Monday, December 18, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

It's good to be bad!
So, Star Wars: The Last Jedi released, and Luke Skywalker was right: “This is not going to go the way you think.”

Ok, that’s a big, fat lie.  It goes exactly the way you think, except for the parts where it doesn’t.  The Last Jedi does . . . or did?  Whatever Yoda would say, and how!

This will be a spoiler-free report, so read on without fear or remorse.

Anyone who pans these films just doesn’t know how to embrace the cheese.  The movies are fun, but they’ve always been light-fare of a local boy who goes big.  They’re space opera, with emphasis on the opera part—big heroes, big fights, big explosions wrapped in a “battle for freedom”.

Lucas forgot this during his “prequel” phase, and we’re well rid of him for these installments.  That may be blasphemy to some, and you’re welcome to it.  Lucas was always, always, always the “big idea” guy.  His ideas have now spanned 45 years, and a franchise that can imagine quite a bit more.  He simply could not execute, and as Harrison Ford once told him (paraphrasing), “You can write this stuff, but you can’t say it.”

Thanks for showing us the Force, George.  We’ve got it from here.

The Kessel Run?  That old thing?
Rian Johnson has impressed the hell out of me since Brick (with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which everyone should now watch, and then own on Blu-Ray).  Taking the reins of the greatest space opera ever has really allowed him to shine.  He treats the characters as one should for the second movie in a planned trilogy—he beats the hell out of them.  That’s not to say he’s disrespectful.  Anything but.  Johnson, who is only a few months younger than me, grew up with Star Wars.  It’s been a part of our cultural tapestry from the start, a thing that, even if we wanted to, we can’t get away from.

It’s a damn shame that Johnson will not be returning for Episode IX.

That said, The Last Jedi does everything the trailers promised and more.  It is visually beautiful and wonderfully exciting.  There are enough lightsabers and space battles to fill an Imperial starships—not the local bulk cruisers, mind you, I'm talking about the big Corellian ships.  Luke Skywalker is all kinds of in this thing, and Carrie Fisher is just so much awesome it will fill your heart to bursting.

Yeah, the view is great, but look at the location!
Another shame that we won’t get to see her in the next movie.

There was at least one scene that put me right into tears, and another that made my jaw drop at the implication.  Johnson did what every Star Wars film should—provided a good story, well told, that left me wanting more.  What The Force Awakens began, and Rogue One promised, The Last Jedi has now delivered.  See it.  See it again.  Buy it on disc and add to your collection with pride.

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