I saw The Last Jedi on Friday last week and, like a lot of Star Wars fans, I came out stunned and confused. I liked it but it did not quite feel like a Star Wars film, more a film with some Star Wars elements in it. It has taken me a few days to assimilate what happened and to help me do that I have read a few fan comments. The more I think about the film and the more I have read comments about how it ‘sucked’ the more I like it. What gets me most is the amount of questions fans that hate the film are asking, most of which are clearly explained in the film or by looking at previous films. This has got me frustrated, so to get things off my chest I am going to answer some of the questions with what I see the answer as. Before we go ahead, here is the old spoiler banner…
Anyway, on with the questions…
Why does Leia use the force to float into a spaceship?
I know other people hated this but it actually gave me tingles. She is a force user and strong with force, although not trained. Why can’t she survive in space and fly herself back into a ship? I thought it was cool. I was more distressed by them killing Admiral Ackbar!
How can they make Luke such a moaning hobo?
He thinks he is single-handedly responsible for Ben’s defection to the dark side, that he has somehow created Kylo Ren. Some people say he would not act like that, that he is a Jedi and would do the right thing, that somehow they are destroying his character by making him exile himself. I for one think it adds to the character, Luke is great and what makes him so likable, apart from the fact that Mark Hammill is cool, is that he is not perfect. Remember in Return of the Jedi that he needs to strike down the Emperor in cold blood to turn to the dark side. He did try to do that and was only stopped by Vader. Remember also when Vader says that if Luke won’t turn he will go after Leia, well Luke aint happy and really goes for Vader. He sometimes looses control, remember he does have a large part of his father in him. I think Luke considering killing Ben for a split second then changing his mind is exactly the sort of thing that his character would do.
I do feel sorry for Luke though as there are some horrible scenes he is in, particularly that one where he milks the four teeted water alien for green milk. I was saddened when I saw the scene, it was so silly. I get why it was included, to show how far Luke had fallen. And to be fair we do milk cows so it is not all that strange. I just personally thought it was a bit too far.
The next argument about Luke is this idea of him wanting to end the Jedi, that he now thinks the Jedi are just dreamers who think the force is for them. If you listen carefully to what he says it is clear that he feels that by having the light side in the Jedi, a dark side will always come up to meet it. Luke has not only exiled himself through guilt but to make sure the Jedi do not continue and as such, when the light side dies so does the dark side. Remember that every major incident involving the dark side rising to power has been, in part, affected by the Jedi. The Jedi supported Palpatine at first, they trained Anakin and gave in to Palpatine’s request, now Luke has trained Ben and been the cause of him turning to the darkside. I think it is Rey that makes him realise that even without the Jedi there will be light and dark, even with him in exile a warrior of light has risen to meet the darkness.
So all in all Luke is not so much running away as doing what he thinks is right to save the galaxy. I don’t get why people are so upset by that, the hero becoming a legend then disappearing and when needed is an unwilling skeptic is a pretty common storyline in films these days and as far as I see it, added to the character of Luke.
Why doesn’t the First Order just use other ships to cut off the Resistance ships?
That is a good question which I think is best described by a line Hux says then Snoke laughs about, “we have them at the end of a string.” That is exactly what this chase is, it is the First Order toying with the Resistance, watching them slowly collapse, like a cat playing with a mouse. And as we know with all cocky people, they get their comeuppance in the end, in this case some of the Resistance escape.
Why kill Snoke, we don’t even know who he really is?
Now I agree they could have done more with Snoke, his character had such intrigue and there were many theories about him. Even I had an idea about Snoke. It seems I was wrong, oh well! In fact I could still be right. But even though I don’t think he should have been killed, I can see that it was to move Kylo Ren’s character on and make him the main evil in the galaxy. He has been swinging between dark and light but killing Snoke was his final choice, and he chose the darkness.
