Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Release Year: 2017
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson (screenplay), George Lucas (characters)
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Anthony Daniels, Frank Oz
Rey (Daisy Ridley) seeks the guidance of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) who is unsettled by the strength of her powers and haunted by his past experiences with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Meanwhile, the Resistance fights for its survival against the First Order and their only hope seems to whether or not they can convince Skywalker to join the fight.
J.J. Abrams’s 2015 Star Wars sequel/reboot The Force Awakens was a great success, both commercially and critically. While some felt that it was to close to the original Star Wars (1977) it gave the franchise a much needed injection of heart and entertaining fun. The heavy burden of following up a success fell on Rian Johnson (Looper, 2012), who has also penned the script for this latest entry. Reactions this time around has been considerably more mixed, cutting the audiences into camps. Where The Force Awakens was blamed for being too similar to earlier films, this is blamed for being to unlike previous films. At one point, Skywalker remarks to Rey “This is not going to go the way you think!”, and while the first half seems to mimic the drama of The Empire Strikes Back (1980), the second half goes places that feel completely new while never straying too far from the proper Star Wars formula. It goes deeper than any Star Wars film has done before, and explores the nature of choice, destiny, loyalty, and most importantly hope in often surprising ways. It is baffling that people would expect any less from an original mind such as Rian Johnson. The films is genuinely funny and at times it’s very touching, it has a bunch of new characters and does much to develop our next generation characters, in the storyline that follows the fight of the Resistance forces this is particularly true of Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron. The late Carrie Fisher (When Harry Met Sally, 1989) is given amble room to shine and as this is end for Leia (how ever they will manage that) is a worthy one. But where the last one was Han Solo’s film this is very much Luke Skywalker’s film. Hamill gives a great performance in what is a character trajectory bound to spark continuous debate among fans. Driver (Silence, 2016) is even better than last time as the continuously troubled Kylo Ren and the growing bond between his character and Ridley’s Rey is fascinating and at the heart of the film, whereas the hope that inspires the rebels to never surrender and die heroically and lives in the heart of the downtrodden everywhere is the pulse that runs through the film’s 150 minute running time. It is a bit too long, not as well-oiled or straightforward as other films, and comes dangerously close to satire a could of times (‘m thinking here of Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux), but it takes the story places we never thought it would go with unpredictability and originality while never not feeling like a Star Wars film and that might be exactly what the new generation needs going forward.
The CG character that puts money into BB-8 in the Casino scenes is played by Mark Hamill.
Picture Copyright: Disney