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Peter T Chattaway

Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

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According to a Slashfilm podcast some people have been able to see the film early and have given good reviews of it, saying it is different and even somewhat divisive for Star Wars fans. 

I'm excited again

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1 hour ago, Justin Hanvey said:

Well it IS the villain saying it, Snoke

Talk about destiny tends to be a very villain thing in Star Wars, anyway. Just as a rule--I think of Vader or Palpatine saying it more than, say, Obi-Wan.

I'm not over the moon about the trailer. The Luke stuff is, at least, moderately interesting, but the rest of it is pretty meh. The porg made me want to throw something at my screen.

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36 minutes ago, NBooth said:

Talk about destiny tends to be a very villain thing in Star Wars, anyway. Just as a rule--I think of Vader or Palpatine saying it more than, say, Obi-Wan.

I'm not over the moon about the trailer. The Luke stuff is, at least, moderately interesting, but the rest of it is pretty meh. The porg made me want to throw something at my screen.

 

Well, just as The Force Awakens rehashed much of A New Hope, this trailer seems to rehash much of The Empire Strikes Back. Can't say I'm too surprised, nor is my interest all that piqued.

Edited by John Drew

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So...one trilogy in which the main character becomes a Jedi, another one in which the main character becomes a Sith, and a third trilogy where two characters meet in the middle? Well...okay, I guess. 

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27 minutes ago, Scholar's Parrot said:

So...one trilogy in which the main character becomes a Jedi, another one in which the main character becomes a Sith, and a third trilogy where two characters meet in the middle? Well...okay, I guess. 

When you put it that way, it sounds Hegelian. 

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There is something truly special about the dialog in the trailer.  It goes the way you think, if you think in cliche's, even if Luke says differently.

 

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NBooth wrote:
: Talk about destiny tends to be a very villain thing in Star Wars, anyway. Just as a rule--I think of Vader or Palpatine saying it more than, say, Obi-Wan.

And when Obi-Wan *does* talk about destiny, he's basically being the villain. (Obi-Wan: You cannot escape your destiny. You must face Darth Vader again. Luke: I can't kill my own father. Obi-Wan: Then the Emperor has already won. You were our only hope.) It is only by *resisting* Obi-Wan's destiny talk that Luke ultimately becomes the hero.

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I'm pretty pumped about this one, at least more so than anyone else here seems to be. And certainly more intrigued and invested than in most any other blockbuster films of this kind.

I think that this trailer is very cleverly edited in the way the dialogue seems to give the impression of a back and forth between particular characters (Rey and Luke; Rey and Kylo Ren; Kylo Ren and Snoke, etc.). I think its probably very misleading, in order to hide some kind of surprise.

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Oh don't get me wrong--I'm definitely heading to see this on opening night in 3D Imax with my two boys.  But you gotta admit, some of that trailer dialogue is pretty clunky.

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Saw that SDG and Peter Chattaway both reflected that THE LAST JEDI refutes/replaces many of the THE FORCE AWAKENS themes/directions or "mystery boxes".  Much of the storyline in TLJ is specifically focused on moving on from the past, so thematically you could say TLJ is reacting to the nostalgia bomb that was in TFA.  Though, at one of the initial climaxes, a dramatic and not unexpected shift in allegiance quickly blends callbacks to both ROTJ and ESB--it was as if Johnson faced nostalgia head on, and then shook it up.  What follows is certainly exciting and interesting as it moves our players to the final acts of this trilogy. 

Ultimately, I didn't feel that TLJ refuted or rolled its eyes at TFA, even if what was set up as big fan concerns (you'll recall the endless debates over a couple of characters' origins) was rather quickly addressed and forced the characters to move on, or not, as the case may be.

