‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ or — Don’t Luke Now.
Well that was a hot fucking mess!
So yesterday morning I saw ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, the story of a media corporations desperate attempt to re-set an entire franchise and do its utmost best to negate everything that had come before it order to keep everything the same and keep doing it.
First off, I hated ‘The Force Awakens’ and I mean really hated it. Not only because it was a rehash of previous Star Wars films but also because I can’t stand Abram’s directing and “story-telling” where convenience replaces logic, coincidence throws intelligence out the window and everything happens at a constant rush to stop you from realising that what is happening is very silly and doesn’t make sense. Oh, and that he sets stuff up that you know will NEVER be answered. I don’t mind mindless entertainment but not wilfully ignorant. Hey, thought Snoke was important and was going to fit into this Universe like a perfectly formed missing jig-saw piece? Well, think again mother-fucker!
Rian Johnson’s ‘The Last Jedi’ doesn’t have these problems, but it does have a whole host of others ranging from being bloated to the point of a heavily lactating space-cow tit, characters that serve no function whatsoever, a flagrant disregard for the consequences of the original series and an exciting, thrill-ride of a space chase that is actually so dull and so, so, sooooo slow that it makes David Lynch’s ‘The Straight Story’ seem like ‘Speed Racer’.
The biggest problem however is that this is, at times, a remarkably boring film. There are stretches of it that drag and, ultimately, don’t go anywhere or plot-lines that are so completely redundant that a search party should be sent out to see if they could find out the purpose for them being in this movie.
Luke’s role in this film is different (and kinda refreshing in an odd, masochistic way. I certainly have felt as fed-up with everything Star Wars, Jedi and lightsaber related as he has so could actually relate to him) but it totally undercuts everything he achieved in the original trilogy. Seriously, everything Luke Skywalker did — blowing up the Death Star, saving Vader and defeating the Emperor — has been rendered as void. It would have been better for him, and the Galaxy at large, if he’d remained a moisture farmer.
It’s a franchise that is struggling under the weight of so many expectations, so much history and so many corners Abram’s has painted them into that it’s as though the film just decided “Fuck it” and, shaven Samson like, pulled the entire temple down onto its head and re-set everything. And again, what this means is that practically nothing has changed. Star wars is always going to be in the state of suspended animation Disney thinks we want it to be in — Rebels are always going to be the underdog on the run from the evil bad guys who, no matter what happens to them, always seem to have the upper hand despite constant defeats. The Rebels are now stuck in a constant state of Space-Sisypheanism: there’s always going to be another round, rock like weapon to blow up.
Yet there were things in ‘The Last Jedi’ I genuinely liked. The music this time around felt much more energetic than in ‘Force Awakens’ giving the film actual punch at times. I loved the lack of lightsaber action which, by now in these films, had already become monotonous. I could understand Luke just throwing his away. I also loved the fact Johnson didn’t have Luke going all macho bad-ass with a lightsaber at the end, which would have been silly, but instead just went for a simple psyche-out.
Then there’s also the fact that, to me, Johnson seems by far the superior director, especially when it comes to having an eye for visually arresting spectacle (even if his pacing is off) such as the Kurosawa-esque use of red curtains in Snoke’s throne room and the way red is also used wonderfully on the planet Crait. On a visual and directing level there is vastly more interesting shit going on here than in Abram’s pedestrian entry.
I’ll be honest — going into ‘The Last Jedi’ I was fully prepared, like Luke, to give up on Star Wars if it had disappointed me as much as ‘Force Awakens’ or the prequels. I would have happily Sky-walked away and never bothered with anything related to this galaxy far, far away ever again. So despite the fact I was often bored, occasionally confused and constantly baffled by ‘The Last Jedi’, it hasn’t made me throw in the towel just yet. Quite. Maybe. But my desire to see where this is all ultimately going (let’s face it: it’s not going anywhere and is now just a perpetual motion machine designed to eat money) has, like the Jedi, pretty much died out.