by Diana Vaccarelli
EDITOR’S NOTE: The first of two reviews of The Last Jedi on TVWriter™ today because…hey, it’s Star Wars!
—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—
December 15, 2017, Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm released the eighth film in the Star Wars Saga, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. This film centers on Rey (Daisy Ridley) being trained in the ways of the force by Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and demonstrating so much power that Luke (the otherwise fearless Yoda-type character in the new series) becomes frightened by her natural abilities. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares for battle against the First Order.
You have to admit, that’s a real handful. Did writer-director Rian Johnson rise to the challenge?
- I was truly impressed by the way Johnson paid his (and Disney’s?) respects to the original trilogy. The visual effects and battles were epic and even outshone the space scenes that originally made the world embrace the Star Wars Saga and the Skywalker family.
- I love how Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is written and how he wants to emulate his grandfather Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and am intrigued by the idea that Kylo’s goal might mean that like Vader Ren too may come back from the dark side of the force to the light.
Major Spoiler: If he does, it will have to be in the third film in this trilogy because this time around Kylo doesn’t revert back to the light, instead killing his master, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), and taking over as ruler of the Empire.
- The lightsaber duels this time around are epic as always.
Less Major Spoiler: After Kylo kills Snoke, he and Rey team up and kill all the guards surrounding Snoke’s lifeless body.
- I was disappointed that we never saw a “force ghost” of Anakin Skywalker. Hayden Christensen got a lot of criticism for his performance of Anakin Skywalker in Episodes I and II, but I believe Christensen is massively underrated as an actor. All things considered, he was as good as anybody could have been given the terrible dialogue George Lucas gave him back then. I was hoping he would be back to prove his critics wrong and still have my fingers crossed that Christensen will appear in what will be Episode IX.
- The film’s story structure parallels that of Episode V: The Empire Strike Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in that Rey tries to bring Kylo Ren back to the light and his identity of Ben Solo, just as Luke tried to help his father clean up his act, and also in the way Luke trains her just as Yoda trained him.
- I was expecting a big reveal about who Rey’s parents were and felt let down when we learned they were not connected at all to the main character line but simple were normal citizens of the galaxy…if we regard anybody who will sell their child for drinks as normal. The reveal does nothing to explain why Rey shows such power or why Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber went to her as it did in The Force Awakens.
If you’re a fan of the Star Wars Saga, this film is for you. You will enjoy the story and how it brings the films together. If you aren’t a fan, well, I respect that but between us, you’re missing a whole lotta fun!
Diana Vaccarelli is TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large and a student in the TVWriter™ Online Workshop. Find out more about her HERE