? What appears to be missing from the current batch of films, and indeed from the prequels also, is any tangible sense of MAGIC – that tingle down the spine, the goosebumps, the welling in one’s eye at those key moments: Ben freezing on being called ‘Obi Wan’ for the first time in years; Luke hearing his voice in the Death Star trench; Yoda revealing his identity by saying ‘I cannot teach you’; Vader’s final redemption as he chooses to save his son…

There are a few moments like that in the most recent two films, but I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that they’re thrown in to manipulate the audience for precisely this reason. Best example? R2 rerunning the clip of Leia’s original message to Ben from A New Hope. “That was a cheap move,” says Luke, and I’m pretty sure the audience agreed.

Instead, what we have is main characters being bumped off in an attempt to provide (cheap) shocks for the audience, Game of Thrones style. Admittedly, as a re-hash of Episode IV, TFA perhaps needed its ‘Ben Kenobi’ moment – the shock death of a main character – but now it feels (with two down in the current movie) like we’re a bit desensitised by all this. It’s become predictable. As is the rehashing of visual/plot elements from the first two films: we have an ATAT attack in this one as per The Empire Strikes Back, but this time it’s at the end rather than the beginning.

This could have been a chance to do something radically different from the first film, which was in effect a massive push of the reset button. But I don’t think it was taken.

What seems to have been forgotten is the fact that Star Wars is not about visual effects, or mysticism, or aliens. It’s about people: about families, friendships, and the decisions people take about whether to honour these things and choose the right course of action, or not.

I tend to think one reason for this is not entirely the filmmakers’ fault. Back in the 70s-80s, the Star Wars franchise was pretty much the only game in town as far as eye-boggling special effects and big screen action was concerned. Now, however, it’s much different – the relentless rise of CGI over the past two decades has meant the marketplace has become more competitive, with any number of big-budget superhero films, Transformers, Independence Days, Godzillas, Pacific Rims – you name it. This means the imperative to shoehorn in more and more action sequences – regardless of the consequences for the narrative – has become all the more important.

And is it me, or are some bits of this film just ill thought out? Most people have singled out the casino subplot and Leia’s overdue use of her Force powers as a bit of a waste of time or maybe somewhat gratuitous, but in the opening: ‘dropping’ bombs from one spacecraft to another, in zero gravity? OK, audible engine noise and explosions in a vacuum are one thing, but…

Back to TLJ - on a technical level, the film belongs to Mark Hamill, who turns in a stunning and moving performance. Daisy Ridley I felt sadly failed to live up to the promise she showed in TFA, and Adam Driver is still playing Ren as a stroppy teenager. There’s not been enough character development from the previous film, and there are too many questions unanswered – just who was Snoke, and what was his beef? What is Rey’s real parentage (still)? How did Luke’s lightsabre turn up in whatserface’s basement? There is a lot that needs to be answered in the final film, and the launchpad for the third act just doesn’t seem strong enough.

So, wither the new trilogy? Is it merely to give us closure regarding well-loved characters from the original, and to pass the baton to a new generation? Possibly. But one wonders, somewhat cynically, whether we’re being set up for ‘Episode XI: A New Broom’ in 15 years’ time or so.

I dunno – maybe I’ll just have to watch it again to refine my opinion. But if I have to watch sodding Domnhall Gleason chewing the bleedin’ scenery again, I’m slashing the seats.
Brandon Adams
Mon, Dec 18, 2017, 11:35am (UTC -5)
The franchise developed "Lost" syndrome - just shrugging and cutting characters and threads they didn't know what to do with.

Snoke, Phasma, and Holdo being the two most obvious ones. So much buildup, so NOTHING revealed about either one of them before they're just randomly killed. Nothing interesting done with them whatsoever. I gotta give credit to Gwendoline Christie for still being able to act like crazy using just her voice and one eyeball, but...massive disappointments, both of them. Also, a very unceremonious exit for Ackbar. He deserved better.

The plot structure was weird. Way too much filler. The whole mutiny and casino subplots were pointless and easily circumnavigated by sensible decisions by the characters. Rey dropped out of the entire latter fourth of the film after being its heart and soul. Bizarre.

And I'm also left without any idea what's the gripping impetus for another movie. Empire Strikes Back at least gave its sequel a strong reason to exist (i.e. the recovery of Han). VIII just gives us a vague "rebuilding a rebellion", even though the First Order seems all but dead itself at that point.

Just sloppy writing.

There was certainly potential. The long, drawn-out pursuit could have been really affecting and the transports' destruction did get me going. The Kylo and Rey dynamic was awesome. Yoda's appearance and his decision to destroy the Jedi texts FELT right, even though I thought Force ghosts couldn't "interfere".

But there was so much squandered. The more I think about it, the more I hate it.

Ugh.
msw188
Mon, Dec 18, 2017, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
In reply to Cmdr Jameson:
See, I think Epi7 had a handful of "magical" moments along similar lines as the originals. And they were about the new characters, not nostalgia with the old. Lightsaber choosing Rey. Kylo 'thanking' dad. Little things like Rey getting super excited about a job offer - silly but fun. You could complain that it's more stale and predictable this time around, which yeah I get it, but I think Epi7 really had its heart in the right place with a lot of this.

In Epi8, I tend to agree with you a bit more. However, see below.

In reply to B Adams:
I agree 100% about the plot structure. However, I disagree about "so much buildup" with the dead characters. I mean, take Snoke. Who cared in-movie who he was? Who cared in-movie who the Emperor was in the originals? Both characters are just plot devices, existing to advance the actual main characters (Luke and Vader / Rey and Ben). I'd say they both succeeded at this, but the Emperor was better because he had a bit more time to be a true asshole to Luke, and his death was, rightfully, a major part of the climax of his film (plot structure indeed).

Phasma is a dumb character for sure, but I don't think there was any sense of "buildup" in-movie about this character. She's just another jerk for the good guys to beat up. I guess kind of like GM Tarkin, but with way less personality? Nobody cared who Tarkin was back in the originals, and I'm gonna claim Phasma is no more 'mysterious' than he was.

All of this leads me to an obvious point that I'm sure others have talked about, but it's really hitting home now for me. THE INTERNET MAKES IT HARDER TO ENJOY SERIAL MOVIES. Like, it was only people on the internet that made Snoke out to have some kind of mysterious identity / past / etc etc. With so many people making textual 'predictions/theories' about various characters, it's easy to forget that, in the movie's universe, there was no build-up or mystery at all.

I mean look, if the original Star Wars and Empire were released today, would people go to town on theories? "Who is the Emperor?" "Where does Lando come from?" "When will we finally learn more about Wedge?" "Who is Boba Fett????"
"Obviously Leia is someone important too..." Okay so that last one would have been right. But would people have complained after Return of the Jedi, that so many characters were "built up" and then wasted? But they weren't built up! Boba Fett just came in and did his thing! Same with Lando. Like, I don't care who Maz Kanata is! But I do want to know how she got the lightsaber, and apparently Epi7 did too (I assume they wouldn't have Han ask if they didn't mean to return to this at some point). It would have been nice to address this in Epi8, but maybe it will happen in Epi9.
Tarth of Brienne
Mon, Dec 18, 2017, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
I liked it but didn't love it. I really liked The Force Awakens. It took two viewings, but I thought it was edited tightly and had a great energy which overcame the lack of originality. I had also really missed the Han Solo of it all in the prequels. TFA really showed how much Han is a part of what people fell in love with the original movies.

The Last Jedi, however, is not tightly edited, and has a penchant for meandering. The movie is overlong. I wouldn't be surprised to hear it underwent rewrites a plenty in development. Han is missed. They're trying to turn Poe into the Han Solo of the new cast, but he doesn't have the same charisma or chemistry with his fellow castmates that Harrison did.

Laura Dern is offputting. She was in Jurassic Park, and she is in this. The story never gives us enough time attention to get to know her character to make us care about her self-sacrifice. Captain Phasma is another character that's underserved in this film like she was in the first. Also, if I never sea another sea cow, I'll be just fine thanks.

I do like that TLJ takes more chances, but it is a mishmash of ideas that don't cohere into one unified whole. Maybe a second viewing will help with that.
Chrome
Mon, Dec 18, 2017, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
"Like, it was only people on the internet that made Snoke out to have some kind of mysterious identity / past / etc etc. With so many people making textual 'predictions/theories' about various characters, it's easy to forget that, in the movie's universe, there was no build-up or mystery at all. "

Oh, I see now. I must've missed the Star Wars rumor bandwagon many here jumped on that made Snoke out to be a big deal. If I am remembering right, Snoke only had one scene in the previous movie, and while I think he looked cool and had potential, I certainly wasn't surprised Kylo Ren bested him on stage. Kylo, with his connection to Han, Leia, Luke, and now Rey has much more potential as a villain than Snoke ever did. Heck, the film even foreshadowed Kylo's reprisal with the lashing Snoke gave to Kylo earlier in the movie.

"It's time to let old things die", says Kylo. Indeed, says this fan.
bleakness
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 4:55am (UTC -5)
Did this movie have any memorable dialogue exchanges that did not talk about how grand the next plot point will be?
Jason R.
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 6:38am (UTC -5)
I am never going to see this movie. But to all the people who thought the holes in TFA were going to be filled, that Rey's miraculous lightsaber duelling and force powers were going to be explained, that Finn was going to develop into some kind of important character, that Snope's origin was going to be explained - a big and hearty HA! Serves you right.

Abrams is a charlattan, a cinematic huckster who masters the art of promising but never delivering. He comes in and sets up a bunch of mysteries to distract the audience from the reality that there's nothing there. And then he's long gone by the time anyone figures out they've been had.

This time I'm voting with my wallet.
Obi-Two Kenobi
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 7:12am (UTC -5)
“Abrams is a charlattan, a cinematic huckster“

To be clear, Abrams neither wrote nor directed this movie. Rian Johnson gets those credits.
Jason R.
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 7:25am (UTC -5)
Obi-Two of course. That's my point. We got all these enigmas set up in TFA like why is Rey a master lightsaber duelist and able to do Jedi mind powers with no training (despite even Anakin and Luke not having those abilities despite being uber force users) and the apologists told us it would all be explained. We asked why Finn was such a useless character and were told more would be done with him. We puzzle over Snoke's origin and significance. All would be explained said the apologists! It will all make sense!

Now Abrams is gone and what do we get? Well let me refer back to Kunni in UHF. What's in Abrams' black box Kunni? NOTHING! Absolutely NOTHING! You're so stupid! STUUPIID!!!
Jason R.
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 7:38am (UTC -5)
Nobody cared who Tarkin was back in the originals, and I'm gonna claim Phasma is no more 'mysterious' than he was.

"All of this leads me to an obvious point that I'm sure others have talked about, but it's really hitting home now for me. THE INTERNET MAKES IT HARDER TO ENJOY SERIAL MOVIES. Like, it was only people on the internet that made Snoke out to have some kind of mysterious identity / past / etc etc. With so many people making textual 'predictions/theories' about various characters, it's easy to forget that, in the movie's universe, there was no build-up or mystery at all. "

Are you kidding? No buildup or mystery? The shadowy leader of tbe first order, appearing as a 20 ft hologram, acted by famous Andy Serkis, and it's the Internet's fault for assuming he was important? LOL. And Captain Phasma, the stormtrooper in red, the captain of the guard, acted by lady amazon Brianne if Tarth, and according to you she's just some random underling to be tossed aside?

It's like Chekov's gun. It's just basic, elementary storytelling. It would be like if Darth Vader was gunned down halfway through ANH. Utterly pointless. A waste of tbe audience's time and an insult to their intelligence.
J Fenzel
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 8:55am (UTC -5)
One thing I'm learning here is that Star Wars and Star Trek fans are tough customers. Some people hate TLJ for the same reasons other people love it. A long time friend and big fan of the franchise, who read a lot of the SW novels, hated the fact that Luke had a moment of fear and thought about killing Ben. I didn't have a problem with that plot point given all Luke had gone through and what he had experienced. We all seem to be coming at this film wanting/expecting something far more than we would other movies.
Yanks
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Worse than TFA.

The visuals are out of this world, but other than that this movie dragged worse than TMP. I didn't think the score was impressive at all.

Good lord. I nodded off about 1/2 way through this too-long of a movie (2:20?)

I'm not sure I like the CG Leia. I just felt weird watching it. Especially when she didn't die during the movie. Anyone else feel funny watcher her throughout the movie?

When she was thrust into space and "made it" back to the ship, all I could think of was Mary Poppins.

It's sad when the best SW movie our of this new crop is Rogue One.

Disappointing.
Chrome
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 10:17am (UTC -5)
"Rey and Kylo switching would have been an epic move. So much is invested in Rey that her turning evil would have been huge."

True, but they would've needed to change the title or keep Luke alive, because Rey is literally the last Jedi by the end of the film. It's to Johnson's credit, I think, that people could actually ponder Rey turning to the Dark side or at least joining Kylo Ren at a crucial point in the film. What is interesting though, is that by the end of the film not only does one Jedi remain, but after Rey and Kylo's massacre, it looks like only one Sith remains too. And we all know Siths work in pairs. Who will Kylo recruit?
Jason R.
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 10:56am (UTC -5)
Chrome maybe I am wrong, but my understanding is neither Snoke nor Ren were actually Sith. I think the Sith are basically gone by TFA.
Chrome
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 11:22am (UTC -5)
"neither Snoke nor Ren were actually Sith. I think the Sith are basically gone by TFA."

You're right, Snoke is just a force sensitive with dark side powers. Though, the way Ren idolizes Vader, I wouldn't be surprised if he was more interested in Sith teachings. It would be a very unique situation if by the final film no other dark side users have been trained (especially because the closing shot of TLJ leaves us to believe Rey will train more Jedi).
msw188
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
To Jason R:
Maybe we just have entirely different views of what constitutes build-up. For instance, you seem to take casting into account, while I do not. Del Toro and Dern were cast into this movie - should we assume that their characters have 'more to them than meets the eye'? I don't think so. But you said you wouldn't watch this movie, so maybe I shouldn't use them as examples.

I don't want to sound like I'm repeating myself too much. You assign importance to Snoke based on his appearance in Epi7 (and his casting) - I disagree. I don't find him any more mysterious in Epi7 than I found the Emperor in Epi5. Crucially, to me, no one questions the history/identity of either the Emperor or Snoke. Instead of comparing to the Emperor, you seem to compare him to Darth Vader, which I think is way off the mark based on his actual usage in Epi7. But maybe that's just me.

Or are you comparing Phasma to Darth Vader? If this is the case, I just can't see it at all. Phasma does almost nothing in Epi7, in my opinion. Even killing the villagers in the beginning is Kylo's command, not hers. She makes Finn put his helmet back on. Basically, she's a crappy boss for Finn to hate. Still, my original Tarkin comparison might not have been great. Maybe better would be Boba Fett. He 'looks' different and maybe mysterious. He maybe has some sort of grudge against Solo, or maybe he's just a bounty hunter doing his job? Like Phasma maybe has a grudge against Finn, or maybe she's just his boss doing her job? I'm curious if people think of Boba Fett's unceremonious death in Jedi as some kind of let down, as though we expected his character to 'mean something'.

"It's like Chekov's gun. It's just basic, elementary storytelling. It would be like if Darth Vader was gunned down halfway through ANH. Utterly pointless. A waste of tbe audience's time and an insult to their intelligence."

I'm not sure how to answer this. Maybe there's a reason it's called Chekov's gun, not Chekov's gunman. If the identity and backstory of every character who showed up was important and/or somehow tied to the main plot of the story, the characters very quickly become less believable as people. Like, Han Solo is believable as a character partly because his past is unexplained. The Kessel Run is not important to the main story! (In case it's not clear, I'm not looking forward to the solo Solo movie.) I'm claiming that Snoke/Emperor have clear purpose in the story, and that this purpose has nothing to do with their 'identity' or their past. I'm also claiming that Phasma sucks because her purpose is weak, and she has no personality to go along with it. I think that's different from claiming that the movie hints that she's a mystery and then fails to deliver.

For what it's worth, I DO think that Epi7 sets up some mysteries, and that some of these have so far failed to be delivered upon. The main one that comes to mind is how Luke's lightsaber was found. Another might be Rey's parentage, although I would like it if the answer of Epi8 IS the answer. Another might be the origins of the map to Luke, which I don't think they're ever going to address. In my mind, it's like there were people all over trying to find him, piecing together his path based on where he had been seen last - I don't think we're supposed to assume that Luke himself made the map. But the movie is very unclear on this.
Jason R.
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
I don't know that backstory is the issue here or the point. We didn't need to know the Emperor's backstory in the original trilogy to know he was important and to expect a payoff - which we got in ROTJ.

My point is that you don't create cool characters with mystery and pomp just to unceremoniously throw them in the trash. It's just spitting in the audience's face. Yes Boba Fett was also discarded, but he was not played by anyone known and was not really played up - his popularity with the fans was more retrospective and I suspect accidental as I wonder if any of the filmmakers even realized what they had with him.

With Phasma and Snoke especially the filmmakers were just pissing on the audience. Those characters are like a practical joke. Ha ha! Stupid audience thought these guys mattered!
Jason R.
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
By the way msw on the subject of Rey, one of the biggest problems with her character in TFA was her insane baddassery, her ability to use the force with zero training, to lightsaber duel an experienced darksider like Ren and win. It all contributed to the criticism of her as a colossal Mary Sue.

The big refrain the critics got was that something in her backstory would explain it - she's Luke's daughter being the most common explanation I heard (not that this would really have explained it anyway since even Luke and Anakin couldn't do what she did with zero training)

But like all Abrams mysteries, Rey's backstory
had its UHF moment.... the answer was a big fuck you from the filmmakers or a wizard did it, who cares right?
Tempeh
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
Yanks:
"I'm not sure I like the CG Leia. I just felt weird watching it. Especially when she didn't die during the movie. Anyone else feel funny watcher her throughout the movie?"

You do realize that that it was a real person, not CG, right?
Chrome
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R.

Since you don't seem to mind spoilers, it's revealed in this movie that Kylo Ren was holding back on Rey at their first encounter because he still thought he could get her to join him. Snoke chews him out for it big time in this movie, too.

On Rey's combat abilities, Tatooine is a rough planet and Rey was basically surviving on her own without parents. That type of upbringing could make anyone a decent fighter. As for Rey's knowledge of the force, she seems totally inadequate in this movie, forcing Luke to start her training at square one.
DLPB
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 7:02pm (UTC -5)
It's a cash grab. Garbage. And I don't need to watch it to know it. Any amount of decent research can tell you it.
msw188
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
To Jason R:
Yeah I guess it's just a matter of perception in the end. I never saw Phasma as 'played up' during the movie, mainly because in my opinion, she never did anything! As opposed to Boba Fett who was actually clever enough to catch on to Han. Similarly with Snoke, I never got the feeling that Epi7 was 'playing him up' either, although it seems at least half the internet disagrees with me.

On Rey's Force abilities, I understand the Epi7 criticisms here, but I don't buy them. I guess it's all a matter of where you draw the line on magic having rules. Like, okay, we've seen Jedi in the past require training. But wait, have we really? Luke has the session with the ball, but even then Ben doesn't 'teach' him how to do it, just says to believe and then he can do it. He gets to the trench, Vader knows Luke's got the Force rolling with him, but Ben certainly never 'taught' him how to channel the Force while flying. It just happens. No one 'teaches' him how to call the lightsaber to himself in the ice cave. When we get to Yoda, there's a tangible sense that Luke's training is about belief more than 'how'. So what are the rules on begin good at using the Force?

HOWEVER it is certainly true that Luke needs help in believing. And maybe that's the reason some people don't like Rey - she doesn't need that help. She basically already wants to believe. And epi7 makes it out like, as soon as she starts believing in the stories, she can do them. And I was fine with this, and definitely did not expect some kind of 'explanation' for it. I don't think it contradicts any previous 'rules' of the Force. But I understand people disagreeing on this, especially if they took the Prequels' version of 'training' to heart (YUCK).

As for calling her a "Mary Sue", um I guess sort of? Like yeah, she doesn't have any serious flaws in Epi7. But I still think she has personality and spunk. And she selflessly tries her best to do the right thing most of the time (like Luke). Maybe most importantly, in my opinion the actress has charisma. All this is enough for me to enjoy her and root for her. It's infectious seeing how excited she gets at the thought that Han Solo will offer her a job. Like, after all the bullshit thus far, that's the most exciting thing for her! A job!
msw188
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
Sorry for the double post, just wanted to add:
What about Leia? Nobody 'teaches' her about the Force in Epi4/5/6, but no one questions it when she's able to feel Luke calling out to her. More than that, she knows roughly where to go. I'm going to claim that that moment in Epi5 is awesome. It's just so cool to me that she didn't need Ben Kenobi, she didn't need Yoda, fuck it when the time comes, it just happens. She can find Luke. Rey is that concept taken to the next level. But I can understand people who feel that Rey takes it too far. I'm just not one of those people. Maybe it helps that, like with Leia, I get the sense in Epi7 that she never grasps precisely what she has done. She's still missing "control, control, you must learn control!" At least I manage to get that out of it - the scene with the stormtrooper kinda contradicts this I know.
Jason R.
Wed, Dec 20, 2017, 6:44am (UTC -5)
Msw I get it - it's about where you draw the line. For me being instinctively drawn to your twin brother who calls out to you isn't the same as expertly dueling and defeating a dark jedi in a lightsaber duel, performing jedi mind tricks or repairing starships.

My main beef with Rey isn't purely that she's a perfect character in TFA, but that she needs no help from anyone and pretty well carries the story single handedly rendering all other characters superfluous.

That is really the cardinal sin of TFA more than any concerns about the plausibleness of Rey's technical abilities. If there is going to be just one character in the story who matters (excluding the villain, Kylo Ren) why bother with anyone else? What is the point of Finn in TFA? He contributes nothing to the story!

I gather that Finn is as useless as ever in TLJ.
Dylan
Wed, Dec 20, 2017, 8:16am (UTC -5)
When you read these comments do you feel more like Rey Skywalker or Kylo Vader is writing these posts?

The view from the top of the mountain is the same, although how you enjoy the journey is up to you.

This movie was fascinating. Many moments to ponder. Also the comments made me appreciate the SW movies richness even more.

The journey of a jedi and terran is an arduous one although with a band of friends who appreciate the way every day is filled with light of many suns.

May the force be with you!


Tornado
Wed, Dec 20, 2017, 8:56am (UTC -5)
One thing that's bothering me that I haven't seen discussed elsewhere: I'm not buying Finn's character. For someone raised from childhood to be a killing machine, he seems remarkably well-adjusted -- charming, even. Given his background, it seems like he should have at least a touch of the awkwardness exhibited by, say, Seven of Nine after her liberation from the Borg. Not to that extent of course given that assimilation is much more invasive -- but at least *something* to suggest that he's not some normal guy who had a normal life before joining the Resistance.
msw188
Wed, Dec 20, 2017, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
To Jason R:
The only other thing I'll say about Rey's abilities is, I never saw Kylo as some kind of expert dark Jedi. I think Epi7 paints him as a spoiled brat who has the Force and is surrounded by people that don't. And he's insecure to boot. And of course, he's got the injury during the Finn and Rey duels. But yeah, it doesn't matter that much. A person will draw the line wherever.

As to Rey "carrying" the story... yeah she does. She is the main character for sure. But I don't think the secondary characters are useless. Might be another perception thing, I'm not sure. Early on, she and Finn have to work together (pilot plus shooter in the Falcon) to escape. It's Finn's idea to use the poisonous gas - okay this ends up being unnecessary, but I think it shows early that he works as a useful sidekick. I'll agree he's useless in that awful Rolly-monster sequence.

In the second half of the movie, I don't know. It's easy to say, Rey resisted Kylo on her own, she escaped the room on her own, and was hiding just fine, etc. On the other hand, one could say that Rey was stuck on the base until Finn and Han show up. Furthermore, unlike Luke in Epi4, Rey has almost nothing to do with blowing up the planet. Finn is the one who singles out Phasma to lower the shields (perhaps comparable to Kenobi disabling the tractor beam), Han's the one setting the explosives, and Poe is the one shooting the stuff. But I'll agree that all of this stuff is secondary to Rey besting Kylo. But hey, that's what they are. Secondary characters.

That was all about plot. As far as character, Finn's a bit of a blank slate. Not super compelling. And Poe is a bit of a caricature, also not super compelling. Compared to, say, Ben and Han and Leia in Epi4, they fall flat for sure. I'd say Epi8 does slightly more Finn, and a bit more with Poe, but still not anything great. In any case, both characters feel more 'fun' than interesting, per se. But at the very least, I think they both feel human, with genuine feelings and emotions. This is better than the Prequels (which yeah I know, isn't really saying a whole lot).

To Tornado:
A friend of mine brought this up in connection with Finn's reaction to Rose's kiss. But I kinda wasn't buying it. I think you're right - Finn is portrayed as just a normal dude. It doesn't bother me personally all that much, maybe because we never really see how any other storm trooper acts. I'm also not sure if they're conditioned to be 'killing machines', or just obedient (after all, they're notoriously bad at killing if a character has a name). But mostly I think this is a case where the 'fun' factor is more important than the 'logic' factor. Happens throughout movies, and again it's where you draw your own line I guess. For me, this is overlookable.
Yanks
Wed, Dec 20, 2017, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
@ Tempeh
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 4:20pm (UTC -6)
Yanks:
""I'm not sure I like the CG Leia. I just felt weird watching it. Especially when she didn't die during the movie. Anyone else feel funny watcher her throughout the movie?"

You do realize that that it was a real person, not CG, right?"

I was not aware that all the filming was competed before she passed.

Some pretty horrible makeup then. She looked terrible.
Obi-Two Kenobi
Wed, Dec 20, 2017, 8:27pm (UTC -5)
Carrie Fisher, rest her soul, was 60 and had been fighting opiate addiction for decades. There’s really only so much make-up can do.
Jericho Drakane
Wed, Dec 20, 2017, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
For me, this movie was definitely better than TFA for a variety of reasons. Yes, it wasn't perfect, and I don't think it lives up to the originals (my theater showed scenes from the original trilogy before starting the show). However, it had its own identity and took risks, which I don't think that TFA did.

For me, the two strongest parts of this film were Luke and Kylo Ren (despite Ren's stupid lightsaber).

For Luke, I enjoyed seeing his new capacity as a teacher, and the talk with Yoda was great. R2D2 was somewhat underutilized, but I really liked the callback to A New Hope with playing the old video for Luke to watch. Luke's final scene with the confrontation with Ren was just epic (WITHOUT resorting to a massive lightsaber duel, no less).

Previously, I really didn't enjoy the whiny Ren in TFA. He never felt like a threat from the moment he took off his helmet. The development he got in this film felt like it game him something that set him apart from being Just Another Sith Dude. His almost nihilistic attitude in wanting to "kill the past" gives him something like a core belief build a proper villain character around for the next movie.

To a lesser extent, I like that Rey seems to be going in a more Grey Jedi route here, and I hope that it holds true for the future. Changing the dynamic for this trilogy from Light vs Dark to something else, like Balance vs Nothing (or what have you) could help establish these movies as being truly different from the originals.

Negatives? Sure. I think Snoke was underplayed for what he was supposed to be, and I'd like to see more information about him come up later. Also, this movie managed to take from both Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi at the same time, and here's hoping that they've run out of material to copy from (please don't start stealing ideas from the prequels).
Joseph B
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 10:59am (UTC -5)
I didn’t love this movie, but I did enjoy it.

The main problem for me — as others have already stated here — was the whole “casino” sublot which ultimately only truly connected with the last scene in the movie. Was it important? Yes — As an indication that the Jedi will continue as evidenced by the last scene. Could it have been done more expeditiously? Most defenitely!

I did enjoy just about averything involving Luke (well, perhaps not the “milk” scene); and the Rey/Kylo/Snoak stuff was all awesome. The movie had humor/pathos/action *and* surprises; and served to expand the Star Wars mythos.

It gets three-and-a-half stars from me, and slots in equal with TFA, but still well below ANH and ESB.

Can’t wait to see it again, though!
Peter G.
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
@ msw188,

"HOWEVER it is certainly true that Luke needs help in believing. And maybe that's the reason some people don't like Rey - she doesn't need that help. She basically already wants to believe. And epi7 makes it out like, as soon as she starts believing in the stories, she can do them. And I was fine with this, and definitely did not expect some kind of 'explanation' for it. I don't think it contradicts any previous 'rules' of the Force. But I understand people disagreeing on this, especially if they took the Prequels' version of 'training' to heart (YUCK)."

So what you're saying is that Ep 7 & 8 are basically reboots because they seem to be contradicting the 'yuck' canon established in the prequels? I don't have a problem with these movies being treated as reboots since I basically think they are, both in terms of rebooting plot lines as well as in-universe setting and logic points. The only downside of that premise is that it would mean the producers lied in order to trick people into coming to see sequels. And if they didn't lie then it means they trashed continuity, so either way there a serious objection in there. A young Jedi requiring no training to be an awesome duelist/pilot/anything not only goes against canon but in fact goes against the spirit of SW in general, which is that it takes hard work and perseverance (and yes, training) to become better-tuned into life around us and to connect to reality. It's all structured on a basic yoga-type system, and believe me these systems are built on the idea of countless hours of training and learning. You don't just end up a lightsaber duelist because you "believe" or because you grew up on a scrappy planet. That could make you good molding material but then you have to be formed. Even Mozart needed music lessons. The entire Vader arc is specifically about how training him was a risk because training him would make him dangerous should he choose the wrong path. His choice is why he became Vader rather than Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Master, but his training is why he was dangerous in the first place.