Since seeing the movie I have also heard of a theory that came from a Star Wars comic. In the comic Palpatine can move his consciousness from his own body into a cloned version of his body. These clones decay quickly but allow him to stay alive. Could this be true of Snoke and in fact he is Palpatine, maybe he wanted Ren to kill him so he could move to a younger body? The same comic contains dreadnought class starships and Luke astrally projecting himself using the force, both of these are in The Last Jedi. It is now starting to feel like Disney have made some expanded universe stuff non-cannon so they can use the ideas in future films!
Is that it? Rey has no connections to other characters
I really hope it is, it was a breath of fresh air to say that she was a nobody, that she was not connected to any other character. Not everyone has to be connected, no-one asks about Poe or Hux’s parents, they do not have to be connected to any previous characters so why does Rey? It does not matter if her parents were not force sensitive, it could be an ability from earlier on in her bloodline or some new mutation. This stuff happens in the real world, well not with the force but some children are really tall compared to their parents or are athletic where their parents were much more academic. I really don’t think this is something to get hung up about, also Ren could have been lying to make Rey feel more alone so she stayed with him out of feelings of being wanted by someone, then they could rule the galaxy together.
What was the point with the Canto Bight mission?
I don’t have a problem with Canto Bight, it is clearly a metaphor for how the rich make their money and a dig at Hollywood, but in Star Wars terms it is a cantina scene. Most Star Wars films have them. Yeah some of the aliens are a little weird, but there were some strange ones in A New Hope. I also like that it is a pointless mission, not every mission the good guys take on has to be a success. It was a little bit of fun in the middle of the film that brough Finn and Rose closer together.
Why didn’t Luke just get off the island?
Firstly he does not need to and secondly it would be more dangerous if he does. That shed load of fire the astral projection takes would have wiped the real Luke out. I see the whole point of Luke appearing at the end to allow the Resistance to escape. Also what would happen if Ren had actually killed Luke? I think Luke feels this would cement Ren’s path to the dark side, by Luke dying peacefully Ren will not feel the guilt of killing him and thus there is still a chink of light inside him. Yeah that sounds a little farfetched but would work. I was really hoping that Luke was going to be seen raising his X-Wing in a link to The Empire Strikes Back then flying in and blowing up the cannon at the last minute. But hey, that didn’t happen. Still it was cool seeing him coming in at the end to save the day even if it is not the way I would have done it.
Where is the character development?
I am actually struggling to understand this question, look at the path Luke takes. How Rey is pulled toward the dark side but resists it in the end. The way Ren is deciding if he should convert to the light only to choose darkness in the end. How Poe is a cocky so and so that gets a lot of people killed but realises in the end that this is not the correct path. And Hux when, no actually Hux is just very shouty, he is a pantomime villain, I should hate that but I really like it. I actually love the bit where Poe is trolling him at the start. So yeah, there is a lot of character development.
Why is there so much silly humour?
There is a lot, too much in my opinion, but I have to say that most of it is pretty funny. Watching Chewie going to eat a porg whilst other porgs squeal and cry, seeing Finn get tazered and watching Rey annoy the caretakers as she destroys buildings and parts of the landscape give a bit of a comic relief. I understand that the film works without it and that much of the humour is hit and miss but I would not say it ruins the film. Although I would like less humour in Episode IX.
How can they move forward from here? This is the end of a trilogy not the middle part
Did you not see the end of the movie. The phrase, “we are the spark, that will light the fire that will burn the First Order down,” is said so many times and this pretty much sums up the end of the movie. The Resistance are calling in favours from anyone who is loyal to them, they are inspiring younger people who are oppressed, they are basically rebuilding. In fact I would say that Episode IX will be set some years later with the First Order in charge of the universe and the Resistance ready to strike out again. Maybe we will have a new Jedi Order trained by Rey and force ghosts, I am still holding out for their being a spirit council with the force ghosts of Luke, Yoda, Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Mace Windu and Anakin that guide Rey through her training and the setting up of a new Jedi Order. Rian Johnson even stated that it would be interesting to see a dark side force ghost, could we be getting Supreme Leader Kylo Ren being haunted by Snoke’s ghost, sending him more and more mad? There are plenty of paths to take and plenty of questions to still explore. I am most excited to see who Ren’s apprentice will be, remember, “always two there are, no more, no less, a master and an apprentice.”
