Film Reviews

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

By • Dec 21st, 2017 •

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They ticked off all the boxes except the one marked “Jar Jar Binks.” You are very old if you needed to see all these characters again.

Who is The One? I’m tired of looking for him (or her). Show yourself already! Are Hebrews still looking for The Messiah? Are you waiting for the Buddha of the future, Maitreya Buddha? Are you preparing for the Occultation, the coming of “hidden Imam”? The 12th Imam is coming 2020-21! What will I wear for The Second Coming?

Well, in the Stars Wars UNIVERSE something akin to The Hundred Years’ War is going on. Will we ever see the end of it?

The Hundred Years’ War,  which you indeed recall, was a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Plantagenet, rulers of the Kingdom of England against the House of Valois, rulers of the Kingdom of France, over the succession to the French throne. In hindsight, a pointless endeavor.

The best to come of out The Hundred Years’ War was the great mystic, Joan of Arc.

Just like in early times, when it took years for a country to know if it had won a battle, its been two long years since we left Rey (Daisy Ridley) hunting down the now ascetic, cave-dwelling Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Previously, we just glimpsed a look at his face. Now Luke appears and talks. He’s aged, more defined and has acquired a grizzly sex appeal. Hamill finally grew into his damaged face and his career is back on!

Everyone is so happy Hamill is back – as if he really is Luke Skywalker – that they gloss over the fact that Hamill’s badly-damaged face and lousy cosmetic surgery virtually ended his STAR WARS career.

Hamill told Dynamite Magazine in 1978: “The accident made hamburger out of my face. It took a lot of special effects at the hospital to put it back together again. Part of one ear was used to rebuild my nose.”

I know, I know. I looked at Hamill’s imdb page. He has never stopped working in TV and doing voice work.

Remember the cruel but truthful adage from Allan Carr after meeting one of his idols, Paul Newman? “You should never meet your heroes.”*

Rey finds Luke and he has not wanted to be found. Cave-dwelling should have made him highly sensitive to sound and transformed him into an ascetic without interest in petty conflicts of domination. Yet Luke is now a grey-bearded mystic with wisdom!

Wouldn’t it have been fun if he was a raging lunatic fighting devils and seductive she-demons?

Luke has nothing to teach Rey and does not care about some silly battle over land. Does he care that the First Order has attacked the Resistance? Does he know who is leading the attack? Who is General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and what are his credentials?

General Hux has daddy issues. Do the worst you can and please daddy, the Supreme Leader.

The Supreme Leader, Snoke (Andy Serkis), is the supreme leader because he is a one-of-a-kind oddity from countless generations of in-breeding. Lonely, he is taking out his manic depression on planetary systems all around him who will not heel to his directives.

Supreme Leader, if you kill off planets full of living beings you will be ruling over dirt.

Regardless of military strength and policies, Rey insists that Luke teach her the ways of the Jedi.

The Dark Side, now led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who is – as you well  know – the neglected son of the former Princess Leia, the former General Leia, now just Leia and Han Solo. He’s taken on the outfit of Darth Vader – but not the high-heeled boots!

However, unlike warmongers on Earth, Kylo Ren wavers. Ah, there’s still a beam of light in his heart. Will Rey change him? Is a sexual relationship just what Kylo needs to put aside his powers and the desire to rule?

Sure, Moses was a murderer but Kylo Ren is a patricide. And that’s a hard fact to overcome. The STAR WARS franchise has backed themselves into a corner – unless…Ren was just saber-rattling and just threatening Han Solo and Solo sacrificed himself by igniting Ren’s lightsaber. Or, Solo survived the fall.

There is a huge audience in China that must be acknowledged. After all, its the movie business. Finn (John Boyega) cannot be dispensed with so quickly – he wasn’t a token! – but his new side-kick is a feisty, know-it-all, under-appreciated maintenance worker, Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran).

There is no caste system in STAR WARS Universe.

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If you are looking for Justin Theroux and Gwendoline Christie, Justin is an extra in a skinny mustache and Christie is under armor – just like Prince William and Prince Harry as Stormtroopers.

Back is Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). As a character, he is supposed to be the devil-may-care adventurer replacing Han Solo. But, as a career Resistance pilot, his talking back to his superiors and disobeying direct commands from Leia should have him spending the rest of the movie in a cell.

In comes the unbearable, gown-wearing Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern). Poe yells at the Vice Admiral. What the hell is lavender-haired doing in a badly-draped grey gown? Is this how you run a Resistance?

Along the way comes stuttering DJ (Benecio del Toro) filling in for Jar Jar Binks.

And who else makes an appearance to round out the Star Wars constellation? Doesn’t anyone die?

So when Luke goes through his crisis – yes, a legend, but a legendary failure! – someone comes back to put him right.

The problem that has arisen as the Star Wars Saga stands right now is, who is the villain? Leia and Han Solo’s son?

Hamill, with his strong nose and wildly coiffed grey hair and beard has become the Obi Wan of Star Wars! He is the majestic figure on which the story will rest.

With everything up on the screen and giving the old fans every bit – except a princess in a bikini – THE LAST JEDI has not only fulfilled its purpose but is has matured. Writer-director Rian Johnson has made an adult STAR WARS.

Carrie Fisher’s Leia is too old to be called a “Princess” and “General” is too harsh for such a beloved figure, so everyone addresses her as “Leia” – which, I took offense to.

I would like to know the ideology of the First Order, the Dark Force and what the Resistance is resisting against. If I missed this – I understand it would bog down the battle sequences – then it flew right over my head.

I kept thinking someone would speak up and ask what Tears for Fears sang,  “What are we fighting for?”

*“You should never meet your heroes. Paul Newman… I was so excited about meeting him, but he turned up in shell suit bottoms, slippers, and a jumper. He was just so worn out and old, he wanted to go home.”

Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org/.

Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at victoria.alexander.lv@gmail.com.

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