Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

star wars the last jedi poster 2017 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Cast including Kelly Marie Tran, aspects of the final 45 minutes, not a duplicate of Empire Strikes Back

Poor scripting, the Force used simply to fix plot points, bad characterizations, directionless plot

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:   Star Wars:  The Last Jedi

Studio:  LucasFilm Ltd.

Genre(s):   Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):   December 9, 2017 (Premiere)/December 15, 2017 (US)

MPAA Rating:   PG-13

star wars the last jedi leia space flying carrie fisher

Nope…nope…and nope…

The Resistance is on the run after the destruction of Starkiller Base, and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) hopes that the evading the Empire long enough might give Rey (Daisy Ridley) time to bring back Luke (Mark Hamill) and rally the troops.  Unfortunately, the First Order has discovered a new means to track lightspeed travel and track the Resistance’s every move.  As Rey tries to convince Luke to join her, she finds herself being contacted by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is trying to woo her to the Dark Side.  As the fleet runs low on fuel, Finn (John Boyega), Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), and BB-8 are on a desperate mission to stop the First Order’s tracking and save the Resistance…but Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) has far reaching power.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars:  The Last Jedi is also known as Star Wars—Episode VIII:  The Last Jedi.  The story follows the events of Star Wars:  The Force Awakens from 2015 and was released after Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story from 2016.  It was released to mixed reviews but a massive box office opening.  The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.

star wars the last jedi rose finn john boyega kelly marie tran

Finn…I’m very likeable, I just wish we were doing something more interesting…

Star Wars is ingrained in my childhood.  For better or worse, the movies all had an impact (even the prequels).  Star Wars:  The Force Awakens was a real throwback and attempt to set the series back on the tracks after the sequels, but felt like rehash of the first Star Wars films with all the nostalgia.  It makes sense that the series would attempt to follow Star Wars with Star Wars:  The Empire Strikes back in the form of Star Wars:  The Last Jedi…but there seems to be something missing.  A ******Spoiler Alert******* exists for the rest of the review.

While the script does some good things it also does some really awful things.  First, the movie seems to need a separate dialogue writer.  The first movies had humor but some control, but the prequels had too much humor…here the humor just feels out of place and awkward.  From the get-go (Poe’s attempts to stall the First Order) to Luke winking at C-3PO and dropping one liners during his fight with Kylo, it doesn’t seem to fit the flow of the story or the general Star Wars feel.  The second problem is the pacing of the story.  The first hour and a half (at least) felt pretty choppy and like nothing was happening.  The story ratcheted up once Finn and Rose raided the ship, but then the story ran into Force problems in which the Force was simply used to solve any story writing problem they had.  It was just generic magic…no midichlorian talk but that doesn’t necessarily make it good.  In general there were a lot of “what the hell” type moments and dull excursions that result in little (like Leia’s space revival and return to the ship and the whole casino planet sequence).

star-wars the last jedi kylo rey fight adam driver daisy ridley ligthsabers

Pretty much the only memorable, exciting, and stylish scene in the film…

The cast seems to struggle with this.  I’ve seen Oscar Isaac in a lot of good films, and he’s a better actor than this.  Adam Driver however did do a better job in this film and got past the “whiny” complaints of the first film.  John Boyega seemed like a non-factor in the script, and Domhnall Gleeson was over the top.  Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma was forced in (and discarded) likewise with Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanta.  Daisy Ridley maybe should have been more of a thrust script-wise, but also weirdly felt a little sideline but the Luke and Leia story.  The high points would be Kelly Marie Tran who does soar and fit the Star Wars universe (even though the plotline involving her is weak), and even Laura Dern had her moments (though the hair was a bit Hunger Games).  Benicio del Toro proved to be interesting as the film’s Lando Calrissian (who turns out to be a swindler), and I would like to see his character return.

star wars the last jedi luke vs kylo mark hamill

The dramatic (?) final stand-off…

Visually, the movie was fine.  It really didn’t create much more with the film (there is a salt planet to add to the multiple Star Wars environments).  The designs and characters were rather low-key and even opportunities for more new characters like the gambling planet of Canto Bight didn’t really use the opportunity to shove in a ton of new characters as I expected (though they did do some).

Star Wars:  The Last Jedi feels like something is broken.  The film feels choppy and unbalanced and it also feels a bit like the Disney monster is behind it with reports of how good it was before hand (leading to a bit more disappointment).  When watching something like Star Wars, I try to think if I would like the film if it was not tagged “Star Wars” would you say “Wow, that was a great movie” or would it be laughable?  Does having Star Wars in the title give it a free pass for criticism?  People were worried about things like Porgs and diamond dogs, but the script should have been the bigger concern.  Apparently, the Force just does anything anyone wants it to do now from hard form projection to protecting people in the vastness of space without a suit.  I wanted to like Star Wars:  The Last Jedi more, but it could make Episode IX look all the better.

Related Links:

The 90th Academy Award Nominations

Star Wars—Episode I:  The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars—Episode II:  Attack of the Clones (2002)

Star Wars—Episode III:  Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story (2016)

Star Wars (1977)

Star Wars:  The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars:  Return of the Jedi (1983)

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars:  Captain Phasma

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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