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#941874 - 12/19/17 12:23 AM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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As the days go on, my reaction is more like the opposite--I'm liking it more the more I think about it. The way this movie played out with its themes and character development, it feels like the most mature Star Wars film to this point. I don't mean mature as in grim and gritty; I mean mature as in characters growing and learning via some harsh lessons. I'm not going to call it high art or the next Citizen Kane or such hyperbole, but it tries to make our featured characters more three-dimensional than in any prior Star Wars movie.

(The following gets somewhat spoilery)

I mean, for example, you have Poe Dameron, who represents the archetype of the hotshot fighter pilot that we know well from other Star Wars movies, Top Gun and any other number of movie roles. When we see him stand up to authority and help initialize a Plan B, we fully expect it to work because we've seen it so many times. But he's ultimately proven wrong, and his Plan B goes nowhere. Plus, his decisions cost lots of lives in his gung-ho way of doing things. From what he experiences thru the course of the film, you know we'll see a different, wiser Poe in episode IX. And this is one of a few examples of such in this movie, which is unlike any hero's journey we've seen in Star Wars and unlike most anything done with his archetype in countless other films.

We see some similar things done with the other major characters in Last Jedi to lesser or greater extents, and that's something I admire about it. All the while, we get some great, memorable "Star Wars" sequences we can enjoy and less predictability than any of the others. Does that make this one the best? I doubt any installment will surpass Empire as my sentimental favorite, but I'm beginning to think this one will be very near the top for me in the balance.

Anyhow, since I saw the movie, I've been reading pretty much every article about it that I come across. Many of them are garbage, but others help me appreciate the movie as I process the experience. One thing they've helped convince me of is that the revelation about Rey's parents is actually a really great choice. Not because it is a swerve from what we expected, but because it really serves her character in the long run by keeping her story hers and not as much about someone else. After all, we've been there and done that and still have Kylo Ren around to scratch that particular itch.


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#941879 - 12/19/17 04:26 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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Spoilerly as well:





I have mixed feelings on Rey's parentage. In and of itself, I don't mind it. And in terms of the theme of random people rising up to become heroes... okay. But I absolutely hate the idea that the Skywalker lineage is probably going to end with freakin' Kyle Ren.

Unless of course we get a random, "And Lt. Connix was Leia's daughter all the time!" revelation in the next movie, which would kind of amuse me.


Last edited by Eryk Davis Ester; 12/19/17 04:27 PM.
#941881 - 12/19/17 06:27 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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I finally saw it.

The words "mixed" and "emotions" come to mind.

I'll post a full review tomorrow, but I'll leave you with these two bits:

1) I had a total MST3K moment when Luke guzzled the space-beastie milk, and blurted: "It does a body good!" No one in the theatre laughed, but at least no one complained, either.

2) RE: Captain Phasma, Gwendolyn Christie made the most of what little screen-time she had, and I'm quite sure that...

...she didn't die in the fire any more than Boba Fett got digested by the Sarlacc. wink grin

#941887 - 12/19/17 06:57 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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Yeah,

I've already seen speculation that her armor, which is established as being immune to blaster fire, could easily protect her.

#941891 - 12/19/17 09:20 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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Yeah, I kind of hated this movie. Call it heresy, but I'd say it was barely better than Attack of the Clones. sigh shrug


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#941892 - 12/19/17 09:28 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Eryk Davis Ester]  
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Originally Posted by Eryk Davis Ester
Yeah,

I've already seen speculation that her armor, which is established as being immune to blaster fire, could easily protect her.


I think getting sucked into the vacuum of space is an instant death (unless you're Princess Leia of course wink ).

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#941893 - 12/19/17 09:41 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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My expanded ramblings:

Man, I was honestly really let down by that. As someone who was indifferent to The Force Awakens, this felt like neither a step forward or backward, but a jump off the map completely and not in a way that was some artistic stroke of brilliance.

- The Snoke twist felt like a cop out. Rather than admitting they had created a thin Palpatine replacement, they just opted to kill him off and stick Kylo in as his replacement. Unfortunately, Kylo is still annoying, so it feels like a downgrade.

- Captain Phasma was clearly being built up as the new Boba Fett, but probably went down faster than he did. What a disappointment.

- I actually like that Rey's parents are nobodies who don't matter at all, kind of the same way Anakin's parents did. For all the series' pontificating of the "great man" and the "chosen one", she's still a nobody rising to the occasion. That's pretty cool.

- The editing in this is a nightmare. I had no idea when each subplot was happening in relation to each other, especially during that scene in which Kylo and Rey were in Snoke's throne room. Heck, unless I zoned out, how did Rey get off that ship? One minute she gets blown across the room and the next time we see her, she's down on the planet with Chewie in the Falcon?? The Rose and Finn plot was completely uninteresting, and while Planet Las Vegas was neat visually, it felt totally perfunctory by the end of the film once you realize nothing has really happened throughout the whole movie. Rey is still barely trained, Luke might as well have stayed on Planet New Zealand, and Kylo's still evil. Snoke's dead, so I guess that's a plus.

- Bless Mark Hamill for really giving his all in this role. His performance is where I was almost being hooked back into this every time the movie made me zone out again. I like the grumpy hermit Jedi Master angle in contrast to Obi Wan and Yoda's quirky kook personalities, something that I felt Hamill nailed. Unfortunately, the revelation of his contemplation to kill Kylo smacks of out of character writing. In Return of the Jedi, it's clear that Luke believed in seeing the good in people and his appealing to Vader's lost humanity is what ultimately defeats the Emperor, not Luke's strength as a Jedi. Now, I'm supposed to believe that he would just kill Kylo in his sleep rather than talk to him about his concerns? Sorry, I don't buy it at all.