Hamill did really good work here, and I found myself wishing that instead of this trilogy, Lucasfilm had picked up the story 15 years earlier in the narrative.  I think there was a ton of interesting story to explore with Skywalker's attempts at restoring the Jedi order, and the conflicts that arose in that time period that would have potentially been more dramatically satisfying than the current stories.  But perhaps that was ground already covered in Lucas' own prequels, with Anakin's fall and all that. 

The diverging storylines probably could have used a little bit of tightening, particularly Finn's.  And there's an important leadership lesson in the Holdo/Daemeron dynamic:  If you actually have a plan in a stressful situation, its important to share it transparently.  Would have saved a lot of headache and heartache.

It's a good movie, with a lot to like.  I tend to think it provides a valuable continuation of what started in TFA in a way that pushes the story forward in interesting ways but without "course correcting". 

SPOILER

Having grown up as a kid seeing the original films came out, I am not a real fan of watching the big three not survive these individual films.  I'd have loved to have seen Han, Luke, and Leia share some screen time again, and "pass the baton" if you will through means other than their deaths.  I'm very glad Johnson put Luke and Leia together, even for a brief moment.

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Saw it last night. Some thoughts.

I forget who it was who pointed it out in The Force Awakens thread, but again, John Williams does not contribute any signature score to this film. There is a lot of recovery and insertion of traditional Star Wars music into The Last Jedi, but nothing new.

Every time Hux appeared on screen I sighed and whispered to myself, "I miss you, Tarkin."

I haven't followed any of the new Star War novels since Disney's acquisition and decision to make new Star Wars novels canonical, so I don't know if this is in fact the case, but I didn't feel all that drawn or compelled by some of the characters and I wonder if it's because now that the new novels are canonical, we are expected to read those books and follow the characters there too. I had this problem with Saw Gerrara in 

Rogue One (though that was more to do with The Clone Wars TV series than novels). But the set up to Amilyn Holdo, when Poe was marvelling at his her exploits, it made me wonder if we were supposed to already have some familiarity with Holdo through the novels. 

I don't really know what to make about Yoda destroying the sanctuary on Ahch-To. The way Yoda seemed entirely dismissive of the sacred Jedi books doesn't fit in with how I have been accustomed to regarding his character.

I don't understand why Luke dies, especially when he goes through the effort to confront Kyle Ren on Crait. I'm with Buckeye Jones, I think I have too much nostalgia for the original trilogy to see all three of the main leads die (I wonder how the Star Wars fans who hated The New Jedi Order series for killing off Chewbacca feel about this new trilogy?). When the bridge of the Resistance cruiser is blown up and Leia is sucked into space I thought maybe that was their way of finishing her character until I remembered that Carrie Fisher had passed away well after filming for The Last Jedi was completed. I appreciate that The Last Jedi is supposed to be like The Empire Strikes Back, leaving the characters with heavy losses, but still...

Ultimately, I think I finished watching The Last Jedi feeling unsatisfied because of the plots or questions that are raised and then unanswered or at least ignored or casually dismissed, like Rey's parents and especially Snoke's origins and identity. The scenes in Snoke's throne room on his ship was so lamely like that those in Return of the Jedi that I wondered if Snoke was Palpatine and that that would explain the wound. I'm sure other folks will talk about it, but I find it interesting that Star Wars, largely influenced and based on myth (see Joseph Campbell), has it's own mythology (e.g. Rey, like Luke, is a future Jedi hailing from a backwater world). The Battle of Crait was also reminiscent of the Battle of Hoth.

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Buckeye Jones wrote:
: Saw that SDG and Peter Chattaway both reflected that THE LAST JEDI refutes/replaces many of the THE FORCE AWAKENS themes/directions or "mystery boxes". 

It's not just the "mystery boxes". I think Luke wears a glove on his hand throughout this film, just like he did in Return of the Jedi, which feels like a rejection of the exposed mechanical hand in The Force Awakens.

