Star Wars is back and the professional critics are all over it like teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert. I however am less impressed than many of them. Don’t get me wrong here friends, this is a good movie and well worth the trip to the theater.
As this is opening day, I will spare you all any spoilers. This movie like its predecessor will make some key revelations that I will shield you from in this review. What I can say is that this movie, also like its progenerator, will check off a series of scenes. It’s like Disney said, be sure it has, this, this, and this…
- Epic scene with the Millennium Falcon being chased through narrow passages and TIE fighters exploding as they try to follow: check
- Rebels sneaking about an “empire facility” to shut down the evil ‘whatchamacallit’: check
- Battle scene with good guys in Falcon gunner chair, blowing up bad guy fighters: check
- Light and Dark side characters each trying to turn the other: check
I feel the same way about this film as the Force Awakens, two years ago. Good film, well done, seen it before. 7 times before, in fact. I’ll ask the same question I asked in my review of “awakens”. “Is there not an original idea left in the universe”?
Disney is simply regurgitating the same old plots over, and over, and over. They are using the exact same scenes, over, and over, and over again with just minor setting changes. I suppose it works, right? The Force Awakens did nearly a BILLION dollars domestically and over $2 billion worldwide. Who are we the fans to argue with that?
The Last Jedi is more of the same and it is well done. But what if Lucas had let Disney do the prequels? Those three films Phantom, Clone, and Revenge, could have been the best of all nine films. You see, the prequel films lacked a cohesive story, had sketchy dialog, and perhaps the worst romantic attempt in the history of film . BUT the settings in all three prequel films were nothing less than masterpieces. The attention to detail in the worlds, the scope of the cinematography, the whole feeling of place, was vastly superior to these new efforts from Disney.
In the end, the better story and dialog will win out over the pretty pictures, and that is exactly what is happening here. My point is that why the hell can’t Disney give us both. They are more than capable, yet they fall short here. These first two movies appear to be play it safe efforts to retell the same tired tale and collect on that $4 billion they paid Lucas for the rights. Disney could have given us fresh and inspiring movies for the ages, and instead they give us just enough to keep us complacent. Just enough to ensure we show up again in 2019.
So far in my opinion the best movie Disney has given us out of the Star Wars franchise was Rouge One. We’ll just have to see how the Han Solo origin story movie pans out next year.
At the end of this movie there is a scene that suggests Disney will continue the stories of the Jedi into a new generation of characters after completing the Lucas based films with Episode IX in 2019.
On an anecdotal note: Mark Hamill delivers his funniest moment in the Star Wars franchise with a scene where he tries to help Rey understand the “force.” That may go down as one of the funniest scenes in Star Wars history. The audience unloaded the laughs like we were watching a comedy romp.
Overall this movie lands in the middle just like Awakens, I think I like this latest effort a bit more than Episode VII, just a bit.
Here they are in my highly subjective order:
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, 1980 ★★★★★
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, 1977 ★★★★★
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, 1983 ★★★★☆
- Rouge One: A Star Wars Story, 2016 ★★★★☆
- Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, 2017 ★★★★☆
- Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, 2015 ★★★★☆
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 1999 ★★★★☆
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, 2005 ★★★☆☆
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, 2002 ★★★☆☆