People are going to say that this is the series taking risks and people who disliked it just want the same old stuff. What I would argue is that this film takes a torch to the sacred cows of the series, but builds nothing new in its place. The new characters continue to range from bland (Rey) to annoying (Rose and Kylo), with the exception of Finn, so what am I supposed to latch on to? Snoke felt like he could have been interesting, but now they don't even have that to work with anymore.

I hate to sound like a contrarian guys, but I just did not like this at all. Maybe I'm the weirdo here. :-S

Last edited by Kappa Kid; 12/19/17 09:52 PM.

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#941894 - 12/19/17 09:56 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Dave Hackett]  
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Originally Posted by Dave Hackett
I initially thought it wasn't as bad as Force Awakens (faint praise indeed), but like others have said, upon reflection my opinion of it diminishes by the hour. The plot holes were so jarring as to take me out of it (The First Order has a hyperdrive equipped FLEET!) and the movie was far, far too long. I get what they were trying to do with the Finn/Rose segment of the film, but it was superfluous and the two beats that they needed to come out of it could have been done in another way and not waste huge amounts of film time. Oscar Issacs character had the best arc until plot silliness short-circuited it (why on Earth did the Vice-Admiral need to keep her plan a secret? Who was going to leak it?). Between the Porgs and other creatures as well as the slight redesigns of everything, the merchandising angle bugged me even by Star Wars/Disney standards.


100% with you there, Dave.


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#941897 - 12/20/17 05:16 AM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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Take heed, Young Kappa, for I do agree with thee more than not!

REVIEW: Okay, it's official, I don't like it. No matter how I try to slice it, it's still a turkey! What really stings me is that it does have good moments which hint at what it might have been if the people involved behind-the-scenes had put as much honest effort into the script as they did into the fight choreography and the color-coding. The first 40 minutes or so absolutely dazzled me, not unlike the first 20 minutes or so of the 1986 Transformers animated movie. Also not unlike TFTAM, it really, REALLY goes into a steep decline after that point. Rian Johnson telegraphs almost every Big Dramatic Moment so that by the time it actually happens, it's a dud. The whole casino-world sequence felt like something out of another movie. And all those false climaxes -- if the movie gets into the Guinness Book of World Records for anything, it'll probably be that! Even Mark Hammill and Carrie Fisher (and a certain veteran Muppeteer, whose scene is one of the few high points of the later reels, as well as one of the few genuine surprises) ultimately cannot rise above the film's combination of sheer ridiculousness and cynical self-consciousness (and please don't call it irony -- I know irony, and this is not irony.) If I felt that Johnson and Company were sincere in what they've delivered, then I could be more forgiving (hey, I like such messy movies as Exorcist 2, Event Horizon, and Lifeforce just fine.) But The Last Jedi...no, just no.

#941901 - 12/20/17 07:34 AM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Ann Hebistand]  
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Originally Posted by Ann Hebistand
Take heed, Young Kappa, for I do agree with thee more than not!

REVIEW: Okay, it's official, I don't like it. No matter how I try to slice it, it's still a turkey! What really stings me is that it does have good moments which hint at what it might have been if the people involved behind-the-scenes had put as much honest effort into the script as they did into the fight choreography and the color-coding. The first 40 minutes or so absolutely dazzled me, not unlike the first 20 minutes or so of the 1986 Transformers animated movie. Also not unlike TFTAM, it really, REALLY goes into a steep decline after that point. Rian Johnson telegraphs almost every Big Dramatic Moment so that by the time it actually happens, it's a dud. The whole casino-world sequence felt like something out of another movie. And all those false climaxes -- if the movie gets into the Guinness Book of World Records for anything, it'll probably be that! Even Mark Hammill and Carrie Fisher (and a certain veteran Muppeteer, whose scene is one of the few high points of the later reels, as well as one of the few genuine surprises) ultimately cannot rise above the film's combination of sheer ridiculousness and cynical self-consciousness (and please don't call it irony -- I know irony, and this is not irony.) If I felt that Johnson and Company were sincere in what they've delivered, then I could be more forgiving (hey, I like such messy movies as Exorcist 2, Event Horizon, and Lifeforce just fine.) But The Last Jedi...no, just no.


Yeah, the whole meta narrative of "destroying the past to build to the future" couldn't have been less subtle. We get it, Rian. Just be a movie already!

Last edited by Kappa Kid; 12/20/17 07:51 AM.

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#941908 - 12/20/17 08:33 AM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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Yeah the meta-commentary stuff was super annoying and ham fisted. Whatever the problems with the prequels, they at least managed to be their own movies by just being their own movies and not constantly hitting you over the head by pointing out that they were doing things differently.

#941913 - 12/20/17 10:43 AM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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#941914 - 12/20/17 11:35 AM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Eryk Davis Ester]  
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Originally Posted by Eryk Davis Ester
have mixed feelings on Rey's parentage. In and of itself, I don't mind it. And in terms of the theme of random people rising up to become heroes... okay. But I absolutely hate the idea that the Skywalker lineage is probably going to end with freakin' Kyle Ren.


I see your point there. But with Leia and Luke having been the only 2 others to have produced more Skywalkers, it's hard to see a scenario where either abandoned a child on Jakku. Maybe you could argue that for Luke after he went into exile, but I think it much more likely he would have left a child with Leia. And if Rey had been kidnapped from either of them, I'm sure Leia or Luke would have sensed she was her thru the Force.


