Tuesday, December 12, 2017

‘The Last Jedi’ Continues the Adventure with a Strong Female Presence

Review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Rey (Daisy Ridley) in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (All photos by Lucasfilm/Disney)


Review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Domhall Gleeson
Reviewing Star Wars movies when they are done well is tough. We all have expectations when we walk into the theater to see the space spectacle and when those expectations are met, it’s hard to find fault. That is the case with the latest installment in the franchise, The Last Jedi. Just as The Force Awakens brought back the fun, thrills and charm of the original trilogy, so does this one. The two and a half hour movie flies by without hardly a dull moment and is a Christmas gift to all of us.

Review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Oscar Isaac
If you remember from The Force Awakens, we were left with Rey (Daisy Ridley) finding Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on a secluded island literally in the middle of nowhere just before the credits rolled. Before The Last Jedi begins here, we witness a space fight with Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and BB8 taunting General Hux (Domhall Gleeson in one of the film’s funniest scenes) only to be reprimanded by Leia (Carrie Fisher).

Review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Mark Hamill
Meanwhile, back on the island, Rey’s meeting with Skywalker requesting that he come back to aid in the resistance doesn’t go as planned. Gone is the ever optimistic young Skywalker. Luke is now a resentful hermit who, not surprisingly, did not want to be found. Rey states that she will not leave the island without him, but he doesn’t budge. Then Rey begins to sense Kyle Ren’s (Adam Driver) presence and the two begin to chat with their minds. He shares with her his perspective about where things went sour between him and his uncle Luke and Skywalker shares his side of the story as well. Which one is telling the truth?

Review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Kelly Marie Tran and John Boyega
Back on the ship, Finn (John Boyega) wakes up to find himself in sick bay wanting only to get back to Rey. He is aided by Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) a ship security guard who is star struck to meet the “legendary” Finn and the two make for a new buddy team. Stranded on th island with Ray, Chewbacca makes an unlikely new friend. The creature, that appears to be part duck and part Guinea pig (the stuffed versions of this creature will no doubt be in demand this Christmas season) is all cute.

Review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Chewbacca and friend
In the last adventure, many fans were happy that Han Solo played a fairly large role, but were disappointed to see that Luke and Leia only had brief cameos. They both have larger roles this time around and is a fitting last movie for Fisher who the picture dedicates to. She also has a few good lines. In the last picture Solo says, “You changed your hair” and she replies, “Same jacket.” She references her hair once again here too in a funny bit.

Review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Carrie Fisher
As with the best Star Wars films, this film has fleshed out its characters really well. Adam Driver is much better getting his Darth on in this movie compared to his first. He is much more menacing. Still, as the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia, could he still have some good in him? General Hux is so arrogant and pleased with himself that he isn’t aware of his own flaws. Andy Serkis is powerfully creepy as Supreme Leader Snoke and you begin to wonder what Hollywood would ever do without him. Benicio Del Toro plays D.J. a thief who toys with Finn and Rose questioning if they can trust him to help them or not.

Review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Benicio Del Toro
Unfortunately, not all characters are treated equally. As second in charge, Laura Dern appears as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo looking more like Florence Foster Jenkins than an admiral. She does an adequate job, but isn’t much more than just Laura Dern with purple hair. Again, Lupita Nyongo’o only briefly appears as Maz Kanta and her face is never show, so don’t get too excited to see her. A few other favorite characters appear briefly only making us wanting to see them more.

Female fans will be glad to see the strong female leads in this film. Although Rey is still the character this story is mostly centered on, this isn’t a story just about her. Leia, Admiral Amilyn Holdo and Rose all feature prominently in the film. Princess Leia has never been presented as a damsel in distress and the other characters all follow her lead.

Review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Laura Dern
Instead of just being another cowboys and Indians space movie, The Last Jedi gives the characters more reasons to fight the Dark Side than just to win. Some are challenged to act for a higher purpose and sacrificing one’s life for another is always a common theme. Sometimes those lofty goals don’t seem to balance the loss of lives, and the characters are left wrestling these thoughts on why they do what they do.

Review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
Adam Driver
Finally, with all of the other Star Wars films, this one’s violence is minor, bad language is never uttered and there is nothing sexual or profane featured on the screen providing an adventure that the whole family can get behind.

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