Yes, Luke had trouble believing, and that was his character arc. But Ep IV didn't dwell on exactly what Obi-Wan taught him, the story didn't have time for that. We're also later led to realize that Obi-Wan could appear to him any time, which suggests that he was receiving regular training from a force ghost. That's speculative, but since we don't see Luke even pick up a lightsaber for practice ever (like we see Rey do here) it seems unavoidable to conclude that he did so off-camera and that the story isn't about that. Even in Ep VI we see that Luke's struggle isn't so much whether he can best Vader in combat but whether he'll resort to the dark side to do so, which he does. The actual skill isn't the point. But with Rey and Kylo in Ep 7 the skill is all there is to see because she doesn't go through any change during or after the fight; there's nothing for us to learn about her there other than the fact that she's a badass with a sword for some reason. Even the choice of whether to finish him was removed by deus ex machina. And I'll parenthetically mention also that Rey regularly exhibits borderline histrionic behavior including anger, despair, and other emotions that would mostly be categorized as dark side force use the way we're being shown it. But there's no focus in the script on *what kind of person* she is in the story, or even whether she has choices to make on that score. The only thing we get is the fact that she can defeat anyone (even Snoke) and accomplish anything. She doesn't even seem to care about her own progress, barely raising an eyebrow at the crazy things she accomplishes. You can categorize that as "she has faith" if you like, but to me that's just another way of saying that the writers don't give a darn about things like personal quest (a la Joseph Campbell) and instead want her to be maximally marketable as a female action hero who can do anything. That's fine and dandy for some other film, but in Star Wars we're supposed to be learning that 'wars not make one great.' When the producers feel that they do then this is what we get.
NCC-1701-Z
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
Somewhere in the Star Trek universe, Shinzon is watching the Resistance leadership make one incompetent move after another and going "These morons can't strategize their way out of a paper bag."

Sadly, Poe got downgraded from badass to freaking imbecile.

And for Snoke to go out like that after all the buildup in TFA...what a disappointment. Same with Phasma.
warp10lizard
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
@NCC-1701-Z

'Somewhere in the Star Trek universe, Shinzon is watching the Resistance leadership make one incompetent move after another and going "These morons can't strategize their way out of a paper bag."'

Are you implying that Shinzon survived, traveled back in time and traveled to a galaxy far, far away to watch the events of this movie? I mean Q I could believe, but...
John W
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 5:36pm (UTC -5)
When I came out of the theater, my initial thought was "I liked it, but I need to process it" By the end of the night, the movie was already falling in my estimation.

If you described the events of the movie to myself, I'd be the first to admit that it sounds great...in theory.

A slow burn of a pursuit by the First Order against the last remaining Resistance ships? It sounds tense and ripe with drama. Something like nu-BSG's '33'

Alas, on screen, it's a dull slog to the point of being borderline comedic, complete with a side quest right out on a RPG. "Go find the codebreaker, return to the fleet, board the enemy vessel, and disable the tracker! You have 18 hours!"

That's the movie in a nutshell. I liked the ideas, I liked the concepts, but the execution was wanting.
msw188
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
To Peter G.
Yeah see, some things I just can't agree with:

"We're also later led to realize that Obi-Wan could appear to him any time, which suggests that he was receiving regular training from a force ghost. That's speculative, but since we don't see Luke even pick up a lightsaber for practice ever (like we see Rey do here) it seems unavoidable to conclude that he did so off-camera and that the story isn't about that."
I never got the feeling that Luke saw ghost-Obiwan pretty much ever, besides what we see onscreen. I also never got the feeling that Luke got extra practice with anything offscreen during Epi4. Between Epi4 and Epi5, maybe a little bit?

"it takes hard work and perseverance (and yes, training) to become better-tuned into life around us and to connect to reality."
Well, I half-agree with this. I get the sense from Luke's time with Yoda that it is the balance, control, and "connecting to reality" that is the difficult thing that takes perseverance and training to master. But I don't see why the same has to be true for flying/combat abilities. Epi4 Luke's already good enough to fly an X-Wing and channel the Force - beats Vader with Han's help. Epi7 Rey's already good enough to wield a lightsaber and channel the Force - beats Kylo with the Chewie's help (shot injured Kylo).

"You don't just end up a lightsaber duelist because you "believe" or because you grew up on a scrappy planet."
So what makes Epi4 Luke a 'better' pilot than the other rebels, to the point where he can make it through the trench and aim without his computer?

"But with Rey and Kylo in Ep 7 the skill is all there is to see because she doesn't go through any change during or after the fight"
This is the real problem. It's not really about whether Rey is good at using a lightsaber or not, and whether or not that somehow makes more or less sense than Luke being good in an Xwing. It's about whether or not you find the Rey-Kylo duel as a natural conclusion to an arc, or you just see an already infallible character continuing to be infallible. I don't think either of us will convince the other.

The pro-Rey crowd (me) will claim that we do have an arc here, and that it's similar to Epi4 Luke's. Kid with shitty life is forced into grander tale, finds out he/she is special, and by the end proves it to himself/herself. Neither ever really 'failed' at all that much, but the arc is about overcoming larger and larger obstacles and believing in yourself more and more, until you learn to trust yourself completely and use your newfound badassery to beat the final challenge. For Luke, this is taking Ben's advice to turn off the computer; for Rey, this is seeing the lightsaber 'choose' her. There is still some challenge from each such point (actually finishing the trench, or actually fighting injured Kylo), but is it really in any doubt beyond that point what the outcome will be?

But is Rey's badassery really "newfound"? A key point for me is that Rey is continually surprised. She's surprised that her and Finn manage to escape Jakku, she's surprised that Han wants to offer her a job, she's surprised when the mind-trick works, and holy shit the actress nails the look when the lightsaber flies into her hand. So the character journey is one of self-discovery, which is a small kind of change when compared to the amazing Epi5/Epi6 duels, but I'm going to claim it's not that far off from Epi4 trench.

On the other hand, the anti-Rey crowd might claim that her 'surprise' that I'm praising is stupid - why is she surprised to succeed when she never fails? It's just an infallible Disney character winning all the time! Or they might claim that they never get a believable sense of surprise out of her, because the script doesn't focus on this. It's a surprise, oh okay we did it let's get moving escape now hug later etc. I mean, yeah maybe sort of. But how much does Epi4 Luke really fail at things? What is he bad at? Barfights, yeah. And look, I'm not going to claim that Epi7 is better than Epi4. There's lots of things Epi4 does better than 7, regardless of originality. But I still like Epi7 and I still like Rey a lot.
msw188
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
More:
I tried to work in some answers to some of your other points, but that whole post is already kinda disjointed and all kinds of long.

"I'll parenthetically mention also that Rey regularly exhibits borderline histrionic behavior including anger, despair, and other emotions that would mostly be categorized as dark side force use the way we're being shown it."
This is something I really found myself wishing that Epi8 focused on. Maybe would be too similar to Epi5 focusing on Luke's failings, but I think it would have been the more natural way to go. Because I agree with you - Epi7 Rey is young and emotional. She beats Kylo partly using hate, I'd say. Even though she has a 'good' reason to hate him, it's still a Dark Side kinda thing. I thought this was what Luke would focus on with her, but that it would be tough because he would have to admit that it was his hate that helped him beat Vader in Epi6. This seeming contradiction would lead Rey to question Luke, etc etc, hey let's write our own script for Epi8!

"In Star Wars we're supposed to be learning that 'wars not make one great.'"
Yeah I agree. Wasn't Rogue One pretty bad? But yeah, Epi7 doesn't have a lot to say on that score. Similarly to Epi4. Epi5 had a lot to say; Epi8 seems to be trying to say something new along these lines, but I'm not sure how successful it is. People who like Epi8 more than Epi7 can say Epi8 at least tries to say something new at all, while Epi7 doesn't have much new to say. And yeah, I agree with that to a large degree. But I think Epi7 says it's old things better than Epi8 says its new things, at least as of now.
J Fenzel
Fri, Dec 22, 2017, 8:43am (UTC -5)
Sounds like s lot of fans are upset because Rey isn't Luke, not his character type. For instance, I think Rey was genuinely tempted to join Kylo when he asked her, not because she is evil but because she wanted to belong and find her place after living on her own her whole life (it helped to confuse matters for her that Kylo had just killed the big bad guy and fought by her side). Conversely, Luke would never dream of joining Vader on the dark. His whole hope was to turn him. Rey is no Luke. And frankly I like that. Her story arc will be different, and I prefer that to a Luke-warm rehash of eps4-6.
msw188
Fri, Dec 22, 2017, 11:48am (UTC -5)
J Fenzel,
Yes, I very much liked the Rey-Kylo ideas in Epi8. I just wish that this was used as the climax of the movie, rather than Luke-Kylo + Rey can lift rocks.

I will probably watch Epi8 again in a few days, and I'm looking forward to it. Maybe now that the dumb humor won't catch me off guard as much, I can sink my teeth more into some of the movie's ideas.
Skarfles
Sat, Dec 23, 2017, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

'....it's revealed in this movie that Kylo Ren was holding back on Rey at their first encounter'

He never says that. Not sure where you got that from. And it sure seems like he was trying his damnedest to kill her in TFA. I didn't see any holding back.


@Peter G.

'Even Mozart needed music lessons.'

Not really. He was playing minuets at four and writing his own pieces when he was four or five. I'm not sure he needed any lessons. :) He did have some, but I'm sure he would have figured it out on his own without help. Give him an instrument, with no lessons, and he would still have been remarkable. Same with Rey. Give her a lightsaber, and who knows?

It may sound like I'm defending Rey having incredible abilities with little teaching and in a way I am, but I do agree that she was too powerful too soon.


I think this movie, and TFW before it, both suffer from one major flaw. Not enough politics. I mean in-universe politics. The original trilogy (4-6) had enough to set up the whole scenario and to let you follow people's motivations. The prequel trilogy (1-3) had (I think) more than enough, but at least it provided reasons for people to do things. In 7 and 8, it just seems like good guys vs. bad guys, with no real backstory of why this is happening.

For instance, why is Snoke in charge? More basically, who the hell is he? How did the First Order come into power? Was it because of a corrupt government or a military coup or beings from another part of the galaxy or what? How did Ren become such a powerful figure? The Resistance is fighting them. Why? It's not really made all that clear. The Resistance is good, the First Order is bad. That's pretty much all we know. Unless I'm missing something. And I'm sure someone will let me know if I am. :)

And the setup and main driving force behind this whole movie is based on a ridiculous idea. That a fleet of First Order warships can't destroy one Resistance ship, because they are too fast. That's idiotic. They could have brought in a hundred more ships and set them right next to the Resistance ship and destroyed it in about 10 seconds. Or maybe send a TIE interceptor smashing into it at lightspeed. :P

There are lots of plot-holes and nonsense in this movie, but I still liked it better than TFW. I thought Adam Driver/Kylo Ren was much more interesting in this movie. And they are just as much about him as they are about Rey. If not more so.

2 1/2 stars.
Skarfles
Sat, Dec 23, 2017, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
I don't know why I kept saying TFW for The Force Awakens in my last post. Obviously I meant TFA. LOL. I'm sort of tired, and not quite wwake, I mean awake.
Chrome
Sat, Dec 23, 2017, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
“He never says that. Not sure where you got that from. And it sure seems like he was trying his damnedest to kill her in TFA. I didn't see any holding back.”

I know it seems like Kylo was using his full powers, but if we take Snoke’s statement at face value, then Kylo wasn’t doing his best against Rey. In this movie, Kylo and Rey seem at least evenly matched, as shown by them ripping apart the same lightsaber using their powers.
Skarfles
Sat, Dec 23, 2017, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
What statement? All I saw was him telling Kylo that he was beaten by a girl who had never held a lightsaber. Nothing about anyone holding back.

I'm not saying you're wrong necessarily, but I don't remember anything saying Ren wasn't trying. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but if what you say is true, that changes the whole tenor of the first two films. So more proof is needed. :)

Anyone else know? I think it would almost be better if he had held back to try and convert Rey later. I just didn't see it myself.
msw188
Sat, Dec 23, 2017, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
Skarfles:
Even though I disagree about some of your specific examples, I agree on the whole - there is not enough political backstory in Epi7. I don't care why Snoke is in charge any more than I cared why the Emperor was in charge, but I do consider it a pretty serious flaw that, when the First Order blows up a bunch of planets, I have no clue what planets they were or why it matters. That whole sequence, with Huxy giving his silly hate-speech and them firing, and then even down to Finn being like "the First Order did it!" and somehow not immediately deciding to run away even faster, this is probably the worst few scenes in Epi7 for me. When I rewatched to get excited about Epi8, that was the point where I stepped away to get a bowl of ice cream. Luckily, the ice cream was delicious.
J Fenzel
Sun, Dec 24, 2017, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Agree that TFA and more so TLJ lack political explanation as to why the First Order is bad and for that matter why the Resistance (rebellion) is good. We accept it because Luke and Leia were always on the good side, but if they were not present the movie does a poor job showing why the Resistance is happening. It's so missing one could arguably fill the void with a plausible back story in which the First Order is benevolent government trying to provide a peaceful, secure existence for its citizens, but always under threat of attack from a zealous group of religious fanatics (Jedi) whose mystic teachings tell them the First Order is evil. The only people we are presented with as bad guys, and shown reasons for their badnes, are the arms dealers and war profiteers. If you think about it that kind of implies moral parity between the First Order and Rebels. "Today they blow you up. Tomorrow you blow them up."
Brian
Sun, Dec 24, 2017, 11:12pm (UTC -5)
Star Wars taken over by corporate conglomerate and a procession of amateur "filmmakers" proceed to bumble and fumble their way through two useless movies. It sounds so cliche when written out like that but it's exactly what we have.
It's like when some Chinese company decides to reverse engineer a piece of American or German engineering and, sure, they come up with something that looks similar and even functions on a limited basis, but it quits working and falls apart within a week. That's what TFA and TLJ are. A bad copy that only looks real from a few feet away. I could write 10 pages outlining exactly what went wrong but to be honest, but I like how a poster here put it--there is no magic. The look on Obiwan's face when Luke said the name he'd not heard in years--that moment when something CLICKED in your mind and Lucas had you hooked. It's just not here.
Don't waste your money, or time.
Go watch the originals again. Watch the prequels. Watch Rogue One. Watch Star Wars Rebels. Read the Thrawn trilogy again. Do whatever you have to do to get your Star Wars fix. Cross your fingers and pray that some of the spin-off movies build on the momentum of Rogue One (which while not perfect, puts the main trilogy movies to shame).
Sid
Mon, Dec 25, 2017, 7:40am (UTC -5)
Saw TLJ Saturday. I was underwhelmed.

TFA was the safe movie to make. Essentially ANH remade. TLJ has the spectacle but once again the First Order are about as competent as bag of wet noodles. You've got a few hundred people to wipe out and yet they can't get in range. They've got a massive army, high tech, cleanly pressed uniforms... yet still. These ships only have two speeds. Slow and light speed.

Snoke is just another villain who's ugly/scarred and uninteresting. The bad guys have to wear black, and have a scar at the very least. Okay.

The battle at the end looked great, but again... if the cannon beam can punch through a huge wall why in the hell would you fly a ship that's coming apart right into the beam? You wouldn't last a second. You'd just be wasting another ship. (Wait, isn't this planet supposed to be hidden and heavily armed? Hmm)

Are the producers flipping the romantic possibilities for the next film? Rose kisses Finn. Rey has to see Ren with his shirt off. Poe introduces himself to Rey at the end of the film.

Luke - the promise at the end of TFA was thrown out, literally, at the beginning of TLJ. I almost wish they had found him at the end of this film so that he could come back in Ep9 and kick everybody's ass once and for all. Oh well.

People will say this film is not without its share of problems. I think that's an excuse. Whether it's a 'comic book' movie or a franchise tentpole or a small independent feature, basic storytelling is always in play. I'm not looking for perfect, but I am looking for a solid story that makes sense and TLJ for the most part doesn't.
Skarfles
Tue, Dec 26, 2017, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
@J Fenzel

'It's so missing one could arguably fill the void with a plausible back story in which the First Order is benevolent government trying to provide a peaceful, secure existence for its citizens, but always under threat of attack from a zealous group of religious fanatics (Jedi) whose mystic teachings tell them the First Order is evil.'

That is pretty much my whole point right there. I couldn't tell who was good or bad (though obviously I knew who was who). If had seen this movie without any knowledge of the previous films, I certainly wouldn't be able to tell who was bad or good. Neither of them do anything too terrible or all that nice either.

Some background would have helped a lot.
UBM
Wed, Dec 27, 2017, 4:29am (UTC -5)
Both TLJ and in retrospect TFA feel SO empty. You never see any people except the First Order and the Rebellion (exception: curiously isolated casino town and shaky-cam Maz Kanata). It feels like a stage play where they move painted backgrounds around. For me that removes all stakes. Who is the rebellion fighting for? Who is the first order conquering? Why should I care who wins or loses? No idea. I saw a screenshot from Episode I just this weekend - Palpatine and Anakin talking, against the backdrop of a city, ships in the sky. I'm no fan of the prequels, but I felt that screenshot summarized pretty well what's wrong with TFA and TLJ.
TFA had the scavenger planet and some more scenes, but one of the worst decisions - in my opinion - in that movie was to cut the scene at the capital planet. I felt nothing when the planets were destroyed. Who lives there? No idea, we're ony told. Violates basic "show, don't tell".
The only thing TLJ has going for it in my opionion is diversity, but it turns out that alone is not enough for me.
Rogue One, for all its problems, did much better in that department, in my opinion.

Aside rant: Really? You take away one thing from Zahn's book and it's Dreadnaughts?
Obi-Two Kenobi
Wed, Dec 27, 2017, 10:44am (UTC -5)
"If had seen this movie without any knowledge of the previous films, I certainly wouldn't be able to tell who was bad or good."

Oh really, the black-costumed caped guy wouldn't give it away for you? Seriously, this isn't rocket science, folks.
NCC-1701-Z
Fri, Dec 29, 2017, 8:14am (UTC -5)
Star Wars VII - The Force Awakens
Star Wars VIII - The Last Jedi
Star Wars IX - Who Hits the Snooze Button and Goes Back to Sleep
The Ubiquitous
Fri, Dec 29, 2017, 10:04am (UTC -5)
The Last Jedi is all over the darn place. The art design is striking, the cinematography is great, and some of the decisions are interesting. Unfortunately, the tone is uneven and the themes are lumpy. With two exceptions, characters mostly do things because the script tells them to, and not because it makes sense for them to do it. There is one really good character relationship that is satisfyingly thought through---Kylo/Rey---but something in the execution is off. It's pretty badly edited, and the story is misconceived.

It isn't really that bad. If it were a Trek movie, it would be The Search for Spock with the first three scenes of The Voyage Home tacked on for good measure.

What I disliked the most was how it deliberately subverts expectations to its detriment. Where it sets up, it invariably has a reverse payoff. Things are edited together to make you draw a conclusion, and then for no reason but to subvert your expectation the opposite happens.

To some extent, movies like this should be predictable. You should be able to watch it carefully, with an eye for detail and directorial/editing decisions, and figure what kind of things might happen. As Mr. Plinkett said, "You're not making The Usual Suspects."
Trent
Fri, Dec 29, 2017, 10:17am (UTC -5)
Star Wars is just fundamentally silly. This is the third trilogy now about a kid who, because of bad parenting and bad influences, becomes a dorky, mass murdering, black wearing, super villain who wants to conquer the universe and can only be stopped by "the light side". This might have been fresh in Lucas' original trilogy, but not anymore. It's all silly.
Chrome
Fri, Dec 29, 2017, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
“This is the third trilogy now about a kid who, because of bad parenting and bad influences, becomes a dorky, mass murdering, black wearing, super villain who wants to conquer the universe and can only be stopped by ‘the light side’.”

The original trilogy wasn’t about that at all, though. It was mostly about Luke becoming a Jedi and reuniting with his father.
msw188
Sat, Dec 30, 2017, 10:34am (UTC -5)
So I watched Epi8 again yesterday, and I'm happy to say it felt better on a second watch. It still has all the problems, sure, but somehow the silly humor is more overlookable when it's no longer unpleasantly surprising you. The early stuff with Luke, which i was slightly iffy on the first time through, came off better for whatever reason. I still wish the movie was arranged so that the climax was more about Rey, but maybe knowing that that wouldn't be the case allowed me to get more into the actual climax of the film.

So yeah, I still stand by all of my earlier complaints, but I ended up taking in the positives more on the second pass - great Yoda, conflicted Luke, Rey genuinely in search of belonging, Kylo desperate to be able to 'let go'. And as I think everyone agrees, great visuals.
R.
Sat, Dec 30, 2017, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
Just saw this and it wasn't quite as bad as I expected, though I didn't particularly care for it. It had more soul than the generally soulless 'Rogue One' but lacked the goofy charm of 'The Force Awakens'. I echo some of the above sentiment that 'Star Wars' has been Disney-fied and had whatever quality that made it unique paved over in favour of marketable assets.

One thing that really unnerves me about this new iteration of the franchise is that I have no desire to watch the new films again. I could watch the original trilogy and the prequels (yes, even 'The Phantom Menace') again without issue but I physically couldn't make myself watch 'Rogue One' again. It's a rather sad indicator of the lasting impact of these sequels. :/
J Fenzel
Sat, Dec 30, 2017, 7:44pm (UTC -5)
I think one problem we original trilogy fans have with the new movies is that we are not watching them as impressionable, adolescents. We're somewhat jaded adults now and no film can capture our imagination like the first time we saw Star Wars. The Disney-era films have all been really good I think, but none of them impacted me like SW did when I was 11 years old. Yeah, we can pick apart Last Jedi, but if we're honest we can pick apart the original trilogy too. Don't even get me started on the Ewoks, or the first 3rd of Return of the Jedi being a campy waste of time. Time will improve the new trilogy, just like it did Empire Strikes Back, which when it came out was considered a disappointment by a lot of people. But I will say that several moments in Last Jedi hit me with emotional resonance (The throne room scene, seeing the Falcon's silhouette on Crait's salty terrain), and that is a feat not too many films can achieve.
Geekgarious
Sat, Dec 30, 2017, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
A key ingredient which Lucas brought to the table and is missing from these films is the worldbuilding. The prequels, for all their problems, managed to make the galaxy feel bigger. The Disney-era films are doing the opposite, which isn’t helped by the fact that the Resistance and First Order basically feel like the Rebellion and Empire all over again. In The Last Jedi, Johnson throws a lot of curveballs at the audience by not doing what is expected. That’s nifty but becomes kind of gimmicky the third or fourth time it happens.
SlackerInc
Sat, Dec 30, 2017, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
I wholeheartedly cosign Trent’s 12/16 comment. Mostly it’s just corporate assembly line sludge, trading on nostalgia. Feh.
R.
Sun, Dec 31, 2017, 4:05am (UTC -5)
Are these films actually aimed at adolescents, though? The audience when I went to see it was composed primarily of children around the ten to twelve mark (who were suitably enamoured of those little bird-penguin things on Luke's island) and men in their late twenties/early thirties who probably grew up watching the original trilogy (who were salivating over the space battles and lightsaber action). A fairly generous audience when all is said and done. I feel like adolescents might be too wise to the oh-so-clever self-referential dialogue and the overplayed plot twists?
Objective Otter
Sun, Dec 31, 2017, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
“Mostly it’s just corporate assembly line sludge”

What exactly does this even mean? About 95% of American films have corporate involvement in some way or another. Talented writers and actors have huge pricetags which pretty much require the backing of a big company and studio. If you can’t be bothered with any specific examples to back up your critique, then you’re just coming off as biased and unintellectual.
Joseph B
Sun, Dec 31, 2017, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
Is Snoke still alive?

There are rumors out there that a deleted scene which may be included on the Blu-ray indicates that Snoke not only knew how to “Force project” his image, but that he was also concealing his true form! Rey and Ren may have seen what only what he wanted them to see.
J Fenzel
Sun, Dec 31, 2017, 8:15pm (UTC -5)
Objective Otter, agree.

Corporate does not necessarily = bad

As you say, producing quality films and widely distributing them takes big dollars. Corporate entities have them. And Disney has a good track record on good movie production.
The Ubiquitous
Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 2:56am (UTC -5)
If anything, The Last Jedi fails from having too much individual initiative, in this case on the part of Mr. Johnson. If VII played it safe because of corporate interest, VIII took risks that only someone with total creative control would---and it failed as a result. TLJ's main problems were in its worthless subversion of expectation and its failure of pacing. These are not problems associated with product-by-committee.

All you might blame Disney for would be TLJ's failed humor in which it breaks the tone of a scene by undercutting something serious with a bad joke. (This was also a problem with GotG 2.) This problem is a lot less serious than its incoherent plot and lopsided pacing.
John Harmon
Tue, Jan 2, 2018, 7:47am (UTC -5)
"What exactly does this even mean? About 95% of American films have corporate involvement in some way or another."

@Objective Otter it means these Disney movies feel like they were made by committee and lack magic. The original and prequel trilogies lacked huge corporate influence. The original Star Wars was an indie movie with a big distributor.

Lucas made a good deal with that first movie so retained his creative control for the other two. And was so rich by the prequel trilogy that he was able to make those even more his singular vision.
John Harmon
Tue, Jan 2, 2018, 7:50am (UTC -5)
Remember, subverting expectations is all that matters. Even if it causes your narrative to fall flat or makes no sense. The only thing that matters is subverting expectations. That automatically makes it good
Del_duio
Tue, Jan 2, 2018, 11:13am (UTC -5)
Saw it the other day finally. Overall, I'd say I liked it but I have to see it again for it to sink in better.

Quick thoughts:

Seemed like Rey wasn't in it that much compared to Ep. 7. I'm not one of those "SHE IZ A GURL A MARY SUE IT SUX!" people and liked the character from the other movie and Ridley does a good job.

Kylo is a lot better in this movie. The dude did a great job acting, loved it. Those mind meld conversations with Rey were pretty interesting IMO. I also thought that when he turned and killed Snoke he was going to become a good guy for real but I do like how they've set him up for the next movie.

That little kid at the end w/ the broomsaber- Perhaps he'll be older and star in the next one against a more experienced Kylo Ren who now has firm command of the Order??

Finn/ Whatsherface romance: Trash

The casino planet was a waste of scenes. Nothing here did anything for me except from maybe BB-8 pelting fuckers with coins lol.

I WISHED they would've had force ghost Yoda in this movie and when he appeared I was all YEEEEEAAAAAHHH!!!! I also like how they kept him in character from the OT and not like how they had him act in the prequels. He looked a lot more 'puppet like' in this, and that's not supposed to be an insult by any means.

Luke and R2-D2? Fucking awesome, loved it. I loved all the little scenes where Luke revisted his old pals and the Falcon. His wink to C3PO and 3PO's "Master Luke..." Awesome. The golden dice and all of that, just awesome.

I wanted Luke to come out a storming badass, and instead was surprised at what they did with him. Luke about to kill a youngling?? Damn that was a pretty big shock, I'm glad Kylo made it seem worse than it actually was. I guess it was cool but it was so far off from everything they'd already established with his character in the OT. I did like the supreme Jedi mind trick at the end but god dammit they're killing everybody off!

When the admiral w/ the purple hair went to lightspeed into the Dreadnaught or whatever it was. That scene looked spectacular. The choice to not use an exploding sound was a great one, it gave the whole thing a lot more impact. If Lucas has his way I'm sure he'll go back and make the ship go "NOOOOOOOOooooooo!!!!!" so keep his ass far far away from this thing.

Flying Leia... I didn't like it. It looked like magic and nobody ever says "Hey wow that was sort of weird wasn't it?" If they had kept it where she croaked out in the cold of space it would've been better I think.

Poe Dameron. YES! Yes finally they give this guy some shit to do and I thought all of his scenes were awesome! Maybe in the next movie they can give Poe, Rey, AND Finn enough to do instead of just some of them.

Chewie and the fried chicken thing in front of the non-fried chicken thing: HAHAHAHAH!! Basically the only joke that worked for me. That whole "Can you hear me now?!" joke at the beginning was terrible. I think if you're going to use humor in Star Wars, have the droids do it as that seems to work better.
Peter G.
Tue, Jan 2, 2018, 11:45am (UTC -5)
@ msw188,

Sorry for the late reply, I didn't keep track of this thread for a bit:

"The pro-Rey crowd (me) will claim that we do have an arc here, and that it's similar to Epi4 Luke's. Kid with shitty life is forced into grander tale, finds out he/she is special, and by the end proves it to himself/herself. ***Neither ever really 'failed' at all that much, but the arc is about overcoming larger and larger obstacles and believing in yourself more and more, until you learn to trust yourself completely and use your newfound badassery to beat the final challenge.*** For Luke, this is taking Ben's advice to turn off the computer; for Rey, this is seeing the lightsaber 'choose' her. There is still some challenge from each such point (actually finishing the trench, or actually fighting injured Kylo), but is it really in any doubt beyond that point what the outcome will be?"

