|Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)|
|Rating: N/A/10 (N/A votes)
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson, George Lucas (based on characters created by)
Stars: Daisy Ridley, Tom Hardy, Billie Lourd, Andy Serkis
Runtime: 150 min
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Released: 15 Dec 2017
|Plot: Having taken her first steps into the larger Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.|
Since loads of reviewers are starting their review with this quote, in an attempt to be clever and witty (which, when everyone is doing it, kind of shows how un-clever and un-witty it really is), I thought I’d start with a paragraph bemoaning its usage, before ironically inserting it…
“This is not going to go the way you think.”
It is quite a true statement as, after my praise for Force Awakens (seen at HERE ), you might expect me to lavish praise on this film too, as part of the numbered series (let’s not dwell on the Rogue One misstep). Well, sadly, and after much pondering, I can only say there are too many issues with this film for me to lavish praise on it. In fact, if you remove the prequels from history (which I like to do in my mind), this is the worst of the numbered films! Yes, even Return of the Jedi and the abominable Ewoks!
The sad thing is, with my non-spoiler approach to reviews I can’t really divulge exactly what most of those problems are without revealing some twists and turns, so you won’t find any thorough dissection of the flaws in this write up. However, the fact that the twists and turns are not as clever as the writer and director Rian Johnson thought they were (and I predicted pretty much all of them over the past few months) is one of the issues.
For those who are unaware, The Jast Jedi is the latest instalment in the core Star Wars series, and picks up from where Force Awakens left off. Rey (played by the decidedly average Daisy Ridley) is on an island with Mark Hamill (playing himself it seems as the mannerisms of the character bore no similarity to the one we saw in Episodes 4, 5 and 6). Chewbacca is also there, but you wouldn’t really tell aside from a few “comedy” moments with the creatures of the island shoehorned in to seemingly ignore the trauma of losing his blood-oath life companion in the last film (Han Solo….keep up people) and instead have him there to just growl at “The Most Annoying and Unnecessary Additions To Film Since Jar Jar”™ from time to time. Whilst there she seeks to recruit Mark to aid Carrie Fisher’s rebellion (again…something not quite right about the character, and another who seems to have gotten over a traumatic murder of a loved one….by a loved one…quite rapidly) and also train her up in the way of the Super-Jedi (seriously, the powers are far beyond anything we have come to know from Jedi before).
Meanwhile Finn wakes up so he can perform comedy pratfalls a lot, Poe has become a one-man-army who could possibly defeat the whole Empire if Carrie would just stop demoting him, and BB8 seems to have more internal mechanical abilities than Cyborg in the DC comics. Remember how much the paring of Rey and Finn worked in the previous film? Yeah, that’s not here. How about Poe and Finn…that bromance? Nope. Okay…what about….ah forget it.
So, on the flip-side Kylo Ren (Adam Driver who I genuinely don’t get the obsession some folk have with) is acting all emo at how Supreme Leader Snoke is seemingly in love with General Hux (Domhall Gleeson, who acts like he’s in a Carry On film). Snoke is no longer a huge hologram, but is now a physical entity in the film, played (rather excellently I must add) by CGI mo-cap legend Andy Serkis. Strange that a CGI character feels more real than any of the rest of the cast, but hey-ho. With his mighty fleet, Snoke leads the battle to wipe the last remnants of the Rebellion….
The film opens with a spectacular space battle, and certainly doesn’t skimp on set-pieces throughout, with land and space being covered in glory. But story wise there isn’t much going on, even though Rian Johnson clearly thinks there is. Not really a spoiler, but when the Rebel fleet are on the run, trying to stay out of reach of the First Order craft, you do wonder why a few of the first order fleet didn’t just jump to a short hyperdrive to pen the Rebels in, rather than just following behind like sheep. That minor niggle is the smallest of the film’s story problems.
The issue seems to be that many moments have been engineered purely to pull the rug out from under the fan-theorists, rather than being included to actually serve the story on offer. None of the reveals are particularly clever, and one moment in particular resonated in the same manner the “Martha!” moment did in Batman v Superman, so poorly presented that it was almost hilarious in the reveal. Shoehorn in a few cameos, and contrived scene set ups and the whole thing feels like it is trying to pack two films into one, and in order to do so decided to cut out all the bits that make sense to make room for ‘action…fights….explosions…and…..’
…PORGS! Damn those things to Hades! Absolutely unnecessary, irritating, and jarring enough when on screen to make you stop actually caring about the action going on. They are used at the most inopportune moments in a poor attempt to generate laughs! I’ve seen people argue that, “Star Wars is for kids, so of course some things would be childish!” A poor excuse, and it’s the same one George Lucas used for Jar Jar Binks. Still feel it’s a good excuse? They are a marketing ploy to sell cuddly merchandise, and they are awful!
It’s not entirely bad, though. As mentioned the action and effects work is stunning, and there are some marvellous visual feasts on offer. The score is, as expected from music maestro John Williams, enchanting, thrilling, and with plenty of echoes of previous themes morphed into the mix. It’s just that, overall, this feels less like part of the Star Wars series, and more like a fan-fiction. It’s a shame as Rian Johnson has a strong pedigree with Brick and Looper, and hearing he has been granted a new trilogy of films of his own design was exciting news. After this, however, all I can say is that I’m glad JJ Abrams is coming back for the final part – maybe the magic will return with him.
Better than the prequels, including Rogue One, but the weaker of the rest, The Last Jedi is overlong for no real reason, and not as sharp as it wants to be. All gloss and style, but with very little substance.