I had the "pleasure" of watching the latest installment of the Star Wars Saga -
The Last Jedi - over the weekend. After reading through some of the glowing
reviews online by professional critics, I was really looking forward to it.
Taking the reviews at face value I was anticipating a real tour de force of
action, adventure, twists, surprises, revelations, emotion, and of course, epic
space battles. I only experienced the epic space battles and that was about it.
(Warning: Spoiler below!)
I was bored throughout the film and left the the theatre in a confused daze. It
was a poor film by both Star Wars and general standards. Being a bit of a lore
buff, I was particularly looking forward to getting to know much more about
what happened in the aftermath of the Rebel Victory as was seen in The Return
of Jedi, the origins of the First Order and how they came to amass their
immense power, the background and motivations of Snoke, how Kylo Ren was
turned, Rey's parentage etc.
I didn't get any of that. The Director's intent throughout seemed to be more of
a gratuitous "out with the old, in with the new", mirroring Kylo Ren's weird
obsession with destroying the old order and creating a new one. Continuity and
plot development doesn't matter. I found this disappointing, irritating and
even a bit offensive.
It would be one thing to break with the Canon of the original trilogy and the
"prequels" - I can somewhat understand that. But there was no attempt to
sincerely carry forward the story and answer some of the questions raised in
the previous film, The Force Awakens. Instead all we got were a lot of nice
special effects, space battles and some nice fight scenes. As if that would be
enough to distract us from questions we wanted answered from the previous film
and the glaring plot holes, absurdities and inexplicable behaviour of the
characters that pervades this one.
Luke's behaviour, for example, was completely bizarre and completely in
contrast to the brazen determination and unrelenting optimism he exhibited
throughout the original trilogy. The "reasons" given for this radical change in
character (namely, his supposed failure in keeping his nephew on the straight
and narrow) doesn't really make much sense. This is a guy who refused to give
up on his father despite the latter's genocidal crimes.
In terms of the general structure and editing, the film was a long mess. Large
sections of the film seemed to comprise of a bunch of cut scenes carelessly put
together without much thought for flow and coherence. This was not helped by
the multiple nonsensical threads of the film arising from the inexplicable
behaviour of some of the main characters. For example the Casino Planet segment
was boring, cheesy and totally unnecessary given that the whole charade could
have been avoided if Holdo had simply told Dameron that her plan was to
evacuate to the salt flat planet all along. The film was also too long given
how boredom inducing it was and I was honestly waiting to leave the theatre.
Were there some positive or redeeming areas? Sure, like any film, but not
enough to salvage the film as a whole. The fight scenes, special effects and
space battles were impressive as can be expected from such a huge franchise.
The cast was also diverse and talented, and there was some brilliant acting,
particularly from Hamill, who deserves an Oscar for making the most of the poor
writing. We also got to see Yoda again so that's definitely a positive.
I don't have much hopes for the Star Wars IX really. This film will inevitably
be a huge box office success and that's what really matters to the people at
Disney. They have no reason not to produce more of the same. And that's a real
If I had to give this film a score, I'd give it a 5/10.