by Rob Nicholls
I have to start by expressing what a geek I am when it comes to Star Wars. I was 7 years old when I saw the beginning of the space saga in the theatre and have never stopped loving the franchise despite some things I did not completely agree with. Although I had been anxious to see the last few movies, The Last Jedi brought me back to the excitement I felt when I was young waiting for Empire Strikes Back to come out and then Return of the Jedi. So I pre-ordered the tickets and counted the days! The famous words ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far far away’ spread over the screen and the story line scrolled up with the music filling the room and I was immersed! I was 7 years old again as it panned downwards to start the story. So I am not going to spoil it for anyone and definitely do recommend watching it in the theatre but how I felt after it was over was a big mix of feelings…
We saw Luke Skywalker again and I liked the mature look from the innocent moisture-vaporizing farm boy we first met in A New Hope but I remember hearing Mark Hammill talking how his character was completely different than what he thought he should be and the movie made it clear as to what he meant. The meeting between Luke and Rey was a big part of what I wanted to see in the new movie and it was interesting but fell a little short to my expectation. I know a lot of my review is running off my personal bias and I am comparing it to a different era but after speaking with others who have seen the movie, it does seem to be a consensus (at least with us over 25 years old).
Some new characters pop up and do a good job adding to the film but my biggest complaint is that you just don’t get a chance to really bond with them as you did in the original trio. I love Rey and you learn more of her here but she is the only character that I really connected with in any way. Finn was a close second but just not the same for me as there was so much more going on all of the time, it took away from this development.
I enjoyed seeing Supreme Leader Snoke and the dark side of the story line and how Kylo’s character continued to evolve but even this wasn’t a big stretch and I thought he was a little weak as the Darth Vader replacement. The modern touchy-feelie, explore your emotions kind of villain has no place as a dark Jedi. I don’t even like the casting choice for Kylo and really question why he was chosen as the offspring of Han and Leia. My apologies to to Adam Driver, who did a great job in his role as Kylo, and maybe I am being too picky but I am starting to fear the future of the Star Wars story will be tainted with the social justice movement of today. I pray that it doesn’t turn into how the gay Jedi overcame his self doubt and saved the galaxy or the trans-gendered Wookie who beat the odds and became the new Rebel general! ok – again, I may be going too far and will probably be charged with a hate crime but I miss the simple days of good vs. evil.
The movie was overall very good and had some great scenes but I did feel it was too much action with too little depth when comparing with the previous films. I am conflicted even saying that as I want to praise it completely and just enjoy the high of the continuing tale I grew up with but maybe J.J. Abrams’ fast action approach is not the right direction. Some people had pointed out that the last movie, The Force Awakens, had paralleled the original Star Wars: A new Hope as it had Rey, a local scavenger rising up and joining the rebels having to deliver data (of Luke’s location) to the rebels stored in BB-8 just as Luke, a local farmer, had to deliver R2D2 with the plans of the Death Star. History then repeats as they pit themselves against the planet killer in a climatic finish just as the rebels once did with the Death Star. Well, The Last Jedi isn’t quite as close but still holds some parallels to the Empire Strikes Back.
Treading carefully not to spoil anything, I will say that the Episode V had Luke continue his Jedi training from the Jedi master Yoda just as Rey meets Luke, she confronts Kylo as Luke did Vader (no surprise there) and the rebels have to abandon their base from an onslaught of AT-ATs from a salt planet that has resemblance of the ice world Hoth. It does feel a little different for the reason I mentioned about about character depth and faster action but the overall mood of the movie is similar in many ways. I won’t get more specific here to avoid spoiling it but would love to hear other opinions in the comments. Every movie has a good space battle so I won’t count this and there is, of course, a light saber duel to which is always welcomed.
I don’t want to seem to be all negative as it did have some great moments and we did get to see Luke, Leia and Chewie again along with C3PO and R2D2 and it was actually a good movie. Was it Star Wars? Yes but was it my generation’s Star Wars? Maybe not.
It saddens me the loss of iconic characters as we have to say our final good-bye to Princess Leia since Carrie Fisher passed away just as we had to accept the death of Han Solo and move on. I remain open to the possibilities though and eagerly await for Episode IX coming to us in two year.
What else can I say? Go see the movie and May the Force be with you…