Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

SPOILER ALERT

Co-Writer/Director Rian Johnson

Although it did not move me emotionally to the degree the best of the Star Wars films have, The Last Jedi is a compelling and well made episode with Mr. Johnson giving it his individual stamp and bringing together outstanding technical elements in support of a well told story. It felt more like a distinct film of its own, rather than having the more serialized episode feel that George Lucas originated and most of the episodes have reflected.

Stunning visuals and action sequences really make the film, especially the white/red surface of Crait, the silent Snoke ship ripped apart by the rebel cruiser at light speed, the images of the burning Jedi training village evoking some Japanese (Kurosawa/samurai) films, the lightsaber fight scene with Rey, Kylo and the Imperial Guards in the red room, and the bombing run which opens the film. As with every Star Wars film, the crafts are excellent, and I especially noted the sound design and editing in addition to the aforementioned visuals and cinematography by Steve Yedlin.

I like how the film explores important themes, including failure is a great teacher; we have everything we need to resist; the Force is for everyone not just Jedi; look within yourself for answers (mirror cave scene); liberation, of the innocent, oppressed, from the past and its programming, which holds you back; diversity is strength. The strongest characters are women, and with the most recent episodes it has been fully established that the strongest, and in this case the last, Jedi is female.

Put me in the group which dislikes the Porgs, primarily because of how they are used in the campfire and inside the Falcon scenes with Chewbacca. Too cutesy for me, and too reminiscent of the Jar Jar effect. I also long for General Hux to be a bit less cartoonish and not fluctuate between that and moments of gravity. It feels like unsettled character development. Now that Han Solo is gone, I do miss his wry sense of humor, and the comic relief throughout Last Jedi seems to pale in comparison. Luke exhibits some of that humor, but not enough to compensate for the lack of Han, although I love Luke’s final line “See you around, kid” which reminds me so much of Han. I dread the next episode without Leia – so much great humor from Carry Fisher (sigh) will not be there.

Overall an excellent addition to the Star Wars cannon, this is a Must See.

Podcast

I was a podcast guest on a Last Jedi Overthoughts episode, and there is second episode where Nick Gates and Richard Nile talk about before and after they watched the film. You can find these and many more great conversations about movies, media and culture on The Overthink Podcast Network.

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