The questions I really want answered!
After watching the film and considering if for a few days they are still a few questions I would like answered, maybe this well be done in Episode IX, maybe it is me being stupid and they are answered already…
- What are the Knights of Ren? We have heard a lot about them but never seen them, or are they the praetorian guards? I hope not, but where are they in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi?
- What happened to the Jedi trainees that escaped? Are they still with the resistance, are they scattered across the galaxy? I had a theory that Rey was one of them and that others needed to be awakened but, again, I guess I’m wrong. Or could it be that they were working with Ren and are actually the Knights of Ren? I am sure Episode IX will explain this.
- When Hux reaches into his coat to kill Ren, what is he reaching for? I take it that this is a gun but it looked to me to be a lightsabre. I really need to watch the film again and take a closer look. I read somewhere that Snoke has trained more than one apprentice, could Hux be that other apprentice? Could his over the top dastardly villain actually be a rouse? Is he a Sith hiding within the First Order? Or is it just a blaster he reaches for? Who knows, not me.
So finally, I will say this about The Last Jedi, it was definitely flawed but I am happy with the film overall. It did not go the way I expected but that does not make it bad. I can understand the frustrations of some fans but I agree with the sentiment that Star Wars fans are hard to please. Some say The Force Awakens was too much like old Star Wars and the The Last Jedi not enough like old Star Wars, basically people need to make up their mind what they want. I for one like to be shocked and when they killed Snoke I was definitely surprised. My only real gripe is how much they wasted the character of Phasma, but then again she could have somehow survived, I just don’t know how!
Whilst I watched a lot of Trek when I was young, I was never really a massive fan. Wars, yes Wars is where it is at. I fell in love with Vader, Chewbacca and R2 when I was younger and in the Trek vs Wars debate I always came down on the Wars side. For me Trek was too much talking and stories quickly wrapped up in the last five minutes of a show. Wars was expansive, intriguing, full of battles and big set pieces. It had a villain you just could not hate and was far far cooler. Despite the debacle of Episodes 1 and 2 (I love the clever story of Episode 3 and the dark moments such as Anakin killing young ones and order 66 so will not have a bad word said against it! Ok the acting was terrible, you can have that!) I have never lost my love for the saga. Trek, on the other, I discarded some years ago like some child’s toy found at the bottom of a draw when finally moving out of your parents home, feeling myself to old and mature to watch. It didn’t give me that childhood charm like Wars. Recently, however, I was invited to go see Star Trek Into Darkness with some friends. I don’t visit the cinema much so though, ‘what the heck, I’ll give it a go!’ I decided to pop the first Star Trek reboot on high priority on my LoveFILM list to make sure I had seen the prequel. Late one night I watched it and thought it to be decent viewing, nothing special but better than the Star Trek I had watched as a kid. Now mildly excited I went to see Into Darkness. Now that was a much better film. It had the morality and discussion of the series I had fallen out of love with, but also action and excitement with enough comedic elements to keep it fresh whilst not being over the top. But there was one scene, only a little scene, but a scene all the same that got me more excited than I could thought I could be. At one point Scotty is given some co-ordinates and takes a shuttle to check them out. As he flies round a small moon we get a shot of a planet, a planet that looks like Tatooine. It made me think, ‘this guy is directing Star Wars as well, I hope it’s this good!’ Into Darkness had dark elements as well, double-crossing and breaking of rules by a rebel with a cause, a just and right cause. What it got me thinking then was, does the improvements in the new Star Trek films bode well for the new Star Wars films as J.J. Abrams is directing these too? He also directed one of my favourite US series, Lost. Well the pilot episodes but those were some of the best. If Abrams can keep the dark feel and stylised visuals he has got with Star Trek then at least the films will look good. Acting in the new Trek is good as well so hopefully we wont get any of that horrendous Portman and Christensen false love stuff that makes you shudder with every syllable. The only thing then is the script, with what has been learnt about comedy from Jar Jar Binks then we can only expect this to be improved. As it is written by Michael Arndt, the likelihood is that it will be pretty good (well I am only really saying that from watching Toy Story 3 and Brave!). All in all those Disney concerns might be being pushed to one side and if Star Trek is anything to go by then the other Star franchise should, hopefully, be reborn successfully this time.
