Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, December 22, 2017

Last Jedi Thoughts

Well, here I am, off on Christmas vacation, and what better way to start Christmas vacation than by seeing the latest Star Wars movie?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Poster

The prophecy in my Christmas card letter has come true in that I have seen it twice now.  I saw it on Saturday in West Edmonton Mall.  I had to see it in West Edmonton Mall.  I've seen every Star Wars movie since The Phantom Menace at the Scotiabank Theatre (originally Silver City).  Hell, if you want to go back in time to before the Phantom Menace, then I've seen every Star Wars movie since the Special Editions at West Edmonton Mall.  I just have to see it at West Edmonton Mall!  It's tradition!

The second time, some old friends from college invited me down to see it at the big VIP Theatre on the south side...in that Windermere power centre.  I'd been wanting to experience the VIP Theatre ever since it opened in Edmonton about five years ago.  The lobby looks like an executive lounge at airport.  The chairs are nice, big recliners.  And they've got fold-out tray tables to hold your snacks.  It was so nice!  Kind of like the Seinfeld episode about first class...it'll be tough going back to coach after this.

But it was made all the more sweeter by seeing it with old friends from college.  Back in the day, we stood in line for about 8 hours at Camrose's Duggan Cinemas to be the first to see The Phantom Menace.  As I've blogged before, it coincided pretty nicely with our graduation.  Standing in that line was pretty much our grad party.  It is kind of strange, though, catching up with old friends from college.  They've all got kids and careers and mortgages and such.  And me?  I'm still doing what I did in college:  spending all my free time screwing around at the radio station. 

Anyway, enough with the reminiscing and mid-life-crisising.  How was The Last Jedi?

The Last Jedi Teaser Poster

I freakin' loved it. 

As I've seen elsewhere online, reaction to this new Star Wars trilogy has been kind of mixed among the fans.  They hated The Force Awakens for being too much like the original trilogy, and now they hate The Last Jedi for defying expectations and being too different.  But much like the prequels back in the day, we have to accept that this is not our Star Wars, but a Star Wars for a new generation.  Me?  I like the new direction.  It's nice seeing beloved characters like Luke Skywalker growing and evolving rather than doing the same thing they were 20 years ago.  *cough*

While our heroes managed to destroy Starkiller Base, the First Order was able to consolidate their power and are well on their way to conquering the galaxy.  Now, that last remnants of the Resistance are on the run...quite literally.  Their last fleet is just barely out of range of the First Order fleet, with the First Order trailing behind, taking potshots at them.  Under the new leadership of Vice Admiral Holdo, our new heroes of Poe Dameron and Finn are upset that a more pro-active approach isn't being taken.  So, with the assistance of a young Resistance tech named Rose, they set off on a rogue mission to save the fleet from the First Order

Meanwhile, when last we left young Jedi Rey, she had tracked down Luke Skywalker on a distant planet, in the ruins of the first Jedi temple.  But Luke is not as she expected.  We find Luke Skywalker to be a broken man, wallowing in self-pity at how he failed his star pupil Kylo Ren, and how Kylo Ren turned to the Dark Side.  It'll be up to Rey to pull Luke out of his funk, learn the skills she needs to become a Jedi, and see if Kylo Ren can be turned back from the Dark Side. 

And that's what makes the film so good.  Not only do we see our classic characters like Luke and Leia and how they've grown, but there's also a lot of growing up to do for our new heroes.  Poe learns that being a leader isn't always about taking the easy path.  Finn learns how to embrace his role as an idol to young Rose.  And Rey and Kylo Ren truly have the most interesting paths to walk, as they seem to be creating new Jedi and Sith orders, and still unsure of how to do it. 

But we do have a lot of the great Star Wars action that we love.  There's some great lightsaber battles, some great space battles, and one moment that had half the theatre in that first screening go, "Oh, fuck."  

If I have one complaint, I think that maybe it has one ending too many.  There are about three moments near the end where I felt, "OK, you can end it here," but it keeps going. 

Long story short:  I loved The Last Jedi and its place in this new Star Wars trilogy.  Defying expectations can be a good thing.  4 out of 4 nibs.  Full review on the website. 

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