‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is nothing but a glorified ad for the Mickey Mouse corporation to sell its over-priced merchandise
I will put my hands up and openly admit that Star Wars was one of the biggest reasons why I fell in love with movies in the first place. It was some four decades ago that George Lucas managed to create a ‘galaxy far, far away’ that was full of fun and adventures. This particular cinematic universe was populated with likeable characters, fascinating creatures and spellbinding planets – the best part being that it all seemed fresh and original.
Following the rip-roaring success of the original trilogy, and despite the much derided prequels (of which I personally am a fan), continuing to have millions of die-hard fans all around the globe was a dream situation for the franchise.
In terms of creativity, Star Wars could have ventured where no one else had dared to go before. When you have hundreds of uniquely exotic planets inhabited by thousands of fascinatingly diverse species, the potential for imaginative stories that can be told is limitless. However, then Lucasfilm was bought out by Disney, and ever since then, the Mickey Mouse corporation has proceeded to take the mickey out of one of the most iconic film franchises of all time.
Second in a projected trilogy that began with The Force Awakens, and overall the eighth instalment in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi was released amidst much hype and fanfare recently. And to everyone who has not seen it yet, but is planning to do so, here is a quote from the returning Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to set the ball rolling,
“This is not going to go the way you think.”
The previous film ended with the Resistance revelling in the destruction of the Starkiller base; a celebration that doesn’t last for long. The First Order, under the command of supreme leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), and with assistance from Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Field General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), is now back with a bang.
The big meanies, aka ‘The First Order’, have located the good guys on a small planet and are mercilessly hunting them down. Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), who is now a general and the commander of the resistance, tries to evacuate her forces with the help of the maverick Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). However, there is a slight problem – the First Order can easily track them down through hyperspace due to a tracking device.
Now, in order to get rid of the First Order once and for all, Former Stormtrooper, Finn (John Boyega), and another resistance member, Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), must travel to a casino planet and find a hacker who can get them aboard the Baddies’ flagship, which will allow them to deactivate the tracker and let the Resistance flee to safety.
Meanwhile, on the mystical planet Ahch-To, the site of where the Jedi legacy began, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is trying to recruit the hermetic Luke, seeking to learn the ways of the Force.
Luke, however, is reluctant, as he is still depressed over his failure during his last Jedi training with Ben Solo, who then shifted his allegiance to the dark side and became Kylo Ren. Luke eventually relents and starts training our female protagonist, who simultaneously happens to develop an unusual psychic connection with Kylo.
Rey, after failing to make any substantial progress with her training, departs the island planet in frustration, thus leaving the fate of the whole Jedi Order in limbo.
At about two-and-a-half hours, The Last Jedi is a long watch. The funny part is, the whole movie is basically the Resistance trying to escape the First Order, along with the deaths of a couple of major characters added in. So far, the big idea of this sequel trilogy is to cash in on the success of the original Star Wars by introducing the newer generation rebels, but sadly, it is set against an all too familiar narrative in the backdrop.
Regrettably, the modern troika of Rey, Finn and Poe lacks the necessary charisma of the holy trio of Leia, Luke and Han to pull this off.
The Force Awakens (2015) was a carbon copy of A New Hope (1977), while The Last Jedi borrows heavily from all three, including the aforementioned, in addition to The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of The Jedi (1983). An alien-filled casino scene takes place, just like the Cantina full of aliens and a light-saber battle sequence between a former master and pupil from A New Hope.
Similarly, there is a Rebels/Resistance evading Imperial/First Order forces on a snow-covered planet, and the sub-plot of a wannabe Jedi traveling to a distant planet to be trained by a master, à la The Empire Strikes Back.
The whole Emperor-Vader-Luke climax from Return of the Jedi is taken as an inspiration for one of the more significant passages for the film. The aforementioned is just a small glimpse of stuff that we have already experienced in one of the earlier instalments. The list is just endless.
The screen play is full of atrocious dialogues, jarring plot holes and needless sub-plots. The characters are either written to act completely different to what their character-arcs should have demanded – forever tarnishing their legacy – or they are not developed at all. An antagonist who was supposed to be even more powerful than Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine combined, turns out to be a mere plot device without any satisfying background information or legitimate motives.
Like a bad TV show, every sequence had a twist, but merely for the sake of it. All the build-ups invariably lead to cheap anti-climaxes. Even the humour was forced, overused and cringe-worthy.
Not to say the movie was completely bad – it wasn’t. The movie is visually impressive, with the entire $300 million budget seemingly going into the action set-pieces and the production design. But again, there is nothing that you wouldn’t have seen before, and I personally found it all a tad tedious after a while. Oh, and the music score, with the legendary John Williams still at the helm, is fantastic as always.
I am very well aware of how The Last Jedi is scoring pretty highly amongst the critics, but the only justification I can come up with after watching the movie is that all these writers were paid by Disney to write hack reviews. I mean, how else can you rave about a film that is nothing but a glorified advertisement for the Mickey Mouse corporation to sell its over-priced merchandise?
Sadly, one of the most loved movie franchises of all time has now been reduced to a 150-minute long commercial, and a really bad one at that. Now, if you still want to watch it, despite not being a series fanatic, all I can say is,
“May the force be with you!”
All photos: IMDB
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