Let me start by saying my Star Wars “nerd level” is fairly low. I am an enthusiast for the series, not a fanboy nor fanatic. So you have to take this review from the perspective of a middle-aged man who liked the originals alot, was disgusted at how awful the middle-three were (like most everybody was), and got pretty pumped when Disney bought the whole thing and told George Lucas: “Shut up… and hold my beer.”
So after seeing The Last Jedi on Wednesday night – fashionably late by about a week – here are my thoughts.
On the whole, I’d give it 4 stars out of 5, or 3 1/2 out of 4 if that’s your defacto movie rating scale. The general story of the next generation of characters has been laid out logically, and I find all of the principals to be both likable and well cast. In short, they picked winners in Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron). All of them are growing into their characters nicely, and I don’t have any hint of starting to be annoyed by them at this point in the Star Wars reboot.
The battle scenes are fucking spectacular. You cannot, in any way, sniff your nose at how fucking awesome it is to watch them in a cranked up THX enabled movie theater on a 70 foot high definition screen. Okay, some things make me scratch my head like: “How come blown up ships ‘sink’ in the dead of outerspace, instead of just float apart in pieces in all directions?” Ahhhh, never mind. It looks cool.
The sound effects of all of the different guns, blasters, cannons, photon torpedos, light sabres, light chainsaws, light pruning shears, and on and on… are again: fucking phenomenal. I hope there’s an app somewhere that has nothing but a sound panel of all the cool new Star Wars weapon SFX’s.
The scene where Princess Morgana Leia, the Kissing Intergalactic Bandit, gets blasted out of the command deck of her ship, into outerspace, only to magically awaken and somehow float herself back to the sick bay on a nearby ship is total bullshit. Serious, terrible, ugly blot in the movie, if you ask me. Its easily the biggest clunker in there. If you want to kill her just to then save her, fine. Have Leia hit the windshield of a passing ship, get scraped off by some gigantic windshield wipers, and then have a crew member say: “Wait a minute! That’s our Princess!” THEN you can drag her onboard and save her. None of this “use the force” crap (I assume) when we all know that Princess Leia doesn’t really have the force.
And yeah, they are starting to stretch what the force can and can’t do. It used to be fooling enlisted Stormtroopers by saying “these aren’t the droids you are looking for” and lifting heavy wrecked spaceships out of swamps. Now you can use the force to make intergalactic Skype calls just about anytime you want. Ahem. The holographic “Not Really Luke” character he projected with “the force” from several planets away to help the good guys escape was another huge stretch.
Just a word to the writers: you gotta dial back the magic of “the force.” Because if you make it so “the force” can do just about anything, then nobody believes in the action packed struggles of all the other characters. You think: “Well, why doesn’t he or she just use the force there?”
The last thought I had about Star Wars was the fact that it’s a family movie, almost written for the next generation of kids. And guess what: that’s what it should be. Get a whole new generation hooked on the story and they can pass it on to their kids.
But I wished that someday someone made a Star Wars type future space movie that was R rated, and targeted at adults. Granted, there’s probably not a market for that movie, given how much you are limiting your audience.
But think how cool a gritty, dark, more authentic space odyssey movie could be where there is high tech weapons, amazing science, but very little supernatural fantasy crap (i.e. “the force”). And when two characters get horny for each other, you see more than just a nice deep hug, or a gentle kiss on the lips.
I’m thinking Stars Wars meets Game of Thrones (realism and brutality) where there is a tighter reign on the realism of space physics, science and technology, and flesh and blood lust, greed, evil, good, humor, suffering and the rest.
Ah well… someday. Maybe.
In the meantime, The Last Jedi is great. Go see it. And don’t be afraid to see it in 3D. I did by accident tonight, and thought I would hate it. I moved up a closer than I normally would sit (because the 3D glasses make the screen seem about 15% smaller somehow) and it was a helluva a ride being enveloped in the effects.
The Han Solo backstory movie comes out this spring. Which will make 4 Star Wars movies in the last 2.5 years, compared to (likely) just 1 Cleveland Browns victory in that span.
Browns fans, I don’t know how you do it.