As a change from usual stories, I’ve just come out of the cinema from watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Spare me this rant; I’ll feel better when I’ve gotten this off my chest.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
If The Last Jedi is to be compared to The Empire Strikes Back, then it has failed in the one thing that a mid-point sequel in a trilogy should do; I no longer care to watch the finale.
Is it because it is too quick to introduce new features to the force? No, I remember when lightsabres only came in two colours. Is it because it because I’m a Star Wars ‘fanboy’ and feel betrayed by the uncharacteristic actions of canonised characters? Not a jot; that is human nature. Truth is, there is just no story; nothing. It is 152 minutes of great soundtrack and achingly pretty scapes; simply an unnecessary promo for the genius of John Williams and the art director. All the subplots leave you wondering whether they are included just to link nostalgic in-jokes. Unfortunately, the whole film is a mere collection of dead-end and pointless subplots. Humour and cuteness are uncomfortably forced, and budding relationships are unnaturally rushed. It is not even possible to provide a spoiler as it ends where it started, with no arc, neither for the characters or in terms of plot. Inevitably, people die; but it seemed like they wanted to. About two thirds though, I felt the same.
Now I know Star Wars is fictional, but this is my responsibility as a science communicator. Indulge me this paragraph. Just because the world of Star Wars is ‘long ago, in a galaxy far, far away’, audiences are more informed and have higher expectations. People don’t survive floating in space without a pressure suit; they boil then freeze. Spacecraft flying past the window don’t rattle the glasses on the table. Strangely enough, producer JJ Abrams had already addressed these expectations in other projects he was involved in. Unfortunately one of these events is crucial to the series of unfortunate events that is called Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Why are have we taken a step back?
There are positives. The actors performed well given the lack of script; certainly much improved over the vacuous performances in the previous outing in the franchise, Star Wars: Rogue One. Everyone else above the line was terrible; guilty of nothing more than knowingly raiding our earnings. No-one involved could view this film as something to be proud of. More worryingly, Disney also appear to have bamboozled most respected critics. It must have been one comprehensive press pack as this film truly is a turkey that has irredeemably ruined Christmas forever along with respect for a lot of reviewers.
What worries me most is the aspect that originally provided a new hope for the franchise: producer JJ Abrams. What started well as a trilogy has already become a never-ending drudge. Unlike his earlier series ‘Lost’, where audiences regularly graze over a period of years, the movie trilogy requires evidence of progression through a few hours. If this was the second episode of a new series, a second season would be an unlikely commission. If he remains at the helm, this trilogy will never stop; fading away rather than burning like it once did.