By Adam Sziksz (Hungary)

 

So, recently the new Star Wars film hit the cinemas, and needless to say the hype was, indeed, very real. The first movie of the Disney era, The Force Awakens, was a pretty okay job, not exactly revolutionary, but a good base, to build the new series. It was followed by Rogue One, which is easily one of the best Star Wars related material ever released, including the now non-canon Legends universe, so the expectations for Episode 8 were very high.

And they not only managed to not live up to these expectations, Episode 8 is quite possibly the second worst Star Wars film ever created, left in the dust only by the infamous Holiday Special. Now, I’m not one of those, who bash it because “Hurr durr, bad character Luke”, and I certainly agree that stepping away from JJ Abrams’ style and basically making the corresponding OS film was a good choice, but that doesn’t change the fact, that this movie is compete trash of a Star Wars movie, and even if we don’t take it as a canon part of a big franchise, it would be a very flawed creation of a stand-alone block buster, though still more enjoyable.

Of course, I won’t leave you hanging with this, let me explain in detail, the death of Star Wars we know and loved. Spoiler warning and hard language ahead several times, read at your own risk!

First point of pain for me: needless cast. Yes, I’m pointing at you Vice Admiral Holdo and Whothehellareyou Rose. These two, were almost completely useless for the plot, or the film. They hardly did anything throughout the movie, yet they wanted us to somehow feel for them or something. Holdo was brought in, with the most irritating looks and personality (Good job Ms. Dern by the way, with the little time you had, you managed to make this character as awful as Umbridge, which was probably the intended role for her, and I’m writing this as sincere congratulations), to act as a kind-of secondary antagonist for the Rebel plot line, where she is the wall that blocks Poe’s advances of saving the fleet, before she gets taken over by him and his friends, and they reveal she was really trying to save the rebel fleet, and she dies a heroic death shooting herself and the ship into the First Order’s fleet, destroying most of it.

Now question, why couldn’t she tell her plan to the others, sparing them from a needless revolt? It wasn’t a plan that required the others to not know the details, she just didn’t tell them for whatever reason (Babe what’s wrong? Nothing. Okay? If you cared you would know. – Rebel Fleet A long time ago). But she at least had some part in the movie. She was a plot device, a very minor one though, who was possibly used to set up Poe as the leader for the 3rd film, where he will 99% take over the rebels, after Leia either dies, or retires.

However, the worst thing is probably Rose.

Oh, my sweet merciful Buddha riding on Jesus’s back, why? Why? WHY?! She is a completely worthless, needless character and I saw pixels with more dimensions to them than her. She was part of the most nonsense romance plot line I ever saw (barely any communication for the in-universe duration of about 24 hours and at the end she declares she loves Finn), and you could ask why she was put in the movie then, right? Well, because it’s Disney, that’s why. She is an, Asian woman and if they pair her with Finn the first black primary character in SW we got ourselves a true Liberal, equality movie. Really great. Yeah, totally. Let’s cast our characters according to social standing and views, instead of a cohesive story requirement or merit system. But let’s throwaway this hate speech for a second, and just say, I’m a racist, douchebag. Here are parts of an interview with Rian Johnson, director of the film, on this particular subject: “He did not envision Rose with a specific ethnicity, auditioning Caucasian actresses and women of color for the role.” Now, let’s use the testimony of Mr. Johnson as a basis. Let’s say, the casting of Rose, was indeed based on a merit system, and a need for a character that was fulfilled by Ms. Tran(despite the heavy language and rage, I bear no ill will to any actors, including Ms. Tran, but I do hate their specific characters in this movie, and Mr. Director Sir.) Mr. Johnson justified the creation of Rose with the fact that Poe and Finn going to Canto Bight would be boring, so Finn needed a partner that would, I quote “somebody to go with him, who would actually challenge him and push him and contrast with him”.

None, I repeat, NONE of these justifying characteristics of Rose were in the film. She didn’t challenge, or question Finn, other than at the very end, where she knocked him away before he could suicide into the death ray, she didn’t push Finn, to do anything he didn’t already want to do from the start, and she didn’t show any contrast to him whatsoever. She was quite possibly, a character made for the sole reason, of being able to tell she was there.

Problem number two: we are either 2 year-olds who get wet watching fluffy animals, or 12 year-old kids with a humor sense of, well…a 12 year-old kid. At least according to the director of the film because that’s roughly what it feels like they think we are. The movie is ripe with a bunch of infantile jokes, most prominently the Porgs who are these things, which are probably the offspring of a penguin, a chicken and a furby after a heavy orgy of a cocaine filled night out in a shady Cloud City casino.

But the main problem is the fact, that this is basically a comedy movie at this point. Don’t get me wrong, the OS had plenty of jokes as well, banter between the characters and such, but those were used sparingly, to lighten up the mood with the main plot turning it back again. But this is film is maybe 70% nothing but jokes, and lot of them are horribly timed, or just outright unnecessary. Like the joke…my bad, I mean “””””joke””””” – with a pretty big emphasis on the “joke” part- when Rey and Kylo are conversing through the Force. Now, these parts are very important plot points, Rey- and through Rey us, as well- can get a better look at Kylo’s thoughts, his conflict with Luke, which eventually tore apart the freshly starting Jedi order, and the reason Luke secluded himself from everyone.

