Well it’s finally here! The epic movie that television has bombarded us with for the last three months has finally appeared from light speed to grace us with another epic installment, or so we hope. Episode 8 has held the promise of the return of story telling, matching the epic lore of the originals told to hopefully breathe life in a series that has struggled. Rumors even say it surpasses Empire Strikes Back, the movie that holds the throne of Star Wars quality. Can this be true? Has the Force grown strong once more? Robbie K here to shed light on the rumors and hopefully provide some wisdom. Get Started, Let’s!
The Cinematography: My wise friends stated right off that this movie may be the best filmed of the bunch. The Last Jedi is a beautiful example of camera work meeting state of the art technology, helping bring the world to life with spectacular visuals. The various angles keep you engrossed in all the details, and paints a very dynamic battleground to which our cast fights in. And unlike episode 7, the sound score is back to Williams’ creative work, a blend of old and new that fits into the scene and adds the life to an already vibrant setting.
The Acting: A large cast of characters, requires acting to bring them to life, and the Last Jedi has recruited a phenomenal crew to accomplish this goal. I can’t go into great details, but here we go. Mark Hamill brings the fire back into Luke Skywalker with both classic and old Luke style clashing into a complex character. Daisy Ridley takes the simplistic Rey from last time and unleashes her character in full “force” expanding her into a fantastic character that is full of spunk. Carrie Fisher another victory when on screen, that has the vim and vigor of the wizened princess we loved. Newcomers Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran were welcomed additions to the cast. Dern’s chameleon like abilities continue to craft respectable and honorable characters that fit well in Leia’s legacy, with a nice edge to keep things tense. Tran on the other hand is the hopeful character, that has nice delivery of inspirational dialogue, with a dab of rebellion on the side. Everyone worked quite well and I wish I had more time to compliment everyone, but trust me it’s good.
The Comedy: A nice quality to have, the comedy in this movie is a nice relief to the darker atmosphere on this side of the galaxy. The Last Jedi’s writing is a combination of good timing and wit, that beats in time with all the characters. The ever changing ploys also keeps things fun to watch and had my mentor and I guffawing through much of the movie.
The Storytelling: Perhaps the strongest aspect of the Last Jedi is the presentation in terms of plot in this movie. Director Rian Johnson dug deep into the lore and ignited it in full form in installment eight, bringing with it rich details that answered much of our questions. Much of the tale is character development, pushing them hard to expand upon their hastened roles of seven into more complete soldiers to partake this journey with. The three tales were balanced quite well, spaced out to keep things relevant and each connecting to the big plot as a whole, much like the classic tales were in. These tales are not only adventurous, but filled with strong lessons that this series is famous for preaching. And yet the biggest part of this I like are the twists integrated in this film. Many surprises lie in store for this movie, and many of them fit nicely to take the story deeper down the dark hole. These surprises are perhaps the most engaging parts of the movie, the likes of which weren’t expected much like Empire.
Salvaged Plots: Despite the strengths I have mentioned in the plot, this modern trilogy still has issues with being too close to the classic series. A blend of episodes five and six, much of this film is a retelling of those classic arcs that is a little disappointing on their dependence to the old and not trying out new elements. At least it is executed, well right?
Unnecessary Tangent: One of the story points almost didn’t feel needed, or at least one section of the tangent wasn’t that big of a hit for me. The world of Canto Bight makes statements, has a connecting point, and a memorable scene, but this small adventure felt out of place in the grand design. It will bring merchandise opportunities, one of which is a book, but this world didn’t hold much value to me outside of a few laughs and some cool beasts. Perhaps a little more struggle, or intensity could have redeemed it for me, though it still isn’t too bad for me.
Suspension of reality: I get it, it’s Star Wars and that is Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Still, there has to be some consistency in regards to how you are going to ignore the physics of real life and the lore that came before. There are moments you will roll your eyes at in terms of the inabilities of the technology, or how uneven the skills seem to develop. While we could ignore these if they were minor, the movie’s key situation relied on this suspension and it was a little too big of a stretch for me.
The Action: Star Wars is a series that relies on action to pick things up and make add the fire that makes the story shine like the stars. With a rather intense start, Last Jedi had potential, but soon that potential was lost to the void. Much of this movie is dialogue, development, and connections, and with it one of the slower paces of the series. Yes, there were a few moments to help pick up the pace, but much of this was short lives or lacking that laser packing punch I loved in the first installments. Say what you want about the prequels, but they had some incredible fight scenes that livened things up and the Last Jedi really needed this element for me.
The Last Jedi is indeed proof that the universe still has life left in the void of the galaxy Lucas created. It’s got emotion! It’s got character development! It’s got twists! All of this is important in developing characters and making them fly off the screen. Throw in great acting and beautiful cinematography and you have a really, well done film. Yet, this generation still is not escaping the salvaging of the classic plot points, while their unique aspects need a little tweaking in terms of relevance. However, the biggest improvement has got to be the action, working to bring the ship to ship combat back to full strength, and really getting those lightsaber battles back up to snuff. Still, it’s a fantastic film to catch in theaters and definitely a worthy installment to Lucas’s world.
Movie Overall: 8.0