I put stars around the section I'd like to discuss because it's at the core of what I'm getting at about the new trilogy. What you describe is *exactly* what is going on with TFA and TLJ. It's about a girl who doesn't know her potential yet and has to grow as a force user to overcome larger and larger obstacles. In short, it's the prototypical hero journey like a simple RPG with level-ups and all. She gains levels until she can beat the boss. At least, that's the arc they're playing out so far.

But what you describe is exactly *the opposite* of the character arc shown in Ep 4-6. Luke's arc is about a guy with enormous potential and is initially told about this uber-terrible evil Empire and how destroying it is the end-all of good things to do. He dreamt of being a rebel even before the movie starts. In Ep 4, yes, he begins the hero's journey to beat the bad guys and learns to harness his power for the first time. However here's one divergence already: he doesn't, and *can't*, do it alone. Not only does Luke not, as you suggest, never fail at anything, on the contrary: he's mostly shown to be a loser. He's stuck on the farm with no life, doesn't have the success his friends have had at the Imperial Academy (where, btw, he dreamt of joining!!) and the one thing in his life he can brag about is sharpshooting rodents on Tatooine in a speeder. Even in the Death Star Luke doesn't just 'win' by himself and in fact Obi-Wan is mostly responsible for whatever they did achieve there. The business of the princess escaping was permitted only by Vader, not accomplished by Luke and Han. The only one thing in Ep 4 Luke actually does accomplish is in the trench, and even then it's with Han's backup. So much for Luke as a Mary Sue equivalent of Rey.

But then look at Ep 5-6: Yoda's entire view of life is inherently opposed to the idea that a hero's journey is to overcome larger and larger obstacles, to 'beat the bad guy.' There is no end to how deeply we can learn from "wars not make one great"! It's the cornerstone of the trilogy, a line designed to say it's not about power. Yes, Luke initially sees his quest as being about beating bigger and better bad guys, and Yoda chastises him for this way of always looking to the horizon at what he'll accomplish next. It's not about that! It's about the now, about being connected to reality, to others. The force isn't a weapon to wield with greater and greater accuracy, and that is exactly why Anakin fell. And look at Luke's arc in Ep 5: he fails at every single possible challenge there is. He fails in the cave, fails his training, fails at Cloud City, and loses to Vader. He still thinks the force is something to use to beat up the bad guys, and that's why he is a failure at this point.

In Ep6 we finally see the "return of the Jedi", but it doesn't happen when Luke finally has the baddassery to take down Vader. That is especially not when he becomes a Jedi. He becomes a Jedi when he sees the horror of what he's done to his father through brute force, with both of them now missing their right hand and each of them partly mechanical. That moment is horror at what he'd done is when he becomes a Jedi, when he realizes that being a better killer is the worst goal. The entire film arc is about how the hero's journey isn't at all about overcoming greater obstacles and defeating everyone: it's about overcoming *the self* and mastering one's darker impulses; to be at peace; to feel the flow of life; to use one's powers to give, never to attack. It's essentially an anti-heroic story about how trying to become a classical hero is the path to the dark side. So the initial set up of this 'evil' Empire is the shibboleth that Luke has to let go of. He has to stop seeing life as being about hating some overarching bad thing.

And so here we are, finally, watching a new trilogy whose message appears to be that being the biggest and baddest ass is the name of the game. It's like watching a video about happiness and the message they give is "happiness is working your way to the top of the company!" It's the most corporate sentiment possible, no wonder these films have no soul. How much do you want to bet that the finale in Ep 9 is precisely about blowing up those terrible Space Nazis and how Good will always triumph because Evil is dumb?
Dom
Tue, Jan 2, 2018, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G., thank you for putting into words my thoughts on the Rey-Luke comparison. You nailed it. Luke is one of my favorite film characters precisely because of the way he learns and grows over the course of the OT. Luke isn't a super hero, he's a hero who reaches a moral awakening. I like Rey quite a bit, but her story is more that of a conventional superhero.
SlackerInc
Tue, Jan 2, 2018, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
@ObjectiveOtter: "What exactly does this even mean? About 95% of American films have corporate involvement in some way or another. Talented writers and actors have huge pricetags which pretty much require the backing of a big company and studio. If you can’t be bothered with any specific examples to back up your critique, then you’re just coming off as biased and unintellectual."

I'm certainly not saying corporate interference is limited to this movie, or even a recent phenomenon (it destroyed Orson Welles's masterpiece "The Magnificent Ambersons" for instance). But for non-"tentpole" films, there is a little more leeway for the creators to just try to make something good, without it being test-marketed to death and made into a paint-by-numbers product.

To give you an idea of my taste in cinema, here are my top 50 movies released in the 2010s:

http://www.flickchart.com/Charts.aspx?decade=2010&user=SlackerInc&perpage=50

There are a few fairly big budget studio films in there: "The Avengers", "The Martian", "Deadpool", "Passengers", "Prometheus", "Blade Runner 2049", "The Amazing Spider-Man", "Spider-Man: Homecoming", "Rogue One", "X-Men: Days of Future Past". But 40 of the 50 cannot reasonably be called "corporate" at all; and those 10 just come across to me as far less formulaic, derivative, or designed-by-committee than either "Last Jedi" or "Force Awakens". (And note that the presence of "Rogue One" on that list proves that I don't just reflexively dismiss recent Star Wars films without giving them a chance.)

@TheUbiquitous: "If anything, The Last Jedi fails from having too much individual initiative, in this case on the part of Mr. Johnson. If VII played it safe because of corporate interest, VIII took risks that only someone with total creative control would---and it failed as a result."

I have seen this claim over and over, and it perplexes me. Sure, this movie wasn't a carbon copy of one single movie like TFA was. But there was plenty of stuff that rhymed with other Star Wars movies. So the white stuff is sand, and that makes it completely different from Hoth? Please. Luke is on a rocky island instead of a swamp, and the "dark place" with a disturbing reflection of the young Jedi is a hole in the ground instead of a tree, so it's nothing like Dagobah? The throne room is red, so it's nothing like the struggle in the Emperor's presence in "Return of the Jedi"? They're on the run from Imperial (er, First Order) ships in transports rather than the Millennium Falcon, so it's nothing like "Empire Strikes Back"? Sheesh.

"All you might blame Disney for would be TLJ's failed humor in which it breaks the tone of a scene by undercutting something serious with a bad joke. (This was also a problem with GotG 2.)"

IMO the humor was one of its saving graces. (I do agree that GotG2 was awful.)

Fundamentally, I blame corporate caution for the fact that we're inexplicably back to a small band of rebels against a mighty empire headed by a mysterious and powerful Force user and his Sith henchman, despite the routing of the Empire in the original trilogy. We are never shown how that return to the status quo came about. But mark my words, 20 years from now they will have found a way to hit that reset button a couple more times. Disney's chairman said no one alive today will be around to see the final Star Wars movie released. But I will bet you anything that whenever that time comes for our great-great-grandchildren, it will still be scrappy rebels and newly minted Jedis* fighting against impossible odds as they are pursued by bad guys wearing the same uniforms and speaking with the same British accents.

*The very name of the movie is a lie. It should be titled, like the song-naming convention that used to be popular, "(I Am Not) The Last Jedi".
James
Tue, Jan 2, 2018, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
Is Disney really planning to make a SW movie every 2 years for the next 100 years? It won't succeed, not a chance. Every franchise needs a break from time to time, if only for the reason that the previous generation always makes it uncool. Star Trek was tremendously uncool in the 70s, and Star Wars likewise in the 90s. People are going to be so sick and tired of Star Wars (as I am now) sooner or later that it will crash and burn spectacularly.
SlackerInc
Wed, Jan 3, 2018, 4:20am (UTC -5)
@James: No, every year—not every two years. But yes, every two for the “saga” and standalones in alternate years.

I agree with you, and it’s funny, because when I searched for a cite on their plans to keep cranking these movies out forever, I was thinking about how they killed the golden goose with “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”. And even though I didn’t use that in my search terms, it came up in the Wired article I found, which was written before TFA came out:

https://www.wired.com/2015/11/building-the-star-wars-universe/
————
The company intends to put out a new Star Wars movie every year for as long as people will buy tickets.

It can all go south, of course. The whole endeavor could become crass, commodified. Eventually a distributed paracosm might just feel like branded content, like every movie and TV show and Lego set is just a commercial for other movies, TV shows, and Lego sets. “We all have to be careful of the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire trap,” Evans says. “When that show premiered and was once a week, all I wanted to do was tune in. The minute they changed it to five days a week, it seemed a lot less special. Let’s not flood the market.”
————

There’s an ironic statement in that article:

————
“Star Wars is its own genre,” Kasdan says. “Like all genre, it can hold a million different kinds of artists and stories. They say ‘Buddha is what you do to it.’ And that’s Star Wars. It can be anything you want it to be.”
————

I agree with him in theory, hence my disappointment. I do wonder, although he would never say so publicly, if Kasdan agrees with me that “Rogue One” fulfilled that potential but the other two did not.
J Fenzel
Wed, Jan 3, 2018, 8:01am (UTC -5)
We can go on for another 200 comments about how TLJ is a mess, too corporate, too indie, too much "screw your expectations, fan base", too much out of place humor, too much pushing the envelope with new Force powers, etc., But this movie made 1 Billion dollars in 18 days. Yes, Dr. Evil, 1 Billion. A heck of a lot more people liked it than hated it. If it was truly a piece of crap the box office would have collapsed after the first weekend when word of mouth got out. I think we, myself included, can't see the forest for the trees when we discuss TLJ here. But it's fun to do, right?
Peter G.
Wed, Jan 3, 2018, 9:23am (UTC -5)
@ J Fenzel,

Transformers movies did well too. People even enjoyed them. What's your point?
Chrome
Wed, Jan 3, 2018, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
If we're making comparisons to older franchises, I'd at least assert this (and TFA) don't feel as corporate as the prequel trilogy, to which all can be described as expensive CGI blockbusters without much to add to the Star Wars universe. The prequels had a few nice character moments but lacked a real protagonist for the three films. The sequel trilogy is different. We have very recognizable character archetypes and a path for each of them: the underdog hero with humble beginnings, the ace pilot, the troubled son, the wise old man, the dark figure manipulating things in the background. That's why these films are getting better reception by critics.

Also, regarding corporate committees, they definitely aren't always a bad thing. Because of rejections by such committees, guess how many times "A New Hope" had to be rewritten by George Lucas? Four times! Originally it was story about a Space Commando and Han Solo was a green-skinned monster with gills. It wasn't until Lucas adapted the story to be like an Akira Kurosawa film with swordplay and ancient force masters that 20th Century Fox became interested.
J Fenzel
Wed, Jan 3, 2018, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
Touche` Peter G.

But in the case of Transformers The core fan base apparently loved it because it did so well at the box office despite the critics destroying it (I don't remember Transformers fans berating Age of Extinction but I could be wrong). In the case of TLJ, the critics love it in addition to a phenomenal box office, which suggests a general consensus that the movie was well written, acted, and produced (unlike Transformers). But it seems most of the core SW fans posting here think Rian Johnson and Disney botched it and are damaging the franchise. That's just real interesting, to me at least. I guess in one sense Johnson and Disney failed in a spectacularly successful way.
SlackerInc
Wed, Jan 3, 2018, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
@JFenzel: I’m not sure it’s so clear you can interpret the box office that way. After being burned by TFA, I vowed not to contribute to their take this time. But then my son went to it the first weekend and was very angered by it. He wanted me to see it so I would understand his ire. So he paid for both of us to see it together after it had been out for a couple weeks. I’m not sure it’s so clear you can interpret the box office that way. After being burned by TFA, I’ve vowed not to contribute to there take this time. But then my son went to it the first weekend and was very angered by ads and he wanted me to see it so I would understand his ire, and we could make fun of it together. So he paid for both of us to see it together after it had been out for a couple weeks.

That’s two tickets purchased well after word of mouth got going, one for someone who already actively disliked it, and one for someone who was very skeptical. It has become such a cultural phenomenon that it is hard to escape if you want to be able to carry on conversations with people, pro or con. I will admit that I have enjoyed those debates, so I guess it does have value for me in a weird way. I would still prefer they made them differently, however.

It’s also hard to know how many of the tickets bought after the first couple weeks were by people who loved it and wanted to go again and again. For Disney, it doesn’t matter as it’s all contributions to their bottom line. But it doesn’t necessarily tell us what percentage of people are really positive on this movie. Has there been any polling?

And even if most people do like it, the most popular movies and TV shows are usually not those of the greatest quality. I am therefore most disappointed in all the critical raves. But then, critics nearly universally panned “The Orville” and “Passengers”, and I believe they are wrong there as well.
SlackerInc
Wed, Jan 3, 2018, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Sorry, somehow when I edited the text I dictated from my phone, it kept the rough draft along with the edited version.
Jason R.
Wed, Jan 3, 2018, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
"It’s also hard to know how many of the tickets bought after the first couple weeks were by people who loved it and wanted to go again and again. For Disney, it doesn’t matter as it’s all contributions to their bottom line. But it doesn’t necessarily tell us what percentage of people are really positive on this movie. Has there been any polling?"

I think it's pretty wishful thinking on the part of the contrarians to imagine that TLJ is anything but a roaring success, given these numbers. If you hate what Disney has done with the franchise, too bad - they are certainly not going to be changing any time soon. The empire won. Get used to it, and to wandering in the wilderness, cause you're going to be on the outs for a long time. May as well build yourself a little hidey hole in the swamp because like Yoda, you ain't leaving for a looong time.

It's why I said on the Star Trek Beyond thread that the Trek franchise still had hope, because those movies have plainly fizzled financially, which means there is potential for a rebirth. But Star Wars is going to be on this path for a great many years. If Disney had its way, we could be looking at a decade or more of this.

My personal view is that the Star Wars franchise, much like Trek, was built on a kind of lifestyle fandom that transcends momentary box office scores or any single movie. That reservoir kept Star Wars alive for years between the end of the original trilogy and the prequels, and for years more between the prequels and the new Disney films. The fans who go to comic conventions and dress up as characters, buy the novels, figurines, infuse themselves with Star Wars, they're the carriers for the virus.

What made Star Wars the pop culture titan it is today (and Disney's supposed eternal cash cow) is a reservoir that in my view, can't be replenished in today's environment and I suspect won't be.

Without that reservoir, Star Wars is mortal. Disney will milk a few billion more out of it, but it will just fade away until it's forgotten for good.

At least, that's my theory anyway. We'll see.
Del_Duio
Thu, Jan 4, 2018, 7:16am (UTC -5)
Whether or not they make a new Star Wars movie every year for 100 years or not, I will say that my initial reaction to hearing they were going to be making standalone movies at all was not a good one.

Something like, "What? Why?!"

You know how much I want to see the "Solo" movie coming out? 0%. I shit you not. And guys I LOVE Star Wars. This new one wasn't completely bad at all but I don't care for all these side missions they're going to pump out.

And as consistently good as the MCU movies have been overall, it's getting to that point where they're all starting to bleed together too. Don't kill a good thing!

I think they'll flood and kill the franchise with too many SW movies. The Originals were not only better because (a) Well, they were just BETTER but (b) We've had all this time to watch and re-watch them and dissect and revere them. Classics, all. And yes that includes Return of the Jedi which is unfairly pooped on in retrospect I feel. Ewoks aside, it has the best space battles, and some of the very best scenes of the entire line.

"Gooood.. GOOOODD!!!"

The Emperor scenes are friggin' gold still!

Rogue One this and Rogue One that. No soul. Characters that we knew going in were disposable but holy shit try to write some that the audience actually CARES ABOUT. If not for the Vader scene at the end- a huge fanboy wankfest to be sure but it was awesome- that movie would be borderline terrible BECAUSE the characters all sucked (minus the droid).
SlackerInc
Thu, Jan 4, 2018, 7:41am (UTC -5)
@Del_Duio: I'm fascinated by how nearly opposite our tastes are (except that we both apparently like the original "Star Wars" and "Empire Strikes Back"). For me, "Rogue One" is the only good SW movie Disney has released; and I loathe "Return of the Jedi"--in particular, for the cackling Emperor and his lightning hands.
J Fenzel
Thu, Jan 4, 2018, 7:54am (UTC -5)
For me it is the Ewoks in ROTJ. I just can't get past teddy bears defeating the deadly, evil Empire garrison.
Chrome
Thu, Jan 4, 2018, 9:35am (UTC -5)
Yeah, can't say I exactly bought into to all the Star Wars spin-off movies. I mean, it's starting to become like Marvel where there's so many of them you just can't find the time to see them all in theaters.

I haven't seen Rogue One, not because I have anything against it, but when I heard about it it was like "What, this isn't the sequel to the new trilogy we just got invested into? Hmm...I'll wait for blu-ray."

I have no idea whether Star Wars rich enough to sustain all these films at once (I mean, at least Marvel has a popular comics that have already been well-received to draw from). It is interesting, though, that there are enough people out there who are dismissive of the new trilogy and would rather hitch their wagons to Rogue One and the other spin-offs.
Geekgarious
Thu, Jan 4, 2018, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome
"I have no idea whether Star Wars rich enough to sustain all these films at once (I mean, at least Marvel has a popular comics that have already been well-received to draw from)."

And there in lies the key ingredient that Lucas brought to the table - a sense of imagination and a talent for world-building. Choices in the Disney-era films like shoehorning the aliens from the cantina into Rogue One are making the universe feel smaller instead of bigger. In The Last Jedi, Johnson recreates several classic scenes and throws curveballs at the audience, but still recreates classic scenes nonetheless.

It's a real shame that the franchise wasn't given to someone with more of an imagination. I found that Rogue One just made me appreciate the radio dramas more in the same way that Star Trek Into Darkness made me appreciate The Wrath of Khan more. Or that X-Men: The Last Stand made me appreciate the real Dark Feenix Saga more.
The Ubiquitous
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 1:09am (UTC -5)
J Fenzel

The only number that matters is the drop off rate. For TLJ, we're talking Eragon numbers, according to Forbes. 68.8 percent. That's the word-of-mouth on TLJ.
msw188
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 1:27am (UTC -5)
Hi Peter G,
I think we're going to end up simply agreeing to disagree, but I'll try to answer some of your points.

"In Ep 4, yes, he begins the hero's journey to beat the bad guys and learns to harness his power for the first time. However here's one divergence already: he doesn't, and *can't*, do it alone."
As I tried to point out, Rey has, in some sense, less to do with destroying the new station than Luke did with destroying the Death Star. So right, he can't do "it" alone and she can't either.

"[Luke's] stuck on the farm with no life..."
Being stuck on the farm sucks, a lot like being stuck scavenging for old rusty parts to get shitty green food from your asshole boss. Epi4 does a 'better' job showing Luke as frustrated though, because Luke is (much) more easily frustrated than Rey is - he's a borderline whiner on occasion. She's not. I don't think being less whiny than Luke makes you a "Mary Sue", any more than I think being more whiny than Rey makes you an "unlikable character". In any case, Epi7 has the great scene where we see Rey looking at the old woman cleaning the parts - Rey never whines like Luke, but she does see that she is potentially doomed to a shitty life. In some ways (not all ways!), that scene is more powerful than a lot of the early Luke stuff for me.

"... doesn't have the success his friends have had at the Imperial Academy (where, btw, he dreamt of joining!!)"
I don't remember it this way at all. In fact, I remember it much more as Luke's uncle guilting him into staying to help on the farm one more year - I don't think it's ever implied that Luke failed at the Academy while his friends succeeded. He just was never able to get a chance to leave home. So I never thought of this as a failure on Luke's part, just being in an unlucky situation.

Moving on to the Epi5/6 stuff, I can't argue there. Luke's character arc in those movies is much stronger, or at least deeper, than Rey's is in Epi7. But I think you are pushing some knowledge of Epi5/6 onto your claims about Epi4. I like Epi4 a lot, and I like Epi7 a lot, because I think both are pretty good versions of a simple "Hero's Journey". I think Epi4 has a bit more going for it in some ways, and I think Epi7 has a bit more going for it in other ways.

Interestingly, Epi8 does try to make sure that Rey, having been established as a hero in Epi7, is no longer 'destined to win'. In fact, she doesn't accomplish much of anything on her own in Epi8. All she really manages is turning down Kylo and escaping, much like Luke is only able to turn down Vader and escape in Epi5. But Epi5 made this the climax, and it was amazing. Epi8 put this kinda in the middle, and it loses some power that way. That's why I (and others) have been complaining about the plot structure of Epi8.
Peter G.
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 10:08am (UTC -5)
@ msw188,

I'll leave off the Luke/Rey comparisons because it seems in the end that it's going to boil down to "do you like him/her" and that's not a debate, just an opinion. I don't know why you want to look only at Ep 4 Luke while we already have Ep 7 & 8 Rey as a comparison, but fine.

"Interestingly, Epi8 does try to make sure that Rey, having been established as a hero in Epi7, is no longer 'destined to win'."

Where is she ever shown to have a spectacular failure? Or to even be shown to be a fool, or coming short? The main difference between the story of an epic hero (destined to win) versus the kind of hero Lucas wrote about is that the latter has to realize the limitations of who they were and to grow. In a very important sense it requires seeing yourself as a fool, to be able to laugh at your previous sense of self-importance, and to know that you'll feel this again, and again, each time you move forwards in wisdom. Do you think it's an accident that Yoda was portrayed as being so silly? He knew that if you can't see yourself as being foolish then you're going to cling to your old self.

As for Rey's particular actions in Ep 8, let's list what she does to see if you're right that she isn't 'destined to win':

-She one-ups Luke in conviction to do the right thing
-She outdoes Luke in his 'first test' by going to the dark place successfully and scaring him, showing that she's braver than he is.
-She subsequently goes straight there again, mastering it, having some magical experience, and showing how much cooler than Luke she is.
-She then decides she knows better than him and leaves. In contrast to Ep 5, here she's shown to be right whereas in Ep 5 Luke's leaving was portrayed as a sad event.
-She then approaches Kylo and Snoke just as Luke does in Ep 6, so that is on parity/
-She personally dispaches Snoke - or at least that's what it looked like, since Snoke insisted he knew Kylo's every thought and I don't see how Kylo would sneak one past him.
-Then in the fight against the Knights of whatever, she holds her own against fighters that even give Kylo (the best of them) a run for his money, and appears to be his equal.

So where in this story is she a failure, or needing anyone's help?

" In fact, she doesn't accomplish much of anything on her own in Epi8."

True, but that's because not very much happens in Ep 8. That's a story and plotting problem, rather than any statement about her inability to succeed. She comes out of every scenario in the film unscathed and generally looking better than everyone else. Even in her final encounter with Kylo she gets out ok while he's knocked out like a loser. Let's face it, she's the protagonist of a video game thus far. However we also know that Abrams likes twist endings so how this will ultimately conclude will most likely be a result of him trying to trick the audience rather than taking her character in any logical direction. I guess we'll see. Or rather others will, as I'm out of this series. It took one Star Trek reboot and two Star Wars ones for me to get the picture, so I guess I'm a slower study in Star Wars. Or maybe I'm more offended when my Trek is treated shabbily. It's probably that.
Chrome
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 11:48am (UTC -5)
"And there in lies the key ingredient that Lucas brought to the table - a sense of imagination and a talent for world-building."

Disney did buy Lucas' stories for episodes seven, eight, and nine, so it's not like they didn't have his ideas to work from. It's also debatable whether Lucas was still bringing those things to the table in his recent Star Wars works. Lucas had been avoiding making Star Wars films for awhile after the original trilogy and only came back because he wanted to work with CGI. To his credit, the CGI in the prequel movies does look pretty good, but I'm not sure i can say the same for his storytelling. It's really debatable whether a sequel series would have done as well under Lucas as its done under Disney. I mean, at least Abrams and Johnson are Star Wars fans who are doing stories they want to tell, unlike Lucas who was apparently so tired of Star Wars he just wanted to get rid of it.
J Fenzel
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
Chrome, I recently re viewed the original Lucas Six films. And although at the time the CGI in Phantom Menace was considered pretty good, I was amazed at how much better the battle on Hoth looked (20 years older, stop-motion tech) than the final battle between the droids and Gungans. It seems to me, in some cases, Lucas' vision somehow comes across better when he was restrained by money and technology. Phantom Menace is like watching a video game. And the silly slapstick humor, I'm not a fan.
msw188
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
To Peter G:
Very interesting! We really have some opposite interpretations of several key aspects of Epi8 Rey:

"-She outdoes Luke in his 'first test' by going to the dark place successfully and scaring him, showing that she's braver than he is.
-She subsequently goes straight there again, mastering it, having some magical experience, and showing how much cooler than Luke she is."
See, I saw this as very similar (maybe too similar) to Luke failing in the cave. I mean, in the first bit, I got the impression that she lacks self-control. Luke tells her to fight the urge to explore this, and she doesn't/can't. Then when she goes down there, there's a cool visual sequence but it's not cool for Rey - she learns nothing, she "never felt so alone", ... to me this whole segment came across as failure. Not close to Luke's Epi5 arc, but definitely not epic hero either.

"-She then decides she knows better than him and leaves. In contrast to Ep 5, here she's shown to be right whereas in Ep 5 Luke's leaving was portrayed as a sad event."
Again, totally opposite here. In fact, she's shown to be wrong - her goal was to turn Kylo, and he does not turn. It's not as powerful as Luke's failure in Epi5, but nowhere in here did I get the impression that she was 'right'.

"-She personally dispaches Snoke - or at least that's what it looked like, since Snoke insisted he knew Kylo's every thought and I don't see how Kylo would sneak one past him."
Again, total opposite. I saw this as Kylo killing Snoke - like Snoke 'sees' that Kylo has made a choice to kill his 'true enemy', which is true - except that Kylo sees Snoke as his 'true enemy'. This is why Rey is surprised at the end - she thinks Kylo killed Snoke because he meant to turn, but in fact he killed him to supplant him as super-asshole.

"-Then in the fight against the Knights of whatever, she holds her own against fighters that even give Kylo (the best of them) a run for his money, and appears to be his equal."
Agreed, Rey is consistently shown to be equal to Kylo in terms of combat abilities. I'll just mention again though (I think I said this somewhere up the page) that I never got the impression that Kylo is some kind of master. He's just a brat who has spent most of his time being the only person in tune with the Force (besides Snoke).

"True, but that's because not very much happens in Ep 8. That's a story and plotting problem, rather than any statement about her inability to succeed. She comes out of every scenario in the film unscathed and generally looking better than everyone else. Even in her final encounter with Kylo she gets out ok while he's knocked out like a loser. Let's face it, she's the protagonist of a video game thus far."
I kinda agree with the first couple sentences here. Epi8 has a lot of stuff, but very little is 'accomplished' by anybody except Kylo (if you're like me and see him as killing Snoke) and maybe Luke (if you consider one-upping Kylo an accomplishment). And I don't like the idea that Kylo got knocked out, and she just left. We should have at least seen the scene of her making that decision. But with all of our differing interpretations of the events of the movie you posted, it makes sense that we can't agree on that final sentence.
msw188
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Peter G,
My previous comment was to address your specific examples. To your more global point, I think Rey is shown to have a bit more character than you have given her credit for, but at the same time I agree that she requires less character-growth than Luke does. And even though I think she does have to come to grips with the fact that she was wrong about Kylo turning, this is less her fault than Luke's Epi5 failures were his fault. She was 'foolishlessly optimistic', while Luke was foolishlessly arrogant and rash. Maybe she's a bit rash too, but she escapes with her hand intact. Maybe here is a problem - I will contend that Rey has character flaws, but I will agree that the films have not put her in a position where she has had to pay very dearly for them. This is in stark contrast to Epi5 Luke, and a big reason why Epi5 is much better than Epi8. But part of this is what makes these films 'new' as compared to the old ones - in these films, the antagonist is a child just like the protagonist is. In other words, even though I agree that Luke and Rey are different, I think the differences between Kylo and Vader may be closer to the root of some of your problems with these new movies.

I don't know, this all just sort of came to me now. Kylo can't make Rey pay for her big mistake in Epi8, as opposed to Vader easily making Luke pay for his mistake in Epi5. Curiously, while Rey's wrong when she thinks she can turn Kylo, when it's Luke's turn to believe that he can turn Vader, he's the one in the right. Another side to all of this might be - when Luke makes mistakes in training, he has the infinitely wise Yoda to make it clear to him (and the audience) that he fails. When Rey makes mistakes, she has the flawed Luke unsure of how to handle it. So even there maybe it is the difference between Luke and Yoda as teachers that contributes to making Rey appear 'too good'.
Geekgariousric
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
The prequels gave us numerous new environments and vehicles. I agree that they weren't good films, but they had a ton of world-building. As did the old novels. World-building in Disney's films is almost non-existent as shown by the fact that both sides are still using X-wings and tie fighters. And we are still hearing about death star tech. It's a symptom of the obsession with nostalgia which is making so many Hollywood products feel hollow. Even Stranger Things, a pretty good show, leans way too heavily on 80s nostalgia to be great.

