The Last Jedi – More Comments

Too Different?

I’ve heard some complaints that this movie is too different from the Originals and that it doesn’t seem like Star Wars. In a way, that’s kind of funny because with Force Awakens, the complaint was that it was too much like the Originals. I guess some Star Wars fans are just too hard to please.

On the other hand, I saw a lot of similarities between Last Jedi and Empire Strikes Back:

  1. The movie starts out with a battle in which the rebels are trying to escape a planet.
  2. The First Order attacks the Resistance with AT-ATs on a white-covered planet. OK, so ok, salt vs snow, but still, you have to admit the scene when the Resistance soldiers are in the trenches is exactly the same as what was shown in Empire Strikes Back.
  3. Snoke sets a trap for Rey just like Vader set a trap for Luke.
  4. The music when Chewie is flying the Falcon through the caves on Crait is exactly the same music that played when Han was flying the Falcon through the asteroid field.
  5. When Luke goes into the cave on Dagobah, Yoda tells him that what’s in the cave is only what he takes with him. Luke fights Vader, cuts off his head, and sees his own face behind the mask. Vader is Luke’s father, by the way. In contrast, Rey goes into the cave after having seen some of the Dark Side. She sees images of herself going all the way forward and all the way into the past. She wants to see her parents, but she ends up seeing herself.

There are also several things that reminded me of Return of the Jedi:

  1. Rey goes up the elevator with Ren and talks to him about possibly turning to the Light Side, just like Luke tried with Vader in ROTJ.
  2. Snoke forces Rey to see the final destruction of the Resistance just like Palpatine did with Luke. Right after that, both Rey and Luke reacted the same way.

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. The Last Jedi is not too different from the rest of the Star Wars films – at least not in terms of plot. It’s pretty much inline with all the other Star Wars films. What is different about this movie is the idea that anyone can be a Jedi – you don’t have to be born with the ability to use the Force, and you don’t need special parentage to become a Jedi Master.

Personally, I think that’s fine, but one reason they’re calling this the Skywalker Saga is because the entire series deals pretty much with one family. (Shmi, Anakin, Luke/Leia, Ben). That’s one reason why I still think Rey is a Skywalker.

The Force

Midichlorians are Gone!
When Luke starts teaching Rey about the Force, I’m so glad there was no mention whatsoever about those ridiculous Midichlorians. I agree with Rian Johnson that the Force is something you can learn to use, and that Force users are developed, not born. What a relief it was to hear that the Force is not created by some parasitic sub-cellular creatures.

Leia Flies Through Space
Though I’m OK with Leia being able to use the Force, I really didn’t like seeing her fly back into the ship after she had been blown out into space. Are there no limits to what the Force can do?

Knowledge and Defense
After all these Star Wars films, we still haven’t seen examples of the Jedi using the Force for “knowledge and defense.” It would have been great if Luke could have actually been on Crait and had defended himself against the First Order by collecting all those gunshots and sending them all back at all the walkers, for example. By now, I don’t think Lucasfilm realizes they’ve missed the boat on this issue. We aren’t likely to ever see any examples of Knowledge and Defense.

Balance in the Force?
Luke tells Rey there was “balance” after the Emperor was destroyed in the Battle of Endor. But we still don’t have any clarity whatsoever about what it actually means. Luke tells Rey that between the opposites (light/dark, life/death, etc.), there is balance.

So why would the Jedi want balance? The Sith have never talked about balance, so we can safely assume that only the Jedi want it. But wouldn’t the Jedi want to eliminate the Dark Side instead? Why would either side want balance?

The concept of Yin/Yang is obvious here. There will always be opposites. Balance is when neither side has the upper hand – both sides are equal in strength, influence, or power, etc. Luke said balance came after the Dark Side was eliminated, but this idea isn’t consistent with the mythology.

Luke is right when he says the Force doesn’t belong to the Jedi. They just use the Force to do their work. The Sith do the same thing. So “Balance in the Force” has to mean that both sides are equal. The Jedi shouldn’t want that. They should want the Light Side to overpower and eliminate the Dark Side.

Resistance Destroyed

The opening crawl of this film says that the Rebellion is destroyed and the Resistance decimated. Has there really been enough time between the end of Force Awakens and the start of Last Jedi for all these things to have happened – especially considering the total destruction of Starkiller Base?

Rey has just arrived on Ach-To, so we know it picks up right when the Force Awakens ends. Starkiller Base has just been destroyed only a few days ago, at most. Yet the First Order has been able to destroy everything and everyone anyway? Seems extreme.

By the end of the film, Rey is talking to Leia and holding Luke’s lightsaber which was cut in half. They’re on the Falcon and pretty much the only people left in the Resistance are the ones who are on the ship. Rey asks, “how are we supposed to rebuild the Resistance with just this?”

Yeah, I get the point that the middle film in a trilogy puts the heroes in a bottomless pit with little hope of survival. However, this isn’t just the middle of a trilogy. It’s actually the 8th film in a 9 part Saga. There should be some continuity here. Basically, Johnson is setting up the 9th film to accomplish way too much. And what he did here doesn’t make much sense compared to how Force Awakens ended.

Final Thoughts

Here are my last few thoughts about what this movie.

  1. BB8 is invincible: He gets away from 4 security guards on the Casino Planet, somehow manages to tie them up, then he is somehow able to steal an AT-ST and start shooting everyone – then he’s able to drive the thing toward an imperial shuttle. Why didn’t he have all these skills in the previous movie? Or even a better question – why doesn’t the Resistance make a whole army of BB8s who can go berserk on the First Order?
  2. Those rocks at the end of the movie needed about 2 more months’ worth of work to look realistic. I’ve seen better CGI in movies that are 15 years old. It looked worse than the CGI on the Star Wars Rebels cartoon.
  3. What was the point of the disagreement between Poe and Holdo? Do we really need to see them argue about treason and cowardice? I understand why the audience didn’t need to know about their final escape plan, but that doesn’t mean Dameron shouldn’t have known about it. Their disagreement seemed artificial and not organic to the story.
  4. Nobody wants to join the Resistance and come to Leia’s aid? Rian Johnson must really hate the Originals.
  5. It’s not the most entertaining film I’ve ever seen, and honestly, I think this will go down in history as the worst of the new films (including some of the stand alone movies), but that’s mostly because Rian Johnson dug himself into a hole. Nobody wanted to see Luke turn out the way he is portrayed in this film. Nobody wanted to see the First Order destroy the Resistance and the Rebellion. Nobody wanted to see Luke die.
  6. I don’t intend to buy a digital copy or DVD of this movie, but I may stream it sometime.