Vol. 11, No. 7 – Jan 3 – Jan 16, 2018 – Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Review: 2.5 Palm Trees out of 4
by Manuel Reynoso

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a 2017 Space fantasy film written and directed by Rian Johnson. It stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, and John Boyega.

As Rey receives Jedi training from Luke Skywalker, the last remnants of the resistance finds itself on the brink of defeat.

Writing a review for Star Wars: The Last Jedi feels dangerous. While it was pretty universally well received, fan reception was, divisive, to say the least. So, full disclosure: I am not a huge Star Wars fan. To date, I have only seen the first film in each of the 3 trilogies; sacrilege, as far as my more hardcore friends are concerned. I say this not because I dislike the franchise, but because I understand that my review is coming from somewhere different. I am treating Star Wars: The Last Jedi like it exists in a vacuum. My understanding of the franchise is limited, and thus I will limit my commentary to whether the film succeeds in telling a good story on its own. With that, I am a little torn.

The story did not come off as poorly written at the time, it was competent and had some spectacular moments. The visual effects, both practical and computer generated, are some of the best in the business, but it took me a lot of time to figure out what worked and what didn’t. I walked away entertained, but I couldn’t help but feel like something wasn’t right for me with the film.

Let me start with something that Star Wars: The Last Jedi did right. It was an absolutely beautiful film from start to finish. Everything from shot composition, costumes, and special effects had a painstaking attention to detail. It’s the type of care that creates a world, as opposed to just another setting. For me, this is a really big deal. I love getting lost in the imagery and dynamics of the world I see on screen and is clearly one of the reasons why I probably should watch the Star Wars movies.

Unfortunately, as the film went on, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something off. I was having a fun time watching it, and that stayed with me from start to finish. After mulling over it, I think the film failed for me thematically. The Last Jedi throws a lot of different themes at you during the course of the film. Themes ranging from learning to fail, the cost of sacrifice, moving on, and so on; none of them felt properly built up. There were so many separate threads in this film that it felt unfocused. While most were wrapped up, I asked myself, “ how necessary was this story beat?” This also created some clashing tones throughout the film. My moral take-away from one story thread seemed almost at odds with another. To be blunt, the more I mull over the details of The Last Jedi; the less I like it.

I’ve written before how important theming is to in films and unfortunately, these issues bring down the over experience for me pretty significantly. However, I am but one voice in a sea of contention over this film. Your mileage may, and probably will, vary. I can at least guarantee the movie is a fun watch. Rated PG13 2h35m

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