Massive amounts of virtual ink have been spilled in thinkpieces about this movie. It's merits or lack of any merit have been debated ad nauseam two years and counting. You either love it or hate it with very little middle ground. What movie is up this week? The Last Jedi, of course!
A few thoughts:
-I land on the side of thoroughly enjoying this movie, although I do not believe it is perfect by any means.
-The story of Luke is an excellently posed study on religious deconstruction and reconstruction. Thanks to a combination of trauma, a lack of original understanding, and forces outside his control we meet Luke at the darkest point of his religious deconstruction. Everything about the Jedi seems trite and a joke. For anyone who has done any amount of religious deconstruction, Luke should be painfully familiar. Then, however, forces outside of his control and a challenging relationship set him on a journey to reconstruction with a new and better understanding of his religion. We need more stories like this in our modern mythology. People like to get stuck in deconstruction, but deconstruction becomes meaningless if it does not lead to a reconstruction. Luke was a compelling archetype of this journey.
-I am not a professional editor, but the movie felt just a smidge too long. I could not tell you where it needed some edits, but I just got the general feeling.
-Poe's storyline was a little grating to me on my first viewing, but I understood more of the nuance the next few viewings. He was easy to like in The Force Awakens, but he got precisely what he needed in The Last Jedi. His attitude toward his own abilities was definitely toxic, and he needed to fail and be left out to understand the greater cause to which he was dedicated. Outside of the Luke-Rey-Kylo dynamic, this movie was about Poe's journey.
-Finn felt like an afterthought for much of the movie, which is a bummer, because he was amazing in The Force Awakens. I actually thought he was going to ram the laser at the end, and I was both sad but also glad that he finally got to do something meaningful. Then, he didn't do it, so he lives on to hopefully be awesome in The Rise of Skywalker.
A few memories:
-It feels a little strange to talk about memories of a movie that only came out 2 years ago, but there are a few things I will forever associate with it.
-I remember live streaming the first trailer reveal from Star Wars Celebration while at the park with my kids. The line about the Jedi needing to end was shocking and cause for much speculation.
-Leaving the theater after this movie was the first time in a long time that our usual group felt kind of mixed. There was not the usual fist-bumping, high-fiving euphoria; rather, a few of us were pretty excited, and you could tell the others did not want to rain on the parade.
-I am still trying to figure out what makes people take such strong sides over this movie. I would love to do a data study on people's The Last Jedi opinions to see if there is common overlap in certain worldviews or cultural factors that match with opinions about the movie. You know, in all that free time...
It is difficult to talk about the legacy of a movie that is part of an unfinished story. Sometimes I wonder if this is how people felt in the years between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi since I was not privileged to be around then. In about four days, I can give you an answer, or at least the first answer that will continue to grow and evolve as I add the ninth and final Skywalker movie to my Star Wars story.
We have reached the first movie in the new era of Star Wars. The Force Awakens was a massive box office hit and climbed the charts with amazing speed. Everyone saw this movie and then saw it again. The hype was beyond anything I have witnessed, and for most people, it really lived up. I saw it in the theater about 4 times if that is any indication of how much I enjoyed it. Four years later, here are a few thoughts I want to share.
A few thoughts:
-I noticed for the first time while watching this movie that the beginning is very intentional to share familiar images that are slightly different, as a way to quickly introduce viewers to a new world. The first three shots are the point of a Star Destroyer with a slightly different nose, Stormtroopers with new armor design, and a droid that has a familiar head but very different body. All of these images are classic Star Wars and serve as a quick introduction to the new state of the universe.
-As I was searching for screencaps, I noticed how quickly everything moves compared to the original trilogy. I would have to scroll through multiple pages of screencaps to find a new scene, whereas with The Force Awakens I scrolled through 1-2 pages at the most. I think this is probably a symptom of the modern style of filmmaking.
-The new characters are the glue that makes this movie work. I know a lot of people complain about the lack of OT characters getting together, but I firmly believe these movies are about the new characters, while the classic characters play supporting roles. I am ok with that, because the chemistry between the characters is excellent.
-One of my favorite scenes in all of Star Wars is the X-Wings skimming across the water on Takodana. The visual combined with the music gives me chills every time.
A few memories:
-I remember when the initial teaser came out the day after Thanksgiving 2014. I got massive chills and then promptly got sick for the next two days. I'm not saying the trailer shut down my body, but I'm also not saying it did not....
-This movie came out when not all theaters were offering reserved seats, so we had to get in line several hours early for the midnight show. We had a great time waiting in line, and I would not take back that time in any way.
-The merchandise drop was another memorable part of the experience. I went to Target immediately after school and picked up Kylo Ren and Rey figures. I was also envious of everyone who got the remote BB-8. Never fear, I got one for Christmas a couple years later.
The Force Awakens was an international sensation, and I am glad I was alive to see it. The movie was only part of the massive hype surrounding the return of Star Wars to theaters, and everyone got caught up in it. Next, I look at the most divisive movie in Star Wars history. Just over a week away from The Rise of Skywalker!
This week I am looking at my sentimental favorite Star Wars movie: Return of the Jedi. I think I was at the perfect age when I first saw this movie such that it was indelibly cemented in my consciousness forever. Many of my all-time favorite Star Wars scenes are in this movie. Nostalgia has rose-colored glasses on this one, however, so let's take a look at some of the positives and negatives.
A few thoughts:
-I fully recognize that this movie is the weakest in the original trilogy. The Death Star as a plot device again, and the questionable strength of the Ewoks against the Empire are both weaknesses in this film.
-The introduction of Luke at Jabba's Palace is my favorite character intro of all the Star Wars movies. His look and actions when he first appears on screen are ambiguous about his siding with the Light or Dark. Force choking has only been committed by Vader up until this point. Even though the lightsaber building deleted scene released several years ago is cool, I love this ambiguous character intro and the delay of the green lightsaber until the Sarlacc pit.
-The Jabba the Hutt puppet is amazing and was a true shock when I first saw it. I still think it holds up better than the CG Jabba in the special edition of A New Hope.
-Endor is the only new planet introduced, which is a bummer in hindsight, but I still am a huge fan. All of the speeder bike chase scenes, while somewhat dated effects, have great tension and portray speed well.
-I am indifferent about the Ewoks. As a kid, I was totally cool with them and kind of fascinated, so as an adult I have no issue with them. I understand the intended message behind indigenous people driving out oppressors, and it works fine, if a bit cheesy.
A few memories:
-I already mentioned that this movie is my sentimental favorite, and I will stand by that statement until the end. There are so many parts of this movie that take me back to the early days of my fandom.
-The toys from Return of the Jedi have some very fond memories for me. My cousins had the Ewok village toy, which I was very envious of and could never find. It took a while to find one, but I finally obtained the Jabba on his throne toy that had a pit that could open underneath him. That was one of my favorite toys and perfect for punishing all of the bad characters.
-Speeder bikes are awesome and need to be a real thing. I was determined that I was going to invent one and change the world. Still hasn't happened...
-I enjoy spending time in forested areas, which I partly attribute to the planet Endor. I was so fascinated by the tall trees that it transferred to real life.
It has been a pleasure revisiting the original trilogy movies (let's be honest, this happens frequently anyway), and I am especially looking forward to how elements of Return of the Jedi will play out in Rise of Skywalker. On to the new era of Star Wars with The Force Awakens next!
I love my family and this is the place to find all of the adventures we experience.