Tag Archives: Review

The Last Jedi: Perfect or Terrible?

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It’s here. The movie we’ve spent most of 2017 waiting for finally arrived last week. The hype was almost as good as it was for the Force Awakens, and it should be. There was plenty to look forward to in the tenth movie of the most popular movie franchise to date. But just like when the prequels came out, some people are disappointed. In contrast to the rotten tomatoes score of 93, Metacritic gave it an 86, and IMDb a surprisingly low 7.8. So why didn’t people like it?

Before we can discuss that, this review contains just about all of the main SPOILERS for the movie.

For starters, the Disnification was obvious even more than in The Force Awakens. Porgs, while popular, were obviously something only Disney would put in a movie. The same goes for the ice foxes, formally called Vulpex, and even the “master codebreaker” looked like something out of a cartoon. On the other hand, some of the other creatures, including the Fathiers and the Caretakers, are distinctly the style of Lucasfilm and the original trilogy. While Disney’s influence does change the tone, it’s not necessarily a bad change, just different.

The big deal for some was that The Last Jedi tied off many of the loose ends presented by The Force Awakens too easily. It was almost like Rian Johnson simply discarded JJ Abrams’ ideas to support his radically different ones on how the sequel trilogy should go. Even if his idea was better, the change created some serious inconsistencies, and even plot holes.

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Several characters were severely undeveloped and died prematurely in terms of the storyline. Such was Captain Phasma, aka Boba Fett 3.0. She is without a doubt the closest thing to another Mandalorian: just like Boba and Jango, she was introduced as a badass villain and quickly became popular among fans, only to die in a thoroughly disappointing way without doing much more than looking cool. Supreme Leader Snoke also died too easily. Despite all of the internet’s promising theories on his identity, Snoke is just Snoke: a menacingly powerful Dark Side user who appeared out of nowhere, attempted to take over the Galaxy, and died without so much as a fight. That is not to say that his death was bad; in fact, it was very well thought out. But there was so much left to do with him it was unfortunate that he was killed off so fast.

Leia’s stunt is another divisive factor. Theoretically, Leia is Force-sensitive, but not nearly as much as Luke, or she also would have been trained by Obi-Wan and Yoda. Naturally, using the Force to fly while nearly dead, stuck in a freezing vacuum, and without any previous training came as a bit of a surprise, but it got the point across: Leia is not done yet. If that was the intention, it was executed well, as unexpected as it was.

There are other issues, too. The Knights of Ren, briefly seen in Rey’s vision in The Force Awakens, were explained away as Jedi who joined Kylo after he massacred those that would not. Rey’s parentage, though it might have significance later, was also a letdown.

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But we can’t forget the good things. The showdown on Crait was well done, and the snow-covered salt flats were a nice colorful addition. Chewie and C-3P0 are still around. The Rey-Kylo team up and their connection through the Force were good ideas. The dreadnaught, the walkers, Kylo’s TIE Silencer, the Resistance bombers, and all the rest were great new additions to the fleet of different vehicles already around. Yoda showing up was a good idea even though he did look a bit like a puppet. The Force and the Jedi were also portrayed and used differently, although that could be good or bad. Luke’s Force projection stunt was an interesting twist, and his death was fitting.

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The Last Jedi was different from any other Star Wars film so far, and that threw some people off. It took Star Wars in an unexpected direction that hadn’t been done before. But in the end, it was a good movie. As with the prequels, it’s different because it makes it interesting. The next trilogy or the anthology movies that have already been announced will also be different, and some people won’t like it, but if all the movies were the same style invented in 1977 it would get dull and pointless. This one was an experiment, and it worked out pretty well. It still felt like Star Wars, and as long as Disney keeps future movies in the franchise that way, not much can go wrong with them.

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Review of The Force Awakens

Being able to get to the movies and watch The Force Awakens on the third day after its release was a pleasant surprise for me: originally, I wasn’t going to watch it until the 28th, (tenth day), but there was space in the theater, and it was raining anyway.

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Before anything else, I will issue a SPOILER ALERT!!! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT (OR WILL NEVER) SEE THE MOVIE.

