Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Started by Chris L, Dec 30, 2017, 11:10 pm

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Chris L

I'd love to get a discussion started on this film, but I have no idea how many of the members of this forum are likely to see it. (I can think of two or three.)

I loved Rian Johnson's last film, Looper, an elegant science fiction thriller that managed to do everything right (barring some quibbles about the time paradox created by the Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Bruce Willis character's final decision). Johnson both wrote and directed The Last Jedi and takes it to the opposite extreme: instead of short and concise it's unwieldy and unending. Every time I thought the movie had reached its climax, it kept going...and going and going.

There were some brilliant setpieces, particularly a scene set in a casino that apparently represented an upscale version of the cantina in the original movie, and a race of aliens that look like a cross between penguins and cats that are exactly the kind of cute, marketable creatures that George Lucas tried and failed to create with the Ewoks back in 1983. Otherwise...Amy and I spent about 15 minutes today trying to figure out just how much happened during the course of The Last Jedi and came up with almost nothing. It's roughly two hours and 40 minutes of set up for the next film, where I hope to God there's actually a plot.

For all of that, it delivers an acceptable amount of entertainment, though chopping about an hour off the movie would have improved it immensely. And for some reason Johnson seems to have told the actors to give the broadest dialog readings they were capable of, which results in a spectacular amount of scenery chewing. It was almost enough to make me glad that Disney hired Ron Howard to take over the direction on next year's Han Solo film. At least Howard is likely to underplay the material, something that Johnson didn't seem capable of doing.

I read a couple of weeks ago that Disney loves Johnson so much that they've hired him to work up a fourth Star Wars trilogy to start after this one ends in 2019. On the basis of Looper I would have applauded that decision, but now I wonder what the Disney execs have been smoking.
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?

KathyB

I thought it was quite entertaining, and I thought right after seeing it that I wasn't bored for a minute, yet I realize as I read Chris's comments that I agree with every one of them--yes, it could have been shorter, yes, not a lot actually happened during the movie.

I did spend a lot of time trying to remember what had happened in the last chapter. I remembered who was who, but not where things had left off with each character.

I'm most familiar with Johnson for directing some of the great episodes of Breaking Bad.

So, who is "The Last Jedi"? Is it Luke, or is it Rey?

DiveMilw

I finally saw it yesterday.  I liked it but I thought there was too much humor.  Much of it felt out of place and were jokes just to be funny instead of jokes which came naturally out of the scene.  And there were too many cute animals.  I like the big-eyed penguin/cat thing and the way they used it but most of the others seemed to be bad Photoshop job simply so they can make toys out of them.  

I didn't like the way they used time.  Since when are the space ships in Star Wars able to travel so fast that they can wrap up a hunt for character, find them with many misadventures along the way, and then do the thing they needed the character for all within 18 hours.  

And Laura Dern's 
Spoiler: ShowHide
oh she might be evil so we should hate her but Look! she a great hero after all
character was boring and out of place in the Star Wars universe.  I thought that even her costuming didn't look like it came from Star Wars.  

I didn't hate the movie but this really didn't seem like it was part of "Star Wars".  At first I thought it was an updated Star Wars but as the movie went on it lacked much of magic I can usually expect from the franchise.  
I no longer long for the old view!

Chris L

Jan 02, 2018, 01:05 am #3 Last Edit: Jan 07, 2018, 08:22 pm by Chris L
@KathyB - Luke makes a statement near the end, probably when he was talking with Yoda, that Rey is the last Jedi, so I assume the title belongs to her. However, now that Carrie Fisher has involuntarily dropped out of the cast, I have a feeling that Mark Hamill may be promoted to a more important role in the next film -- and he's still a Jedi, whether he likes it or not.

I wonder why I never noticed that Johnson worked on Breaking Bad (or maybe I noticed and simply forgot). Now I have to look up which episodes he directed. I still think he's a great director, but Kathleen Kennedy seems to be in charge of stylistic decisions on the Star Wars series now (hence Ron Howard's hiring as replacement director on the Han Solo film when the previous directors started adding too much of a personal touch) and I suspect much of the overplaying (and overlong scenes) in Last Jedi was down to her.

@DiveMilw - There's been a very strong negative reaction to this movie from Star Wars fans. On Metacritic it gets an 81 from critics, who mostly loved it, but only a little more than a 2x from viewers who aren't critics. My reaction wasn't that strongly negative -- I enjoyed it for what it was -- but if Kennedy doesn't come up with something amazing for the next film in the trilogy there may be a fan revolt, which won't be good for Disney's plans to release a new Star Wars movie every year until, oh, the year 2100 or so.
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?