Originally Posted by Edie
Unless of course we get a random, "And Lt. Connix was Leia's daughter all the time!" revelation in the next movie, which would kind of amuse me.


Well, it doesn't hurt that she actually IS her daughter! lol


Still "Lardy" to my friends!
#941915 - 12/20/17 03:36 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Eryk Davis Ester]  
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Originally Posted by Eryk Davis Ester


Originally Posted by Blacula

Whatís weird is that I really enjoyed it while I was watching it (minor quibbles here and there aside) but when I think about it in retrospect, the shine totally starts to wear off.


I've had that experience with all three Disney Star Wars movies. It's definitely disconcerting.


Disconcerting is definitely the right word for it! I feel like yelling "Get these weird negative thoughts out of my head" because I remember the first words I said to my partner after seeing the movie were "I really liked that film!"

But now that I've had time to think about it, I'm doubling down on the second emotion - I am unfortunately REALLY disappointed in "The Last Jedi". It has a number of very entertaining positives but as a whole it is just so flawed in so many ways (which I will of course enumerate below laugh ).

Just to give a bit of background, I'm actually in the camp that loves both "The Force Awakens" and "Rogue One". Both movies have their bad parts but IMO their good parts were enough to make enjoyable wholes.


S


P


O


I


L


E


R


S


I'll mention the things I LIKED first:

* The visuals - This was a stunningly beautiful film. The "Star Wars" movies have some of the best visual designers in the...galaxy wink working on them and they continued to be great here. Colors, costumes, special effects, practical effects, ship designs, set designs, alien designs, etc., etc. It was all good. It might have all been too good actually, and distracted me from the movie's many problems which only became evident upon reflection.

* The humor - I've seen a number of people criticize this movie for either having too many jokes or just plain unfunny jokes, but I was perfectly fine with (almost) all of it. I laughed when Poe messed around with Hux over the intercom at the beginning. I laughed at all of Chewy's scene with the Porgs. I think I especially laughed when Luke milked that bizarre sea creature and it turned around to give Rey that strange look. I think that might have been the most weirdly hilarious scene in the whole movie actually.

* The Porgs - My initial feeling upon seeing them in some of the early promotional photographs was one of apprehension. Was the "Star Wars" universe going to be big enough for both BB-8 AND Porgs? The answer was YES, YES, YES! I love them. Firstly, they are ultra-cute. And with their big, sad, pleading eyes they actually look exactly like my sweet chiweenie puppy dog! So I know what I'll be dressing him up as next Halloween. Secondly, the fact that they were basically penguins was a nice touch. I thought they were going to be little koala-like creatures for some reason. Thirdly, they didn't overstay their welcome. If they had appeared in many more scenes, I might have had a slightly less favorable opinion of them.

* Kylo Ren - He is the MVP of this new series as far as I'm concerned. I am not interested in Darth Vader / Anakin Skywalker at all (one reason why the prequel trilogy was such a chore for me) but for some strange reason, I'm totally invested in his emulating grandson. I think it's because he's so imperfect. I like the fact that not even his allies seem to completely respect him. I also appreciate his crisis of conscience and think Adam Driver sells the struggle perfectly. At one point I actually got very excited that the movie was going to go down a different path and end with Rey accepting his offer to rule with him using the dark side of the Force. I then thought the next movie's plot would involve Luke trying to bring Rey back to the light side, only to find that while she was too far gone, Kylo Ren was actually the one who could find a measure of redemption. IMO, not only would that have been a satisfying conclusion to Kylo Ren's arc, but subverting the famous "Hero's Journey" arc of the original trilogy to make this trilogy about Rey's "Villain's Journey" would have been a really interesting twist.

* The Rey / Kylo Ren relationship, interactions and THAT fight scene - Touched on a bit above but these two together sold this movie for me. Every time they interacted I think I held my breath waiting to see what exciting information would be revealed (none ever was of course haha but I enjoyed the anticipation). I think the sound design was very effective during all of their scenes too. They also had the best fight scene in the whole movie against Snoke's guards.

* Mark Hamill - Gave a great performance. Probably the best of his career. I weep for what it was in service of though.

* BB-H8 - That first shot of BB-8's evil twin noticing our protagonists was hilarious and I was so excited to see what crazy, nefarious things he was going to do to f*** them up. Unfortunately, he never did anything as far as I can recall so that was a big disappointment, but I've still put him in this column for the potential.

* Snoke's death - I liked that he got killed off and loved the way Kylo Ren did it (though I could see it coming from a mile away). Something I absolutely DID NOT like about it is in the next column though.

#941916 - 12/20/17 03:36 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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Now for the things I DIDN'T LIKE:

* Rey's parents - I was really torn on this one. Ever since "The Force Awakens" I'd hoped that she was not related to the Skywalkers. And I gave an inward sigh of relief when it was revealed that she wasn't. But now that we know she's a nobody, I'm suddenly like "What are you doing invading this epic family saga I've been watching for seven movies?" I now think the only reason I was hoping she wasn't a Skywalker is because it would have been such an obvious answer to the mystery of her parentage. If they had introduced here as a Skywalker or Solo right from the start I would have had no problem with it. I think making her some super-special random doesn't help the criticisms that she's a total Mary-Sue either.

