Movie Review — “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

jedi5

The perfunctory predictability of “The Force Awakens” is mostly-abandoned for Rian Johnson’s venture into that “galaxy, far far away.”

His sentimental sequel, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” starts with laughs and finishes with a somewhat heartfelt flourish. He’s too smart to show us another Death Star. Thank the Maker. He’s clever enough to know which old favorites the fans want to see and panders accordingly.

“Change” and “kill the past” are the bywords of this middle film in the new trilogy. It’s filled with surprises, and I’ll try not to spoil those. He gives us a lot to process in his over two and a half hours of “Star Wars,” some of it recycled, some of it less than wholly satisfying dramatically.

The summarizing quote is what Luke Skywalker says to young Rey, who wants to learn at the feet of the last Jedi master and thus save the Rebellion.

“This is not going to go the way you think.”

Luke (Mark Hamill) is still on his Fortress Isle of Solitude. Leia (Carrie Fisher) is leading a dying rebellion, with every Imperial ambush reducing its ranks. Her son with Han Solo, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) remains a Vader-in-training beholden to monstrous First Order leader Snoke (motion-captured Andy Serkis) and competing with sneering General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) in villainy.

Rey seeks Luke’s counsel. Poe (Oscar Isaac) and ex-Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) are all about the combat, plunging into battle, leading a lot of rebels to their deaths, which enrages Leia.

“Get your head outta your cockpit!”

C3PO (Anthony Daniels) is still at General Leia Organa’s side. BB-8 tries to keep Poe flying, and digitally nags him as she/he? does.

“Happy bleeps,” Poe demands. “Happy bleeps.”

There are new spacecraft on both sides as feasts to the eyes, spectacular space battles, more populous light saber fights, a “connected” ongoing argument between the galaxy’s Yin and Yang, the Dark Lord (ish) Kylo and the green but good Rey (Daisy Ridley).

Its brisk open and anti-climactic climax underscore that Johnson (“Brick,” “Looper”) is not a visionary director, but a competent one. He’s smart to let some disasters in space play out in silence, but struggles to make this unwieldy “middle installment” fly and flow. The contemporary dialogue mixed in with the arch, sci-fi serial speak Lucas channeled makes for jarring listening.

He put more effort into showing us the “new” — Dreadnoughts, not Death Stars, cuddly critters who aren’t Ewoks — and finding the laughs in putting our vernacular into a galaxy far far away.

“Hi, I’m holding for General Hux? Skinny guy? Kinda pasty?”

Where “A New Hope” had the Mos Eisely cantina scene, a saloon setting for a shoot-out, “Last Jedi” has Canto Bight, a high-end casino visited ostensibly to fetch a code-breaker (Benicio del Toro, a pointless detour with a pointless character), but really to deliver a lecture on the slavery it takes for the galaxy’s One Percent to live like moguls.

Enough already with the desert planets. Instead we get a version of The Ice Planet Hoth called Crait, a world covered by salt and featuring crystalline foxes. And of course, Luke is still laying low by the rocky seas of the Scottish-looking Ahch-To — fishing, brooding, keeping the faith (sort of) and resisting training Rey when she and Chewbacca show up for a visit. The puffin-penguin bird critters there (a stocking stuffer) are cute enough to make Chewy consider going vegan. That swamp cave where Luke met his destiny “Empire Strikes Back” destiny? It’s in a hollow tree, here.

It’s a more feminine film, with a lot of new female faces, on the bridge, in fighters and bombers, chief among them is the plucky plebe Rose, ineffectually played by Kelly Marie Tran. Yes, Laura Dern’s also in it, in purple hair and a leadership position.

Women fight and lead and weep and slap men and try to point out that standing and fighting kills people and is not always the best solution.

That feminizing fails to cure what has been the Achilles Heel of this franchise for the past 20 years, one rendered crystal clear with the superior prequel “Rogue One.”  A corporate decision to stray from the formula of classic Westerns, martial arts and combats films has all-but-outlawed that any hero in our ranks dies a sudden death (giving the films a needed shock) or a noble “death with purpose.” That lowers the stakes in these movies, robs them of emotion.