Of course Rey is angry at Kylo, for killing Han (well used psychological reasoning in this case, Rey’s anger was properly justified in this case, which is one of the few good points about this film), and Kylo being the emo kid he is, plays it off like he is not even fazed by it (despite us knowing he is broken at this point), but even when they have a very strained relation at the beginning, the second conversation we see Kylo half-naked (crazed fan-girls frothing over the theater-seats), and Rey starts acting like a 14 year-old Japanese high-school girl who never even saw her own father’s nipples, much less another male in existence. But tell me, when you are faced with the man you hate the most, is getting shy about his naked upper half the first feeling you get? There are several other things like this as well, but I don’t remember all of them (I’m not watching movies with a notepad to scribble on), nor do I want to list all of them.

Third point of problems: the aesthetics. Now generally, the film looks good, things blow up quite nice, the colors are very much in line with the base EP VII laid down, and the hyper-jump through the First Order scene was simply wonderful, but there are several aching points. First, the design of the Order’s starships. We have the OG Star Destroyers, well upgraded with the time, same goes for the TIE ships, and then we have the Dreadnought at the start. Oh boy, to imagine, the creative team designing, this ship just take the following equation: take one regular star destroyer, multiply it’s size by around two or three, then square it with evil.

It’s so frustratingly in your face villainy, they might as well just wrote it on the side with letters “HEY LOOK HERE I’M THE BAD GUY”. This was pretty self-explanatory in the OS as well, Vader, Sidious, Jabba, but do we really need to make it even more obvious? We are not 3 year-olds, we can understand without you spitting it in our faces. Then we have the new AT-ATs. They are very evil gorillas. That’s all. Look at their little knuckle walking hands, like a bunch of adorable death dealing primates. Lovely. But the worst part of the graphical “renaissance” was our favorite old Jedi master Yoda returning through force, after an unsuccessful facial surgery in CGI land. Haaaaaa.

Fourth point: the writing. Now, you know that feeling, when you have to write 10 pages for an essay, but you can only write about 5, so you get creative. Well, that’s The Last Jedi. The movie is 2 and a half hour long, with countless filler scenes, it could easily have been, a 1 and a half cut, short and sweet, with a tight plot line, and would have been a lot better. Instead, we get to see wonderful scenes such as, Maz shooting at unseen things for 1 and a half minutes, Luke milking space cows, and fishing for 5 minutes and Rey having an acid trip for 3 minutes, just to show a few examples.

And fifth point: Kylo Ren. I may be with minority here, but Ren is the least interesting, or enjoyable SW villain. The reason being that he has no real motivation, and his character is literally that emo kid, who went to your school. He wasn’t tempted by the dark side, to save his beloved, or just to gain power. He went to the dark side, because he didn’t like his parents. His inner turmoil, the central part of his whole character, is that he wants to be bad, but he feels remorse for his actions. He is actually angry, because he can’t be edgy. Quality villain. Combine that with megalomaniacal tendencies stemming, from his low self-esteem and need for the outer gratification by mimicking a “hero” Dart Vader, and you have a 14 year-old American kid, who watches Naruto, and writes terrible poems with a heavy usage of the color black, and several mentions of ravens.

Still, this movie was not without its merits, and saying it had no good parts, would be a lie. Here is a rundown of the better parts.

First: the actors. Carrie Fisher (may she rest in peace) did great, and gave off the whole tough loving mother persona of old Leia to a point, but I think Hamill was the indisputable star of the film, both titularly and actingly. Many complaints were given, with how they made Luke out to be (I personally really like, this whole 180 persona of his, turned from the optimistic teen, into a pessimistic disillusioned old man), but Hamill played it off with ease and dominated the screen every time he appeared.

Second: the music. I don’t want to write a lot about this, John Williams is still John Williams, and still outstanding.

Third: the ending. I don’t mean this in a sarcastic way, that “hurray it’s over” I mean that the last few scenes, including the ending were actually good. They were honestly on par, with any SW movie. One of these was Luke’s death. This was one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever witnessed. Hamill played it really well, and the way they pulled in the nostalgia with the double sunset contrasting the dawn in the New Hope, as The Last Jedi, Luke finally became one with the Force. And the last scene with the young boy, looking up at the rebel ship in the night sky (where the war is just beginning) starts smiling, with the rebel ring on his finger. Though one might wonder, if you can pull this off, why couldn’t you do it in the previous 2 hours?

So, all in all. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, was a good idea, terribly executed, and nulling, almost anything remotely Star Wars in it. It is the equivalent, of a commercial based SW movie, with a focus on cheap sales tactic, that makes it consumable to the widest possible audience, and putting the otherwise well woven story at the level of a kindergarten play. It is a heavy disappointment, and I can only hope, the next movies, will make me forget this.

Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you.
May the Force be with all of us.

Rating: 3/5

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