* Snoke's non-existent back-story - WTF?! I don't mind killing him off but tell me who the f*** he is first! I've seen some annoying online criticism of the criticism about this development along the lines of 1) we never got the Emperor's back-story in the original trilogy so why was it necessary here?; and 2) wasn't it clever of Johnson to subvert audience's expectations for answers regarding "The Force Awakens"s mysteries here? To the latter I would say: "Bullshit!" For many reasons but especially this one, Rian Johnson seemed to forget he was making part VIII of a IX part series, not his own stand-along thing, so if he's going to purposely deny the audience of answers and explanations for established mysteries then that audience is just going to disengage from any mysteries that the movies introduce! The former argument is crap too. The original trilogy's universe was full of unknowns, but like any new fantasy/sci-fi setting, the audience didn't need answers to every little thing. It was enough to know that the Force was some weird power and Obi-Wan used it for good while the Emperor used it for evil. Done. But after 40 years the "Star Wars" universe is one of the most intricately explained and detailed settings in all of fiction. So if they're going to introduce some supremely powerful and important character to it at this late stage the writers should damn well know that the audience will want to know at least something about who the hell he is. And I don't say that as some "Star Wars" fanatic. I'm a total casual who has never read a single Expanded Universe book or comic.

* The storyline(s) - This is probably my biggest criticism of the whole movie. Say what you will about "The Force Awakens"s rehashed plot from "A New Hope" but at least it was following a proven template. This was just three middling episodes of three totally different TV series' smashed together to make a shit sandwich and then capped with the most disappointingly depressing climax in history.

- STORY #1: Rey's training - This was easily the best of the three storylines, almost completely due to the performances by the three main players (Hamill, Ridley and Driver). It also had the most interesting (and consequential) developments. However, it was SEVERELY diminished by what it did to the character of Luke Skywalker. Like it or not, Luke Skywalker was the main hero of the most famous sci-fi story in history and to many people (almost an entire generation of people) he was a powerful symbol for the idea that some heroes can be unflappably good and righteous. Unfortunately, now we live in a time where even our fictional characters can't be fully heroic anymore, so (much like that other former symbol for good in the world, Superman) Luke has to be corrupted. Gone is yesterday's beacon of hope and determination and in its place is a washed-up failure who betrayed his most fundamental principle (that even the most corrupted of souls can be redeemed), couldn't stop or apparently even notice the return and rise of his greatest enemies and rather than face them when they did, ran away to hide out on a deserted island waiting to die. Gee, what a... rewarding ending to the years of investment fandom has put into this character!

- STORY #2: Finn and Rose's adventure on Canto Blight and then infiltration of the First Order - This was easily the worst of the three storylines. None of it was good. Firstly, how far the character of Finn has fallen! I had so much hope for him after the first film but here he is just useless comedy relief whose whole storyline could be removed from the film without anyone noticing. I think the only development his character received in this movie was learning that he used to be a janitor. Riveting. The most interesting thing he could have done was die at the end but of course, Rose had to screw that up. Speaking of which, Rose was an annoying character. I wanted to like her but just couldn't. Maybe if she had been involved in a better storyline? And don't get me started on her falling in love with someone 12 hours after meeting them. But that whole Canto Blight section was such a momentum-killing dud. I thought I was watching one of the prequel movies again with some of the whacky hi-jinks and chase scenes. I thought Benicio del Toro's character was a waste too. His stutter was annoying and his appearance was boring. And his whole character and utilization was nonsensical - there's only one person in the whole galaxy that can break into the First Order's control room... but Finn and Rose just happen to be thrown into a cell with some heretofore unknown other person who can ALSO break into the First Order's control room. Give me a break bad writers! His betrayal was sort of interesting (although, when and how did he arrange it?) but I'm certainly not eager to see him again in this series.

- STORY #3: The Battlestar Galactica and its allies try to outrace the Cylon fleet while running out of fuel and dealing with internal tension and mutiny... oops I mean whatever names the writers gave those entities in this universe - Have you seen season one of Battlestar Galactica? Then you've seen this story told better. This storyline probably had some of the worst writing and most ridiculous plot-holes in the whole movie. "You mean one sentence from Holdo to Poe will negate his every action in the second two-thirds of this movie and the entirety of the STORY #2 plot? Well then, let's just have her keep her plans secret for no reason then!" "You mean one ship going into hyper-drive through the First Order fleet will incapacitate the majority of it? Well then, let's just wait until every other ship in our fleet has been destroyed before doing that." "You mean the top ranks of the Resistance have been almost entirely wiped out and even its leader Leia is frail and barely out of a coma. Well then, let's just have the number two person in the organization go on a suicide mission rather than setting the ship to auto-pilot." "You mean you're not impressed with the way we subverted expectations of Poe's "heroic" character arc by making him and his impulsive actions the actual cause of the deaths of thousands of people and almost the entirety of the Resistance. Well then, let's just have him escape the film with zero repercussions or admonishment." I could go on. The writing all over this movie was just not very good IMO. This storyline has the added demerit of killing off Admiral Akbar so unceremoniously too. He at least deserved to die on-screen!

- The CLIMAX: In which Luke Skywalker gets killed off in the most underwhelming way possible - Do you love Luke Skywalker? Were you swept up in the mystery of his existence in "The Force Awakens"? Did you spend the period between that movie and this one excited about what the filmmakers were going to do with him? Did you have misgivings when the writers revealed him to be the pathetic loser described above? Did you have hope that maybe the next movie would redeem the character assassination of this one? Did you have hope that they would give him at least one excellent fight or Force-using scene before it was over? When all hope was lost, did you at least think that surely they will give the franchise's most famous and iconic hero a decent send-off? Did you answer "Yes" to any of the above? Well too bad for you you sad, pitiable fanboy because this is a Rian Johnson film and he has no interest in making a "Star Wars" movie, he just wants to tell three generic sci-fi stories to create a calling card for future work with Disney! And guess what losers! It worked! Because now they've hired him to create a whole new trilogy about new characters in the "Star Wars" universe and you'll just have to be happy with the main star of your franchise dropping dead because the strain of using his powers was too tough for him!