But yes, if The Force Awakens was a rehash of A New Hope with bits from the other two original-trilogy films tucked in, The Last Jedi is like a squished-together version of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi with many elements recycled from those films (as well as a tracker (sounds like "tractor", as in "tractor beam", right?) deactivation subplot borrowed from A New Hope). Which means Episode IX will be in truly uncharted territory. What, oh what, will JJ Abrams do.

: And there's an important leadership lesson in the Holdo/Daemeron dynamic:  If you actually have a plan in a stressful situation, its important to share it transparently.  Would have saved a lot of headache and heartache.

It's amazing to me that Vanity Fair ran an article with a headline about how this film was "the refutation of mansplaining that we need", when one of the big effing *problems* with the film is that the female leaders *don't* explain what they're doing, which leads to a lot of big problems. (Between this film and Rogue One, Disney seems to be really set on portraying the Rebels and/or Resistance as deeply conflicted people with their own power struggles and morally questionable areas.)

A Facebook friend of mine, incidentally, wondered why Holdo is dressed up for a dinner party when she's supposed to be leading a military movement. It kind of parallels how I've been wondering why a Jedi Master was still flying around from place to place in an X-wing -- with his robes rather than a pilot's suit, I presume?

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

There is probably a lot more I could say about this film, but I just don't have the time to be that comprehensive right now. I will say this, though: it's a deeply conflicted film on some levels, and not just because it portrays conflicted *characters*. For example, Luke quite rightly complains that the Jedi were deeply flawed and cites the rise of Darth Sidious -- which happened on their watch -- as an example of this. (And oh, how I hated hearing Mark Hamill speak one of the prequel character names.) But then Yoda, of all people, shows up -- and he's supposed to be the voice of wisdom again! Even though he was one of those deeply flawed Jedi! *Even though he lied to Luke and tried to trick him into murdering his father in the original trilogy*, which -- in hindsight, after the prequels came out -- I always took to be a sign of how Yoda and Obi-Wan had failed to learn their lesson following the rise of the Sith! (I did think it was interesting, though, that Yoda was, in this film, once again portrayed as a somewhat comical figure, as in the original trilogy, rather than whatever he was in the prequels.)

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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SPOILER

Peter wrote:

Quote

I did think it was interesting, though, that Yoda was, in this film, once again portrayed as a somewhat comical figure, as in the original trilogy, rather than whatever he was in the prequels.

Of course, the old Yoda, which is the only Yoda Luke knows, was the comical Yoda.  

Starwars.com (marketing, of course), has a relatively open interview with Johnson on his choices in VII here: http://www.starwars.com/news/we-had-such-a-great-time-rian-johnson-on-the-path-to-star-wars-the-last-jedi.

The glove stuff doesn't bother me at all, nor does the recall of Darth Sidious.  The Holdo stuff does, because its stupid within the story, even though it pays off with her jump to lightspeed.  Moving Snoke out of the way, in a way that plays off ROTJ (with some direct quotes from that film here, e.g. the elevator ride) in an interesting way AND sets up a really tight action sequence and brings Ben Solo's character to a sharp point, even with the echo back to Vader's offer in ESB.  The "let the past die" stuff is just a false hope on the character's part, even as the past literally dies.  But it just doesn't die; it leaves a tremendous legacy that progresses the story forward in Rey's learning of Luke's lessons, and of course she may find those Jedi treatises more page-turning than Luke did.

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One other anti-JJ-ism: the bit where Snoke tells Kylo Ren to take that stupid mask off, and Ren smashes it for good. That mask was the face of The Force Awakens, very prominent in all its marketing materials, and from now on I think a lot of people are going to look back on those materials and see that mask and think, "Yeah, that was stupid."

Buckeye Jones wrote:
: The Holdo stuff does, because its stupid within the story, even though it pays off with her jump to lightspeed. 