I think another real problem with these films is the way the overt feminist bent is coming through. In Episode VII, the only one of the big three who is presented as having had a passable life is Leia. Han has regressed, as has Luke. And Finn is almost completely disposable after breaking Poe out of his cell. The script for Episode VIII has Finn and Poe fail or make mistakes over and over. I like strong female characters - that's why I'm such a fan of the way Leia was presented in the radio dramas. But in these films, as with Voyager, it seems like there is no alpha male hero, only alpha females. This is pretty clearly Kathleen Kennedy's doing. I'll agree with the subset of disgruntled fans from the old days who feel she was the wrong choice to run Lucasfilm in spite of her impressive career.
SlackerInc
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
Radio dramas?

TheUbiquitous is right! I just checked Forbes, and here are the deets:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2017/12/24/box-office-star-wars-the-last-jedi-drops-69-tops-100m-losers-club/#63c3a981dc05
————
So, here’s the indisputably lousy news: Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi lost more money between its first and second weekends than any film ever, by a lot.
————

A look at the rest of the top five in that biggest drop off list is interesting:

Harry Potter 7.2
Batman v Superman
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Captain America: Civil War
Jurassic World

All movies seen as disappointing by many fans of their respective franchises. So in actuality, the word of mouth is not so good for TLJ after all.
Geekgarious
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc
"Radio dramas?"

Yes, the A New Hope radio drama is my single favorite piece of Star Wars media ever produced. I keep going back to these every time a new movie is coming out. More info here.

https://www.tor.com/2015/12/16/sounds-of-star-wars-the-audio-dramas/comment-page-1/
Hector
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
Audio is such a great medium for sci-fi, I daresay the genre would not be as creatively bankrupt it is today if books had transitioned primarily to radio instead of cinema. It would have been nice if imagination and not flashy visuals were the order of the day.
Geekgarious
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 9:21pm (UTC -5)
That’s exactly why I wrote this.

The Sound of Her Voice: How NPR’s Star Wars Taught Me to Build My World

https://enlighteningponderings.com/2017/05/11/the-sound-of-her-voice-how-nprs-star-wars-taught-me-to-build-my-world/
SlackerInc
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 10:15pm (UTC -5)
Huh!

I wonder if this is the same as the record (on vinyl) I had as a kid with ESB on it?
Geekgarious
Sat, Jan 6, 2018, 7:20am (UTC -5)
No, as the radio adaptation of ESB is around five hours long, consisting of 10 half-hour episodes and spans five CDs.
Ian
Sat, Jan 6, 2018, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
I watched the Last Jedi and I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it. I don't hate the film, I don't dislike it. But at the moment I don't feel a strong desire to see it again which, I think says something.
R.
Sun, Jan 7, 2018, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
Ian, I had the same experience of this film. I held off on going to see it for two weeks (I wasn't willing to potentially have to endure another midnight premiere after 'Rogue One') and it exceeded my expectations but I actually have no desire to see it again.

As to Disney making a 'Star Wars' film every year for the next century, I say beware the Ides of March. Our beloved 'Star Trek' was in the midst of a golden age in the early '90's (three spin-off shows, a movie series and a large fanbase) and a little over a decade later it was off the air - a footnote in television history. It has yet to truly return from that purgatory. Disney would do well to heed the lesson there.
HawgWyld
Sun, Jan 7, 2018, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
Ian, that's exactly how I feel about Last Jedi. I'm glad I saw it, but I doubt I'll watch it again. Last Jedi didn't rise to the level of suck that those dreadful prequels did, but it was nowhere near as great as the original trilogy. That just leaves us with a very average movie that looked great but is ultimately shallow.
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 11:24am (UTC -5)
@ msw188,

Good responses. We'll probably have to see Ep 9 to have some of these questions answered. We can count on their integrity to make sense of all this, I'm sure.

"But with all of our differing interpretations of the events of the movie you posted, it makes sense that we can't agree on that final sentence."

See, this brings me back to something I was saying in the Ep 7 thread, which is that there were multiple times in the film where I literally didn't know what was going on or why things were happening. I didn't think that was happening here but now that we're discussing this I realize that some of the 'plot points' I took away from the film weren't actually given and were my brain doing its own interpretive work. The fact that we can't agree on who killed Snoke is frickin ridiculous! And that's not your fault or mine. In fact, during the film I didn't automatically 'see' Rey kill him, but at the same time I took Snoke's word for it that he knew Kylo's every thought, and therefore concluded that if anyone surprised him it had to be Rey. The idea that Snoke would gather only some generality like "Kylo will kill his enemy" and not actually see his *every thought* would mean that Snoke is just an idiot. I automatically negated that as a possibility while watching it but upon reflection...

And then the scene with Rey in the cave, which I took to mean she was mastering something or other, and which you take to mean she failed somehow or other. So I guess it was just a light show in the end that meant nothing in particular, since we clearly can't gather anything particular from it. Even Rey during the first test, which you interpret as Rey not having control (a weakness in her), but which I interpreted as Rey not having Luke's fear (which would be a strength).

What a mess. I guess this one is just as muddled as Ep 7 was, and that's saying something considering how little happened. All of these rubbish violates basic filmmaking 101, where the audience needs to know what it is they're seeing unless there's a very specific reason to obscure it from them. But basic plot points like who killed whom? Terrible.
Brian S.
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
@PeterG

"I took Snoke's word for it that he knew Kylo's every thought...the idea that Snoke would gather only some generality like "Kylo will kill his enemy" and not actually see his *every thought* would mean that Snoke is just an idiot. I automatically negated that as a possibility while watching it but upon reflection..."

++

A lot of the Sith masters we know about are killed by their apprentices.

Sidius kills Plageuis
Vader kills Sidius
Ren kills Snoke

Sith masters aren't idiots.....and yet, none of them foresee the moment of their own betrayal.....even though almost all other past Sith masters are, inevitably, betrayed by their apprentices at some point.

It's not idiocy. Arrogance, overconfidence, willful blindness, perhaps, but not idiocy.

In a way, a Sith apprentice's "true enemy" is always his master. The master is the person holding back the apprentice from his true potential. The master is the person exploiting the apprentice. The apprentice doesn't become the master until he kills his master. And the Sith apprentice doesn't become the Sith master just by letting some neophyte Jedi scout do that work for him in her own flailing self-defense

Personally, I thought it was pretty obvious that Kylo Ren killed him. Snoke set that confrontation up to be Kylo's initiation. A test on Kylo's Dark Side journey. That's why Snoke wanted Kylo to strike Rey down. What Kylo did--in proper Sith fashion--was to take advantage of a rare opportunity when his master's guard was down and strike. In this universe, it's the only explanation that really makes sense.

Though I also agree that the writing and direction were poor if this many people genuinely thought that Rey killed Snoke.
JPaul
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
I thought this was the worst Star Wars movie I've ever seen and that's really saying something given that I always assumed Attack of the Clones was unbeatable in this regard. A few of the things I thought were ridiculous:

- A piece of technology that somehow tracks ships though hyperspace, a plot device used just to create a terrible version of the excellent BSG episode "33". I mean, why not just jump twice or more in quick succession to prevent the First Order from using the device? Or even split your entire force in a bunch of different directions and see if the device can track everything while agreeing to meet back at a specific location if not followed? Is it a device that grants the First Order omniscience or something?

- Sublight speed chases in a world of FTL. If the Resistance really couldn't jump without being followed, why does the First Order not make a short jump ahead with some of their force and cut off the Resistance ships? Or attack with faster small ships like Tie Fighters?

- Gravity bombs in outer space.

- People using the force to communicate or even project images of themselves over intergalactic distances (zero cannon for any of this even when the Jedi Order spent thousands of years investigating what was possible with the force and apparently didn't figure it out).

- The First Order somehow knows that Finn and Rose are going to a very specific planet for the express purpose of hiring someone to help them disable a hyperspace tracking system, and decides to plant a double agent right in front of their noses instead of just having them detained there or killed. All for dramatic purpose, so Finn could have his pointless dramatic showdown with Phasma and then escape.

- An ultimate master of the dark side vastly more powerful than Kylo or Rey being killed by a lightsaber sitting next to him being turned slightly and ignited via the force.

- Leia surviving minutes in a vacuum and using the force to pull herself to safety. If Leia is so great with the force, why did she need Luke, why didn't she learn the ways of the force herself and use them to fight for the Resistance?

- The Deus Ex Machina of a light speed ship used as a super weapon battering ram that destroyed virtually an entire First Order fleet... after just letting a bunch of light speed capable ships be destroyed when they ran out of fuel. Why weren't those abandoned, then set automatically or with droids to light speed ram the First Order fleet earlier?

- The idea that a planet with a big shielded cave can somehow withstand the weapons of the First Order, a group that built a planet sized weapon fuelled by a sun that could simultaneously destroy multiple planets at interstellar distances. For that matter, why not just send an empty ship to lightspeed ram the cave because apparently that works.

- The whole Poe mutiny plot that was a severely watered down version of BSG's "Blood on the Scales" and sees him not even being given a slap on the wrist. But he learns his lesson, no more trying to perform heroic deeds for him. Han Solo is rolling in his grave.

- Luke Skywalker being responsible for the creation of Kylo Ren, then shrugging his shoulders and deciding he didn't care what he'd unleashed on the galaxy and running off to nowhere hoping to die in seclusion but leaving a map of how to get there for some reason.

- Force ghost Yoda calling lighting down from the sky and acting like crazy Yoda in ESB does before revealing he is the jedi master to Luke (shoutout to redlettermedia for pointing this out in their review).

In addition, the movie is mostly pieced together from bits of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Rey's belief she can turn Kylo and the throne room scene is ripped from ROTJ, just executed less meaningfully. The Finn/Rose plot is a rehash of ESB, just more pointless and without the quality C3PO/Han/Leia comedy and romance. The Luke/Rey scenes are a poorly done version of ESB's Luke/Yoda scenes. Horribly derivative, bad attempts at humour at moments that are supposed to be dramatic, illogical plot devices, ignoring the cannon of what has come before, this movie has it all. Absolutely terrible. I won't be paying to see another Star Wars movie that's for sure.
Chrome
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
I'm 99.9% they showed Ren concentrating on moving the lightsaber right before it struck Snoke. The only way you'd miss that is if you looked away from the movie for a second. Besides which, it's extremely uncommon for Jedi to kill in the movies. Typically, the Jedi incapacitate an opponent and take them prisoner. Even in the Obi-wan versus Anakin duel where Obi-wan was given orders to eliminate Anakin, Obi-wan instead left alive and helpless.

Brian S. is also correct that it's Sith tradition to kill your master. All Sith masters know it will happen eventually, so they work hard to keep the power gap large enough to prevent it from happening. You might remember Vader praising Emperor Sidius' power and cruelty on multiple occasions. Under normal circumstances, Vader would never think of challenging the emperor who was in all aspects his superior.
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 6:57pm (UTC -5)
@ Brian & Chrome,

For sure it makes sense for a Sith apprentice to kill the master, but you're responding to the wrong point with that line. My belief that Rey killed Snoke was based almost exclusively on Snoke's boast they he could sense literally every thought Kylo had. While in the cinema, when I heard this, I assumed he could do just that and I wondered what in the world they could possibly do to him under the circumstances, since Rey was helpless and Kylo's thoughts were transparent. In that moment when the lightsaber moves and it strikes Snoke my conclusion was "it had to be Rey" rather than visually observing that they showed Rey doing it. Even now I have to assume the script was overblown in some way because if Snoke says he knows Kylo's every thought then either the scripting is hyperbole or else Snoke is a moron and doesn't even know what he can detect despite being otherwise crazy strong with the force. Whatever the plot facts are (and I tend to agree it makes more sense that Kylo kills him) I'm content at this point to call the result of that scene another scripting cheat where we're led to believe the tactical situation is X and wonder what can happen, and then it turns out to be Y and X simply wasn't true at all. It's utterly consistent with how the rest of the film was written, and is the go-to writing ploy of the entire Abrams family: make the audience think something, then pull the rug out from under them with "aha! NOT!" and think it's clever to make ever plot twist be a deus ex machina rather than a logical progression of well-established facts.

If I were to ever watch Ep 8 again (which I won't) when I got to the spot where Snoke announces that he knows every thought Kylo has all I'd be able to think is "no, he doesn't." Thrilling.

As a side note, there's a huge difference between general overconfidence in one's superiority over the apprentice, and between simply not even being confident in the use of one's force powers. If Snoke is so blind as to his apprentice's motives *even while scrutinizing them closely* then he was a crap villain to begin with. It's not like Kylo is even so amazing with the force that he had been secretly training in mental deception or something. No explanation will be offered for how he got away with that, I assure you. What we saw wasn't overconfidence, it was just being a dumbass. And between Snoke, Kylo Ren, and General Nazi, is there anyone in the First Order who isn't a dumbass? It's so depressing to have the Republic eliminated by these circus clowns.
SlackerInc
Tue, Jan 9, 2018, 2:01am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.: "It's so depressing to have the Republic eliminated by these circus clowns."

It is indeed (and of course they just handwaved it rather than showing how it actually happened in any detail). The CGI Tarkin in "Rogue One" was slightly Uncanny Valley-ish, but the First Order desperately needs someone of his gravitas.

@R.: Did they really have TNG, VOY, and DS9 on at the same time? Amazing. And the movie franchise was just starting to use the TNG characters then? You make a great point, although the true nadir for the franchise was after ENT was cancelled and (AFAICR) there were as of yet no plans for movies at that time.

@Brian S.: "Personally, I thought it was pretty obvious that Kylo Ren killed him."

Same here. But:

"Though I also agree that the writing and direction were poor if this many people genuinely thought that Rey killed Snoke."

Agreed.

@JPaul: "The First Order somehow knows that Finn and Rose are going to a very specific planet for the express purpose of hiring someone to help them disable a hyperspace tracking system, and decides to plant a double agent right in front of their noses instead of just having them detained there or killed."

I share many of your criticisms, but I don't think that guy was a plant. Just someone who sold them out when he got the opportunity.

I do love your snarky "leaving a map for some reason" though. That was so transparently like something out of a video game or RPG, that is there just to give the heroes something to do/overcome.

And I'm so glad to see "In addition, the movie is mostly pieced together from bits of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi."

YES!! It drives me crazy how many people, even those who criticize the movie as much as I do or more, still maintain that it is original (just, for many people, original in a bad way). I felt like I was being gaslighted, that no one seemed to see how derivative it is.

@Chrome: "Under normal circumstances, Vader would never think of challenging the emperor who was in all aspects his superior."

Well, except that he did propose just that to Luke in ESB just after telling him he was his father.
Chrome
Tue, Jan 9, 2018, 9:25am (UTC -5)
"My belief that Rey killed Snoke was based almost exclusively on Snoke's boast they he could sense literally every thought Kylo had."

I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion, but one way you could understand the scene even assuming Snoke knew Kylo's thoughts was that Kylo changed his mind at the last instance. Personally, I'd been watching "Revenge of the Sith" in preparation for this movie and was wary of how unreliable visions can be for force users. To whit, Snoke could read that Kylo was ready to murder with intent to kill, but it was folly on his part to assume that his target was Rey.

"except that he did propose just that to Luke in ESB just after telling him he was his father."

Luke turning over to the Dark side and joining Vader is not a normal circumstance. Indeed, it wasn't until Vader proposed that Luke could be turned that the Emperor started to consider it.
Peter G
Tue, Jan 9, 2018, 10:50am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion"

I came to that conclusion because he literally said it. I can't remember the exact words, but he boasted that the situation for them was hopeless because he could sense his apprentice's every thought (and he assumed Rey couldn't do anything to him).

"Luke turning over to the Dark side and joining Vader is not a normal circumstance. Indeed, it wasn't until Vader proposed that Luke could be turned that the Emperor started to consider it."

I'll address this one just because I'm interested. I don't even know that Vader asking Luke to join him in Ep V should immediately be considered to be Vader hoping to turn Luke to the dark side. In fact, in many ways it feels more like Vader was looking for a way to free himself from the Emperor, and who knows past that what he wanted. By Ep VI it becomes clear that the Emperor is pleased about Vader's idea to bring Luke in to turn him, but it isn't stated overtly why he's pleased. We do know he's trying to make Luke angry enough to kill his father, but we don't know how this reflects back to the one scene with the Emperor in Ep V.

My assumption is that the good in Vader was there from the start, suffocating but wanting to be freed. I think that Vader's overture to Luke was rooted in a real desire to be with his son rather than merely a ploy to kill his master and become the new master. Likewise, I think he was likely rather transparent, and when he proposed to the Emperor to turn Luke the Emperor probably saw immediately that Vader's love from his son was clouding his judgement and he decided that this same love could be the screw to turn to break Luke. The Emperor clearly saw Vader as being too weak in general, and certainly on account of this in particular.

So to me it's not so much that the Emperor wouldn't have otherwise considering trying to turn Luke, but rather than Vader's conversation with him revealed to him Vader's weakness and therefore suggested a line of attack to bring Luke to the dark side. In a way Vader might have even been daring the Emperor to bring his son to him to see if the two of them couldn't overcome the Emperor anyhow. It would surely have been a plan that was inherently threatening to the Emperor so that challenge might have attracted him as well. And indeed, at the end of Ep VI Luke and Vader teaming up is exactly what happens. But the action in Ep VI makes so much more sense, because just before Vader betrays him the Emperor is utterly absorbed with torturing Luke; he's basking in the thrill of punishing his enemy, and his focus isn't at all on Vader. Contrast with Ep 8 where Snoke has his eye right on Kylo and still has no clue what's about to happen. With the Emperor it really looks like overconfidence and arrogance, whereas with Snoke it just looks like pure incompetence.
Skarfles
Tue, Jan 9, 2018, 11:30am (UTC -5)
It's pretty clear in the movie that Kylo killed Snoke.

Snoke says. 'I see his mind. I see his every intent. Yes, I see him turning the light saber to strike true.'

And while Kylo is raising and turning the lightsaber in his hand, simultaneously the light saber by Snoke starts to turn. So he was masking what he did from Snoke by turning both light sabers at the same time.

Then Snoke says. 'He ignites it and kills his true enemy.'

Snoke assumes it's Rey, but then Kylo does a little hand motion and the light saber by Snoke ignites instead, killing him.

Just to clear things up :D
Peter G.
Tue, Jan 9, 2018, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
Not sure how you're all missing it. Skarfles provides the quote just above (thanks for that):

"Snoke says. 'I see his mind. I see his ***every intent***. Yes, I see him turning the light saber to strike true.'"

I put some stars next to the relevant phrase. Assuming this is the actual quote then I wasn't imagining things. There's no wiggle room in the phrase "every intent." If Kylo has an intent to deceive and is deliberately moving two lightsabers at once to sneak in a kill move, then clearly Snoke *does not* see his "every intent" but only some of his intent. So basically the only way to read this scene is that Snoke is full of it and simply has a weaker use of the force than we're led to believe. In other words, he's stupid or incompetent. As I mentioned, I took it as a given while watching that this wasn't the case so when he said this I took it seriously and assumed Kylo couldn't have had any intent that was unseen. That only left Rey. I'm not married to that conclusion and recognize now that it's probably not what they were intending, but it's a serious scripting and directoral gaff that they directly provide a reason to believe Kylo cannot do it, followed by Kylo apparently doing so but in very unclear and blurred manner. It's sloppy storytelling.
Chrome
Tue, Jan 9, 2018, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
"There's no wiggle room in the phrase "every intent."

Unless Kylo killed Snoke in the heat of passion and had no intent. That happens all the time in the real world. And really, who would blame Kylo for getting suddenly upset after Snoke was talking down to him this whole scene (and the scene prior with the two of them). Besides, I would say that reading intent is much less specific than actually reading thoughts as you paraphrased it above.
Peter G.
Tue, Jan 9, 2018, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"Unless Kylo killed Snoke in the heat of passion and had no intent. That happens all the time in the real world. And really, who would blame Kylo for getting suddenly upset after Snoke was talking down to him this whole scene (and the scene prior with the two of them)."

Yes, that's a great point! And it would have been nice if this is what they had shot and shown in the film. A definitive moment if him losing his temper or having one of his classic flare-ups (that make Stormtroopers run away) followed by suddenly doing something impulsive that he hadn't planned would have made a lot of cinematic sense. But no such flare-up is depicted, no sudden tantrum leading to a murder is shown; all we get it quick images skipping from one character to another and no 'event' we can latch onto as the trigger that sets Kylo off. Flip back to Ep VI and watch the shot of Luke losing it and force-pulling the lightsaber to himself to strike down the Emperor: clear as crystal storytelling where we see that Luke has given in and wants to cut the Emperor down. What we got in Ep 8 was just an editing jumble and no characterization to go with the action. For all I've said about Rey's lack of an arc in this film, I've neglected to put much thought into what should have been Kylo's arc. They've certainly put in some effort to establish that he has random and intense tantrums, so why couldn't they have made it clear this was one of those and it prevented Snoke being able to foresee it? Having Kylo's emo storming be the very thing that overcomes Snoke wouldn't be a half-bad way to go about it, but we simply don't see that here and so even Kylo is robbed of what should have been his character story. Instead we're mostly treated to ham-fisted comedy between him and General Nazi.
Joe
Tue, Jan 9, 2018, 2:19pm (UTC -5)
Is it bad that I've seen Episode VII and have no idea who Snoke is? It makes me think I shouldn't bother with VIII.
Davidw
Wed, Jan 10, 2018, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
There are a lot problems to the basic story here.

First, there are three different stories. And they really don't have anything to do with each other in terms of the larger story.

And each story has some real fatal flaws:
1) The Las Vegas scence is mainly action, and it's meaning is all done in brief exposition
2) The' Po shouldn't take so many risks' is arbitrary. Should Luke not have risked the life of piolets to knock out the death star? Are we just talking bad risk assessment here?
3) As great as Hamill is, ultimately his final conclusion that we don't need the Jedi is of course ridiculous. As with the end of Rey's and Kylo's conversations. What starts out as a great affirmation that anyone can be a Jedi turns into bizarre remarks about putting on a shirt.
Dom
Thu, Jan 11, 2018, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G., yeah, figured that was just another Dark sider being overconfident, but that is pretty sloppy if the actual line was "every intent." I think that's the problem with a lot of movies nowadays. They try to raise the stakes by saying "something can't happen" and then proceed for that "something" to happen just to shock audiences.
SlackerInc
Thu, Jan 11, 2018, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
"Luke turning over to the Dark side and joining Vader is not a normal circumstance. Indeed, it wasn't until Vader proposed that Luke could be turned that the Emperor started to consider it."

Okay, but when you said "Under normal circumstances, Vader would never think of challenging the emperor who was in all aspects his superior", I thought you meant that he only did so impulsively, sacrificing his own life, because he was overwhelmed by love of his son whom he saw being killed by the Emperor's force lightning. When in fact he had earlier proposed to Luke on Bespin that they join forces, kill the Emperor, and "rule the galaxy as father and son".

(BTW: Leia can use her previously unseen Force powers to Mary Poppins her way through space and into an air lock after being on a ship that's blown up, but the Emperor is powerless to do anything about being thrown off a scaffold?)
Darren
Fri, Jan 12, 2018, 3:34am (UTC -5)
Episodes VII and VIII have their moments, and aren't exactly unenjoyable to watch. But what upsets me more is how, taken together, they're making the fabled sequel trilogy play out. Many people dislike the prequels, and I can understand why (even though personally, seeing as I and III are my top two favorites, it might be that I favor the prequels over the originals). But it's difficult to deny that the prequels were distinct from the originals, yet simultaneously integral to the saga as a whole. (Not necessary, granted, but fitting and even enriching--particularly III.)

The sequels so far though (and being two in, I can't see that there's much hope now), to me, are just the opposite: they're informed (copied?) far too heavily by preceding films (the originals), and yet nonetheless manage to come off as supplemental and disconnected. For instance, if you showed someone a space scene from VIII (someone who somehow wasn't aware of the sequels), with the right one, you could probably fool them into thinking they were seeing a deleted scene from VI. Which is to say, if the First Order and the Resistance in VII were already too akin to the Empire and Rebel Alliance from the originals, in VIII, they basically *are* the Empire and Rebel Alliance. So a big thematic chunk once again involves a small, ragtag fleet trying to overcome a great and evil regime. (And visually, the designs of the ships aren't even that distinct.)--

Meanwhile, only some of the characters in VII and VIII seem original (like Finn, arguably Poe, and now Rose). Otherwise (and I imagine this was quite deliberate), Rey is the new Luke; BB-8 is the new R2-D2; Ren is the new Vader; Snoke is the new Sidious; Maz is the new Yoda; and so on. (And of course I get that these characters are not outright copies of the formers, be it in motivations, personalities, backgrounds, or even actions. But they're variations on them, just as if someone was like "hey, the characters in the originals were so great, let's come up with new but similar characters for the new generation of fans".)

So among other examples, the sequels come off as too similar to preceding films; yet they also manage to feel disconnected. For instance, notice how regarding the prequels and the originals, nothing of real significance was mentioned as backstory in the originals that wasn't shown in the prequels. The sequels, in contrast, are partly built upon quite major and, to the characters, quite personal events that happened in-between the originals and the sequels. (Like Han and Leia getting married but then separating; their son falling to the Dark Side; and Luke training a new generation of Jedi, only to have tragedy strike and then go into seclusion such that no one even knows where he is or why precisely he left.) With such new and unseen backstory, what all happened in the originals and prequels practically becomes secondary; but for a nine-part saga, such just shouldn't be the case.

And I have to say as well, a lot of what the sequels give us really "undoes" what came before. I mean, with the sense of absolute victory that we witnessed at the end of VI (and the virgin birth of Anakin and the "Chosen One" prophecy from I and the other prequels), who would have imagined that a few decades later, the Empire and Rebel Alliance would basically be back? That a New Jedi Order would be over after it had barely begun? That Palpatine would in essence be replaced by Snoke? That Han and Leia would be separated ... with Han back to smuggling, and Leia seemingly so sorrowful (and without much, if any, Jedi training)? You could say that this is just my (and others') opinion; but with an ongoing saga that's supposed to move a story forward through distinct themes, to "reset" and "undo" to things that came before just isn't the way to handle it.

Now, having said all that, I hardly think the sequels are all bad. Both VII and VIII so far have had some very nice moments, and I was and remain interested in what becomes of Rey and Ren. (And unlike some--perhaps even many--I didn't object so strongly to Luke's arc in VIII. In particular, I thought his final confrontation with Ren--not so physical, but more psychological--was quite good, what with giving the galaxy hope again and all ... acting to save, rather than destroy and all. And somehow even his death felt okay, and as opposed to sad, strangely fulfilling.)

Yet whenever I think of the complete saga, I imagine it will always be just I - Vi, because to me, the sequels have just copied the preceding films too much (particularly the originals), while simultaneously disconnecting themselves too much (especially from the prequels, but nonetheless from the saga as a whole.)
Dom
Fri, Jan 12, 2018, 9:08am (UTC -5)
@Darren, exactly my problem with the Sequels from Day 1. Thor Skywalker actually just posted a video about this on YouTube. I think the Sequels would have been much better off if they'd introduced some truly different storyline, such as an alien invasion or the New Republic having to fight an insurgency. Because after ROTJ we were invested in our heroes and their goals. They wanted to set up a New Republic. The Sequels COULD have been about our heroes fighting to preserve the peace they'd won in ROTJ against a new threat. Lucas himself always spoke of the sequels as a story about moral ambiguity and the difficulty of running a government and securing the peace. It would have felt like a natural culmination of the story. Instead, Episode VII was a reset button.
Matt
Fri, Jan 12, 2018, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
The problem is, I don't think Disney is interested in a natural story progression or anything like that. If they continue to do the same thing - lightsabers, evil empires, jedi heroes - then it's guaranteed hit. They don't need or want to do anything other than play it safe.
PM
Sat, Jan 13, 2018, 4:26am (UTC -5)
Want to sign my petition for Jammer to write his review of The Last Jedi before Episode 9 comes out?
SlackerInc
Sat, Jan 13, 2018, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
@Darren, I can't wrap my mind around "Phantom Menace" being your second-favorite Star War; but I agree that "Revenge of the Sith" is really good (even with that cringe-inducing "Noooo!"), and your points about the overall arc of the trilogy of trilogies and unseen backstory are very solid and thoughtful.

@Dom, that's interesting about what Lucas intended for the sequels. That could have been really interesting! Or maybe it would have had its own problems; but one thing's for sure: simply hitting the reset button and going back to scrappy rebels facing impossible odds against an all-powerful fascist regime? That's as lame as it gets.

But as Matt says:

"The problem is, I don't think Disney is interested in a natural story progression or anything like that. If they continue to do the same thing - lightsabers, evil empires, jedi heroes - then it's guaranteed hit. They don't need or want to do anything other than play it safe."

This is precisely why I vowed after TFA not to buy a ticket this time. But I ended up doing so anyway to hate-watch it with my son, as I described upthread. I do think the sharp dropoff after the first weekend indicates that Disney's "play it safe" approach might ultimately not be so safe after all. I think they could have made a compromise that would have actually been the best for their long-term bottom line: look for talented writers to give them scripts containing certain necessary elements (droids, X-wings, light sabres, blasters, the Force seedy/wisecracking guys with hearts of gold, blue milk) but otherwise to get creative moving forward.
Brandon
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
"Want to sign my petition for Jammer to write his review of The Last Jedi before Episode 9 comes out?"

