Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill
Directed by Rian Johnson
Accepting reality is one of life’s most difficult challenges. Answers elude burning questions, or arrive with baggage you couldn’t expect. The wrong decision feels one hundred percent right; the right decision leaves everyone feeling wrong. These ideas form the core of The Last Jedi, an entry in the Star Wars saga that blurs the good versus evil / black against white mythos that’s been cemented in this entertainment monolith for decades. The results are dream-like, surreal, mostly captivating, occasionally bonkers—yet you witness a growth, not just with the characters but the franchise itself.
The Last Jedi picks up right where 2015’s The Force Awakens left off; Rey (Daisy Ridley) has located the hermit Luke Skywalker, whom she hopes will join the Resistance against the First Order while training her in the ways of the Force. Luke, still reeling from events in his recent past, is wary of this young newcomer and the trouble she may bring to his doorstep. Meanwhile, a power struggle is coming to light within the First Order as Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) openly doubts the abilities of Darth Vader’s grandson, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Ren is battling his own demons and is not in fact very present in mind for what the First Order believes will be the final push against General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and her Resistance. There’s internal distress on that side, too, as spicy boy pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and ex-stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) bristle under Resistance leadership and ultimately go rogue.
Ideas that the Star Wars prequels fumbled to infamy are presented here with grace and wonder. There are also moments in The Last Jedi where they roll the space dice and come up with droid eyes. Of course, this echoes the film’s aforementioned themes—you can’t always get what you want, reality can be a bitch. Director Rian Johnson has broken away from the formulaic feel that many believe hampers The Force Awakens; at the same time, Johnson (who also authored the script) deepens the chemistry between the leads, bringing resonance to the fact this war for the galaxy’s heart is extremely personal.
And yes, the rumors are true: this might be the Star Wars with the most jokes. One liners, visual gags, even bits reminiscent of Monty Python. The levity is appreciated as it bridges the gap between emotional set pieces. Don’t forget, The Last Jedi is two hours plus. A little editing may not have hurt, but perhaps that would decrease the perfectly feverish ambience.
FINAL SCORE: Three and a half porgs (out of four).
If you click but one link below, make sure it’s the Andrew Koenig story. Gets my vote for best thing ever to appear on this ramshackle e-circus.
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Tobey Maguire: “I Did Steroids.”
JG2’s Bucket List
Boy Wonder To Bow Out, Spelling End To Dynamic Duo
Unsolicited Spring Break Review
Rock Critic Mark Prindle: The JG2Land Interview
On The Subject On John Hinckley, Jr.
Spring Break On The Planet Of The Apes
Darth Vader Searches For Luke Skywalker On Chatroulette
An Open Letter To Ed Helms And Jason Sudeikis
A Sad Gumby Would Be Almost Unbearable To Look At
Arrested In Time: The Life & Death Of Andrew Koenig
The Curse Of Turbo Man
Requiem For Bif
We’re All Gonna Get Laid: A Look Back At Caddyshack
I Don’t Know Who Aunt Barbara Is…
Ten Real-Life Batman Villains
Unsolicited Baseball: The Tenth Inning Review
Here we see the heavily-rumored conga sequence from J.J. Abrams’ forthcoming Star Wars movie wherein Luke dances with himself, Lando Calrissian, and a bunch of dead people.
Way back in 2006 I conducted a year-long “study” wherein I tried to find an album that synched up with the original Star Wars a la Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz. My “findings” can still be viewed here; a much more concise and readable overview of the entire affair, however, is available via this sexy thing.
Green Day’s American Idiot ultimately proved itself to be Star Wars’s Dark Side OTM, but I’ve always wondered: Is there anything that synchs up to the same degree that isn’t an eyeliner-laden anti-Bush rock opera? Now I’m ready to continue the search, because I don’t have a job or a girlfriend or any responsibility that would prevent me from further dilly-dallies in sensory deprivation.
Welcome to the Great Star Wars Synchronicity Project Part II: Ewok Boogaloo. This time, it’s personal.
Last night I sat down with Slayer’s Reign in Blood, that satanic heavy metal delight from 1986, and fired up the original original Star Wars to see what magic would unfold. Per my previous experimentations, I started the album immediately after the second drumroll in the 20th Century Fox fanfare. Behold, the eighteen moments of synchronization I witnessed:
– the phrase “destroy” in “Angel of Death” is heard as the word “destroy” in the opening text scroll is approximately mid-screen
– the opening scroll fades away just as the breakdown in “Angel of Death” begins
– the Tantive IV flies onscreen the same moment “Angel of Death” resumes its normal speed
– a drumroll in “Angel of Death” occurs at the same moment the droids are seen reeling from an explosion (it looks like the drumroll made them shake and shimmy)
– Darth Vader strolls aboard the Tantive IV to survey the body count as we hear the lyric “angel of death, monitor the kingdom of the dead”
– “Piece by Piece” begins at the same moment Princess Leia shoves that disc into R2-D2
– a closeup of Darth Vader’s face appears at the same moment we hear the lyric “no emotion, death is all I see”
– the phrase “a flash” is heard as the stormtrooper fires his stun ray at Princess Leia
– the lyric “the only one way out of here” in “Piece by Piece” is heard as the droids are seen getting into the escape pod, and the song ends at the same moment a laser blast explodes over C-3PO’s head
– “Jesus Saves” plays through the entire sequence where the jawas save R2-D2 from, uh, hours of rolling along to nowhere in the desert
– the guitars in “Criminally Insane” start at the exact moment R2-D2 begins shuffling through the sandcrawler
– “Reborn” begins playing the same moment we first see Luke Skywalker (Luke = the rebirth of the Jedi)
– the lyric “I can’t control my destiny” is heard as the doomed Uncle Owen is in closeup (Uncle Owen has no control over his destiny to become a charred corpse via angry stormtroopers)
– the lyric “leave you ripped and torn” is heard as C-3PO is in closeup (Threepio is seen ripped and torn at various points during the Star Wars trilogy)
– the opening thunderclap of “Raining Blood” is heard the moment Luke gets up from the dinner table to run off in a huff
– the lyrics “awaiting the hour of reprisal, time slips away” are heard as Uncle Owen is seen looking for Luke (“He better have those droids in the south field by midday or there’ll be hell to pay!”)
– the final really loud thunderclap of “Raining Blood” coincides with R2-D2’s alarm concerning invading sandpeople
– “Raining Blood” stops at the exact moment the sandpeople drop an ostensibly dead Luke Skywalker on the ground
Pretty trippy, but nowhere near as synchronized as American Idiot. The hunt continues. I’ve acquired a lot of new music since 2006 and I’m sure I can find something that blows Green Day out of the water (even though I may have concluded the exact opposite in the past).