Luke Skywalker has vanished. Those were the first words of the opening crawl. That was when there was no more doubt about The Force Awakens.cpiet8sxaaa976y

There has been an awakening, in both the light and the dark. And the light side has awakened in Rey–big time. Kylo Ren was severely injured from Chewie’s shot, and unfocused (he just murdered his father). Nonetheless, Rey defeating him only a day after discovering her force abilities is no mean feat. Is she Luke’s daughter? That would explain a lot. (The reason she is not of Organa/Solo parentage is that Leia and Han would care so much for their first child (Ben Solo/Kylo Ren), that they would forget about the other.)

Many fans, including me, were fooled by the trailer and thought Finn was the new Jedi. However, we were right in that he is a stormtrooper (trooper FN-2187) who defected and joined Resistance.

1207628ea8cc4a0cc2933bc886be7f38Despite holding the symbolism to the first movie in each previous trilogy, TFA also brings in entirely new elements to the plot. Poe Dameron is one of those elements. Leader of Black Squadron, he entrusted BB-8 with the last piece of the map to Luke Skywalker.

0897df649696479d436f329792c94067BB-8 completes the droid due to a trio, immediately accepted by the other two. Despite playing a central role in TFA, (holding the remaining piece of the map to Luke Skywalker, who has mysteriously vanished), what BB-8 does best is simply being cute.

maz-kanata_a5c3c8a5Maz Kanata resembles Yoda in more than just looks. She is not a Force user, but she is wise in its ways.

Lets talk about the baddies, leaving Kylo Ren last (you’ll see why).

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Supreme Leader Snoke is the one I don’t know what to do with. The ten meter tall holograph we see is probably not his actual size, but it is intimidating. (Maybe he’s tiny, and that’s why he likes appearing big.) Either way, he is deep in the dark side and as much of a threat as the Emperor, if not more.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 5.18.30 PM.pngPhasma, captain of the First Order’s troops, is not nearly as awesome as she could have been. Some posters, including the one on my door, (not the one pictured above) lead to speculation that there may be a romance between the her and Kylo Ren, which would be interesting as we haven’t seen one between villains in the Star Wars galaxy. This turned out to be a false alarm. In the end, she was thrown into a trash compactor by Han, before the planet imploded, and although she may have gotten away, her chances aren’t too good.Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 5.22.49 PM.png

General Hux, basically a younger, and far more brilliant version of Grand Moff Tarkin, is as good as promised. He has a lust for power, and is desperate to restore the First Order to the glory of the Empire. Like Phasma, he probably died when the planet imploded.

kylo-ren-headerWhenever a new villain is introduced, we need a demonstration of how evil they are. Vader killed Obi-Wan. Maul killed Qui-Gon Jinn. But both of those characters had only been known for one movie (at the time; Obi Wan was made legend by the prequels, but we saw him die before they were released). Han Solo had been known and loved throughout the original trilogy, becoming everyone’s favourite smuggler-turned-hero. There has been an awakening in the light and the dark. And the dark has awakened in Kylo Ren. Chewie’s shot of fury hit him square in the chest, and he hardly took a step back; this guy is not kidding. Kylo Ren is not a Sith, but he is a threat to the Republic.

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“Chewie, we’re home.”

Which brings us to Han Solo. Han’s death was perfect. We basically knew he was going to die in TFA, but I was afraid he was going to go in a shootout with stormtroopers or by crashing the Falcon. But to be murdered in cold blood by his own son was not one of the likely candidates. Kylo Ren is deep in the dark side, but he’s no Darth Vader. Even Vader was not beyond redemption, so we can excuse Han trying to help him. Ren removes his helmet, and while he may have been faking, I believe he really was unsure of which path to take. And in one fateful moment, he ignites his lightsaber into his father’s heart.

Overall, The Force Awakens was a success. The plot, dialogue, screenplay, soundtrack… everything. JJ Abrams did a good job, and with episode 8 coming May 2017, the third generation of fans has started.

Star Wars is no longer a movie; its a culture. And forty years later, its still expanding.

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