“The Last Jedi” by CR

Happy New Year, everyone!

We start 2018 with a guest review of a film still in cinemas, but which many of you will have seen.

My friend and co-warden Clint Redwood is an avid watcher and commentator on all things Star Wars. If you want to see his thoughts on “The Force Awakens”, they are in this blog’s archives here:

http://www.penelopewallace.com/the-force-awakens-by-cr/

Now he returns to “The Last Jedi”:

 

While this seems to have been the most controversial movie in the whole Star Wars franchise, I am struggling to understand why. Please note that while I don’t intend to spoil the plot, it is likely that I will inadvertently give away key points so do not read further if that would bother you – go and see it first and then see if you agree with me.

Prior to seeing it, I had been told by a friend, that this was the worst Star Wars movie ever, worse even than The Phantom Menace, which I can attest to being truly terrible and even when I had low expectations of recently re-watching it, I was still more disappointed.

I cannot agree with this sentiment – The Last Jedi was a much better movie than The Phantom Menace, but that is not in itself saying very much.

I have subsequently read an article in The Guardian which discusses the divergence between fans (who appear to hate it) and critics (who appear to rate it). I am equally mystified by these points of view.

For me, this was an enjoyable film, and had there not been the controversy, I may have enjoyed it a little more.

It seems that the general critical response was positive because it was seen that this film deviates from the Star Wars stereotype, and breaks new ground.

This is almost exactly the opposite of how I felt about it. It seemed to me like a “box ticking” exercise, looking at all the plot devices and scenes that the original trilogy had, and ensuring each was present. While I won’t go into more detail as that would provide too many spoilers, my primary problem with The Force Awakens was that it was a very derivative plot simply rehashing episode 4 with bigger toys, and while the overall plot was not derivative in itself, most of the individual scenes were extremely reminiscent of scenes from episodes 4, 5 and 6.

The Guardian summary of the fan-criticism (in a very Guardian way) was that much was white male fanboys upset by the “PC” nature of having non-white and non-male major characters. If this is their problem, then they just need to grow up, and it in no way a problem with this film.

Finally, the thing I am most upset about in this film, is that the key questions raised in The Force Awakens, which were so tantalizing, were all but ignored in this film. It was as if the writer thought “I can’t be bothered to think of a good answer, so I’ll just pretend that the questions never existed.”. Had the same writers of this film written episode 7 too, then it may have been more coherent as a trilogy, and maybe a bit more original too.

I would say “good but disappointing” as an overall verdict for The Last Jedi. Rogue One, while somewhat reminiscent of a certain Akira Kurosawa film, was a more enjoyable movie overall.

Well, that’s Clint’s view. Any comments on the above, or on either “The Last Jedi” or “Rogue One”?

 

2 Comments
  • Stephen Sheridan

    5th January 2018 at 8:21 pm Reply

    Thanks for the review Clint
    I think the fans’ (of which I am not a big one being more of a Trekkie and Whovian) biggest gripe was the same as yours (lack of explanation for the mysterious characters introduced in Force Awakens) rather than the “political correctness” of lead female roles. I thought the Force Awakens was extremely poor in plot, a bit limited in character development, but with some beautifully shot scenes. Rogue One was just beyond silly and is best summed up in the very amusing review series “Everything Wrong With…” on youtube which I have linked below.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSCP2yg-v2g

    Phantom Menace does have a special place in Cinema history as it is probably the only movie to discuss disputes about tax rates starting a galactic war. 🙂

  • Penelope Wallace

    6th January 2018 at 10:49 am Reply

    SPOILER ALERT I can forgive “The Last Jedi” a lot for the wonderful introduction of Rose to Finn (“I’ve never met a war hero before”… BAM!) and Luke teasing Rey to feel the Force.

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