Though one does begin to wonder why the Rebellion hasn't been using hyperspace drives to destroy Imperial battle stations in the *past*, if it's that easy... I mean, every X-wing fighter has a hyperdrive (and why *are* they wasting hyperdrives on mere fighters? the Empire certainly doesn't; I assume it's because Luke used an X-wing fighter to get from Hoth to Dagobah in the second movie and then Lucas figured, "Oh, right, I guess fighters can fly between star systems just like the Falcon can"... but I digress)... and surely there's got to be some way to automate these ships, if you don't want any people or droids to commit actual suicide...

: But it just doesn't die; it leaves a tremendous legacy that progresses the story forward in Rey's learning of Luke's lessons . . .

I'm actually very unclear as to what, exactly, Rey learned from Luke in this film.

: . . . and of course she may find those Jedi treatises more page-turning than Luke did.

I really wish Yoda would stop lying to Luke about stuff like this.

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4 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

: But it just doesn't die; it leaves a tremendous legacy that progresses the story forward in Rey's learning of Luke's lessons . . .

I'm actually very unclear as to what, exactly, Rey learned from Luke in this film.

: . . . and of course she may find those Jedi treatises more page-turning than Luke did.

I really wish Yoda would stop lying to Luke about stuff like this.

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Edited by kenmorefield
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9 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

: But it just doesn't die; it leaves a tremendous legacy that progresses the story forward in Rey's learning of Luke's lessons . . .

I'm actually very unclear as to what, exactly, Rey learned from Luke in this film.

: . . . and of course she may find those Jedi treatises more page-turning than Luke did.

I really wish Yoda would stop lying to Luke about stuff like this.

Well, she learned that the Force moves rocks.  But the three lessons that Luke teaches her are 1) The Jedi are not the sole owners of the light side of the Force, 2) something else I've forgotten by now, and 3) I don't think he explicitly teaches her one, but I took it that Luke's final lesson is the sacrificial feint at the end, from which she learned that a real hero will give everything up of himself to save those he loves.  But maybe it was the rock lesson.

But was Yoda lying?  She DID have everything she needed.  I can't recall the actual line. 

I really don't get worked up about where Johnson took this as somehow subverting the Star Wars mythology, but I can see how one can be so inclined.  When I reflect on the film, I just wish for a little tighter edit.  What I'd really like to see are Lucas's treatments he passed along to Disney with the sale.

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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Buckeye Jones wrote:
: I took it that Luke's final lesson is the sacrificial feint at the end, from which she learned that a real hero will give everything up of himself to save those he loves. 

And this, right after the film taught us that sacrificial love must be *thwarted* by even more gratuitous and flimsy expressions of love! (Yes, I'm referring to the Finn-Rose thing, which was dumb and kind of an exemplar of the movie's whole "Juuuuuuust kidding" approach to storytelling, to borrow a phrase that a Facebook friend of mine has been using in connection with this movie.)

: But was Yoda lying? 

To the extent that he never corrected Luke's belief that he (Yoda) had just destroyed the sacred texts, yes he was.

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Yeah, I liked Rogue One well enough, but I loved The Last Jedi. Like, this is what The Force Awakens should have been--not a reverential retread, but a helter-skelter playing with bits and pieces of the Lucas movies. Hamill is magnificent, as is Fisher, and Dern was so good that I really wish we could get more of her. I have no patience with fan complaints about the arc of Luke's character--the franchise is nothing more or less than the movies that make it up, after all, and Hamill did better work here than he did in the entire Original Trilogy. 

Visually, I was much more satisfied as well--the scenes at the casino were imaginative and lush in a way TFA and even the visually superior Rogue One never dreamed of being. And there were several shots (including one spoilery one involving Leia) that made me audibly gasp.

It's a real shame this gets booted back to Abrams now.

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As a sidenote--I assume this has to do with Star Wars not being all that big in China, but the cut I saw had little text onscreen whenever a familiar character appeared. It was kind of cool, because it reminded me of Shaw Brothers flicks (so did Snoke's throne room, actually--it, and some of the stuff that happened there, could have been the setting for a title sequence by Chang Cheh).

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