Movie Review: Star Wars- The Last Jedi (Spoiler Free)(3-D)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a very good Star Wars movie. But being a very good Star Wars movie doesn’t translate 1:1 to being a very good movie.
We will be doing a podcast to really dig deep into The Last Jedi, but a lot of people are going to want to know whether to drop their Republic Credits on this film. They might also want to know if it is worth the price to spring for 3-D. As such, I will be giving initial impressions, and my opinion on how well 3-D served the movie. So buckle up, because we’re taking off and you don’t want to find yourself floating home!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Rey has found Luke Skywalker, but the First Order has found the Resistance. While Rey tries to convince the recalcitrant Jedi into joining the fight, Poe and Finn hatch a plan to save the Resistance fleet.
“This is not going to go the way you think it will!”
The problem with making a Star Wars movie is that you have to satisfy the Star Wars Feel™ yet retain a sense of independence. The Force Awakens captured the classic Star Wars vibe… by being a carbon(ite) copy of A New Hope. Here we have a movie about a student learning the ways of the Force while the plucky rebels avoid annihilation by a superior force. Sounds exactly like The Empire Strikes back, amirite?
Well, I can set your mind at ease. The Last Jedi is a masterclass on how to satisfy the Star Wars itch without succumbing to the dark side of imitation. This movie has all the hallmarks of the franchise, minus the horizontal wipes. The Last Jedi sets itself apart in two ways: it’s probably the funniest Star Wars movie you’ve ever seen; it also takes all your expectations and plays with them in ways that doesn’t feel cute, contrived or contrarian.
Oh, Those Rascally Rebel Scum!
The cast is fantastic, and almost every character you want to have development gets it (except one notable exception, but hey, spoiler free is spoiler free). The blending of the old and the new pieces to the franchise continues to impress: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and company neither steal the show nor knuckle under their legendary costars; they find the perfect middle ground. Whoever cast the next generation got it extremely right, and the new faces in The Last Jedi continue that proud tradition.
How Special are Those Special Effects?
Star Wars usually has two major set pieces: a space battle and a lightsaber duel. Both are good, and novel, but they aren’t the best I’ve ever seen. The big “Space Wow” drew applause, but if you put a blaster to my head (and forgot to shoot first), I’d have to say the space battle in Rogue One was better, and the opening to Revenge of the Sith took my breath away more spectacularly. The same is true of the lightsaber action. Darth Maul still reigns as the most impressive fight, Luke Vs. Vader 2 was still the most moving. The action is no slouch, but it wasn’t a galaxy far far beyond previous movies.
See it in 3-D?
Short answer: no. It wasn’t a game changer, and having the glasses on made seeing certain details a little difficult. If you had to pick an enhanced way to view The Last Jedi, I’d recommend IMAX. The extra visual fidelity would be a better choice then the occasional “gee, look at all that depth!”. This isn’t Doctor Strange; none of the effects were made specifically to trade on 3-D.
A Disturbance in the Force
I liked The Last Jedi, but it had some problems. For one, it’s a little bloated. You’re looking at 152 minutes of movie here, and some of that fat was unnecessary. I bet the middle part is going to suffer considerably in consecutive viewings, a la Spider-Man 3 or The Phantom Menace. It also has that classic Star Wars ham; the acting is a little over the top in spots. I expect a little extravagance and melodrama in my Solar Space Operas, but some restraint is in (first) order.
Also, f*ck the porgs. That’s about it.
I use two words to describe my final thoughts on a movie: like and enjoy. Like means I appreciate it, Enjoy means I had a great time sitting next to strangers in a dark room. I liked The Last Jedi a lot more than The Force Awakens, but I enjoyed TFA more than TLJ. The sheer glee and charm emanating off of Finn and Rey and Poe when they are together was magical. Here, they spend a lot of time apart, and the mood of the movie suffers for it. Mark Hamil does his damndest to make up for it, but it just didn’t hit that same button for me.
All in all, The Last Jedi is a great big (and long) dose of Star Wars. If you like that, make the jump to your nearest theater in less than 12 parsecs. It covers all the bases in ways both familiar and novel, and it does it without feeling forced or overthought. It isn’t a perfect movie, however, and if you don’t know your bantha from your twilek the imperfections might be cast in a more stark relief. Also, don’t waste any of your precious cash on 3-D; go with standard or IMAX.
These are just my opinions, but you should probably trust them. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.