If you have read any of my other blog posts you will know that I have embarked on the massive quest of reading Lord of the Rings. It was the most mammoth read I have ever undertaken in all my silly little life. I am glad to say that a few days ago I completed it. I decided, therefore, I would watch the films again. After viewing The Fellowship of the Ring once more I noticed that I was becoming a purist, little plot holes that were missing annoyed me as well as how much Merry and Pippin had been changed into comic characters. Yeah Pippin is a little silly in the books but Merry is the brains of the operation.
One thing I noticed as I was reading the third book (Return of the King) was there was this minor character I had not heard of from the film. His name was Prince Imrahil and he was the Prince of a place called Dol Amroth. As the novel continued his character seemed to grow and grow until he was near stature with the likes of Aragorn and Eomer. So why was he not in the film version? Some people might think he is just a minor character, but lets look at his exploits in the book…
- He is the leader of one of the largest armies that comes to the aid of Gondor
- He is one of the main reasons that the ‘good guys’ win the battle of the Pelennor Fields
- He helps protect the dead body of King Theoden on its way back to the city
- He looks after Gondor as its leader when Aragon does not feel he should reveal himself yet and Faramir is wounded and in the Houses of Healing
- He is one of the leaders in the attack on the black gate and it appears as if most of the men in the battle are his
Whilst I love the films and I do think some of the book drags a little and needs to be cut I feel a character like Imrahil would simply have added to the film. Also I think it a bit of a slur not to include him. Is that sad, that I am think this about a fiction character or does it show the power books have over us? I don’t really know, but the decision to cut him out has rather riled me really!
As I move towards middle age (well I don’t really think 30 is middle-aged but go with me) I am become a fan of some more classic and mature entertainment. One person whose works I am getting excited about is Charles Dickens, I read Oliver Twist a few years back and loved it. Since then I have seen the TV version Great Expectations and some really good adaptations of A Christmas Carol (none as good as the Muppets though!), I also have A Tale of Two Cities sitting patiently on my shelf. So when a movie version of Great Expectations appeared in the cinema I jumped at the chance to watch it. I knew as I entered I would be comparing the TV version with Gillian Anderson to it. I think that is what started the film on a downer, I loved the actors in the TV version and the film version just didn’t add up. The biggest issue, however, was the speed of the piece. Anyone who has read a Dickens novel will know that there is so much happening that to fit it all in a two-hour movie is nigh on impossible. Where the TV version showed how Pip fell for Estella and how strange and wounded Miss Havisham has become the film seems to rush over this. The children only seemed to meet twice before he is paid off. Havisham as well, although well acted by Helen Bonham Carter, does not seem to have the ethereal bemusemen of Anderson’s. The end of the story seems somewhat rushed as well, suddenly Magwitch is discovered where as in the TV version the tension builds up. There are also differences in characters, the TV version dispenses with Pip’s teacher but has another blacksmith. Which is correct? I don’t know. All in all the movie is too rushed, I only understood some parts from seeing the TV version. Adding an extra hour to explain bits may help, particularly as there is the classic reveal at a few points in the film. The characters explaining their past with a fuzzy flash back. It falls into the lowest common denominator role making the audience feel as if they are too stupid to work things out for themselves. In all truth it was a disappointment, maybe if I hadn’t seen the TV version I would not have compared and really enjoyed the film, yet I think I would have come out confused. I think the only real answer is to grab the book and understand the complex layering of the story through Dickens words. I did read one review before going to see Great Expectations that said solid but not brilliant. I would utter those sentiments exactly.