I laughed.
J Fenzel
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
I actually feel bad for Jammer. No matter what side he comes down on the Last Jedi, it seems half the people posting here will tell him he got it wrong. Doh!
JPaul
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
Phantom Menace is not a great movie, but I'm beginning to believe it has been a bit unjustly maligned for a few reasons.

1) The special effects look horrible by today's standards but were worthy of Oscar nomination at the time. They haven't aged well but people thought they were great at the time because they were ground breaking. And the space effects still look fine.

2) Some object to the political talk that begins the process of explaining how the Republic started to transform into the Empire. I suspect these are people who just want wall to wall action and are the the same ones so happy with TFA and TLJ, movies that don't spend a single minute to explain the political situation.

3) Many Star Wars fans just start frothing at the mouth when you mention Jar Jar Binks and consider Phantom Menace unwatchable just because he's in it. He's a a bad character that doesn't fulfill his purpose (comedy relief), but if you can ignore him somewhat the rest of the movie isn't as bad.

4) Midi-chlorians. Some fans hate that Lucas took away the mystery of the force and made it into a scientific thing. Yeah, it wasn't a good decision, but it's literally one brief mention used to establish that Anakin is the most powerful force user ever found. Just pretend Qui-Gon actually said something more vague like "he has the most powerful concentration of the force I've ever sensed" and you'll be fine.

As far as I'm concerned, I'd rather watch Phantom Menace again than either TFA or TLJ. TFA and TLJ completely ruined Han, Luke and Leia and have horrible derivative plots that seem to be leading nowhere interesting. TPM at least has a few decent moments like the Pod Race, lightsaber duels with Darth Maul, and Palpatine slowly enacting his plan for galactic domination.
msw188
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 1:18am (UTC -5)
JPaul,
Of course everyone enjoys different things, but I think your claims about people's problems with Epi1 are off the mark. I mean yeah, all those things you mention suck, but they would all be overlookable in some other movie. The real problem with Epi1 (and Epi2 and Epi3 to a large degree) is that there are so very very few moments with any characters feeling like actual people with personalities and emotions. I can remember two total moments of genuine emotion from characters in Epi1, and one of them is JarJar getting excited that they're going back to Naboo. That's a bad sign. The other is Obiwan getting pissed when Liam Neeson is killed. He even gets a moment to stew about it behind the red energy thing. And then as soon as they start fighting, the emotion gets sapped out almost immediately and its back to being boring choreography.

So yeah, people get bored by the seemingly convoluted politics in Epi1, but that doesn't mean they just want mindless action. I mean, Epi1 has plenty of that as well anyways. I think people want characters that feel like real people. A movie focused on Jedis who control their emotions at all times is boring. Even Yoda in Epi5 had some genuine personality to him, and a sense of humor. When the characters in Epi1/2/3 occasionally let their emotions show through, the writing is so awful that it almost never feels like an actual person (lots of Anakin). A movie about political maneuvering can maybe work in any context, but the moves need to be made by, and/or affect, characters who feel like real people.

In comparison, Epi7/8 may have far more simplistic/familiar plots and emotional beats, but the point is that they have emotional beats at all. And the characters mostly feel like people, or at least archetypes of people instead of archetypes of monks. I've brought up Rey's excitement for the job offer numerous times, so I'll go with a different example this time: the escape scene for Finn and Poe. Mindless action? Some thin plotting? Maybe, but for many viewers this is overlookable when you have two characters that can feel genuine joy (Finn and Poe after shooting the canon) and can argue sounding like real people (Poe: we gotta get my droid. Finn: WTF).
J Fenzel
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 11:07am (UTC -5)
@msw188 - you nailed it
JPaul
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
And this is my huge problem with what most people like in movies. As long as the characters are interesting and well acted and there are a few legitimately funny moments the plot doesn't matter. People like TFA and TLJ more than the prequels because they like the characters of Rey, Finn, and Poe more than Anakin, Obi Wan, and Padme.

For me, plot is more important. A story about corruption in the government allowing Palpatine the opening he needs to manipulate the Trade Federation into starting a civil war that he leverages into becoming the Chancellor and eventually Emperor is compelling. It's a whole lot better than a story about a terrorist group that sprung out of thin air and apparently has the resources to build weapons a thousand times more powerful than anything the New Republic has. One of these plots seems authentic and very real world relevant while the other feels pulled from a poorly written comic book.
msw188
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
JPaul,
I agree that the overall backdrop to the plot in Epi7/8 is bad, borderline awful. I don't think that's the same as the plot as a whole being bad in those movies, but if you can't get past the setup then yeah it's hard to get into the movies for sure.

Still, I think you're overselling Epi1 a bit. "A story about corruption in the government allowing Palpatine the opening he needs to manipulate the Trade Federation into starting a civil war that he leverages into becoming the Chancellor and eventually Emperor is compelling." To me, this sounds compelling, but Epi1 doesn't end up portraying this very well. You mention corruption in the government - I don't remember this being shown at all. You mention Palpatine manipulating the Trade Federation, but is manipulation really compelling when one of the parties seems to have no motivation or intelligence? Did he actually manipulate them, or does he just control them somehow? They pretty much just do whatever he says! General Hux and Phasma are pretty cartoony and dumb for sure, but those Trade Federation guys are just terrible.

There are more problems in the details as well. I don't think I ever figured out what Palpy's actual plan was, and whether any of the actions of the protagonists ever cause him to alter any of it. Did he want the Trade Federation or the Naboo people to win that battle? Or did he not care which, as long as there was some conflict? And how does this lead to civil war, anyways? Whom does Epi1 show as being sympathetic to the Trade Federation's claims? Or do they even have any claims, besides hating taxes...? If the Jedi had never sent anyone to Naboo, would there have been a battle at all? Does Palpy want the Senate to know there's something going on, or not? If not, how does he plan to get the vote of no confidence for the Chancellor? If so, why does he tell the Trade Feds to kill the Jedi who were sent to see what's going on?

Maybe the problem is best summed up as follows. A plot-heavy, character/emotion-lite movie can be okay, but if that's the case, the plot is going to automatically come under more scrutiny. Some good Star Trek episodes could probably be viewed in this way. But Epi1, if viewed in that way, does not hold up very well in my opinion.
JPaul
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
Palpatine's plan is very simple at first - cause a trade dispute to make current Chancellor Valorum look bad and force him to resign, thus opening up the position of Chancellor for himself.

But things go wrong for Palpatine when the Jedi interfere and threaten to resolve the trade dispute, thus making Valorum actually look good (Valorum is the one who asked the Jedi to intervene). Even worse, the Trade Federation (who just want more profits) start to get cold feet once the Jedi are involved. Palpatine sends his apprentice Darth Maul to take care of the Jedi and prevent Padme from ever reaching the senate to make a request for intervention, but he fails.

Once Padme reaches the senate and makes her plea, Palpatine is forced to use his influence to stonewall the process. He then expertly manipulates Padme into turning on Valorum, a man who did what he could to help Naboo, by insinuating that he is weak and needs to be replaced. Padme reluctantly agrees with Palpatine's plan due to the time sensitive nature of her request. She is only leader of one planet but it's enough of a justification to pull in the support of many other worlds who sympathize with Naboo's plight in calling for an election, one that Palpatine winds up winning.

Ultimately Padme winds up solving her own problem with the help of the Jedi, Gungans, and and 8 year old Anakin Skywalker (sigh), but the damage is done. The outcome of TPM seems like a victory for the good guys because the Trade Federation's blockade is defeated, but it's really the beginning of Palpatine's domination over the Senate, the Republic, and eventually the Empire.

I get that not everyone is going to appreciate this aspect of TPM given its many other flaws, but unlike TFA and TLJ it's a movie with a nice plot to build future stories on top of, Palpatine's slow, steady manipulation of key players and events until he controls everything.

Now contrast this with TFA where the bad guys simply flip a switch on a planet sized murder base instantly putting themselves in the same position that it took Palpatine three movies and another 20 years of slow burn to reach. It's lazy writing just to reboot the franchise to the same point it was at circa ANH because rehashing the original Star Wars in a new movie is what would make Disney the most money after they spent $4B buying it from Lucas and needed to recover their investment as fast as possible.
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
@ JPaul,

Excellent synopsis. Few people are able to coherently describe Ep 1's plot, and that is indeed a partial strike again what is otherwise an incredibly deep story. I do think there's merit to playing the movie to appeal to different kinds of viewers; the detectives can plumb out the intricacies of the plot while the main audience can enjoy the themes and the action. From this standpoint I think the prequels were paradoxically much more adult than the originals, even though he claimed to have made them for his children. The problem with the direction of the movie (and lack of script editing) is that even the simple line of the plot is hard to trace. It's fine for the nuance to be hard to parse, but even the basic plot is hard to parse.

Another thing I'll add to your synopsis is that the trade dispute around Naboo was crucial because not only did it make Valorum appear weak (because Palpatine secretly stonewalled all efforts Valorum made to resolve it) but also because the sympathy created for Naboo in the process gave the senator from Naboo a huge boost in visibility and credibility. We're led to understand that Palpatine shouldn't have stood much of a chance against the like of Bail Organa - a hugely popular figure - but that this crisis gave him a timely boost to popularity exactly at the right time. That, of course, and the fact that he no doubt had countless senators in his pocket or under his influence. To be frank my theory is that Palpatine's hidden influence was already enough to make people vote for him, but if a small-time senator with little visible support was suddenly the victor in a popular vote it would look super-suspicious, so timing the vote to happen during this crisis would allow the senate and even the general public to explain away his victory as having been related to the Naboo incident. Brilliant.
msw188
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
JPaul,
Man, it's great that you manage to get that out of Epi1. I just can't see it. The Trade Feds want profits, and somehow blockading and invading Naboo accomplishes this? For some reason the Gungans will be affected too? Palpatine originally planned on Valorum being kicked out without anyone from Naboo reaching the capital? Padme agreed to some plan of Palpatine's? I can't remember if he offered her anything or she agreed to anything, especially since, as you admit, she goes back and somehow saves her planet without his help. And the net effect for the Trade Feds is that they somehow are allowed to continue with some kind of vendetta against Padme?
Dom
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 8:54am (UTC -5)
The Trade Federation was blockading the planet because they were protesting a tax on trade routes. It’s right there in the opening crawl. Basically, think of the Trade Federation as a multinational corporation, or like the old East India Company. It would be like Exxon seizing Singapore if the United Nations taxed profits on trade through the Straits of Malacca. Probably not going to happen today, but big companies like the EIC did engage in paramilitary activity during the heyday of colonialism.
msw188
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
Peter G,
"Palpatine secretly stonewalled all efforts Valorum made to resolve it"
Is this mentioned or shown in the movie at all? Like ok, Valorum sent the Jedi (it would have been incredibly helpful to have a scene of him sending them off with an explanation and instructions). Were there other efforts of Valorum that Palpatine sabotaged? I remember him asking for time to send a ship to figure out what was going on. But wasn't Padme or somebody like, well whatever my people will all be dead by then?

"We're led to understand that Palpatine shouldn't have stood much of a chance against the like of Bail Organa - a hugely popular figure - but that this crisis gave him a timely boost to popularity exactly at the right time."
I don't remember this either. Maybe this was in Epi2? Also, how did this crisis boost his popularity? He didn't do anything! Padme and a couple Jedi fixed it without him! I understand it made Valorum look bad, but not that it made Palpy look good.

Dom,
Yes, I remember the opening crawl saying that the Trade Feds were upset about taxes, or tax routes, or something to that effect. But your example doesn't make sense for the movie because the movie doesn't make the goal clear. Was Naboo actually a hub for these trade routes, so that controlling it would allow the Feds to control the trading (like in your example)? But Naboo didn't look like a trading hub. Was Naboo the one in charge of collecting the taxes? They didn't look like tax collectors either. Were the Feds trying to show their displeasure to the Senate? If that was the case, why are they keeping the blockade a secret? Is the goal to keep the invasion secret until it is successful? Why are they listening to Palpy? What did he do, promise to keep the Senate busy until they were done invading? Well that didn't happen, so why do they stick with him after the movie is over? In fact, how are they not arrested after the movie is over?

None of these questions matter all that much if the rest of the movie is good, but it isn't. And I can't seem to get into the plot of this movie when there are so many details seemingly missing.
SlackerInc
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 9:31pm (UTC -5)
@JPaul: "Some object to the political talk that begins the process of explaining how the Republic started to transform into the Empire. I suspect these are people who just want wall to wall action and are the the same ones so happy with TFA and TLJ, movies that don't spend a single minute to explain the political situation."

I definitely agree with you on this (although I guess to be fair to TLJ, there's a little politics at the casino). I think this is a mostly unrecognized strength of the prequels in general. But there are other knocks against TPM besides the ones you acknowledged. Such as the fact that Jar-Jar is not just offensive, he's racist--and the same goes for the obviously Jewish merchant. Or the idea that Anakin built C-3PO (not to mention his growing up on Tattooine makes it even more problematic for Luke to be "hidden" there). And it was just a terrible idea in general to show Darth Vader's origin story as a cute little moppet.

And although I like the idea behind the politics in the prequel trilogy ("this is how democracy dies--with applause"), one problem with it is that it means most of the action we are shown is basically a big MacGuffin, a ruse to distract people from what Palpatine is plotting. And that saps it of real stakes. (For this reason, I have always found it strange that they did a whole series on the Clone Wars, a conflict that literally has no point in and of itself.)
SlackerInc
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
P.S. Is there a thread or threads anywhere on this site for general sci-fi discussion? If not, Jammer, you should start one! I have some ideas for comparison of different SF franchises or tropes/themes that don't fit into any of the episode or movie threads.
Dom
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 10:30am (UTC -5)
@msw188, some of those questions aren't really answered, presumably because Lucas didn't think the audience wouldn't care. But a lot of them are. Sounds like you haven't seen the movie recently, but there's more there than it might seem at first glance:

"Was Naboo actually a hub for these trade routes, so that controlling it would allow the Feds to control the trading (like in your example)? But Naboo didn't look like a trading hub. Was Naboo the one in charge of collecting the taxes? They didn't look like tax collectors either."

Ultimately irrelevant. The reason why it was Naboo is because Palpatine wanted the sympathy vote in his bid to become Chancellor. There might be some backstory about Naboo having mineral wealth, etc, but that's not the point of the story.

"Were the Feds trying to show their displeasure to the Senate? If that was the case, why are they keeping the blockade a secret? Is the goal to keep the invasion secret until it is successful?"

It wasn't a secret. That's why the Chancellor sent Jedi to negotiate with the Trade Federation. The invasion was secret. Even then, my understanding was that it was less that the invasion was secret and more that the human rights abuses were secret. The whole point was that a blockade was a tense situation but an invasion was beyond the pale.

"Why are they listening to Palpy?"

That's backstory to the film. It's not answered directly, but probably more than one could reasonably expect. Why does Vader listen to Palpatine in ANH? Why does Kylo listen to Snoke? To some extent, TPM begins in media res and we just have to accept it.

"What did he do, promise to keep the Senate busy until they were done invading?"

Yes, Palpatine did explicitly promise this.

"Well that didn't happen, so why do they stick with him after the movie is over?"

Again, Palpatine DID keep the Senate preoccupied. That was the whole point. The Senate didn't respond promptly. They were talking about setting up a committee and investigating. Then there was the vote of no confidence in the chancellor.

"In fact, how are they not arrested after the movie is over?"

Did you even watch this movie? The Trade Federation leaders WERE arrested after it was over. They're being marched onto a New Republic ship and a Naboo guy comments that he hopes he rots in jail or something like that. And the Trade Federation did not stick with Palpatine afterwards. In Attack of the Clones, they join Dooku, thinking he's leading a separate army. Dooku says they are still upset Palpatine left them out to dry after the events of TPM.

I get that TPM has its problems, i.e. acting, pacing, etc, but I don't think the political situation is nearly as complicated as people make it out to be IF you pay attention. That's the thing with the Prequels, they demand you pay attention. The problem is the films aren't entertaining so it's harder to feel emotionally invested.
msw188
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
Dom,
Thank you for your responses! You're right of course, I haven't seen this movie in many years. But even back then, the main bit I never understood, which I think you sort of answer but not really, is the issue with the Feds still being around in Epi2. I THOUGHT I remembered them being arrested at the end of Epi1, but I definitely remembered them being in Epi2, so I thought maybe my Epi1 memory was faulty. So wait, they somehow got arrested at the end of Epi1 and were let off? Or somehow escaped?? And they're still making robots, and involved in making a death star! Even if there's some line in the movie making sense of this, to me this is just bonkers! How did that trial go? How was the hologram partner never brought up? Again, in a movie where characters>plot, this wouldn't stand out so much as needing more explanation.

"The reason why it was Naboo is because Palpatine wanted the sympathy vote in his bid to become Chancellor."
I get why Palpy would pick Naboo. I don't understand why the Trade Federation would agree to it.

"Why does Vader listen to Palpatine in ANH? Why does Kylo listen to Snoke? To some extent, TPM begins in media res and we just have to accept it."
I can accept individuals listening to their masters, even including the awful Darth Maul. I can also accept that, if someone somehow became the Emperor or "Supreme Leader", then the Empire or "New Order" would do what he says. But I just can't wrap my mind around an independent organization portrayed as taking orders from someone outside their organization for no clear reason.

"It wasn't a secret. That's why the Chancellor sent Jedi to negotiate with the Trade Federation. The invasion was secret. Even then, my understanding was that it was less that the invasion was secret and more that the human rights abuses were secret. The whole point was that a blockade was a tense situation but an invasion was beyond the pale."
This is beyond my understanding too. Like, if the Feds are just upset over taxes, why go beyond the pale, as you put it? Shouldn't they WANT to negotiate?

I keep returning to the Feds because an earlier post considered the plot of the prequels stronger than the newquels. In the prequels, we are supposed to have a master string-puller manipulating the people around him to eventually make himself emperor. But for manipulation to be engaging, the victim has to be compelling, or at least competent. Unfortunately, the Trade Fed's are portrayed as bumbling morons for the most part. For manipulation to be intellectually stimulating, the victim has to have some logical motivation that is taken advantage of. It's not an interesting manipulation if the victim simply does whatever the string-puller says! That's just giving orders, not manipulating someone. But in the prequels our only motivation for the Feds is a nebulous 'we don't like taxes'. This feels so disconnected from them agreeing to, say, killing Jedi negotiators and violently invading a planet, that it comes off as arbitrary.

Contrast this to the 'manipulation' that goes on in Epi8. Here, we understand that Kylo wants to be a badass but is conflicted because we've seen Epi7, plus we see him get talked down then fail to kill his mother. We also understand that Rey is noble and proactive, and we have the precedent of Luke saving Vader to mind. Apparently Snoke does too (not sure how he understands Rey to be honest, no one is going to call Epi8's plot amazing), so he sets up a situation where Rey is tricked into coming to him. We have independent characters with independent characteristics and motivations, and a 'master' is able to arrange things so that other characters think they are furthering their own goals, when in fact they are furthering his. With the prequels, do the Trade Feds really see killing Jedi negotiators, invading planets, and killing Padme as furthering their own goals?
Dom
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
msw188, by the way, nice to have a productive chat online! The internet has been such a disaster zone when it's come to talking about Star Wars. Here are some more thoughts:

"I THOUGHT I remembered them being arrested at the end of Epi1, but I definitely remembered them being in Epi2, so I thought maybe my Epi1 memory was faulty. So wait, they somehow got arrested at the end of Epi1 and were let off? Or somehow escaped?? ... How did that trial go? How was the hologram partner never brought up?"

Your initial instinct was right. Somebody (I think a Naboo royal advisor) brings this up in an admittedly clumsy line of exposition in E2. He basically says the courts didn't convict them, implying corruption of some sort. Again, the Prequels do require a lot in terms of remembering names, places, and catching those types of expository lines. It admittedly took me a while to piece it all together. That line required you to remember who Nute Gunray was, for many viewers 3 years after having seen TPM.

"I get why Palpy would pick Naboo. I don't understand why the Trade Federation would agree to it.... But I just can't wrap my mind around an independent organization portrayed as taking orders from someone outside their organization for no clear reason."

If you REALLY want to know, the novel Darth Plagueis does go into some of this, explaining why Naboo was valuable, how Palpatine manipulated the TF, etc (although the book is no longer canon, it's one of the better books and actually does help make senes of the Prequels). However, I'm fine just saying there's some backstory we don't see in the film. I mean, while the Sequel Trilogy has gone WAY too far in avoiding any world-building, I also get that the whole movie can't be political exposition. TPM kind of does this half-media res, half-introductory world-building dance that probably isn't very satisfactory overall.

I do agree that the Prequels bungled the story of the Trade Federation, Confederacy, etc and never gave them a motivation. The story works better if you just accept that something happened behind the scenes to get them manipulated, and accept that it's really the story of Palpatine the manipulator manipulating the Jedi, and the rest of the government - and people at large - letting him get away with it. This isn't the TF story, it's Palpatine's.

As for the Sequels...

"we understand that Kylo wants to be a badass but is conflicted because we've seen Epi7"

I guess. He says he feels the "pull of the Light" in TFA, but who knows what that means. It's just exposition. I guess he is reluctant to kill his parents, but that's not exactly about making the "right" choice so much as not making the "wrong" one. Kylo's choices are pretty much "do outrageous evil thing" or "don't do outrageous evil thing". We never see him tempted to be compassionate or to help a lost puppy dog.

Adam Driver is a MUCH better actor than Hayden Christensen, but when it comes to moral complexity and compelling character arcs I find Anakin's Faustian bargain much more interesting. Anakin has to decide between his wife and the Jedi (and his "brother" Obi-Wan). He has to choose between his duty to the Jedi and his impulse to save his mother. Those are truly tough choices, arguably no right or wrong, and it's no wonder the kid was so messed up.

As for Snoke being some sort of master manipulating others so skillfully. Well, you saw what happened to him in the throne room. He manipulated his ego into being so incompetent. If he *really* could read Kylo's mind, how did he miss the fact that Kylo was thinking about killing him? At least when Palpatine became overconfident, his attention was focused on Luke and he had no reason to suspect Vader.

Snoke to me is what the TF seems to be for you in the Prequels. He's this unexplained plot device that drew Ben Solo to the Dark Side for Reasons. I don't know enough about Snoke to even say what his motivations really are. Does he want to kill the Jedi, become a new emperor, buy better slippers? And what is his relationship with Ben? Is Snoke more a cult leader or political leader? Did Ben ever look to Snoke as a father figure, or just as a boss? Granted, we'll probably get some 400-page novel in a few years chronicling Snoke's entire life, so maybe that understanding will come with time.
Peter G.
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
@ Dom & msw188,

The main difference between the stories in the prequels and sequels is pretty straightforward. In the prequels Lucas had very detailed plot details and world-building, with too much content crammed into crappy editing and storytelling, and so it was hard to glean the story points from the action onscreen. It was a story-concept triumph coupled with a screenwriting and editing disaster.

The sequels are almost the opposite in every way. They had no story to tell, no ideas about the world to speak of, no planned character arcs and no message to speak of. It was a one-thing-happens-and-then-another-happens action story based on the Star Wars universe, where many mysteries (or failures of disclosure) are set up but where the trail of breadcrumbs leads nowhere. They did a fine job editing the films into easily digestible paint-by-numbers progression - and in this they overcame the problems of the prequels - and in exchange didn't bother with content. It's kind of a like a well put-together flashy commercial you can't quite tell what product it's supposed to be selling but you know it looks cool anyhow.

All suspicion to this effect was confirmed by Rian Johnson, who admitted that he was handed the reigns with nothing to go on. Abrams hadn't had any arc in mind, answers to questions, or concepts in mind. It was just "hey, it's yours now! Do whatever you want, we don't have anything for you," and naturally he felt lost because he had to continue someone else's story that had become the cinematic equivalent of a mad lib.

So Dom, the answer to who Snoke is or why he did what he did is simple: there is no answer. Oh, someone will no doubt monetize his story in a novel, but the creation will be all theirs. The Snoke that appears in the films doesn't need a reason or an identity: he's just there to be evil and then die. The same goes for the First Order, what happened to the Republic, for why there was a map to Luke, and finally about Rey's parents. Johnson said that he considered all options when deciding who her parents were and concluded that it didn't matter who they were since he didn't want the force to always be about bloodlines. So he wrote that her parents were nobodies; in other words, it doesn't matter, like all the other mysteries. What was the purpose of Luke's lessons? It doesn't matter. Why did Luke randomly die in the end? Doesn't matter - aside from the fact that Hamill no doubt insisted on being out of the next one since he hated this one. Why did the Republic fall so easily? Doesn't matter. The list goes on. It's hard to feel the impact of how much things matter when none of it matters. So far the only thread going into Ep 9 that seems to actually matter is the relationship between Rey and Ren, which is fine and one of the things they did well in Ep 9. Beyond that maybe we'll see another retread of the rebels overcoming the evil Empire.

Dom
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G., I'm not quite so down on the Sequels, and I do think they have something to say, but in a very naval-gazing way. Whereas the OT and PT had something to say about life and politics, the ST has something to say about Star Wars as a pop culture franchise and fandom. TLJ spends a lot of time deconstructing Star Wars tropes, which is interesting as far as it goes, but doesn't really inform my worldview. The movies are fun, but not quite as deep as Lucas'.
SlackerInc
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G: "So Dom, the answer to who Snoke is or why he did what he did is simple: there is no answer. Oh, someone will no doubt monetize his story in a novel, but the creation will be all theirs. The Snoke that appears in the films doesn't need a reason or an identity: he's just there to be evil and then die. The same goes for the First Order, what happened to the Republic, for why there was a map to Luke, and finally about Rey's parents. Johnson said that he considered all options when deciding who her parents were and concluded that it didn't matter who they were since he didn't want the force to always be about bloodlines. So he wrote that her parents were nobodies; in other words, it doesn't matter, like all the other mysteries. What was the purpose of Luke's lessons? It doesn't matter. Why did Luke randomly die in the end? Doesn't matter - aside from the fact that Hamill no doubt insisted on being out of the next one since he hated this one. Why did the Republic fall so easily? Doesn't matter. The list goes on. It's hard to feel the impact of how much things matter when none of it matters."

Heh, while I think your point is well taken, it reminds me of a monologue in the little-known (and vastly underrated among most of those who know it) movie "Rubber":

https://youtu.be/Cghg-QyTP_M?t=70
NCC-1701-Z
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 8:32am (UTC -5)
Yup this is it. Worst Star Wars movie ever. Makes Phantom Menace and Jar Jar look like Shakespeare.

I fell asleep in the middle of this movie and have no burning desire to see the parts I missed.

I'm sorry I wasted my money on this but at least I got super cheap ticket prices. No wonder why Disney was in full damage control mode after the movie was released. If they think I'm going to spend any money on Ep 9 they're badly mistaken.

Sigh...what happened? How did the same people who gave us Force Awakens, Rogue One and Star Wars Rebels drop the ball so badly?
SlackerInc
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 11:41am (UTC -5)
Did you guys see how badly TLJ bombed in China? They Do. Not. Want.

https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2077670/star-wars-the-last-jedi-has-been-pulled-from-almost-all-its-screens-in-china
--------
When Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiered in China, it was taking up 34.5% of the territory's screenings, but now Forbes is reporting that that's dropped to just 2.5%, which is a massive decrease. While Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and some local Chinese movies have provided competition for The Last Jedi, the fact is that in this territory, the blockbuster just hasn't been a commercial winner. It only drew in $27 million during its opening weekend there, and it only added $7 million during the week, totaling a dismal $34.2 million. For comparison, Ex-Files 3, a recently-released low-budget romantic comedy, made $87 million in its second weekend.
--------

Just for being a big-budget action movie, and with Chinese people presumably knowing it was fairly huge in the U.S. (though a dropoff from TFA for sure), I can't believe it was THAT low. Wow.
J Fenzel
Sat, Jan 20, 2018, 7:39am (UTC -5)
I doubt Disney is sweating Jedi's performance in China very much....

https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2018/01/17/can-the-1-3b-grossing-star-wars-the-last-jedi-recover-after-bombing-in-china/#5c567ea5cbf4
Tasher
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 11:38am (UTC -5)
The movie was not bad, in fact I thought everything dealing with Jedi, the Force, good vs. evil etc was great. The ending of the movie was fantastic.

However, the "fleet chase" was a huge mess with the messiest part being the kamikaze by hyperspace. If this move is so powerful with such little consequence then the rebels should have been flying droid controlled ships into imperial cruisers the entire Star Wars franchise. Not to mention THE DEATH STAR!
SlackerInc
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
@JFenzel, yes: they are still making plenty of money off this movie. But it's still an interesting and newsworthy rebuke by the huge Chinese market. If they had pulled in the same amount of money worldwide, but it was distributed differently, with a little less everywhere else but a reasonable take in China, that would be a lot different--nothing newsworthy there. But for some reason, the movie didn't just underperform there, it flat out bombed. I have no idea why that happened, but I would be interested in hearing from Chinese people to try to explain why. I doubt there's ever in modern times been a movie that was such a big blockbuster elsewhere, but which played to near-empty theatres in China for a couple weeks before closing.
NCC-1701-Z
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 7:35am (UTC -5)
Tasher: "the rebels should have been flying droid controlled ships into imperial cruisers the entire Star Wars franchise. Not to mention THE DEATH STAR!"


