Monday, December 18, 2017

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)

Mark Hamill wishing he were somewhere else.
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017): written and directed by Rian Johnson; starring Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Daisy Ridley (Rey), Carrie Fisher (Leia), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren/ Ben Solo), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Andy Serkis (Snoke), and Laura Dern (Vice-Admiral Holdo): 

So many moving parts. Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, and Adam Driver are genuinely terrific. Really, everyone is -- it's the most naturalistic acting in a Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back. And Rian Johnson also manages some lovely shots while also slowing down a light-saber battle so that one can actually follow it. Laura Dern supplies a certain amount of delight as a Rebel -- sorry, 'Resistance' -- Vice Admiral. 

Are there problems? Definitely. It's too long by one goofy sub-plot and one too many climactic battles. There are moments the movie seems to be trying to sell as many new toys as possible, including not one but two new flavours of Star Destroyer, a Death-Star-derived bunker buster cannon, and the Porgs, which look like the bastard offspring of puffins and Keane kids.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Dune's Frank Herbert filed suit against Star Wars and lost. 40 years later, a Dune parallel surfaces. Luke now resembles the disconsolate Paul Muad'dib of Dune Messiah for the first two-thirds of the movie. Oh well. Are we getting Lando Calrissian back for the third movie of this trilogy? Because that fecking Porg in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon really isn't a replacement for Han Solo. Recommended.

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