Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Directed by Rian Johnson

Starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley


Probably my favorite of series. A nice continuation of the story, I think, though with any extended franchise, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all the characters and place names.

The Star Wars formula seems to be fantastic effects, mostly unknown actors turning in slightly campy performances, cheesy dialogue, cameos by cute but annoying creatures, all set to a blaring soundtrack of John Williams horns. In this one, there’s some light comedy found in the dialogue and even some of the shots (iron spaceship), something new for the franchise. The only moment that felt a bit goofy was when Leia gets blasted into space and then floats her way back to the ship. I guess she’s got some genetic Force that prevents her unconscious lungs from exploding, her unconscious eyes from popping out, and her unconscious skin from cooking like bacon.

And there’s something else subtle going on here. For the first time in the history of the franchise, we take a small step towards science fiction. Instead of forwarding the plot with vague deus ex machina recollections of how some problem got solved and ignoring geographic impossibilities, there is discussion about how they cannot go to hyperspace due to a lack of a fuel and more discussion about how hyperspace tracking works. For the first time in the franchise, real-world scientific limitations steer the plot. It’s subtle, but things are a little more real and believable.

Some of the effects are amazing. The silent shot of the cruiser going light speed through the fleet was one of the most spectacular shots I’ve ever seen, and the rebel planet with colorful salt crystals above and below ground were exquisite. Quite a few great, movie poster-worthy shots, like Luke emerging from the base and onto the salt flat to face the enemy. The casino set was great, as well.

As the series progresses, they’re killing off key characters judiciously. By the last film of this trilogy, we will have cleanly handed off the franchise to an entirely new generation of characters. Just a shame that they won’t be able to write out Leia appropriately. I wonder how they’ll handle that. Luke’s departure was perfect. Ridley’s cute. How does she not have a fanboy following yet? Driver is wonderfully intense, offering by far the most consistently dramatic performance of the entire Star Wars franchise. Isaac is quality, his role is starting to get pretty beefy. Del Toro is OK, but his weird speech impediment makes his naturally mumbling speaking voice a bit hard to understand.

Everything seems to be lining up for the final film in the franchise. Rey and Kylo will have their final showdown, and Poe will surely feature as Rey’s love interest.

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