Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Years ago, when I learned that George Lucas had sold his rights to all things Star Wars to Disney, I was worried. I figured that Disney would inevitably Disney-fy everything I loved about Star Wars and make it something I would no longer want anything to do with. Then I saw Rogue One and I wondered if my thoughts were a bit rash. Maybe Disney could actually pull this thing off…and yes, their sequel to Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, is a blatant reboot of A New Hope, but maybe I was being too judgmental. Then I read the novelization of Star Wars: Episode VII: The Last Jedi and I was none too pleased. After that, being a completist, I just had to see the film…sigh.
The Last Jedi takes place shortly after the battle at Starkiller Base. General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), still reeling from the death of Han Solo (Harrison Ford), must lead her forces out of D'Qar before the First Order can get to them. Unfortunately, the First Order has something up their sleeve – a way to track the Rebellion through hyperspace. Injured in the latest battle with the First Order, Leia is out of commission, placing her longtime friend Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) in charge. But brash star pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is anything but pleased with Holdo’s strategy.
When he learns that former stormtrooper and now friend, Finn (John Boyega), knows how the First Order is tracking them and that Engineer Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) knows how to put a stop to it, Poe sends Finn and Rose on a secret mission to knock out the First Order’s tracking device. If that fails, Poe will have to do the unthinkable – he will have to commit mutiny in order to save the Rebel fleet.
Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) have traveled to Ahch-To to persuade Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to return to his sister’s side in the Resistance against the First Order, but Luke is too disillusioned by what happened when he tried to train Leia’s son in the ways of the Force. Ben’s turn to the dark side and eventually rise as Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) has had too much of an effect on Luke and he has done more than hide himself from the world at large…he has hidden himself from the Force itself. Can Rey persuade Luke to at least train her in the ways of the Force or will a new unforeseen bond with Kylo Ren turn her down a darker path?
Well, they did it…Disney-fied my Star Wars. There are little one-liners and quips that reek of Disney comedy in the very beginning of the film between Poe and Leia. But I can overlook some attempts at comedic moments. Then there are the silly moments between Luke and Rey, such as look asking Rey to “reach out” and “feel the Force.” Rey obediently closes her eyes and reaches out her hand instead of reaching out with her feelings. Luke then tickles the ends of her hand with a frond of grass and Rey excited yells, “I feel something,” prompting Luke to smack her hand with the frond. While I see this as an attempt at reworking the Yoda/Luke training scene, I also see this as quite a bit sillier than any prank Yoda played on Luke. And then there’s the name of that planet Luke is hiding on: Ahch-to! Did the person charged with finding a name for the planet suddenly hear someone sneeze and scream, “Eureka, I’ve found it!” Sounds silly, but listen to the name. Hell, just read it!
That’s not to say that there aren’t some good moments in this film – the acting is great and I enjoyed the banter between Finn and Rose, though I am a tad confused at the direction they took the storylines of these two characters. I thought Rey and Finn were going to be the romantic couple, didn’t you? But then, after A New Hope, no one could have seen what would happen between Luke, Han and Leia and their presumed love triangle, right? The space battles were exciting, as was the fight between Finn and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie)and the lightsaber battle involving Rey and Kylo. There were some surprise twists in this film, especially regarding Holdo’s strategy, and that was refreshing.
But in the end, this is just another redo/remake of an already terrific film. The Empire Strikes Back sees Luke Skywalker travel to a remote planet to train with a Jedi Master hiding from the world. The Jedi Master has misgivings about training this would-be student in the ways of the Force. Sound familiar? The rebels are on the run after an epic victory against the Empire…and lives are lost…and the rebels are dwindling while the body count rises. Sound familiar? Someone that Han begrudgingly turns to for help betrays him. Yeah, that action is in this film, too. And the great sacrifice from A New Hope – well, though not in the same manner, that’s in this film as well.
I thought that the reboot we saw in The Force Awakens would be the only reboot I would have to watch, but it would seem that the powers that be are rebooting the whole trilogy, not just the film that started it all. A shame that someone can’t find it in themselves to take this story in a whole new direction. Like I said countless times before, the better play would have been to make the Thrawn Trilogy rather than a reboot. They could have had some of the original actors play cameos and found a new Han, Leia and Luke, but no, they had a better idea. NOT! I have not seen a single episode in this trilogy in the theaters and I’m not exactly certain I want to see the finale at all.