Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Knowing I am a huge Star Wars fan, everyone kept coming up to me asking the same question: “Are you going to see The Last Jedi?” They couldn’t understand my reply: “I didn’t see the last two movies in the theater, why would I go see this one?” In truth, I had wanted to see Rogue One in the theaters, but never got the opportunity. As for The Force Awakens, as decent a movie as it was, it was still a remake and I wouldn’t spend my hard-earned money on the over-inflated price of a movie ticket on a reboot or its sequel. That wouldn’t stop me from using a gift card to purchase the novelization of Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Jason Fry, though.
When we last left our heroes, Rey was on her way to Luke Skywalker’s recently revealed location to ask him to return with her to help end the First Order; Finn was in bacta, healing from a grievous injury at the hands of Kylo Ren; and General Leia Organa was mourning the loss of her husband. The Last Jedi opens with the Resistance on D'Qar, preparing for the arrival of the First Order. They know they were tracked to this base and they know Hux and his ships are coming, but Leia, Poe Dameron, Admiral Ackbar and the others refuse to go out without a fight…or at least a distraction.
Poe and his fighters are to be the distraction while the Resistance gathers all the fuel it can and gets out, but the First Order arrives too quickly and the damage they cause to the fleet is devastating. And despite the good news of Finn recovering from his injuries, the bad news just keeps on coming. The fleet is in deep space and has somehow been tracked through their hyperspace jump by some new First Order military capability. This time, when they engage, the Rebellion loses more than it ever could have imagined. This time they lose most of their military leaders. Ackbar and the rest of the Resistance leadership are gone…and Leia is critically injured. Admiral Holdo, a trusted friend of Liea’s has been put in command and she and Poe definitely do not see eye to eye in regards to how to save the limping remains of the Resistance.
Finn, realizing that his friend Rey is out there somewhere without him and hoping that he might find her using the beacon Leia had been carrying on her person before she was injured, decides to abandon ship. He is stopped by technician Rose Tico, still hurting from the loss of her sister during the initial escape. But when she learns that he may know exactly where this tracking device might be located in the First Order fleet, she softens a bit and, together with Poe Dameron, they devise a plan to disable the tracker…without telling Admiral Holdo.
Meanwhile, on Ahch-To, Rey has discovered that the hero of the original Rebellion, Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi in existence, has become a hermit, hiding from the Force and all he once embraced. He refuses to train Rey, especially when he realizes just how powerful in the Force she really is. He’s seen that kind of power before…in his last apprentice, Ben Solo, now known as Kylo Ren. He is unwilling to release a second round of hell on the galaxy through yet another failure. Try as she might, she can’t seem to get Luke to change his mind about coming back with her to help his own sister and the Rebellion in their cause or training her, especially when he discovers that Rey has been keeping in touch with Ben through some sort of Force bond they have between them.
And so the three friends embark on very different journeys, all with the same hope – that they will somehow find a way to save what is left of the Republic and destroy the First Order. But will they be prepared for what they must do to achieve their goals…and will it be enough?
Okay, I’m just going to say this again – reboot. Just as in The Empire Strikes Back, the group separates. Our young Force-wielder goes off in search of the one person who can train her in the ways of the Force. The rebel base is found and attacked. There is a betrayal ala Lando, but I don’t want to give away too much for those who still want to see the film or read the book. There’s even a snowy planet with untested fighters. Things look bleak for the Rebellion, just as they did in The Empire Strikes Back, but there are some differences. For on thing, the order of events has been scrambled. For another, there is that Force-bond element that makes things interesting. And the ending is a bit different as well.
Warning: Spoilers below! Highlight the text if you really want to be spoiled.
Jason Fry is an excellent writer and so, I can’t blame him for the venom I am about to spew, but I am angry at the way Luke is portrayed in this film. I’m also angry at the vague hints of what caused Luke to become this way. Tell us outright, not in bits and drabs that seem distorted…from certain points of view. The name of the training planet – Ahch-To – can’t you just picture some allergy sufferer trying to think of a clever name for the planet and then sneezing over and over: “That’s it!!!” We moved the cute creatures up a film, but these guys don’t even know how to fight. And doesn’t it seem like they are trying to get rid of everyone we know from the original trilogy? First Han, though we all knew Harrison Ford wanted out. Then Ackbar. Leia’s alive, but since Carrie Fisher is dead in real life, we know not for long and, honestly, I doubt they would have let her live even if Carrie hadn’t died. Is Chewbacca next as well? He is older than half the galaxy, after all. Okay…back to the rest of the review. And what’s with the Rose/Finn story? Is that supposed to be Han/Leia, add in the former Imperial element (although Han was in the Academy) and minus the Princess title? Really?
Jason Fry’s writing is edge of your seat stuff. He’s descriptive enough to draw you into the story, even if you have a predisposed notion you won’t like it. His writing allows you to see everything in your mind’s eye and that’s the sign of a terrific writer. If I wasn’t so annoyed with the way things end up in the storyline, this would be a happy review. No offense, Mr. Fry. You wrote a great book, but the story fairly sucks, even with the few surprises thrown in. You can’t help the script you were given and for that I applaud you, for writing a halfway decent novel when you had so little to work with.