Spoiler-Free Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

With an opening weekend behind it, here is the Bureau 42 review of Star Wars – Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.  The review itself will endeavor to be as spoiler free as we can, but if you are avoiding spoilers, you should probably avoid the comments, too.

Crew:

Director: Rian Johnson
Writers: Rian Johnson

Cast hidden in case one of the names is a spoiler.  Feel free to click through to IMDB to see it.  If you are familiar with a character, the person you expect to play that character did.

Premise:

Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order. (From IMDB.)

High Point:

The Last Jedi is an adventure.  It is a fun ride you get pulled into and you hold on through all its twists and turns, and you have fun the entire time.

Low Point:

The storyline suffers from a lot of things happening by will of The Force, and by that I mean it’s we have events happen and characters making decisions just to move the story to the situations the storytellers wanted to put on screen.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 Star Wars: A New Hope introduced many original aspects to our sci-fi, even showing space ships that don’t move in a straight line from right to left.  The Last Jedi gives us more of this same world, in beautiful visuals, but there wasn’t anything mind-blowingly new to the galaxy or to the story.

Effects: 6/6 There is a reason that Industrial Light and Magic is the gold standard for effects, and this movie keeps that tradition alive.  I was tempted to remove a point for a human’s CGI character scene, but the rest of the effects are more than enough to make up for it.

Acting: 6/6 Everyone, human or computer generated, gives us a performance that did a great job of not only giving us the obvious emotions, but hinting at feelings under the surface.

Production: 5/6 All elements of this production come together well, but I can’t help wondering if they weren’t trying to hit a release date if we would have gotten a bit more meat to this chapter.

Story: 5/6  There are points where you have to pause and wonder why characters didn’t take certain actions sooner, or why certain actions yielded the perfect results for the characters to achieve their goals, and these added up to enough that I felt they were cheating a bit.  Even with this, the ride is a great one, taking you to many important corners of this galaxy far, far away.

Emotional Response: 6/6 The movie makes you cheer with the characters, gasp in fear, and are worried and unsure of which choices will be made.  I suspect this effect is lessened if you don’t have a lifetime of familiarity with the characters, but I doubt many people who have a chance to see the movie don’t have that, even if it is just from the culture.

Overall: 5/6  I enjoyed The Last Jedi, I only wish the various big moments didn’t feel quite so Forced.

In total, Star Wars: The Last Jedi receives 37/42

 

8 replies on “Spoiler-Free Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

  1. J_W_W says:

    Thanks for the review! ;-)

    The low point is spot on. So much of this movie happens because the script says it does. The most bothersome thing to me was that in 40 years of Star Wars movies, they’d kind of established how space battles work, and if you include cannon books and TV, there’s even more established. And this movie throws all of that away. The space battle at the end of Rogue One was infinitely superior to this one.

    That entire premise and the fact that it drags on through 7/8ths of the movie is just really disappointing.

    The “secret mission” to save the day is the most useless wasted chunk of plot I’ve seen in a movie in a very long time. I’m likely to just plain fast forward the entire Canto Bight scene when I get the blue ray because it is TOTALLY useless. This movie could easily been 2 hours. And Finn and Rose were completely robbed of being able to save the day at all.

    In the end, while the movie is one hell of a thrill ride, it feels completely unresolved. The First Order and the Resistance went at each other for 2.5 hours and each came out bloodied and bruised. Well, I guess its time for the final round….

    Now to say something Really controversial …. I really liked the Porgs!

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      I’m repeating some of what has been said, but, then, so does this movie.

      My High Points: I like how it uses the old mythos, but calls into question the hero and chosen one archetypes that have been overused since Star Wars: no small feat, given that they’re ancient mythic archetypes. It brings in the reality of arms dealing, For all the repetition, this chapter felt like it was about something.

      My Low Points: Yeah, they literally could have grabbed the codebreaker in a hundred better, less draggy ways, than that pointless sidetrip to Casino Planet. The start, in particular, drags on too much. The characters not only act, at times, according to script, the Rebels could have made better decisions if they’d just talked to each other. Holdo and Poe do such a poor job of communicating I can only assume they’re secretly married and in relationship counselling.

      My biggest issue: everything that worked about this film would have worked better, IMO, if they hadn’t reset the board in the previous chapter. Try to imagine this film where the New Republic was still in charge, faltering, and facing a resurgence of the Neo-Empire.

      My niece loves the Porg, though she freely admits they were obviously created for one purpose.

      Speaking of useless outside of marketing, shouldn’t C3P0 have something to do? Some moment? He’s just there because he’s part of the saga, but they never give him a Useful Moment in this film that I can recall.

  2. Jethro says:

    Here’s my high-point for this movie.

    Virtually every single fan-theory I heard about this was 100% wrong!

    Second high-point: Yoda was a friggin muppet again.

    I’m not super happy with how much this movie echoed episodes V and VI. Not the small nods, but the “It’s like what happened in Jedi! Only a bit different!” stuff. Hopefully we’re done with that. And yes, the good guys did screw things up royally.

    But I absolutely enjoyed the hell out of this movie. In no way did it feel as long as it was.

    • Muppet Yoda was great! I didn’t want to mention that he showed up again because it felt spoiler, but he was a stand out great point.

    • J_W_W says:

      Yeah, some of the throne room stuff was almost beat for beat in line with Return of the Jedi. Which causes the problem of a middle film of a trilogy pulling off a final film of the trilogy move. After the battle with the guards heightened the intensity, the non-resolution of it all just lands with a thud.

      BTW, Disney, please don’t insult us and give us a Snoke book now. You didn’t make me really care about him as a villain in the first place, and now that he’s dead, I could care less. His entire existence was a red herring. They did more character development in the original communication from the Emperor to Vader in Empire (and amped that up in the Special Edition) than the did with the totality of everything we saw of Snoke in these movies..

    • Brian says:

      It sounds like the Porgs were initially created to CG over the island’s Puffin population (it’s a world heritage site and they’re a protected species so they couldn’t be touched or moved). They were just the right amount of comic relief for my tastes.

      Additionally, I was perfectly fine with C-3PO having nothing to do.

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