Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review

Dorian Chase, News Co-Editor and Production

Star Wars has, for a long time, been a touchstone of the American film scene. Every science fiction movie that has been released since the late 70’s has been held up to the standard of quality first established with the release of the very first Star Wars. Stories that embody the basic struggle between the good and the bad, the light and the dark, the oppressed and the oppressors, has been told thousands of times throughout the course of history and in many different mediums. Despite the innumerable variations of the story, Star Wars told it in a succinct, exciting, and engaging way. The numerous sequels have expanded on this, with a vast, story-driven universe that is loved by die-hard fans and casual viewers alike. Without further ado, below will be the review for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and here is the obligatory SPOILER WARNING.

The buildup to the movie was fantastic. Media outlets from Buzzfeed to MTV got on the train to advertising this movie with hours of interviews and other videos involving the main cast from this movie. I spent hours watching these interviews and I came to one conclusion. The cast of the new Star Wars is incredibly likable. More than just being good actors, the chemistry these people genuinely share is integral to them portraying their relationships on screen, something they did very well. The way the characters interacted did not feel forced at all, and it was refreshing to see the cast of a movie have such amazing relationships on and off screen. The movie was advertised flawlessly, and honestly I hadn’t been more excited to see a movie since The Hobbit with Martin Freeman, and that excitement was grossly misguided. As far as the hype went, the movie definitely hit the mark.

Story-wise the movie was not all that amazing. The simple master-apprentice dynamic with a crotchety old man and a hopeful youth with idealistic views about everything was about as cliché as they come, but the twist where Luke was trying to end the Jedi Order was bizarre. Luke in this movie is everything Luke wasn’t in the previous films. Going from an idealistic, kind, somewhat naïve boy from a farm on a backwater planet who turns into a strong, brave hero in the course of a couple of movies seemed natural. He was nothing like he is in this movie, that is, he’s a cowardly old man hiding from his problems on a remote planet while the galaxy falls apart around him. Mark Hamill played the part flawlessly, but it was not the same part he played in the 70’s and 80’s. The rest of the film seemed to blend together at

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Star Wars really needed this guy

points with a number of side plots all happening at the exact same time, and it made it hard to follow. We’d go from John Boyega’s Finn and Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico gallivanting around a casino planet one minute, to Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron having authority issues with Laura Dern’s Admiral Holdo on a big ship, to Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren talking with each other via some sort of Force enabled Skype call at random moments. It all just seemed like keeping track of all of the stories, while dealing with odd cameos from Benicio Del Toro, Frank Oz as Yoda, and Laura Dern, was nearly impossible. They all drew away from the main point of the movie, that point being Luke Skywalker no longer wanting there to be a Jedi Order anymore because they were no longer required.

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Don’t come back for the new movies, IT’S A TRAP

My biggest issue with the film was the anticlimactic death of a number of main characters. Another SPOILER WARNING here, there hasn’t been any big spoilers thus far, but this is the point of no return. Luke just disappeared into nothing, Supreme Leader Snoke, the most intimidating villain in the new trilogy thus far, was cut in half with no buildup and almost no consequences afterwards. Laura Dern’s new character, a strong female character in a series that is predominantly male, sacrifices herself for almost no reason, and Admiral Ackbar, a fan favorite, sucked out into space with no ceremony or mention of it afterward whatsoever. These scenes were so jarring and unceremonious that they left me scratching my head and asking “Why?” I still don’t have an answer for the purpose of most of these deaths, but they made almost no sense at all.

Image result for salt falts star wars

Despite the loss of a number of important characters and a story that was somewhat difficult to follow, the movie was not a complete bust. As I mentioned previously, the acting was fantastic, with the young new actors melding seamlessly into this world shaped by the older actors and putting forth a sense of genuine camaraderie that is rare in movies in general, much less a Star Wars movie (which are not generally critically acclaimed for their acting). The visuals were stunning, as they generally are in these movies, and the landscapes were absolutely beautiful. From salt flats to rainy mountainous regions, to the interior of massive starships, and even a glamorous casino planet, the sets were created with all of the love and care one would expect from a movie like this, and it certainly made the film pleasant to look at throughout the entire time.

All in all, the movie is worth a watch, and not just for your obligatory “oh a new Star War, I better go see that,” but for the young cast that is taking the reins of the franchise, and the visuals that so many people spent so much time working on. It’s a good movie overall, if a bit confusing, and it’s for sure a good addition to this storied franchise.