---

TLDR: This film was a beautiful mess of bad writing and character assassinations and JJ Abrams has an impossible task of creating a satisfying finale with the next one.

#941921 - 12/20/17 03:54 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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I love your comparison to Battlestar Galactica! Spot on! laugh


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#941923 - 12/20/17 06:28 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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Wasn't Finn's background as a janitor revealed in The Force Awakens?

#941929 - 12/20/17 09:34 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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KK: Apparent security risks keep preventing my browsers from visiting your page. frown

EDE: I remember mention of some sort of menial role or knowledge in Finnís background in ďThe Force AwakensĒ (maybe to do with Phasma and the trash chute?) but I donít think he was ever described as a janitor before. I could be wrong though? It would be another hit on the writing if so though.

#941930 - 12/20/17 10:14 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Blacula]  
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Originally Posted by Blacula
KK: Apparent security risks keep preventing my browsers from visiting your page. frown


It seems there's some issues with the site's SSL certificate. frown I've pasted the review below with spoiler tags:



I am utterly perplexed. I am bewildered. As Spongebob Squarepants once described it, I am ďsmackledorfedĒ. Thatís not even a word, yet it might be the only way to describe my reaction after sitting through this latest installment in the Star Wars saga. As someone who was indifferent to The Force Awakens, this felt like neither a step forward or backward, but a jump off the map completely and not in a way that was some artistic stroke of brilliance. This is the kind of batshit sequel filmmaking once ascribed to the likes of Highlander 2: The Quickening, yet on a much larger scale. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an utter mess, a nightmare of poor editing and story choices, yet simultaneously a perversely fascinating exploration of just how much a franchise can go off the rails.

Since the end of the last movie, the Rebel fleet is under the command of Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), who is attempting to evacuate their base when they are intercepted by the First Order. With their few reserves low and the their ships being tracked even through hyperspace, the Rebels must come up with a plan to break free. Finn (John Boyega) must team up with new character Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) to find a codebreaker to break the First Order tracking device, taking them on a quest across the galaxy. Meanwhile, having finally found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Rey (Daisy Ridley) begins her Jedi training while learning more about Lukeís past and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who is developing a psychic connection with her in an attempt to turn her to the Dark Side. In yet another plot line, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) must contend with new Rebel leader Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) who takes over after Leia is incapacitated during an attack, increasing tensions among the Rebel leadership.

There are three main narrative threads running through this movie: Finn and Roseís quest, Rey and Lukeís training together, and Poe butting heads with Holdo. Leia might as well not be in the movie considering she spends the entire movie comatose. However, these three threads are so separate and rarely intertwined that they feel like, and might as well have been, three different movies entirely. Until the final scene, these characters arenít even all in the same room together. This narrative isnít one of actual progression, but one of stalling, a filler story to maintain continuity and simultaneously retcon and throw out whatever director Rian Johnson didnít like from The Force Awakens. Did you want to know who Supreme Leader Snoke was? Well screw you, weíre killing him off and not telling you a damn thing. Wanted to know who Reyís parents are? Theyíre drunken bums who sold her off for cash, basically what we figured from the beginning. Admittedly, the Rey parentage reveal is one of the few things that works narratively, but itís so damn obvious and film keeps spinning its wheels as if its some sort of secret.

I am not kidding when I say that this film accomplishes nothing, not only within itself, but as part of this larger trilogy. In the span of over 2 hours, nothing has shifted. Rey is still relatively untrained, Lukeís might as well have never left Planet New Zealand, and Kylo Ren is still an obnoxiously annoying villain. Seriously, Count Dooku had more dignity than this guy. Any way you slice it, this movie is just one giant chase movie. Itís like Mad Max: Fury Road, except sucky. Finn and Reyís quest to find the codebreaker is as uninteresting as you would think, a diversion into generic anti-capitalist/antibourgeois moralizing that feels like its stumbled out of a different movie entirely. Whatís even worse is that this whole segment of the film is made useless when its revealed that the First Order intercepted their plan and it fails anyway. So what weíre left with is a large chunk that is ultimately superfluous and doesnít accomplish anything. Not only is it boring, but it doesnít serve any purpose at all. Why wasnít this cut down in the editing room?

But those are just the minor problems. The festering rot at this filmís core is in the form of one Luke Skywalker, a near apocraphyal portrayal of a once great character. You see, Luke isnít just in hiding, heís ďlost his faithĒ in the Jedi way and given up on life, exiling himself to that planet to die. Only through Rey does he begin to see some hope in the Force again. Putting aside the fact that Luke giving up like this makes no sense for the character, the other shoe drops when itís revealed that Lukeís exile is the result of him contemplating killing Kylo when he sensed the Dark Side developing in him. Thatís it. He didnít even kill Kylo, but the mere thought of it somehow sent him into a downward spiral where heís now drinking breast milk from what looks like Wattoís fat cousin. Itís a completely out of character reveal that doesnít make a lick of sense. In Return of the Jedi, itís clear that Luke believed in seeing the good in people and his appealing to Vaderís lost humanity is what ultimately defeats the Emperor, not Lukeís strength as a Jedi. Now, Iím supposed to believe that he would just kill Kylo in his sleep rather than talk to him about his concerns? Sorry, I donít buy it at all.