I have the strangest feeling that the HISHE parody, when it comes out is going to have so much fun with that.
Jason R.
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 9:03am (UTC -5)
I am extremely curious about the reason the movie has bombed in China. Agreed it won't impact the movie's success much this go round given 1.3 billion in box office take, but it does raise alot of questions. From Disney's pov it means alot of money left on the table which is a dark lining to the otherwise silver cloud. It means a spectacular failure in the world's second largest market, which may not always be mitigated by bonanza returns in other markets.

I find this story and the persistently low audience scores on RT very interesting. I assume there are cultural factors at issue, but which ones? Does anyone know what Chinese reviewers are saying about it???
Dan Bolger
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 6:55am (UTC -5)
Jammer, when convenient, can you review this film? Curious as to your views on the installment. I've not seen the last Jedi as yet.
SlackerInc
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 2:30am (UTC -5)
@Jason R: I'm glad I'm not the only one curious about this! Speaking of curious, you would think at least a few more Chinese people would have gone to see it just to see what the big deal was elsewhere in the world, and also just knowing tons of money went into it, that there's a lot of action and effects, etc. That's kind of what I assume is usually going on when a huge American blockbuster hits their shores.
Dom
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:39am (UTC -5)
Here's an interesting article about Chinese fandom's take on it:

http://www.sixthtone.com/news/1001531/chinas-die-hard-star-wars-fans-respond-to-last-jedi-flop

In short, China doesn't have the same nostalgic attachment to the OT many Americans do, and thus I think are just less forgiving of the movie's flaws.
Jason R.
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Very interesting comments from the Chinese reviewers. I do think the claim that SW had no history in China is a cop-out; it is not an adequate explanation. The three things that popped out at me were aesthetics (the actors not being physically attractive), the poor plotting that insults the audience's iq and uncompelling characterization.

I would hypothesize that Chinese audiences are about 20 years "behind" their western counterparts.
Peter G.
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
@ Jason R.

"I would hypothesize that Chinese audiences are about 20 years "behind" their western counterparts."

You mean that the Chinese are still expecting elements in a film that Americans learned 20 years ago they just weren't going to get and have since given up expecting?
SlackerInc
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 11:42pm (UTC -5)
@Dom:

Thanks for posting that article! One point made is most persuasive to me:

"Chen Tao, a project manager and longtime Star Wars aficionado who runs the fan forum Star Wars China, told Sixth Tone that the franchise has failed to live up to expectations in China because it arrived late to the market: Many potential viewers, upon hearing that a recently released film is actually the seventh or eighth in a series, feel they have too much catching up to do."

As for the "aesthetic" aspect: it's not like the actors they've cast are UNattractive (except for Tran--who, come to think of it, might stand out to Chinese audiences). Do you guys agree that Marvel superhero movies have more attractive actors than TLJ did?
Pm
Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 12:09am (UTC -5)
Jammer's OFFICIAL Last Jedi review:
"Well the next newest comment here is a week old and the movie is more-or-less out of theatres now, so...
In short [and to paraphrase Bart Simpson's book report on Libya] The Last Jedi is an essay in contrasts.
Thank you for your patience.
P.S. When my schedule allows, I'll have my Age Of Ultron review out in time for the Bluray release of Infinity War"
JPaul
Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
I don't blame Jammer for waiting until TLJ is released on disc/streaming/vod. It's a lot easier to review a movie when you can pause, replay, or just watch the movie multiple times.
Eric
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
There is something to be said for striking when the iron is hot though.
David Ryan
Sun, Feb 25, 2018, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Bit late to the party, but here goes...

I wanted to like The Last Jedi. I really did. I wasn't keen on the second half of The Force Awakens (not just for killing off Han Solo for no good reason, but because of ultimately how derivate and 'A New Hope Rehash' it became), and I disliked Rogue One so much it remains the only Star Wars film (so far) I will not buy on DVD, but at the same time I'm not a hater by nature and I was encouraged by the news I'd heard in the build-up. So I sat in the cinema with my family and hoped for the best.

Ultimately, I left with extremely mixed feelings.

First off, the good (because there were good bits, when all was said and done).

- Individual performances: Mark Hamill for me put in the standout performance - he had a more substantial and nuanced part than the previous 'farmboy turned galactic hero' routine, struck a good balance between humour and serious turns, and despite his misgivings about where the character was taken (on which more below) I felt he gave Luke Skywalker a good send off. Barring any Force Ghost antics, of course (Yoda opening the door on that, after all). The scenes with Yoda were a nice touch too, and lifted the overall bleakness of the film (on which more also below).

Adam Driver also put in a good performance for me - less of the whiny angst teenager in The Force Awakens and a more plausible (and complicated) character for it. The bait-and-switch in terms of seemingly turning good before actually being even worse worked for me, even if I didn't find the accelerated promotion thing particularly convincing (surely there'd be others with a better claim to the title within the First Order?). Daisy Ridley did well with what she had, although I don't think the script did her justice - Rey's 'journey' lost its way at times, and didn't really explain how she went from 'raw potential but no real clue' to 'look at me shift a thousand boulders' in the space of about 3 days and 3 rather weak lessons. John Boyega put in a decent turn as Finn, and even if the whole patient-turned-deserter-turned-agent-turned-saboteur-turned-kamikaze thing didn't mesh together I still felt the character has some interesting potential for the last film. And whilst I'm on the main characters, Oscar Isaac was decent to watch as well (which is a bit damning with faint praise, I admit, for reasons below), and the late Carrie Fisher was on good form and fun to watch (although again, I wasn't convinced about the character overall).

- Special effects: Enough said really.

- Locations: even if some of them were, ultimately, completely pointless, it was nice to see a bit more of the Star Wars galaxy being explored.

- Emotional depth: whilst the film was hit and miss on this throughout, it was nice to see them trying to bring more depth to the characters and explore their strengths and flaws. By and large the characters were more believable for it, and in particular the consequences of characters' choices being explored in this way was welcome (even if it did mean others characters suffered in comparison).

- Return of the A-Wing: okay, it is stretching credulity that they'd still be using a 30-year-old design with no changes whatsoever, but it was one of my favourite ships and I liked seeing it regardless.

Now the not-so-good...

- Premise: I hate to say it, but the whole premise of the new trilogy just doesn't work for me at all. My honest reaction on reading the first few words of the opening crawl ("The First Order reigns") was to groan. I mean, seriously - this is like, what, 24 hours after Starkiller Base destroyed Hosnian Prime, and the whole New Republic has fallen to pieces? I know suspension of disbelief is part and parcel of science fiction, but this is stretching plausibility to say the least. The notion that a collective of hundreds of planets - with their own governments, militaries and resources, as the prequel trilogy showed with Naboo and Kashyyyk - wouldn't have contingency plans and the wherewithal to launch a counter-attack against the First Order (who, let's not forget, had lost their main military base immediately), and would, quite frankly, be stupid enough to keep its fleet in one convenient-to-hit location is just ludicrous. Particularly given how many wise heads from the original trilogy era would be able to say "this is a really stupid idea, you shouldn't do it" and such like. (I understand there is apparently extra material between Episode VI and VII which explains how this sorry state of affairs is supposed to come to pass, but I've looked into it and it still doesn't persuade me that this premise works. It's like everyone had collective amnesia as to how the Empire rose up in the first place, and just left their brains at home.)

- The Resistance: considering how many former Rebel leaders are (or were) taking part in the Resistance, they do seem to be completely useless as a military outfit. It's starting to make the destruction of Starkiller Base look like a fluke. Between sending possibly the slowest, and least well-armoured, fleet of bombers in existence into a certain death attack (or even contemplating it in the first place), having everyone assemble in one location to be snuck up on by the First Order, having an unshielded and very convenient tunnel leading right to their only fighter squadrons and not even considering using their only armed ship as a diversion until most of their transports have been destroyed, they just seem to be a bunch of morons. If this is the best the New Republic had to offer, perhaps that explains why they fell apart so quickly (even if I still don't buy that premise at all).

I seriously hope they portray them as more competent in the last film, because right now the Three Stooges would put together a better fighting force.

- Wasted characters: where to begin with this one? Supreme Leader Snoke snuffs it with nary a hint of who he actually is, how he rose to power, how he commands the dark side so strongly and yet still couldn't predict his own (rather ironic) demise. Captain Phasma goes from being potentially strong female character to disposable, and appears to have been a marketing ploy to sell shiny stormtrooper action figures. General Hux just seems to be a frustrated Nazi in the wrong universe, and far too in love with the sound of his own voice to be an effective leader of anything.

It goes on: Pretty much every Resistance fighter pilot or bomber crew member. The ENTIRE Resistance leadership (including Admiral Ackbar, who didn't even get to say "It's a trap!" before being blown into space). Chewbacca - did he actually do anything significant during the entire film? The droids - ditto. Vice Admiral Pink Hair (I honestly can't remember her name, probably because of how much her role amounted to cannon fodder). Rose (social commentary and battering ram on Finn aside, why was she there?). The crypto-hacker guy Benicio del Toro played (quite honestly, if he died on the First Order flagship I couldn't care less). Perhaps more contentiously, Poe, Finn and even Leia (my test being would the film still have worked without any of them in it, and quite frankly it would have - never a good conclusion).

So much potential, so much running time, so little substance.

- Meaningless side plots: the whole casino planet trip, eye candy and cute final scene aside, was just such a waste of time and actually quite boring. I got the whole social inequality message (and the slightly contrived 'it's all a shade of grey' bit with the weapons dealer's ship, however hackneyed that actually felt), but it felt like a knock-off Cloud City with no purpose other than to divert from The Galaxy's Slowest Chase Scene. I wouldn't have missed any of it if it had been left on the cutting room floor.

Same goes for the whole 'Poe tries to establish himself as fearless leader, fails spectacularly' routine. Quite how someone gets to the rank of Commander with so little common sense or tactical nous is beyond me, and it just felt as contrived as his heroine worship of Leia. (There's a limit to these things, surely?) And the whole 'Luke hates the Jedi Order' thing just jarred so much that I found myself missing the Expanded Universe timeline.

- Questionable character decisions: I think this probably sums up my biggest misgiving about the filme, which is that a number of characters make (or have made) decisions which are meant to highlight their flaws but instead seem jarringly out of character. The most obvious example is probably Luke Skywalker, and I could see right away why Mark Hamill made his (quickly backpedalled) comments about not being happy with how Luke was written. This is, after all, the same character who ignored pretty much everyone saying "Darth Vader is pure evil, there's no point trying to save him", turned him back to the light side and dealt a crippling blow to the Empire - and yet, when faced with a pupil who has been corrupted and seems to show no prospect of redemption he decides the best option is to take a lightsaber to him? (I know some people have said it's to show the flaw in trusting his gut instincts, but for his gut instincts to have gone so wildly off piste in the intervening years is a bit of a leap). Likewise, would he seriously have just washed his hands of the whole enterprise and not sought to put right the mess he created?

Same goes for Rey even contemplating trusting Ben Solo/Kylo Ren after he butchered Han right in front of her in the previous film (bizarre connection notwithstanding), Leia's tactical dead-ends, Finn's attempted kamikaze (surely he'd just be vaporised?), and pretty much every call made by Poe in the entire film. I get the whole 'people make bad decisions' thing, but there were some right humdingers happening far too regularly.

- Music: controversial, perhaps, particularly for a fan of John Williams, but the score didn't do anything for me really which is a shame.

- Overall bleakness: granted, there's nothing saying Star Wars has to be all levity (and I don't think it ever has been) and there's plenty of room for serious storytelling. But between this and Rogue One, they're laying the bleakness on with a trowel and then some. I'd lost count of how many people were killed simply for the sake of perceived drama, and the whole 'anything that can go wrong will go wrong' vibe just went overboard as well. Were it not for something of a salvage job in the final battle, I'd have left the cinema feeling thoroughly depressed.

I'll leave it there on the not-so-goods as I'm starting to rant and ramble, but despite (somewhat confusingly) feeling more satisfied with where The Last Jedi left off compared with how The Force Awakens left off I must confess I was disappointed overall and generally not feeling too thrilled about Disney's handling of the Star Wars saga. I very much doubt anyone at the House of Mouse will care or lose even a second's sleep over it given the box office takings, but for me it's getting to the stage where I'm losing interest in the direction they're taking things - and I've been a fan of the films as long as I can remember. This isn't about harking back to some perceived "golden age" or the like - the new films do some things very well, and the original trilogy had its flaws (and God knows the prequel trilogy did), and it's only right to acknowledge as such. But my motivation for watching Episode IX is now purely to see how they tidy up the mess and resolve the various plot threads they've left for themselves - and to see if JJ Abrams makes it as much of a Return of the Jedi copy as The Force Awakens ended up being of A New Hope. I can't say I'm particularly fussed about Solo aside from passing interest, and Rian Johnson's purported new trilogy likewise doesn't grab me. Perhaps it's one of the signs of growing up and (maybe) outgrowing the material, but it's a shame nonetheless and particularly to see that I'm not alone in my viewpoint on the new movies. Either we're all becoming old curmudgeons or something has gone a bit awry. But hey, as long as the bank registers keep ticking over and recouping the $4bn+ investment then who cares?

2 stars for me (maybe pushing 2.5 if I'm feeling generous). Episode IX may mark the end of my interest in Star Wars at this rate.
Brandon
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
Well, 1701-Z...the HISHE parody came out, but it went in an entirely different (though equally awesome) direction with the whole kamikaze ship thing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCB8DUGpYQQ
SlackerInc
Sun, Mar 4, 2018, 3:49am (UTC -5)
@David Ryan: I thought the score was fine. I can’t find anything else to disagree with you about!
David Ryan
Wed, Mar 7, 2018, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc: on balance, I was probably a bit harsh about the score. I think my biggest issue was that, like you say, it was 'fine'...but that's about it. I can't actually recall a standout bit of original music from the score (even The Phantom Menace had Duel of the Fates), which may admittedly say more about my memory but for me it was a shame given John Williams' previous work. Mind you, he still got an Oscar nomination so that shows what I know I suppose!
Matt
Mon, Mar 12, 2018, 2:11am (UTC -5)
Eh. The corporations have taken full control. Another mindless, soulless, play it safe movie more concerned with political correctness and merchandising profit margins for every demographic.

Even worse, they made a mockery out of Luke Skywalker in order to further raise the "girl power" meter for Rey. This series is officially dead and these 2 installments even somehow managed to hurt the legacy of the original trilogy for me.
Matt
Mon, Mar 12, 2018, 2:15am (UTC -5)
The truth hurts.
Andersonh1
Thu, Mar 15, 2018, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
I saw the original Star Wars when I was 6, back in 1977, so I can rightly claim to be a life long fan. Loved the originals, loved the prequels, all of which brought something new to the table.

The Force Awakens and now The Last Jedi seemingly exist to repackage things we've already seen, and to kill off the old characters for no good reason. I'm honestly not sure why anyone who grew up enjoying the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo would enjoy the modern films, given how they treat those characters.

Why should we root for Rey to fight for that happy ending and victory over the First Order? Han, Luke and Leia got a happy ending and beat the Empire, and now look where they are.
Dan Bolger
Fri, Mar 16, 2018, 10:13am (UTC -5)
When are you going to review this installment, Jammer? I'm guessing it'll be when the blu ray is for sale.
Todd
Thu, Mar 29, 2018, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
I think we should write Jammer's review for him. Solo is out in 2 months...the people can't wait.
Intro200q
Sun, Apr 1, 2018, 2:15am (UTC -5)
The Bluray is literally now out

Here's the review

***1/2

"When you look past all the comparisons to past star wars movies where characters are developed even more poorly and numerous loose ends never get tied up and this thing is a freaking masterpiece

Why did it bomb so badly in China, despite the obvious insertion of token Chinese characters that could have been plugged strongly in Chinese trailers...Meh...aliens? I dunno.

You guys just make your own reviews on my sure, complete with your own star ratings..so just keep doing that I guess.

Live long & prosper

The real jammer"
Intro2001
Sun, Apr 1, 2018, 2:18am (UTC -5)
The Bluray is literally now out

Here's the review

***1/2 

"When you look past all the comparisons to past Star Wars movies where characters are developed even more poorly and numerous loose ends never get tied up, this thing is a freaking masterpiece 

Why did it bomb so badly in China, despite the obvious insertion of token Chinese characters that could have been plugged strongly in Chinese trailers...Meh...aliens? I dunno.

You guys just make your own reviews on my site, complete with your own star ratings..so just keep doing that I guess. 

Live long & prosper

The real jammer"
Jammer
Tue, Apr 3, 2018, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
I hope to have this reviewed soon. Had to demote it on the priority list for a while, and time flies by faster than you expect.
Brandon
Mon, Apr 9, 2018, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer:

"But we do live in hope, do we not?"

"Of course. How could we do anything else?"

- Garak, "Millennium"
Todd
Tue, Apr 17, 2018, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
No rush, Jammer!!! Episode IX is just a year and a half a way. No pressure.
Dan Bolger
Fri, Apr 27, 2018, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
Well, I've just finished watching this film. Didn't see it at the cinema so I saw it in blu-ray format. This is my take on it - an absolute load of garbage. An overly long, tedious, unexciting, quite uninteresting, muddle of an episode. Nothing really that hadn't been recycled before. Weakest installment since episode 1, the phantom menace. a veritable yawn-fest overall. The humour didn't work, the Yoda cameo was unaffecting and much of a muchness, the music was more or less ok, the casino planet stuff was extraneous filler, the snoke character was utterly pointless, the acting and script was typically unintelligent. Only good acting was mark hamill in a reasonable role. Albeit an odd one. However, It didn't feel like a great star wars film at all. I favour star trek.
Jammer
Fri, May 4, 2018, 12:01am (UTC -5)
My review is finally posted. May the Fourth be with you!
Leif
Fri, May 4, 2018, 2:14am (UTC -5)
Jammer what makes you so sure Luke is dead after this? Just because he mysteriously disappears doesn't guarantee it right? I think the ending was ambiguous on that point don't you think? Thanks for your review.
Chris
Fri, May 4, 2018, 7:23am (UTC -5)
Thanks Jammer, it's good you took your time. This was probably the best review I've read on The Last Jedi.
Joseph B
Fri, May 4, 2018, 8:21am (UTC -5)
Great Review ... And Great Timing (Star Wars Day)!

I have viewed the movie three times now (once in the Theater, once on Digital, and once on Blu-ray) and have enjoyed the movie more each time.

Initially I gave this movie only two-and-a-half stars. On my first viewing I was upset with the whole “Vegas” plotline and the way Luke went out at the end. After having experienced the movie multiple times I now understand what the Director was going for and now place this movie easily into my Top 4 favorite Star Wars movies.

Your review has validated my (newfound) opinion of the movie.

Thanks ... And May the Fourth be With You!
Dave in MN
Fri, May 4, 2018, 8:42am (UTC -5)
Having a major character float around in the vacuum of space without any negative consequences is a extremely ridiculous plot development (and yes, I'm aware the series as a whole is built upon implausible coincidences).

I thought using the force required substantial training?! So much for internal storytelling logic!

As a non Star Wars fan who is still open- minded enough to enjoy a good story, this took me right out of the movie and colored everything that came afterwards.
Chrome
Fri, May 4, 2018, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Excellent review, Jammer, and like Joe said, what a great day for it!

I agree that overall this is one of the more downbeat Star Wars films, but the victories born from the startling losses are epically symbolic. I saw this again on a long flight with our baby and jet lag, yet the final scene still managed to get me all teared up.

Jammer wrote,

"One expects a kind of episodic variable structure to the scenes in a Star Wars movie."

I wonder what you mean by this? Maybe I'm not film-savvy enough to understand. Does it mean you'd rather there were more B and C stories to keep you engaged during the low-key points of the A story?
Peter G.
Fri, May 4, 2018, 11:02am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

""One expects a kind of episodic variable structure to the scenes in a Star Wars movie."

I wonder what you mean by this? Maybe I'm not film-savvy enough to understand. Does it mean you'd rather there were more B and C stories to keep you engaged during the low-key points of the A story?"

I took it to mean that the entire story proper consists of: fleets get into a fight, fleets chase each other, and finally there's the last scene on the planet. That's it! The B story about Luke and Rey doesn't actually impact on a the main plot other than to stall her while she has telephone calls with Ren, and the casino adventure is a true red herring and has no bearing on the main story at all. So utterly condensed, the plot consists of a "getting from point A to point B story" as Jammer suggests.

I think a more traditional 'episodic' structure has a few successive environments to explore where each operates on a separate part of the plot arc. In Empire, for Han/Leia's arc for instance, there's (a) Hoth, (b) asteroid field, (c) inside the asteroid, (d) Cloud City, (e) final short scene on the medical frigate. For Luke asteroid belt and inside the asteroid are replaced with Hoth. Each section of the film operates as a little episode of its own; if it was a comic book you could almost imagine each issue having its own setting and yet carrying along the greater storyline. In The Last Jedi they basically don't go much of anywhere for the main plot other than the sand planet. The other locations we see are almost entirely related to side-stories and not the main action, and as Jammer points out I think that's unprecedented.
Sidney
Fri, May 4, 2018, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
I think I'm done with anything new in the Star Wars universe after seeing this film. TFA was a remake of episode 4. I get it. The filmmakers played it safe and it paid off. But this...??

The incompetency of the First Order yet again. Their ships either go slow or just not fast enough and their devastating weapons and massive-to-the-nth-degree numbers just can't put the rebels out once and for all. Snoke is.. what or who is Snoke and why should I care about him? The obvious attempt at pairing off couples: Finn and Rose (Finn and Rey - No?), Rey and Kylo and then later that glance Poe makes at Rey. Yet another cantina scene rehash. The spit shine polish of the First Order gear complete with automatic clothes pressers (ugh). Luke (and Yoda) sitting back and doing nothing for umpteen years seems ridiculous.

If Yoda and Annakin and Ben (who have disappeared into the ether I guess) are "alive" at the end of ROTJ then Luke could be too. But why bother coming back? I don't see the point.

It's times like these I wish they'd clone Kevin Feige.


Chrome
Fri, May 4, 2018, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

I see where you're getting at, although I think the analysis might be a bit terse:

"The B story about Luke and Rey doesn't actually impact on a the main plot other than to stall her while she has telephone calls with Ren, and the casino adventure is a true red herring and has no bearing on the main story at all."

Given the title of the movie, I wonder if Luke and Rey is really the B story. Yes, the rebel's activities are important and take up a majority of the screentime, but the lion's share of actual character development comes from Luke, Rey, and Ren's story. I suppose among the rebels, there's an important arc with Leia and Poe, but I don't think the movie focused on that as much as Luke, Rey, and Ren. We're basically dealing with a story about Luke coming to terms with his past so he help Rey face Ren with enough strength for the Jedi to continue and aid the rebels.

Also, about the casino having "no bearing at all" on the main story, that *might* be true for this movie on its own. But if you're looking at the trilogy as a whole, I think it's significant to see how the First Order's actions are affecting civilians, especially because it looks like its actions will inspire young rebels and upcoming Jedi to join the cause in the next movie.
Peter G.
Fri, May 4, 2018, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"Given the title of the movie, I wonder if Luke and Rey is really the B story."

I know that theoretically Luke/Rey is meant to be seen as the A story, but the actual scripting doesn't match that. Sure, the scenes with Luke are iconic...because Luke. But once one gets past that it actually appears that the scenes with Luke had very little impact on anything. Rey goes there to learn from him, but in the end decides his lessons are useless and that she knows more than him already (maybe she and Darth Emo have more in common than they think). By the time she leaves she hasn't changed at all, except for the fact that she's had chats with Ren and decides she wants to go see him. But seeing as she could have had those anywhere and decided to go see him (we assume Snoke would have connected their brains wherever she happened to be) and so her time spent on Luke's planet doesn't affect her trajectory at all. The only thing we can claim about it is that Luke does help in the very end, except even then it's just to stall for a bit, giving the rebels time to escape. So for all that the so-called "A" plotline results in one single smoke and mirrors tactic. Story-wise that doesn't fly as a main story, which is why I consider to be a side-story, borderline tangential to how the movie actually plays.

As for the casino planet, I see your point about it relating to the trilogy perhaps more so than the episode, but even so it certainly isn't part of the main story. It was supposed to be, but ended up not being so. Hey, if you're going to try a bunch of tactics some will fail, but it's unusual to give a huge chunk of a film to one that goes nowhere and doesn't even have consequences (such as people dying or blowback).

In terms of what we're seeing on-screen the main story seems split between Rey/Ren and the fleet action, the former of which has much less screen time and doesn't particularly have an arc. Basically Rey has a few chats and decides to go right to see Ren afterwards, mirroring Ep 6 directly. But in Ep 6 Luke was involved in (a) Jabba's Palace, (b) Endor mission, and (c) celebration, before then going to (d) Throne Room. That's a very involved and (in Jammer's term) episodic arc. Rey goes to Luke's planet (accomplishing nothing there) and then straight to the throne room. It seems pretty clear to me that Ep 8 doesn't have the sequential episodic structure of previous SW films. It really does jump right to the finish without much in between. I think Jammer is right to question whether this is a mistake, and I also like that he withheld judgement on that score. If I had to single out the main reasons I didn't like the film I doubt this structural issue would make the list.
Chrome
Fri, May 4, 2018, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

I agree with your point about Rey not changing much if at all. If anything, if I was describing just the film using just the force users, I'd say the movie is mainly about how Luke's botched training of Ben Solo creating the galaxy's current crisis, leading him to exile. The resolution is that Luke comes out of exile because he sees potential light in Rey, and conversely, Ren becomes fully attuned with the Dark side by killing his master and utilizing the First Order to remove any remnants of his past (including his mother and former teacher, Luke).

The only really important changes for Rey are that she finally understands she has a humble heritage and how to use her force powers more effectively. But we'll see, there might be more that comes from her link to Kylo Ren in the next film.
Peter H
Sat, May 5, 2018, 3:42am (UTC -5)
All I could think through the whole film was: why could the fleet of star destroyers not send out waves of fighters to take down the Resistance frigate? They started out with just such an attack... and then stopped?

Sven
Sat, May 5, 2018, 6:01am (UTC -5)
Wow. I am kind of surprised by the review and I wonder if a lot of things that you read into the content of the film are actually there. I saw a lot of visual flair, spectacle, but not half as much theme as you saw. There are certain rules in storytelling (logic) and Star Wars TLJ broke nearly all of them. Few setups, few pay offs, few established rules, throwing in characters for the heck of it (Snoke). The whole Skywalker Jedi by proxi thing came out of nowhere, but you have no problem forgiving them for that. I don't think Andromeda for one, would get away with that ('contrived' would be the word you'd probably be looking for). Is it a bad movie because of that? Probably not (it was good entertainment), but I for one expect a lot more for 3,5 stars. Some emotion perhaps? As I said, I can't shake the impression that you saw things in there you merely wanted to see (cause what would this movie be without them?).
Star Wars is extremely black and white with about zero grey, dark versus light, night versus day. The Rey/Kylo Ren scene was an attempt to win over either of them to the other side, but never an attempt to meet in the middle. Star Wars' weakness in its name. It can't ever become Star Peace. How believable will any peace be at the end of a random Star Wars movie when the next movie sure as hell will bring another war (simply because it HAS to)?
Chrome
Sat, May 5, 2018, 8:55am (UTC -5)
“How believable will any peace be at the end of a random Star Wars movie when the next movie sure as hell will bring another war (simply because it HAS to)?”

Our history is full of wars too. It isn’t really far-fetched to see two wars in a story within a span of 20 years. And you’re oversimplifying the story. Star Wars is never just about War, there are always lots of small-scale interpersonal relationships at the heart of each film.
repli
Sat, May 5, 2018, 10:00am (UTC -5)
Main problem of this film was that it pretty much wastes every single intriguing plot point created in The Force Awakens - Snoke means nothing, Rey's parents or past mean nothing, Rey's visions at Maz Kanata's place mean nothing, character development means nothing. Rey and Kylo are pretty much in the same position as they were at the beginning. It would have been refreshing if their roles have been reversed, but no.

Wonder what J.J. Abrams planned for this trilogy? Rian Johnson clearly went on his own and crapped all over the planned story by negating everything built in Force Awakens. This is going to a disjointed trilogy for sure and Abrams is in deep trouble trying to salvage his own story in upcoming episode 9, after Rian decided that story points of the episode 7 mean absolutely nothing.

They had a lot of time to plan the story arc for this new trilogy and I guarantee that Abrams had a some kind of roadmap planned in advance. Then this Rian Johnson comes and decides, that the larger plan means nothing and ruins everything. He's a good director, many amazing scenes in The Last Jedi, but a bad writer.

Maybe, just maybe, the upcoming episode 9 will shed some light on The Last Jedi and makes it a better film.
Sven
Sat, May 5, 2018, 11:09am (UTC -5)
@Chrome

I don't believe I am OVERsymplifying. Wars come and go, for sure. But they don't just pop up. Wars occur gradually. They have a genesis and apart from one big exception that I can think of (the war against the Nazis obviously) are rarely black and white (the ultimate good versus the ultimate evil).
I liked the ending scene up to a point. The inspirational words over that Band of Brothers frame (like a poster) followed by the boy looking at the stars using his broom as a light saber. All really nice, if it had any feeling of it being real, genuine or realistic. How much of a time leap does the next movie have to make to make it look even remotely believable that they still have a fighting chance? If anything, it's (modern) Star Wars that is oversymplifying war.

