Well, it has happened. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in theatres. At the time of writing this I have just returned from a midnight screening of the film on the first day of UK release. The sensible part of me says that I should get some sleep before I have to start work at 7am. The Star Wars fan in me is ignoring that completely, I need to talk about this film straight away while it’s fresh in my mind.
As the title of this post suggests this is a non-spoiler review. I will be doing a full film review soon and we will of course be talking about it on our next podcast, but for now, I have some thoughts. I apologise in advance if this post is a bit haphazard, it is half past 3 in the morning after all! Here goes.
First and foremost, this film is the perfect way to honour our eternal Princess Leia. Not only does she feature in a significant portion of the film, she has some incredible scenes, made all the more emotional by the real world truth of her passing. Carrie Fisher is quite simply the heart of Star Wars. She will remembered by all people, not just the fans, for her heart that is bigger than the galaxy she found fame in and also because of how she makes you feel just by being on screen. I can’t really explain it but even if her character is going through hell on screen (I’m talking about the whole saga here, just in case you thought I was spoiling anything) you feel warm, you feel safe and most importantly, you feel hope. Hope that the characters we know and love will live on, long after the films have died away. Hope that the franchise continues to inspire wonder in the hearts and minds of the young and the old, and hope that no matter what happens in your life, there is light, there is joy and there is love. Carrie Fisher, thank you. I cannot write enough words to properly honour this amazing woman and whether it is through tiredness or sadness, I am getting quite emotional so I’m going to let my film love and geek side take over for a while.
Let’s talk about the film. I loved it. I haven’t made up my mind as to where I would rank it but it is definitely knocking on the door of my top two Star Wars films. I’ll have a think after a few more days and another viewing this weekend before I put it in it’s place but I definitely loved it. Rian Johnson knows how to make a good looking film! As with all of today’s flicks there are some dodgy CGI moments and strange camera angles or editing choices, this film has them too but overall it looks incredible. There is one particular shot that was simply stunning, it is almost beyond words, I was amazed, not only because of the gravitas of the scene but of how beautiful it was. Describing it in any details would diminish the experience so I won’t try but trust me, it’s a doozy.
I will acknowledge now that there are certain locations the characters travel to that didn’t really need to be included but every scene had something to advance the plot even if it was something small like a single line of dialogue. We see new planets, new cities, new creatures and as is the trend with this new breed of Star Wars film, the emphasis on practical effects is very evident, most of which are brilliant, others not so much. There are times when it is very clear puppetry is involved.
Every single main character is acted perfectly, particularly Mark Hamill and Adam Driver. Two very different characters and two very different performances but both brilliant, both having outstanding scenes, not just in spectacle but in emotion too. Daisy Ridley is incredibly strong as Rey and though in parts I was disappointed she didn’t get to actually ‘do’ more, her quieter scenes were integral to the story. She is on a search for answers so it can’t all be blasters and lightsabers. I made some predictions about Rey’s journey in this film (feel free to message me to find out what they were) and I got some of them right on the money, others completely wrong.
Finn and new sidekick Rose were entertaining but their arc felt a little superfluous at times. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it but there is one particular sequence with the pair which could have been cut out of the film and wouldn’t have really made much of a difference. Poe Dameron gets a bit of character development, learning something important by the end of the film and yes there is some badass flying!! One minor spoiler I will mention **look away now** seeing an X-wing do a handbrake turn is so cool!
It is not a perfect film. There are things I would have taken out, dialogue I would have changed and in one particular case, one character I would have written out as soon as I could but it’s easy for me to say this and I have no doubt that I would never be able to write anything even close to this standard, not by a parsec. There are lulls, there is also a fair amount of humour but it never feels out of place, it works every time. I’m sure as time goes by and after successive viewings my opinions may shift slightly, but for now this film was better than great.
There are shocks, surprises, laughs, tears and open mouths gaping in amazement. Plenty of references and homages to the original trilogy and the wider Star Wars universe which make any fan happy. If you are even remotely a fan of Star Wars you will love this film. You’ll probably be a little disappointed that I haven’t given you any answers to some of the questions that came out of The Force Awakens, well I can confirm some of those questions are answered, whether satisfactorily or not, they are answered. As I said, I won’t spoil anything other than to say it was a very, very satisfying film. Bigger things are to come in the third film of this new trilogy, the stakes are astronomically high but the galaxy still has hope and in that vein, I hope you will return to read my full spoiler review when I get round to posting it. For now, I’m going to consider getting about an hour’s sleep or playing some Battlefront 2 to try out the new The Last Jedi DLC. 5 points for anyone who guesses what I will do correctly. I’ll check back in soon! May the Force be with you.
Oh and keep an eye out for a couple of cameos!