Iíve read that Mark Hamill butted heads with Johnson on Lukeís portrayal in the film. If he didnít like the changes, he sure didnít make it obvious on screen, because heís giving the role his all. His performance is where I was almost hooked back into this every time the movie made me zone out again. I like the grumpy hermit Jedi Master angle in contrast to Obi Wan and Yodaís quirky kook personalities, something that I felt Hamill nailed. Again, it doesnít make sense, but itís executed almost perfectly thanks to his natural charisma.

The other characters donít fare well either. The new cast continue to range from bland (Rey) to annoying (Rose and Kylo). Finn continues to be a sorely underutilized character, relegated to being Rosesí sidekick almost the entire film and whose one moment of genuine badassery is ruined for the sake of the obligatory romantic subplot. Rey has her one character note (the search for her parents) stripped from her, so where exactly her character goes from here is anyoneís guess. Kylo Ren, the straw man of original trilogy fanboys, is still woefully bland as a villain, yet with Snoke out of the picture, Iím supposed to be afraid of this guy?

Before I wrap this up, I would be remiss in not addressing some of the major plot holes in this film:

Unless I zoned out, how did Rey get off of Snokeís ship? One minute she gets blown across the room and the next time we see her, sheís down on the planet with Chewie in the Falcon? We see that ship literally torn in half, but thereís not a scene of how Rey escapes. Are we to believe that Chewie was just circling around the ship waiting to pick her up like an annoyed parent waiting to pick their kid up from school?

We are told that the fleet has 18 hours of fuel left, but we keep cutting back to Rey and Luke, where we see day and night come and go several times That means Reyís storyline is taking place over the course of days, while the Resistance story is taking place over the course of hours, yet we are told these stories are taking place concurrently. How exactly?

At one point, Poe stages a mutiny against what he perceives to be Admiral Holdoís seemingly incompetent leadership. However, once he does, itís revealed that not only does Holdo know what sheís doing, but Leia was in on it the whole time and Holdo just didnít tell anyone? Why? She could have saved so much time by just telling everyone what they were doing instead of keeping them in the dark.

When all seems lost, Holdo decides to make a Hail Mary play and then just flys the main Rebel cruiser into Snokeís ship, which ends up taking not only that ship, but the entire fleet! You mean to tell me NOBODY considered trying that at any point? Instead, they wasted many lives by waiting around not doing anything at all? She takes out an entire fleet faster with one ship than the entire Rebel alliance took down the Death Star. Itís ludicrous.

In the climax of the film, Luke seemingly joins the Resistance on the salt planet and engages Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel. Ultimately, itís revealed that he wasnít actually there, but astral projecting himself from across the damn galaxy as some sort of Force ghost, but heís still alive at that point. Thereís two major holes here. The first is that this projection is Luke from circa 20 years earlier, as evidenced by his shorter hair and beard. That means he is the Luke from when Kylo last saw him, yet Kylo never makes the connection that itís not the real Luke. Why? This is even more unjustifiable when we see Luke ignite Anakinís old lightsaber, which Kylo and Rey had destroyed in a struggle just a few scenes before. Why doesnít this tip him off when thereís no way Luke could have that lightsaber? Second, and more problematic, is that the movie suggests that this isnít Lukeís physical form, yet we see him able to touch people and interact with objects, such as sit in a chair. Which is it then?


Failed potential seems to be an ongoing trend in this film. Whereas The Force Awakens was about warming up leftovers of your original trilogy nostalgia and spoon-feeding it to you, The Last Jedi is all about cynically tearing it all down again, burning every last sacred cow as a commentary on the nature of franchise filmmaking and Star Wars fandom in particular. Not since the new Ghostbusters reboot have I seen a film so smugly self-satisfied with its own ďmeta-nessĒ without actually re-constructing once all the deconstructing is done. Han is dead, Carrie Fisher has unfortunately passed away, and now Luke is given one of the most underwhelming, near offensive sendoffs since Captain Kirk in Star Trek: Generations. People are going to say that this is the series taking risks and people who disliked it just want the same old stuff. What I would argue is that this film tears down the veneer of the original trilogy, but builds nothing new in its place. Where are we supposed to go from here? This new trilogy has yet to deliver a wholly original narrative thread that doesnít feel like something borrowed from the original trilogy. Is this what Star Wars has devolved into? Are we just going to throw copies of Campbellís The Hero With a Thousand Faces into a bonfire and celebrate how above it we are? Is Star Wars now a cinematic ouroboros, endlessly indulging in self-analysis and narrative meta text until it consumes itself and thereís nothing left? For all their faults, which they had plenty of, George Lucasí prequel trilogy still felt like ďmoviesĒ, flawed narratives and all. What is the hook in The Last Jedi though? Youíve tore down the house, but havenít built the foundation for the new one. Heck, Iím not even sure if Johnson, Abrams, or even Disney have drawn up blueprints at this point. Star Wars is basically in free fall at this point and thereís no safety net underneath.

Grade: F

Last edited by Kappa Kid; 12/20/17 10:19 PM.

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#941938 - 12/21/17 07:26 AM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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I was one of the ones who loved Force Awakens. Unlike many though, I understood that it was 100% a pleasant nostalgia piece designed to evoke the same feelings that were evoked watching the original. I didn't try to pretend it was anything more. When I realized early on that Han was filling the Obi Wan spot, and was therefore probably going to die, I was fine with that. I decided that an occasional nostalgia hit was all I needed from Star Wars, so I decided to skip the extra filler films and just watch the new trilogy.