'Come over to our side' has been overused (if you consider that there have only been 8 films). I can't remember any substantial interpersonal evolution. And notable interpersonal acts for that matter (mutiny is not an interpersonal act), aside from a teacher trying to kill his pupil who goes on to killing his father which was witnessed by a girl who for some reason or another develops skills at a rate even the aforementioned teacher in his youth couldn't master so fast.

Don't get me wrong people, I did like the movie. My disbelieve was thoroughly suspended. The lightspeed collision was epic in its excecution. But if I compare this movie on thematic basis to for instance Interstellar (also reviewed on this site) and I see 3,5 stars, I am truly puzzled.

To be honest: I think that the core Star Wars story has been told (it was told before The Force Awakens in my opinion) and that it can only repeat itself. It's starting to look like a tv show on steroids that should have ended two seasons ago.
That doesn't exclude more stories in the Star Wars universe. There's plenty more to explore (as there is in the Star Trek universe). But I can't imagine anything exciting or fresh emerging in this storyline. Bigger ships? Faster Jedi pupils? More incompetent Imperial leaders?
Chrome
Sat, May 5, 2018, 11:53am (UTC -5)
“I can't remember any substantial interpersonal evolution.”

Really? Luke and Vader, Anakin and Palpatine, Kylo and Rey? None of these fits your standards of substantial relationships? If not, you’ve got some terribly difficult standards for the writers.

I’m not surprised, though. If there’s one thing I see in common in all big fan bases is that there’s always a faction that’s impossible to please. I don’t mean to refer to you specifically Sven, but when I see a bunch of big critics like Jammer picking up on all these details and fans dismissing them off-hand, I have to wonder if some fans came in wanting to hate the movie and worked hard to prove their bias was just.
Peter G.
Sat, May 5, 2018, 11:56am (UTC -5)
@ repli,

"They had a lot of time to plan the story arc for this new trilogy and I guarantee that Abrams had a some kind of roadmap planned in advance. Then this Rian Johnson comes and decides, that the larger plan means nothing and ruins everything. He's a good director, many amazing scenes in The Last Jedi, but a bad writer. "

I understand why you'd think this; many people thought so too. But it's not true. JJ Abrams is a con artist who promises what he doesn't have an waves it away knowing he'll just wing it later. There was no roadmap, nothing. No arc planned; no trilogy concept; no backstory for Rey, Snoke or Ren; no reason for Luke being in exile; all of this was empty posturing. Johnson has said outright that when he came on to begin writing Ep 8 he asked JJ for the roadmap, for where he felt the arc was going and what the histories were, and the answer that came back to him was that there's nothing to tell. Everything JJ put in Ep 7 is what he had come up with, and no more. So basically Johnson had carte blanche to write anything he wanted, despite the fact that he had to continue someone else's story that he didn't know why they wrote what they wrote. I'm not at all surprised that Ep 8 is disjointed and seemingly throws most of the mysteries from Ep 7 into the toilet.

Back when Ep 7 came out everyone was promises that all would be revealed. Have faith in your storyteller, they said, and in the meantime feel free to keep guessing about what the truth is behind Snoke/Rey/Ren/Luke and even Han and Leia. But it was a lie; there was no "truth" there because there were no reasons for anything in Ep 7. It was written will one single intention: to wind up the audience full of mystery questions like a page-turner to keep them coming back for more, but had no answers to give. Remind you of anything? LOST, perhaps? It was a simple shell game where all three shells were empty, and where Johnson had to take over and give the audience the payout they were expecting. His answer to this was simple: fuck that, there will be no payout. He gave the finger to all major mystery threads and announced that they don't matter. In effect it seems like he rebelled against Ep 7 and dumpstered its mysteries. Rey's backstory - doesn't matter! Who is Snoke - doesn't matter! Why did Luke leave a map to him - doesn't matter! What happened to the Republic in the last 20 years - doesn't matter! The extent to which Johnson rejected these plotlines is almost petulant but I guess he did Abrams a favor in he end since now Abrams doesn't have to clean up his own mess and answer these questions in Ep 9.
Dan Bolger
Sat, May 5, 2018, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
Nearly 4 stars for this? You must've been watching a different version of the film to most of us.
repli
Sat, May 5, 2018, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

“J. J. wrote ‘Episode VII,’ he also wrote drafts for ‘VIII’ & ‘IX.’ Then Rian arrived and re-wrote [‘The Last Jedi’] entirely. I believe there was some sort of general consensus on the main storylines that would happen in the trilogy, but apart from that, we agreed that every director should probably make his movie his own way. Rian and J. J. Abrams met many times to discuss ‘The Last Jedi,’ although ‘Episode VIII’ is very much mostly Rian’s and I do believe Rian didn’t keep anything from the first draft of the ‘Episode VIII’ script”

http://thecomeback.com/pop-culture/rian-johnson-toss-out-abrams-story-last-jedi-daisy-ridley.html

https://www.cosmicbooknews.com/rian-johnson-ignored-jj-abrams-star-wars-episode-viii-script
Dixie
Sun, May 6, 2018, 12:43am (UTC -5)
Three and a half stars for this train wreck of a movie? Did I fall through a rift into the Berenstein Bears timeline or something?
Jason R.
Sun, May 6, 2018, 10:20am (UTC -5)
Repli, who knows what, if anything, J.J. had planned in his first draft. I for one think if Johnson tossed it in the garbage, maybe it wasn't worth much. I doubt Abrams planned some big climax to any of the mysteries he started.

Anyway, your article notes:

"The expectation is that Abrams will provide more of what fans enjoyed about The Force Awakens and restore the feeling of a Star Wars movie to the final installment of the new trilogy. "

That's the biggest joke of all. I can only pray that Abrams is around long enough to take the fall for crashing Disney's cash cow and killing the proverbial golden goose. The weasel usually high tails it before the shtf but maybe this time he won't come off so glossy as usual.
Tempeh
Sun, May 6, 2018, 10:33am (UTC -5)
Dave in MN: "Having a major character float around in the vacuum of space without any negative consequences is a extremely ridiculous plot development (and yes, I'm aware the series as a whole is built upon implausible coincidences). I thought using the force required substantial training?! So much for internal storytelling logic!"

There were negative consequences: she went into a coma.

I think the fans are overreacting to this scene. It's not really that bad. First of all, being in space doesn't mean instant death. You can survive 15 seconds before passing out. She was already passed out, but something within her brought her back. Not too unbelievable in the Star Wars universe. You also don't explode in space as many people think. You do start to swell though.

As far as the "substantial training" how do we know she hasn't had any? A lot of years pass between Return of the Jedi and this movie. Plus, would it take a lot of training to pull yourself in a vacuum? When astronauts are space walking, one little push against the spacecraft and they go flying off into space, which is why they have to always be tethered on the ISS. So one little tug of the force should be all that is needed to return to the ship.

The only problem I see is that she should have been traveling away from the ship after being sucked out. If I remember correctly, she was stationary before floating back.
Jammer
Sun, May 6, 2018, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
"Feel free to agree, disagree, or punch your computer screen." -- Jammer's Reviews tagline, circa 1997

"Feel free to agree, disagree, or throw your mobile device." -- Jammer's Reviews tagline, alternate version, circa 2012
Daniel Bolger
Sun, May 6, 2018, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
I agree, Dixie. Biggest pile of crap I'd seen in a long time. Overly americanized humour in most films just doesn't work either. Modern day cinema may just as well be a permanent swarm of brainless comic book superhero films. That's usually the film fodder these days.
Dan Bolger
Sun, May 6, 2018, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
The thing about modern day star wars is that's it's just vacuous and boring. Really boring. The same old formulas, with a vaguely different spin on scripts, that were articulated better 35 to 40 years ago. The only exceptional episodes were 4 and 5. 6 was very good. 1 was laughably disposable. 2 was ok ish, 3 was better. 7 was enjoyable, rogue one I thought was actually very good.
Doyle
Sun, May 6, 2018, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
@Tempeh: That scene just looks ridiculous, and given that Carrie Fisher died, I thought that would have made a great death scene. Instead she does the Marry Poppins, and does some serious Force-Wielding without buildup. And remember, it wasn't just the vacuum of space - the bridge exploded. She should have been dead and burned.

So her force wielding is not just a gentle force-pull, she has to mend her wounds, fight oxygen deprevation, and so forth. Yes, we can assume that she has trained... but that is just fan theory. Just drop a line in there "Leia, you are getting strong in the force" or something. Oh well, that doesn't matter anyways nowadays, as everybody and his dog are master force users. Back to watching Godzilla movies.
Matsu
Mon, May 7, 2018, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
Agreed with Dixie.
Del_Duio
Mon, May 7, 2018, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
Wow, 3 and a half stars I'm pretty surprised.

I would've thought the whole casino tangent would have deducted 1+ stars all by itself!

But since this site isn't called "Del_Duio's Reviews & Etc" we gotta' respect the man's opinions here, people.
NCC-1701-Z
Mon, May 7, 2018, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Glad to see the review got posted before Star Wars IX came out ;)

I enjoy reading your reviews, even when I disagree with them - they always give me a new angle to consider. Thanks for all the hard work you put in Jammer!
Del_Duio
Mon, May 7, 2018, 12:43pm (UTC -5)
@repli:

"Maybe, just maybe, the upcoming episode 9 will shed some light on The Last Jedi and makes it a better film. "

Question: If you have to wait for a future movie in hopes that your movie made sense, have you indeed made a good movie?

In fact lots of us were hoping TLJ would shine some light on many aspects of TFA and that didn't happen. Episode 9 may not either.
Jammer
Mon, May 7, 2018, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
You are all being silly. The gaps explaining the backstory for TFA will be revealed in Episodes 6.4, 6.5, and 6.6, give or take a few decimals.
Chrome
Mon, May 7, 2018, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
"If you have to wait for a future movie in hopes that your movie made sense, have you indeed made a good movie?"

I don't think repli was making this point. He just meant that the next Star Wars movie would shed some light on some plot points not revealed yet. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. The problem often comes when the writers had no plan for sequels and they're just sort of making up background stories for past events as they go along.

That said, trilogies that were originally stand-alone movies like "Back to the Future" can still have fairly good sequels. It's just that with a little scrutiny you can tell that the stories for BTTFII+III were not in the writers' heads when they penned the script for the first one.
Chrome
Mon, May 7, 2018, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
Touche, Jammer. Don't forget the TFA prequels to be released in 20 years. ;-)
Dave in MN
Mon, May 7, 2018, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer

That made me laugh out loud. Touché, brother!
Yanks
Tue, May 8, 2018, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Jammer, that was laugh out loud funny boss!!!
Dom
Tue, May 8, 2018, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
"their visit to Canto Bight has a socio-political angle that has real-world allegorical value (as opposed to simply providing plot mechanics like the political backdrop of the prequels did)."

The story of a Galactic Republic electing an authoritarian leader, engaging in pointless wars, and succumbing to corruption all feel like very relevant real-world allegory nowadays. Lucas has said the Original Trilogy was in part a reaction against the Vietnam War.

By contrast, while I appreciated that Last Jedi tried to have some political commentary, it felt half-baked. Yes, there's income inequality, but the film never really convincingly makes the case that that's a fundamental problem. The idea that, as Rose claims, only weapons dealers could afford to go to Space Vegas is laughable. The top 1% on Earth includes tech gurus, investment bankers, entertainment moguls (like Lucas), and others who have nothing to do with arms dealing.

The whole approach to political commentary in TLJ a classic case of telling, not showing. Rose tells the audience that there's economic inequality and that we should be upset about it, but the film doesn't make the audience FEEL it. When she goes on a rampage in Canto Bight, I don't find myself cheering for her; I find myself aghast at the destruction and deaths of innocent bystanders. Think about it: would we cheer if somebody drove a car through a casino in Las Vegas? And what about the little slave kids? If Rose really cared about them, why didn't she bother to free them?

I'm not unsympathetic to the film's political angle, but the execution was sloppy at best.
Troy G
Tue, May 8, 2018, 9:04pm (UTC -5)
Three and half stars..

Damn right.

I've only seen it once, but it is excellent.
Latex Zebra
Wed, May 9, 2018, 6:23am (UTC -5)
Really pleased that someone else has taken positives from scenes that people were negative about.
This film is not without it's flaws... I'm sticking with a 3/4 now but I have seen it twice and enjoyed it both times. I look forward to watching it again.
Tornado
Wed, May 9, 2018, 11:41am (UTC -5)
Jammer, thanks for your thoughtful review. I normally agree with your reviews, and those I don't agree with, I tend to think more highly of than you do (TOS's "Balance of Terror" and DS9's "Civil Defense" come to mind). This is the first I can recall where you've rated something more highly than I did (well, there's the 2 stars for Nemesis I suppose, which is about 1.5 stars higher than I would've given...)

But your review helped clarify for me one reason I didn't like it: you're right, it feels more like DS9 and BSG than traditional Star Wars. And I enjoyed both DS9 and BSG. But not every franchise needs to imitate those series' dark tones and moral greyness. And I think I want Star Wars to be Star Wars. Not that the franchise should stay static and never evolve (Force Awakens definitely flirted with that temptation). But TLJ was, for my money, too much of a change too quickly, and not always change that was particularly well-executed (@Dom, well said regarding the ham-handed political commentary).
Dom
Wed, May 9, 2018, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
@Tornado, thanks for the compliment. I wholeheartedly agree with your point as well. There's a trend in modern pop culture commentary that seems to treat franchises as extremely malleable, with reviewers insisting that the franchise should be whatever they happen to want. So moral ambiguity is in, therefore Star Wars should have moral ambiguity. Campiness is out, therefore Star Wars should be less campy. This has led to a lot of franchises becoming more generic, like Star Trek Discovery feeling more like a generic SyFy show that Trek. But you're right, franchises do need a core identity. That doesn't mean they can't evolve over time, but a franchise should also know what it's good at and do it. Star Wars is a modern myth and myths are about epic heroes and broad moral messages, not about subverting expectations. I think commentary or deconstruction of a franchise can be really effective, but not as part of the franchise. Galaxy Quest for example does a great job poking fun at some of the conventions of Trek, but I'd never want GQ to be an official Trek movie. Last Jedi to me feels a lot like an interesting deconstruction of Star Wars that doesn't quite do enough to continue the mythos of Star Wars.
Booming
Wed, May 9, 2018, 2:19pm (UTC -5)
@Dom: " Lucas has said the Original Trilogy was in part a reaction against the Vietnam War. "
Really?! So the Americans were the Empire and the Vietcong the rebels??
I always thought the fighting was a reminiscence of WW II.
Dom
Wed, May 9, 2018, 2:29pm (UTC -5)
@Booming. Yep. He has explicitly said just that. Check out this clip from a recent interview:

https://t.co/PnvDY4ylEZ

Of course, Lucas was inspired by many things and a lot of the dogfighting was inspired directly by WW2 movies.
Peter G.
Wed, May 9, 2018, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

"Really?! So the Americans were the Empire and the Vietcong the rebels??
I always thought the fighting was a reminiscence of WW II."

Just my opinion but it seems like it's less about the literal parties involved in the Vietnam war and more about the public image of the American military as being the best thing ever versus the reality on the ground of atrocities committed and politicians so far removed from it that the lives mean nothing to them. I think the core of ANH is Luke pining away to join the Imperial Academy (yeah, that Academy) and later on realizing that the he'd never connected his distaste for the Empire with the fact that military service would mean killing for them. This bitter pill was the basis for a lot of TV in the 70's-80's, including M.A.S.H. and the A-Team.
Dom
Wed, May 9, 2018, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G., in that video clip and others Lucas directly compares the US the Empire and the Rebels/Ewoks the Vietcong. You're right too in how the analogy works in the film. Another part of the commentary is that the US had a technologically advanced army but couldn't defeat "primitive" Vietnamese guerillas. I.e., the power of fighting FOR something good as opposed to the Imperials, who are just obeying orders as part of a large military machine.
Brian
Fri, May 11, 2018, 11:37am (UTC -5)
I think 3.5 is too generous, looking at the big picture. Peter Gs post from a couple days ago nailed it. TFA was an empty shell. Johnson did the right thing and threw out the garbage, but it was by no means a good film. On story telling, on pacing, on emotional impact, it flopped. ESB was far and away a better film. Comparatively, TLJ feels like amateur fan fiction. Its nice to see people trying to be "generous" but also kind of sad. Have our standards really fallen so far? This is supposed to be STAR WARS! My only hope is that Disney will tire of holding the reigns and eventually pass them to a small film company who will resurrect the SW universe properly.
John Harmon
Fri, May 11, 2018, 10:27pm (UTC -5)
Wow. I must say I’m surprised with the review. I felt it was barely more tolerable than the prequels.
David Ryan
Sat, May 12, 2018, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
Likewise surprised by Jammer's review, and stand by my 2.5 (at best) assessment. Can't help but feel it's been given a bit of a free pass on account of being 'different from previous Star Wars films' if I'm honest, but each to their own.
Dom
Sat, May 12, 2018, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
@David Ryan, yeah that seems to be the general tone of a lot of positive reviews. A lot of reviewers nowadays like plot twists and subversion. I can't tell you the number of reviewers who have taken absolute delight in quoting Kylo's "kill the past" line, as if that were the core message of the film (spoiler: villains aren't the ones who provide the core message of a film). It's definitely a problem with a lot of reviewers, rewarding "differences" over "substance." One need only look at overly convoluted shows like Westworld that keep people guessing but don't have much in the way of a story.
Tempeh
Sun, May 13, 2018, 9:52am (UTC -5)
"@Tempeh: That scene just looks ridiculous, and given that Carrie Fisher died, I thought that would have made a great death scene. Instead she does the Marry Poppins, and does some serious Force-Wielding without buildup. And remember, it wasn't just the vacuum of space - the bridge exploded. She should have been dead and burned. "

Do we require build-up when someone uses the force? I think it's more entertaining when it's a surprise. As for it being Mary Poppins-like, I don't know what the proper way to float through space is. It's going to look weird no matter how she floats back. Both arms forward would have been too Superman-like. Feet first would have been too M Bison-like. I agree she should have taken more impact from the explosion, but I have no other problems with the scene. In fact, I was emotionally moved by it.
Booming
Sun, May 13, 2018, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
@Dom
But Star Wars was never substantial or deep or anything. The old movies are relatively simple stories, well made sure but for some reason America turned it into a borderline religion. The movies weren't even that original. Lucas made a mish mash out of cliff notes and Flash Gordon.
And now Disney... They will milk that cow until it is dead.
Have fun with the Han Solo standalone! :D
Peter G.
Sun, May 13, 2018, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

"But Star Wars was never substantial or deep or anything."

Maybe you just missed the messages.
Booming
Mon, May 14, 2018, 1:05am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.
I know, it's about family. That's what so powerful about it. (Carrie Fisher reference)
But seriously what messages would that be?
- There is a small class of people that is born better than anybody else?
- Space Jesus
- Stronger together
- Incest?
- Sexual images? (Lukes face when he shots his torpedos in that little hole; the Sarlacc)
Ari Paul
Mon, May 14, 2018, 1:31am (UTC -5)
Three and a half stars for this trash!? I realize now that your judgement can't be trusted. Leaving this site for good.
Dom
Mon, May 14, 2018, 8:16am (UTC -5)
@Booming, I agree with Peter here. If you don't think Star Wars has anything to say, you're not looking closely. It's messages are more about morality, the nature of good and evil, choice and free will, etc. Lots of articles online discussing this stuff so I won't spell it out here.
Dom
Mon, May 14, 2018, 8:29am (UTC -5)
@Tempeh, I actually think Star Wars works much better when Force powers are set up in advance and don't come as a surprise. If they come completely out of nowhere, then it sometimes seems Force powers are whatever the writer needs them to be rather than an intrinsic part of the story. It's harder to maintain suspension of disbelief if I start thinking anything can happen and there are no rules to this Galaxy. Similar to how in a good mystery novel the author provides clues about the answers to the mystery in advance and only connects the dots at the end. You don't want to spoil a surprise for readers, but you also don't want it to seem as if the author is making up the rules as you go along (something I think happens a lot in Harry Potter). Now the hinting can be subtle (for example, I liked how the Force projections for Kylo and Rey did hint at that possibility for Luke at the end), but they should be there.
Peter G.
Mon, May 14, 2018, 9:07am (UTC -5)
Just Luke's scenes with Yoda alone are sufficient material for an entire book to expound what's in there. Now to be fair a lot of it is based on Yogic theory so realistically you could also go study Indian philosophy to get a lot of it, but I'm inclined to believe that while Lucas lifted much of it from there he added his own touch to it, matching it with the more Western hero's journey (Campbell) and tying them together.

Let's just put it this way: JJ Abrams didn't spend any time studying philosophy in order to make sure he had something of substance to tell the audience.
Booming
Mon, May 14, 2018, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
Yeah the Yoda scene is quite good. Almost unamerican. The strongest Jedi isn't a shining Hero ripped and all (so basically every Comic book movie today) but a little green wrinkly midget. And again I think that they are good movies but compared to Star Trek they are pretty dumb. To quote Alec Guinness:"rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper – and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable." or this:"I like them all well enough, but it’s not an acting job, the dialogue, which is lamentable, keeps being changed and only slightly improved." And he is one of the greatest actors that ever lived.
And if the old Sta Wars movies were so brilliant why was anything else that Lucas made so dumb and shallow?! Red Tails anybody?
He was a rich white kid who made movies about "gifted" white kids defeating evil. Which is fine but it certainly isn't great art.
Peter G.
Mon, May 14, 2018, 3:38pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

Just to be clear, I meant Yoda's scenes with Luke in Empire Strikes back, not in TLJ.

"And if the old Sta Wars movies were so brilliant why was anything else that Lucas made so dumb and shallow?! Red Tails anybody? "

What is Red Tails? The answer to your question, anyhow, is: Marcia Lucas.

"He was a rich white kid who made movies about "gifted" white kids defeating evil. Which is fine but it certainly isn't great art."

There is no way to have relevant dialogue about anything if your basic premise is that anything starring white people can't be meaningful.





Dan Bolger
Mon, May 14, 2018, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
More like star wars - the last yawn.
JYoder
Tue, May 15, 2018, 1:36am (UTC -5)
Wow.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I love this site for Jammer's Trek ratings which are usually spot on with my assessment. But I'm stunned that the same critical reviewer I've come to love gave TLJ 3.5 stars with all its physics flaws, flat chars, groaner moments, dense villains, and Disney preaching. Near the end, when Leia said to Luke, "I'm glad your here," I jokingly and sarcastically said out loud, "Here at the end," and then was shocked when she actually spoke that horrid cliche. At that point, I was pretty well checked out.

The longest chase scene in cinema now goes to TLJ -- long enough for some to zip off to another planet, have a set of their own adventures (which includes jail time) and still make it back in time. (Oh, and btw, even if your ship runs out of "gas" in space, YOU'LL KEEP MOVING AT THE SAME SPEED!)

How many times did TLJ have the Rebels saying, "This is our last chance..." or "We have one hope left..." then cut to the Empire villains (who you can practically envision twirling their mustaches) as they snicker, "We've got them now," or "There's no escape," or "Ignore that ship that's turning around because I'm an idiot and can't tell it's going to ram us even though the audience knew it the very moment Laura Dern grabbed the joysticks." (Too bad she wasn't flying the moronic "bomber" ship in the opening shot that WOULD NOT DIE as easily as all the other "bombers", and have it auto-pilot from a parsec away at light speed through the Star Destroyer, rather than lose 100's of lives and take 5 minutes to kick a ladder.)

On the flip side, I appreciated that TLJ seemed to want to try to break the SW formula a little... but then ultimately didn't.

Honestly, I'm continually amazed at the free passes Star Wars gets from everyone. Yes, I know it's ultra-escapist fiction, and I loved the original trilogy. But seriously -- can you imagine if every movie with Kirk and company had been all about the Federation vs Klingons? It'd get real old, real fast, and that's all Star Wars is. The Empire vs Rebels... then the Empires vs Rebels... then it's (shocker!) once again, the Empire vs... oh just shut up already.
Booming
Tue, May 15, 2018, 1:44am (UTC -5)
@ Peter G. When did I say that movies starring white people cannot be meaningful??
Even though it is a little strange that in a vast galaxy with strange Aliens there are only white people around. That's why we got Lando and later Samuel L. Jackson.
Do I get an Alt-right sensitive vibe here?
What I meant was that George Lucas was a rich white kid from California his social background definitely shaped his views and movies. You can see that clearly in American Graffiti. And that social background is still pretty obvious in Star Wars.
Marcia Lucas. Yeah Star Wars was saved in editing but what does that say about the movie...
And you also completely ignored the fact that the best actor in the movie thought that the dialog was "rubbish". Cherry picking anybody?
And I was also talking about the scenes from the empire strikes back. From the last jedi I only really remember the tit milking scene the rest is kind of blurry... well there was the floating through space scene with Carrie Fisher which was so awkward and embarrassing.
Jason R.
Tue, May 15, 2018, 5:54am (UTC -5)
"@ Peter G. When did I say that movies starring white people cannot be meaningful??"

You're the one who brought up Lucas's race in the context of whether ESB was a good movie.

Regarding Alec Guinness, he was obviously entitled to his opinion, but being an artist, even a great one, does not automatically make one a great art critic or even a smart person.

Not to say that he was wrong, just that his opinion isn't the be all end all.
Obi-Two Kenobi
Tue, May 15, 2018, 9:38am (UTC -5)
"The Empire vs Rebels... then the Empires vs Rebels... then it's (shocker!) once again, the Empire vs..."

Did you miss the prequels they released about 20 years ago? Neither of those factions existed in those movies. If your complaint is about "Light side" versus "Dark side" then Star Wars may not be your thing; the struggle between those two sides is key to the main films. Yet, I think even in the films like "Empire Strikes Back" there's much more going on then just Empire and rebels fighting. There's lots of people from all sides who are mixed up in the main conflict, and there's nuance and intrigue in the stories that lead people to be either light or dark, or somewhere in-between.
Dom
Tue, May 15, 2018, 10:22am (UTC -5)
@Booming, Lucas did not grow up rich. He was middle class. And I thought the world realized years ago that people can like both Star Wars and Star Trek for different reasons. Just because Star Wars has action scenes doesn't mean it's Transformers. Let's be honest, it's not like most of the Trek movies are any good. Aside from First Contact, the TNG movies are rubbish, as are all the nu-Trek films and Star Trek V.
Peter G.
Tue, May 15, 2018, 11:56am (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

As Jason R pointed out, this statement -

"He was a rich white kid who made movies about "gifted" white kids defeating evil. Which is fine but it certainly isn't great art."

- speaks for itself. You directly said that media about "gifted" white kids defeating evil cannot be great art, or at least when it's a rich white guy making it. Can't see where there's much confusion here. Your implication about an "alt-right" vibe betrays you.
Yanks
Tue, May 15, 2018, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
JYoder,

I'm in line with you.

What the SW purists don't want to admit is the best SW movies since 'The Empire Strikes Back' are 'Rogue One' and 'Solo' (I haven't seen yet, but reviews are high)

JYoder
Tue, May 15, 2018, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
"Did you miss the prequels they released about 20 years ago? Neither of those factions existed in those movies. If your complaint is about "Light side" versus "Dark side" then Star Wars may not be your thing"

That's splitting hairs as the Empire simply went by a different name and some people were always against it without the formalized name "Rebellion." Still, your point is taken and I admit I oversimplified. You're correct in that it's Light vs Dark and... that's about it. Very little depth. And while that's no crime, I'm weary of the fanboys who are constantly ga-ga with all things SW, with little to no discernment.

Hence my shock that Jammer gave it 3.5 stars, as it seemed more from a fanboy than an objective critique. I mean, the Finn-Rose sequence where she crashes into him to save him... while he's attempting to save the entire Rebellion... which they somehow miraculously survive (because that's what happens when 2 ships weighing several tons collide) and then kiss as the fortress falls... just wow... it is such a colossal mess, and so incoherent, that it should automatically deduct an entire star from anyone's rating.

Finn, Rose, Poe, and General Hux are so flat and uninteresting that they are painful to watch. Put them together and it's cringy-worthy material, such as when Bart Simpson crank-called Moe... oops... I meant Poe and Hux.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see SW get it right, but this latest installment hurt my eyes from all the rolling they ended up doing. Sure, I loved the big Luke moment near the end (as well as the subtle hint that something was different with him before you realized what it was) but for me, those moments can't forgive the bad string of others.

Sure, the movie made over a billion dollars. As will the next one. And the one after that. And the one after that, etc. And that's because SW fanboys are like baby birds. Sure, they may whine and complain about certain elements and threaten to boycott, but in the end, everyone knows they'll eat any worm you feed them and thank you for it.
Jason R.
Tue, May 15, 2018, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
"That's splitting hairs as the Empire simply went by a different name and some people were always against it without the formalized name "Rebellion."

Huh? What name was that? You mean the Republic? And the rebels would be who, the Trade Federation and the seperatists? You do realize that Palpatine was controlling both sides in the war, right?