But then Star Wars new continued to constantly bombard me, and two years later, instead of ready to back to a missed pleasure, I find myself sick of Star Wars despite not having revisited since TFA. Combined that with the fact that I'm not much of a theatergoer anymore, my general fatigue with big bloated franchises, and the mixed reviews both here and elsewhere, I think I'll give it a miss. I'm sure I'll watch it someday, but not when I'm in a headspace virtually guaranteed to leave me unhappy with the experience. I'm trying to do less hatewatching/reading/playing these days.

#941941 - 12/21/17 08:01 AM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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Re: Rey's escape,

I believe it's said that she stole Snoke's personal escape pod or ship or something like that. Then presumably she hooked back up with Chewie off camera.

#941957 - 12/21/17 04:45 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Iím surprised that after only a few days, how little of it has made a lasting impact. So, itís mostly forgettable, but studded with little character arcs and a nice ambiguous tone in a lot of places.

In no particular order:-

Darth Foetus is nowhere near the level of being in charge of a school club, never mind Empire-Lite. I noticed things must have been bad following the first movie, when one of the characters in this one calls him out on the poor writing last time (beaten by someone who just picked up a lightsabre / a Vader knock off etc.). Iím sure people were terrified of Vader for more than tantrums though, and thereís not a great antagonist going into the next film.

Lots of little arcs. Mary Sue-Walker faces looking for a parental role model. Her own parents are said to be no one in particular (weíll see if this is still in place at the end. I hope so. It has to be better than the laugh out loud virgin birth rubbish from a few movies ago). Her connection to Darth Foetus was interesting in its result, if not the reasons for it existing (Other than a proxy for previous characters, Iíve no idea what use Snoke was.) The nod to Japanese cinema, where you have multiple interpretations of the same scene between Luke and Foetus was a nice touch.

Still, despite briefly aligning, the two young heroes immediately found themselves at odds. I prefer the grey areas to their positions much more than turning to the light/dark side, like flicking a light switch approach. There was quite a bit of that greyness, like the arms dealers working both sides.

Another example would be the Jedi. No wonder Luke had a go at the Jedi Order, considering it a hubristic failure, even as he stands on the island revered for books more worshipped than read.

Itís become like a Western yoga retreat. ďSpend a week on our lovely island for only a week and the secrets of the Force will be yours.Ē Still, it gets points for knowing what it is, which is more than can be said for our worldís Ö drifts off into religious soap box rantÖ

So, with a week of detox, some light training and modern fx Mary Sue-Walker continues to be super good at everything. Everyone being super good appears throughout. There had been so many last second rescues that even the failed sub plot was going to come good.

Following that subplot, Finn completes his arc in the movie and becomes more heroic; Likewise, Poe becomes more like a leader. Like all good leaders, thousands have to needlessly die along the way. His whole plot was dragged by a nose ring, even to the point of bumping off those above him in command so he gets a life lesson/job vacancy double whammy!

But they both suffer from essentially being the same character, split out for reasons I donít know. Finnís entire Casino Royale subplot could have been removed (the film seemed to drag partly because that was in there). Alternatively, Poe could have died in the last movie, allowing Finn to become a heroic leader in that one and through this movie.

I donít know why the fleeing rebels didnít just call up Space Cabbie and escape that way. The First Order didnít detect Finnís trip out. The Directorís cut will show other rebels going out shopping, for dinner or to see a better plotted movie.

As itís a franchise, sometimes things happen beyond the control of the writers/ creators. The shuffling off of the original cast continues. Last time, could have been because of an actor wishes. Here, someone else goes. At least in part, as everyone except the youngsters Annikin murdered still seem to show up again. But getting that to happen forces a plot development in the film, and they *always* look exactly liked forced plot developments. Then, thereís Carrie Fisherís death, and weíll see how that impacts things next time.

The whole sweeping the past away sort of fulfils Darth Foetusís wishes really. Itís a shame that everything has to go out with a tired whimper of unfulfilled potential, to be replaced by things that are shiny, but donít always inspire anywhere near as much. Lukeís arc was given a mystical final point, but he hadnít really exercised what he had learned to change his own life and teaching. It was quite the cop out. But there may have been reasons beyond the story for all I know.

While the final half of the last film was dependant on Star Wars, and not in any good way, this one had nods to Empire and Return.

As Luke stood in front of the Assault on Hoth-Lite, I thought the movie would end. Next time heíd kick their butts. Not to remotely be, as it dragged on. The rebels manage to escape to the other side of the caverns. If only the Empire-Lite had tons of space ships that rendered such geography inconsequentialÖ oh..waitÖ

I did laugh at Mary-Sue/ Luke's reaching out training moment...


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#942260 - 12/29/17 11:05 AM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Eryk Davis Ester]  
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Wouldn't you like to know?
Originally Posted by Eryk Davis Ester


I hope Billie Lourde gets an even more expanded role in the next movie.


I agree, I really liked what I saw of her. She had a relatively minor role, but she certainly grabbed attention when she appeared!

#942266 - 12/29/17 11:25 AM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Kappa Kid]  
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Wouldn't you like to know?
As others have said, I completely agree that it feels like very little was accomplished in this film!