One of the great things about the prequels was that the Clone War was just a distraction; it was the very antithesis of the rebel versus evil empire we saw in the original trilogy.
JYoder
Tue, May 15, 2018, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
All true, and for me, what you described is HANDS DOWN one of the best elements of the entire SW franchise. My apologies for speaking in hyperbole. But don't miss my larger point in that such complexity and nuances is not even close to the norm in the broader scope of SW.

I'm not saying all SW movies have to have such elements (SW is escapist and more about the pew-pews and *light saber sounds* than anything) but I am saying to not insult our intelligence with much of the tripe found in TLJ.

Sorry I made it easy to miss my forest for my trees, but in the end, I'm ultimately disappointed that I was so disappointed in TLJ. I really thought it would buoy my SW spirit and reinvigorate the franchise for me, but it had the opposite effect. Not only because of the "been there, done that" elements (which I admit I inflated to some degree) but also with too many goofy moments sprinkled throughout.

To focus this back on the "review" aspect, I'd give TLJ 2 stars. Some good, but mostly bad.
Booming
Tue, May 15, 2018, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
@Dom Not to drag this out but Lucas was at least upper middle class. And yes the old movies are certainly better than Transformers, far better. Nothing wrong with liking Star Wars and Star Trek. I just don't get why people claim that it is some kind of modern fresco of the Sistine Chapel. People have turned it into a religion and defend it like one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRZ4A2tXyj8 Isn't that reaction a little odd??

@Peter G Oh so you are actually one... uh not that we have people like you here in comparable numbers but what I get from European Socialist Media (We only have the one channel in our egalitarian hell hole) you people are very emotional so I will make this as plain as possible. I'm a social scientist and I was greatly influenced by Bourdieu. Therefore it is my belief that the social background very much shapes ones social perception, behavior, likes and dislikes. So what did I actually write:" He was a rich white kid who made movies about "gifted" white kids defeating evil. Which is fine but it certainly isn't great art." The first sentence is true (maybe he was upper middle class). He made movies about a social class which he knew. I'm not saying anything about white people in general. Shakespeare was white and was working with a white cast and he made great art.
The second sentence of my statement again wasn't directed at white skinned people in general but at Lucas and the SW movies in particular.
Jason R.
Wed, May 16, 2018, 6:37am (UTC -5)
"I'm not saying anything about white people in general. Shakespeare was white and was working with a white cast and he made great art. "

You don't seem to be saying much of anything at all.
Dom
Wed, May 16, 2018, 8:44am (UTC -5)
One of the aspects of modern pop culture discourse I can't stand is the tendency to judge a work of art based on the race/class/gender of the artist. This unfortunately happens on both sides of the political aisle. If a piece of art speaks to you, great. If not, that's also fine. But judging art solely on the artist's demographic characteristics seems reductive and pointless. "Great art" can be about people of any race/gender/sexuality/creed/class. If an artist's work doesn't speak directly to your race/gender/sexuality/creed/class, that doesn't mean it's bad, it's just different.
Booming
Wed, May 16, 2018, 8:47am (UTC -5)
@Jason R.
Criticising me for not saying much with a short sentence. That's pretty sharp.
Peter G.
Wed, May 16, 2018, 9:41am (UTC -5)
"@Jason R.
Criticising me for not saying much with a short sentence. That's pretty sharp."

Reading comprehension: 0
Booming
Wed, May 16, 2018, 11:01am (UTC -5)
@Dom
Maybe because English is my second/third (don't remember which) language I lack the skills to express myself in an understandable way. I'm not judging Lucas work based on his race or gender or whatever but it is just a fact that the social background of a person hugely influences the views of a person again Bourdieu. For example a rapper from the east coast won't write about how he felt running through Nagoya while the cherry blossoms were falling. And again I'm maybe not making myself clear. I just pointed out that Lucas social background is clearly visible in his earlier works + I don't think that it is great art but that has nothing to do with the fact that he is white or a penisowner. Star Wars is just not Citizen Kane.
Booming
Wed, May 16, 2018, 11:07am (UTC -5)
@ Peter G.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D5tkAUNFa4
How good is your German or your French?
Tu comprondras, oder eher nicht?
Peter G.
Wed, May 16, 2018, 11:14am (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

"I don't think that it is great art but that has nothing to do with the fact that he is white or a penisowner."

Then why bring it up?

"How good is your German or your French?
Tu comprondras, oder eher nicht?"

My French is very good, my German not as good. That's why I wouldn't go to a German forum and insult people there :)
Booming
Wed, May 16, 2018, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
@ Peter G. I guess we aren't as sensitive :)
I brought it up because great art must be groundbreaking. Writing a story about stuff you know makes it feel real but it often also means that it is simple.
That is what I meant with gifted white kids go on an adventure.
Star Wars is a coming of age story. good vs evil and good wins of course. Space wizards with swords who also fly around having WWII like dogfights.
But I doubt that people in a hundred years will talk about the intricate story of Star Wars and how it changed the world.
They are well made and a lot of love went into making them but that is it.
In Europe Star Wars isn't that big a deal and nobody considers it great art quite a few would probably question if it is art at all.
But you can of course think that is like the Sistine Chapel or Beethovens 5th.
Chrome
Wed, May 16, 2018, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
For something that “isn’t groundbreaking” and is written from an “upper class” person, Star Wars sure resonates with a large global audience. The Force Awakens, for example, is the 5th highest grossing overseas film of all time. No one here is claiming it’s up there with Shakespeare in terms of artistic quality, but it’s no stretch to say there’s something special about a work that can move so many people to leave their homes and spend three hours of their lives to see the Star Wars story unfold. To put it another way, Star Wars’ ability to touch so many people is a feat that artists from all spectrums and classes long to achieve.
Dom
Wed, May 16, 2018, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
I don't know where in Europe Booming lives, but Star Wars is very popular, especially in Germany. It isn't as popular in China, India, and developing countries, which didn't grow up with the originals.

"But I doubt that people in a hundred years will talk about the intricate story of Star Wars and how it changed the world."

It's already 40 years after the first movie and we're STILL talking about how Star Wars changed the world. Like it or not, Star Wars is probably the most influential movie in modern history. It changed the way films are made and practically made the special effects industry. To say that nobody will talk about it seems like a willful denial of the facts.

"That is what I meant with gifted white kids go on an adventure.
Star Wars is a coming of age story. good vs evil and good wins of course. Space wizards with swords who also fly around having WWII like dogfights."

If that's all you see when you watch Star Wars then you just haven't watch carefully. That's like saying Romeo and Juliette is just a story about two horny white teenagers who end up being so stupid that they kill themselves. Or summarizing Hamlet as privileged white kid who is indecisive and wants revenge on his father's killer. Or Citizen Kane as a story about a rich white guy. You can summarize any movie or work of art by the race/class/gender of its protagonist and simplify the story, but still miss so much of what makes it work.
Dom
Wed, May 16, 2018, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
I really don't get this elitist attitude that something either has to be the Sistine Chapel or it isn't "real art" and therefore worthless. Art comes in all shapes and sizes. Some art is better than others. Star Wars isn't Beethoven's 5th or the Sistine Chapel, nor is it trying to be. It's Star Wars. Star Wars is trying to be Star Wars.
Booming
Thu, May 17, 2018, 2:15am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome
The Force Awakens made more than half of its money in the US and Canada (930m and 200m respectively). In Germany it made 110m and in France 90m which is a lot for both countries but far less than what it made in North America when you compare population numbers (USA:320; Canada:35; France:67;Germany:83).
And I also want to point out that Lucas had nothing to do with The Force Awakens. Star Wars is certainly a cultural phenomenon but just not that huge in Europe.
@Dom
ABout the popularity in Germany read the above part. And about the fact that we are still talking about Star Wars. I think that is mostly because the prequels were so horrendous and the Empire... I mean DIsney. It is doubtful that people would still talk about it without the new movies which apparently now everybody hates apart from Jammer that Disney shill fan boy :). And Star Wars certainly had considerable cultural influence in the US but I have never seen anybody play or possess Star Wars toys. Even when I watched the movies nobody was wearing Star Wars shirts or something. In Europe Star Wars is viewed not much different than the Marvel movies. Fun pop corn movies which you immediately forget after leaving the cinema. But back to the old movies. The special effects were groundbreaking that is true. And about elitist attitudes. The rich and powerful always resented popular culture that will never change and the more unequal a society becomes the more popular culture is resented by the elites again Bourdieu. And don't misqoute me please. I said that Star Wars (the old movies) isn't great art but it is certainly art. The new movies are probably better described as a well made products. And to your point about Shakespeare and Citizen Kane. Class and gender played a huge role in Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Citizen Kane and how it drives and limits what a person does. All of these made strong social commentaries that still resonates with people. There is nothing comparable in Star Wars. In the old movies evil is evil just because and good is good for the same reasons just because. We don't know anything about both sides when it comes to motivation. The only fleshed out character is Han Solo. He has an actual arc. At first he is a selfish smuggler who through shared hardships exposure to noble ideals and disgust about the crimes of the Empire transforms into a noble hero himself. That's why he is the most beloved character in Star Wars. The other characters stay pretty bland. Lando has basically the same arc just less interesting. We don't know why Leia is fighting for the rebels, we don't really know what motivates the Emperor. Darth Vadder is seduced by the Emperor and without much effort is seduced again by the good side which is certainly nice for the billions of people he murdered. And Luke is fighting the biggest Oedipus complex in a galaxy far far away and in the end unlike Oedipus Luke succeeds. He overcomes his father and then shames him into killing himself. :) At least he doesn't try to have sex with Natalie Portman.
PM
Thu, May 17, 2018, 2:22am (UTC -5)
Aw dang, this review is so good, it makes an utter fool of the me that complained it took almost half a year for Jammer to write it.
Movie rating for me: 3.75/4 (the criticisms I've read are idle nitpicking)
Review rating 5/4 (Yup that was intentional)
Dom
Thu, May 17, 2018, 9:19am (UTC -5)
@Booming, nonsense. My girlfriend just went to the Netherlands for a week and saw several people wearing Star Wars shirts. If you don't like Star Wars, fine, but don't pretend Europeans as a whole are more sophisticated and that your take on the films represents the entire continent.
Booming
Thu, May 17, 2018, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
@Dom
Jesus whats wrong with you? I didn't say that Europeans are more sophisticated just that Star Wars isn't that big in Europe which I have proven with numbers. You have a warped mindset and I'm done with you.
Chrome
Thu, May 17, 2018, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
Citizen Kane also scored a better domestic box office, so I think you’re argument is losing coherence here.
Dom
Sun, May 20, 2018, 10:32am (UTC -5)
“In Europe Star Wars is viewed not much different than the Marvel movies. Fun pop corn movies which you immediately forget after leaving the cinema.”

I’m just calling out nonsense where I see it. Heck the fact that we’re talking about these movies years after their release I think is pretty clear that many people aren’t just watching these movies and forgetting about them. I’d also posit that many, many, many more people are talking and thinking about Star Wars than are talking and thinking about Citizen Kane nowadays. Citizen Kane is certainly well regarding amongst scholars of cinema, but does it really resonate with most people in 2018? (Persoanlly I think the movie is overrated and has a very simplistic take on society). Like it or not, what Star Wars (at its best) does is capture some of the social commentary of the best human stories and tells them through an action/adventure story accessible to the masses.
Dan Bolger
Mon, May 21, 2018, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
I suppose the cash cow created solo - a star wars story, will be followed by the obi wan version, then maybe a boba fett one. Then an admiral ackbar one. Then a porkins one. Then a batman and superman with darth harrington one. Then a mary poppins broomstick flying in space tuition one.
RedKnight
Fri, May 25, 2018, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer, your review seems to overlook many of the basic problems of the film, such as why can’t the Empire (sorry - “First Order”) just encircle the rebels by sending some ships ahead of them using hyperdrive? Similarly, why has no one else done the hyperdrive kamikaze trick before if it works so well? Is it really okay for Snoke’s identity to never really be revealed or for Rey to be just who she is because, well iust because. Your reviews usually have a much more critical and analytical approach - it’s not clear why you give this film so much slack and benefit of the doubt.
Matt
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 2:00am (UTC -5)
I find "Boomings" attitude to be common across many forums. He projects all of the typical stereotypes of white Americans when he disagrees with them on issues or debates. Social inequality is white people's fault. Income disparity is white peoples fault. Cop shootings is white peoples fault. Slavery from two and 3 hundred years ago is the fault of the white man (often with no context of actual history). Americans are ignorant and don't realize other countries are poor (when the fact is that GLOBAL POVERTY LEVELS ARE AT AN ALL TIME LOW and America is a big reason for that). If you call someone out on the obvious prejudiceness they immediately accuse you of some alt white agenda and nothing can be said that matters
They do this while ignoring the fact that European social extremism has its people thinking and acting the same way while many of the economies are tanking. Please don't see this as an attack on Europe as I'm just shining light on an attitude that I find to be prevalent.

We have entered a time where society makes it okay to be racist against white americans. Decades of effort promoting tolerance towards people no matter their race or background has come full circle. People will undoubtedly accuse me of being "hyper sensitive" but it's just simple observation as these things have been beaten into our heads for decades now. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Unfortunately it is now rearing its ugly head even in the movies we love. Imo it's a mistake for Star Wars to become overly political instead of focusing on reason, philosophy, and spirituality. All of those ingredients are already in the Star Wars universe but those ideals don't sell toys like a simplified "good vs evil" and "rich vs poor" narrative.
Cesar Gonzalez
Tue, Jun 5, 2018, 9:18am (UTC -5)
Cannot believe you gave this film 4 and a half stars.
The enire movie is pure trash. Tries so hard to.be funny and completely undermines the characters and spirit of Star Wars.
People say it "took risks" like it's a good thing. It took risks and failed miserably.
Sloppy writing, terrible continuity and glaring plot holes tgroighout. I could cite details but there are so many videos on Youtube that have already coverred that.
Dan Bolger
Tue, Jun 5, 2018, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
I agree, Cesar. I've made the points before for this film and of the franchise generally. There's a complete lack of objective comparitives and almost no mature logic in over enthusiastic reviews of what you're actually watching on-screen, as a fictional piece of supposed entertainment. The humour was , curiously in the English language, laughable. It was boring beyond belief. Catering to a subsection of hyperbolic and easily pleased filmgoers. It's strictly unplug your brain and leave it at the cinema entrance nonsense.
Peter G.
Tue, Jun 5, 2018, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
Putting aside the plotting the rebels vs Empire, and the casino planet, and focusing strictly on the Jedi story: I would be intrigued if anyone could offer a theory as to what we're supposed to learn about (a) the Jedi, or (b) life, through the story of the Jedi here. That can include Rey's meeting with Luke, Luke's reason for becoming a hermit, or Rey's conversations with Kylo.

Anyone? There seem to be fans of the film here. Anyone have an idea about what this Jedi story is "about"? By contrast, I could name a lot of points of wisdom shown in Empire Strikes back that we learn through Yoda and Luke's interactions on Degobah.
Rico
Tue, Jun 5, 2018, 10:50pm (UTC -5)
Sorry Matt, your mumbling up a storm. "White" is a jewish term. You mean indoeuropean of the germanic/celtic/italic parts of it.

Again though the jews invented the whites. They powered up their economy starting in 1352 after the plague. White's do what the jews tell them. Always have, always will as long as capitalism debt system is intact. I could explain further but that is a different forum.

Unlike TFA, TLJ was much more white focused. People missed that. It basically centered around luke, rylo Rey and Rian. It was just poorly written in to many scenes.
JohnTY
Sat, Jun 9, 2018, 7:27am (UTC -5)
I liked this film better than TFA though it was still silly in parts. At least it took risks and wasn't just a trademark Abram's reset and rehash.

If it's true that Rian Johnson deliberately ignored and contradicted Abrams' wishes then I like it even more.

2.5-3 stars.
Matt
Sat, Jun 9, 2018, 7:13pm (UTC -5)
@Rico.
I Don't care about your opinion about the origins of the term "white people." It's not an excuse to be a racist prick. Your holier than thou attitude is pathetic and a perfect example of what I was talking about. I don't have to apologize to you or anybody else because of what happened in 1352, dickhead.
Chris from Canada
Sat, Jun 23, 2018, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
I'm just going to leave this here:

https://youtu.be/5ECwhB21Pnk

Jammer, please watch; it just might change your opinion haha

Terrible movie and first time I disagree with one of your insightful reviews in probably over 15 years lol. Still love reading your work though!
Jason R.
Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 6:28am (UTC -5)
Jammer, I have generally respected your viewpoint and refrained from calling you out when I have disagreed, but your reviews of the new SW movies seem... unbalanced. 3.5 stars for this drek? Really?

I finally got around to watching this on Netflix and it was as bad as everyone said. I mean there was an entire section of the movie that was utterly pointless. I can only describe it as a level from a video game. That's what it was. And in the end it came to... nothing.

I can say more about the movie, but I just can't bring myself to believe that you believe this is a 3.5 star movie. I have never before felt this way.
RandomThoughts
Sun, Aug 5, 2018, 1:44am (UTC -5)
Hello Everyone!

I'm finally putting pen to paper on some random thoughts. Honestly, some of them are still a jumble... perhaps I'll do better after I tie this onion to my belt. Ahh... nice.

They didn't tell us just how much of the Empire fell when Palpatine died. Yes, there was much rejoicing, but if I recall correctly, the Rebel fleet had just been pulverized at the end of VI. If they had sent every one of their remaining capital ships out to a system to protect it/show the flag, wouldn't that have been about ten systems? They cut the head off of the Empire, but it was just too big to die. I really thought when VII came out, they would show this happy New Republic everywhere, but in reality, they showed us one planet that got blowed up real good. Sure, they renamed the Empire (First Order), but I'd imagine they had just as much power after the fall of Palpatine as they did before. Heck, the local Govenor's might have been even more ruthless keeping things in line. Do you think the Storm-troopers on Tatooine just went toes up upon hearing the Emperor was dead? I think not. The Alliance would still have had a big, uphill struggle.

The problem was, in my mind, the First Order must have been the rag-tag fleet, and the Republic being big and grand, because the Rebels won in VI. It was the opposite, but they didn't tell us outright, just figuring we'd figure it out when we saw the Death-planet defeating the Capital of the Republic. Except that, well, I certainly didn't figure that out for quite some time. And it stayed that way until well into VIII, even when I saw the crawl saying FO had decimated the peaceful Republic, when I realized only the Main Power could build one of those stupidly huge ships that the Rebel Republic blew up towards the beginning. Then I realized I had it all wrong, and it made more sense for the Republic to still be hounded into the ground, using the same old clunky ships they'd had before. If they took over the Empire completely, they'd probably be using their ships (because, why not?). The New Republic was just a very small slice of a much larger pie. I doubt it was just me, but my thoughts were that after the death of Palpatine, the Republic eventually just took over. I thought the First Order were some embarrassing leftover from the Empire that just needed to be squished so that peace and love could reign. Heck, I had an embarrassed feeling about them in VII, I just didn't realize the how and why until this movie. I'm not a simpleton, but I truly figured the Rebels has won in VI and had control of (most) things by now.

I think my main problem with these two movies is that I got no real sense of urgency or possible defeat, even as the last of the New Republic ships were slowly being destroyed. I was pretty ambivalent actually. In IV, V and VI, I really had the feeling that this could be the end, if they didn't pull the rabbit out of the hat. Here, it seems to be even worse, and... nothing. Though I must divulge that I saw the Original Trilogy on big screens back when they came out. 12 times for IV, seven times for V and five times for VI. And they were three years apart, with no spoilers to be found, unless you bought every single rag out there (and they were mostly wrong on many things).

And the actors, while they did fine, just seem to be missing something. I flashed back to Han in V, sweeping his hand/finger back and forth describing a thought while in the cockpit of the Falcon (or your Worshipfulness in IV), or Luke being the whiny teenager in IV, or the seeming true joy of those two and Leia when they'd brought down the Death Star. They made me feel like they were actually there, in that time, doing those things (include Lando "I have problems of my own..."). The current actors (perhaps it is the direction), just don't seem to bring anything extra to the table. Perhaps the original trilogy just had an off-the-cuff feel that made it seem more real, that THEY WERE THERE. Perhaps the new ones are just too polished and perfect. Maybe they are over-directed.

I might have missed something, but there was no mention of Coruscant in either VII or VIII. It would seem the Republic would have to be in charge there to have any hope of doing, well, anything, as it seemed to be the Hub of both the Old Republic and the Empire. That's where the power was wielded from.

While I realize IV was made to be a stand-alone, in case it failed, you wanted to come back and see more. You NEEDED IT! And V did not disappoint and left us wanting more. And VI did not disappoint me, even with their "small" problem (wait... is that a zipper?). These don't leave me wanting more. I am glad I have seen them, and I'll watch them again. I'll watch the next one. But I don't have that yearning to find out how they'll recover from only having a hand full of unarmed shuttles, the Millennium Falcon, an awesome force-sensitive and one small boy with a neat ring. Oh, and a guy who knows his way around a Star Destroyer. *shrugs*

There was some question about who killed Snoke. I figured it had to be Kylo because they kept showing him as he was being belittled. If they'd had a long shot of Rey, perhaps I'd have thought it was her. But no, it was Ren, because Snoke wasn't smart enough to realize enough is enough when making someone feel small.

Hmm... gravity bombs. Perhaps that ship (what's that new name? Super Impressive Massively Powerful Large Eradicator sounds good. SIMPLE Destroyer) is so big it forms it's own gravity field, thus bombs from above would, eventually, fall towards it. And we've seen other ships with their own gravity (Falcon and... well... all of them) so another theory is they'd fall towards the "bottom" of the ship, then coast into their target. She got that button to fall down towards her after all.

Boy, I really like to give characters the benefit of the doubt, but the Empire General Veers from V could whup General Hux with just his pinky. I'm certain the actor is doing it how he is told, but darned if he wouldn't be a fantastic protagonist in an installment of Captain Proton... And, I just don't get the feeling of Power from him. Grand Moff Tarkin, he had an aura of confidence. I swear when I hear Hux giving orders, I totally expect the underlings to laugh and have him arrested (when seen for the first time). Not joking here. It's that bad for me.

I didn't read too many of the Star Wars novels, because many of them produced a suction, but Timothy Zahn was great. Just throwing this out here, but if he was handed the reins after these two, and wrote up a story, would it be possible to make into a screenplay? Sometimes a good novel just doesn't translate, but I'd think he'd be able to write rings around what we've had so far.

Lastly, please don't think I'm against VII and VII, it's just that I think they could have been so much more than they were. I did like the light moments in the movie. I did like the little bird/thing near tears as Chewie was about to have dinner. I did like the little bird/thing on the Falcon (because we always seem to need to have something that is totally incongruous with the rest of the plot (and I'm okay with that)). I did enjoy the battle at the start of the movie. I did enjoy being told "This is not snow. It's salt and it's different. Get it?"

Well, okay, last is now. How stupidly big are these ships going to get? We had the Star Destroyer in IV, then the Super Star Destroyer for Vader. Now, we've got SIMPLE, and that seemed so stupidly huge until we saw the one Snopes was on (it was even bigger, wasn't it? I think so...).

Thank you for listening. I was only able to read half of the reviews, because darned if it didn't take me an hour to get through those, so I might have mentioned something that was already mentioned. If so, many apologies and please have this albatross as way of recompense.

Have a Great Day Everyone... RT

P.S.: Heh, I kept thinking Snopes instead of Snoke, and finally mis-spelled it near the end. I kept it there because it made me smile. Your mileage may vary. :D
RandomThoughts
Sun, Aug 5, 2018, 3:07am (UTC -5)
Hello Again, Everyone!

While checking my notes (yes, I have made notes, sue me), I realized I did not mention those fantastic Red Guards. I and my friends over the years had wondered what they did because they never seemed to do anything. But in VIII, if anyone kills the Leader, they must attack everyone! But only then!

*Good Afternoon. I'm Tirga, leader of the Red Guard, and I must ask (because we couldn't tell, quite embarrassed actually), did you attack the Supreme Leader, or was it her? We really need to know because after that trick with the force that cut Snoke in half, we really don't know who the bad guy is here. Thanks for your time...*

It must have helped the Red Guards a great deal when they went back-to-back, because then they just had to try to defeat everyone. If Ren had said something along the lines of, oh... I don't know... "It was her", she'd have been cut down.

Still, I really liked that the Red Guards were top-of-the-line fighters, who could take on anyone. Especially if they were against Force neophytes, which they'd probably have had some instruction on. Too bad not one of them seemed to have a... blaster. Just get three or four of them to distract her (or New Supreme Leader!), and blast away! The Red Knights, I mean Guards, could have been in control... but I digress...

Enjoy the Day... RT
JPaul
Tue, Aug 28, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
The Plinkett review of Last Jedi finally dropped today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f83D18xL7VE

There are some really good points in it, not the least of which is the comparison of the structure of The Last Jedi to that of the 1978 comedy National Lampoon's Vacation. I get the sense Rian Johnson tried really hard to turn Star Wars into a comedy, something supported by the existence of some dumb comedic outtakes.

The most damning thing is an old clip of Rian Johnson talking about how he wants to make movies where 50% of the audience loves it and 50% hate it. I guess mission accomplished?
wolfstar
Sun, Sep 2, 2018, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
Thanks for posting that, JPaul. It was excellent.
Crys
Mon, Sep 3, 2018, 9:09pm (UTC -5)



I know this report was due a year ago, but, my dog ate it and i had to write the whole thing over :>)

Wow, TLJ was stupendously bad IMO. I barely know where to start.
What was done to the Luke Skywalker character was shameful. Luke, the hero of the franchise turned into an old, apathetic, depressed (and depressing) hermit. Wtf? The scene where he milks the alien seal? Wtf, indeed. Obviously someone has an evil agenda destroying Luke for us. What's that? It's no evil agenda? Oh then it's what, 3rd grade writing?
Instead of the ridiculously stupid Mary Poppins scene they could have let Leia die in the vacuum of space. Firstly, it's more dignified, but i mainly say it because CF (RIP) is no longer with us. If you need some tragedy to make it 'dark and gritty' then why not get rid of a character that you can no longer have? Instead we are treated to that idiotic scene. Plus the sudden abilty for her to use the force after so many years, duh.
The casino/arms dealer scene is so pointless other than to sledgehammer the audience with the message: arms dealers and gambling (and other vices) are bad. i also do not like arms dealers and gambling but somehow i think a 3rd grader could have done a better job portraying that concept. I'd add that parking your spaceship somewhere stupid is just another of the many character decisions that caused me a facepalm but actually the whole subplot is worthless to the story.
As is the Rose/Finn subplot. Completely worthless to the story.
Snoke is dead! Omg he was such a well developed character that i'm so sad to see him die. At Kylo Ren's hands too, because Kylo is such a badass (he almost beat up on Mary Sue, oops i mean Rey.)
The whole Poe vs vice admiral pink hair ( Holdo, i looked it up) is another subplot of stupidity. Neither of those characters can do anything right. I'm all for strong female characters (like Leia before TFA), but Holdo isn't a strong female in my opinion, she's a dummy. Too bad, there was some potential there.
Ok, how bout the main plot? Hmm, what was it anyway? It was such a strong, well constructed story that i can barely remember what it was. Oh yeah, it was the really original Rebels vs the empire (uh i mean Nazis, oh wait no, i mean First Odor.) Basically written like an episode of keystone cops in space, two completely inept forces fighting for something or other.
It was funny to see that all the plot hole of TFA that the apologists said would be addressed in TLJ went unresolved. Oops. Maybe next movie, just plunk another $10 down to finally see where all the loose ends went. Oh wait, more plot holes (canyons) next episode, well, wait for the next trilogy, and another $30 and you will get your answers, maybe. Hahaha
I could go on and on but it's been well stated by David Ryan 2/25/18, Peter G 1/17/18, JPaul 1/8/18, Jason R. 12/19/17, and Dixie 12/16/17. I'm mostly repeating what was already posted. This movie was crap, if you saw it completely isolated from the canon it would make absoluely no sense at all, even knowing the whole story it makes little sense. I didn't think anyone could bottom out JJ (whom i call the legacy killer after he destroyed my 3 favorite childhood franchises, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, and Star Wars) but RJ turns out some real no talent crap. All IMO.
NCC-1701-Z
Thu, Sep 20, 2018, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
Not directly related to the movie but an interesting development, I think Jammer wrote about the possibility of Star Wars over saturation on his blog at one point and this seems to acknowledge that.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/20/17882574/disney-ceo-bob-iger-star-wars-franchise-slowdown

Thoughts?
Dan Bolger
Thu, Sep 20, 2018, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
I agree, Crys, and NCC. It was such a lamentably shit film. I posted my review opinion on a few prior review comments a while back. I'm not even vaguely interested in watching Solo- A Star bores story. However, jammer appears to be indisposed of late. No doubt it's a train wreck of a film.
Dan Bolger
Thu, Sep 20, 2018, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
I'd give the film 2 out of 4 stars , at the most. It's insipid garbage.

Submit a comment





Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my e-mail on my post

◄ Section Index

▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2018 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of any content is prohibited. This site is an independent publication and is not affiliated with or authorized by any entity or company referenced herein. See site policies.