Originally Posted by Blacula

- STORY #3: The Battlestar Galactica and its allies try to outrace the Cylon fleet while running out of fuel and dealing with internal tension and mutiny... oops I mean whatever names the writers gave those entities in this universe - Have you seen season one of Battlestar Galactica? Then you've seen this story told better. This storyline probably had some of the worst writing and most ridiculous plot-holes in the whole movie. "You mean one sentence from Holdo to Poe will negate his every action in the second two-thirds of this movie and the entirety of the STORY #2 plot? Well then, let's just have her keep her plans secret for no reason then!" "You mean one ship going into hyper-drive through the First Order fleet will incapacitate the majority of it? Well then, let's just wait until every other ship in our fleet has been destroyed before doing that." "You mean the top ranks of the Resistance have been almost entirely wiped out and even its leader Leia is frail and barely out of a coma. Well then, let's just have the number two person in the organization go on a suicide mission rather than setting the ship to auto-pilot." "You mean you're not impressed with the way we subverted expectations of Poe's "heroic" character arc by making him and his impulsive actions the actual cause of the deaths of thousands of people and almost the entirety of the Resistance. Well then, let's just have him escape the film with zero repercussions or admonishment." I could go on. The writing all over this movie was just not very good IMO. This storyline has the added demerit of killing off Admiral Akbar so unceremoniously too. He at least deserved to die on-screen!


WORD.

I almost cheered when
Leia blasted Poe in the control room.

And as for the Vice Admiral, I did think it was cool that she kamikaze-d the Order fleet, but then I was like, if she was going to do it anyway (and she pretty much knew she was going to die by staying behind), why didn't she do it earlier? The ship had been given up as a loss! For that matter, has nobody ever done something like this before, that nobody could have anticipated it as a tactic? Surely there were accidents back when that was new technology? They could have had one of their support ships do that...

The end result was that maybe 2/3 of the surviving Resistance members got wiped out! Heck, everyone who survived could fit in the Millennium Falcon!


Originally Posted by Kappa Kid


Did you want to know who Supreme Leader Snoke was? Well screw you, weíre killing him off and not telling you a damn thing. Wanted to know who Reyís parents are? Theyíre drunken bums who sold her off for cash, basically what we figured from the beginning. Admittedly, the Rey parentage reveal is one of the few things that works narratively, but itís so damn obvious and film keeps spinning its wheels as if its some sort of secret.

I am not kidding when I say that this film accomplishes nothing, not only within itself, but as part of this larger trilogy.

Iíve read that Mark Hamill butted heads with Johnson on Lukeís portrayal in the film. If he didnít like the changes, he sure didnít make it obvious on screen, because heís giving the role his all. His performance is where I was almost hooked back into this every time the movie made me zone out again. I like the grumpy hermit Jedi Master angle in contrast to Obi Wan and Yodaís quirky kook personalities, something that I felt Hamill nailed. Again, it doesnít make sense, but itís executed almost perfectly thanks to his natural charisma.
Grade: F


Great review, Kappa! I laughed at many of your comments. Lol at comparing Chewie to an annoyed parent picking up their kid. And I agree with pretty much your entire review.

I felt the film was a decent diversion, but it could have been so much more and it doesn't carry on the legacy of the series very well.

#942853 - 01/12/18 08:53 PM Re: Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [Re: Paladin]  
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
I finally got around to seeing the film last Sunday. I'm not a huge Star Wars fan, but I did like the original three movies. I disliked The Force Awakens, and I didn't see Rogue One. So I came into the movie with low expectations and only a peripheral interest in the franchise. However, despite its flaws, I enjoyed it and was impressed.

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The aspect that impressed me most is that it brings Luke Skywalker's story to a fitting end. Like Obi-Wan and Yoda before him, he surrenders to The Force. I thought it was a touching and powerful finale, especially coming after his confrontation with Kylo Ren. Luke's purpose was never to defeat Kylo, but to distract him and allow the remaining rebels to escape. It doesn't matter if Luke defeats Kylo physically; he defeats him psychologically and morally. His comment that he will always be with Kylo, just as Kylo's father is--was telling. Kylo now has two ghosts to divide his soul. The last shot of Kylo is one of a pathetic loser: This man, now the supreme leader in charge of thousands (millions?) of troops, has lost everything. He is utterly alone. The surviving rebels, few as they are, have everything they need, as Leia says. They are happy and joyous at having escaped to see another day; they have each other.

The movie also leaves us with a final scene of boys telling the story of Luke Skywalker, and one of them holding a broom (if I remember right) very much like a light saber. It almost doesn't matter what happens to the rebels after this; they have served a vital purpose in their galaxy by inspiring the next generation to dream great dreams.

Viewed in that context, I think the movie was a success in spite of its obvious flaws. It brings the story of our main hero to a close and shows how the world is a different place because of him. Or at least it has the potential to become a different place. The galaxy is in much worse shape than it was during the Empire's reign, but the spark remains. Sometimes that's all you can hope for.

I also admire this film because it has the courage to advance the story line and bring significant aspects to a close. I've all but lost interest in the Star Trek franchise because of the reboots and the attempts to make it appealing to modern audiences by turning it into a series of blockbusters. (I didn't see Beyond and haven't seen Discovery; I checked out after The Wrath of Into Darkness.) From John Courage's familiar score to the opening crawl, it was clear that this was a continuation of what had gone before. And the movie (and the last one) defies our expectations because we never see our initial heroic trio (Han, Luke, and Leia) all together. From this point forward, we won't see any of them (though I suppose it's possible that Luke could appear in ghostly form, as Yoda did). So there is a rare sense of closure in this film.



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Posts: 524
Joined: July 2003
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