Compare “Rogue One’s” layers of heroic sacrifice to “Force Awakens” or “The Last Jedi.” It’s like comparing classic “Star Trek” to “Star Trek: Voyager.”

Isaac handles the action well and the comic vernacular with flair, and Gleeson takes to General Hux with a certain malign, old school British character actor glee.

But as mean and sullen as Driver can play, the pouty, slouch-shouldered mop-top seems out of place here, unthreatening as a villain, just sensitive enough to be the Wrong Guy for Rey to attempt to…you’ll see.

The late Carrie Fisher has the look of someone who botoxed the expressiveness out of her face during her “I’m a writer, not an actress” years. The novelty’s worn off of Boyega’s “Ex-Storm Trooper Who Cries.”

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Hamill’s Luke is expected to transform into a new Obi Wan in this series, the wizened elder statesman and soulful wizard. I think he’d be the first to say he’s no Alec Guiness, whose imprint over the original films was far larger than his small, serene, twinkling, performance.

And it does the hardcore fan’s heart no good at all to compare the pretty but impassive Ridley with the fierce, physical and emotional Felicity Jones of “Rogue One.”

Where’s the glint in the eyes, the bravado, the confidence that points towards a swashbuckling future?

There’s a lot to be said for making this universe less Anglo and more diverse, less butch even. But the whole storyline in the original “Star Wars” universe has become a Big Tent political party, compromised via a party platform that promises a little something for everybody. The films pander in the worst Harry Potter tradition.

That means nobody’s character is fully served by the script. Even at two and a half hours, there are jumps in logic/setting/action that don’t flow.

Given what I said about “The Force Awakens,” I really wanted to like this. It starts more promisingly, has its moments. Some innovations work, others make things worse.

Intentions and inspiration aside, “Last Jedi” doesn’t add up to an “Empire Strikes Back” for this trilogy. There’s no romance, little pathos and no real punch-in-the-gut moment. Its emotionally sterile tone was set with “The Force Awakens,” and that’s proven hard to shake, new innovations and plot twists aside.

“Last Jedi” is just another middling movie with a rabid fanbase, a Harry Potter-style placeholder picture for lump-in-the-throat moments to come. Or so we hope.

2stars1

(“Jedi” box office plunges on its second weekend)

(Mark Hamill Distances Himself from “The Last Jedi”)

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence.

Cast: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Domhnall Gleeson, Benicio del Toro

Credits: Written and directed by Rian Johnson, based on characters created by George Lucas. A Disney/Lucasfilm release.

Running time: 2:32

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71 Responses to Movie Review — “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

  1. NZT says:

    Well argued. Sounds like exactly what I was expecting; Disney is nothing if not consistent about maintaining a house style, that’s why they hire guys like Rian Johnson who are just competent enough to bring the project home on budget, but not experienced enough to actually demand any creative control or risk-taking (sounds like Trevorrow did, which is why he got the boot for Episode 9 and they handed things back to uber-hack Abrams).

    • A heads-up to others wanting to comment on the film, which most of them haven’t seen. Personal attacks aren’t arguments, and if you want to comment and argue with evidence/examples, clean it up. Ad hominem and profane personal attacks of the “This meanie didn’t like a movie I’m looking forward to” variety won’t see the light of day.

    • aarswft says:

      “Got the boot” and was handed 3 more films…

    • kylo ken says:

      Thank god one of the “professional” critics has there head screwed on straight. I can only assume the others were paid off or are just ignorant.

  2. SC says:

    JJ wrecks everything. He wrecked Trek, and he wrecked SW. **SHOCKER!** He’s all style no substance. Plot holes everywhere. No wonder Disney loves him and his new trilogy.

    • A “non threatening” (to JJ) choice to direct “Jedi?” Mayhaps. But in his defense, I thought his first “Trek” was stellar. The difference appears to be the studio which wants max return on making George Lucas the richest man in the galaxy. Paramount left Abrams alone, more of less.

  3. vs says:

    Thank you very much, You have saved me from the disappointment! I’m going to think twice before I sit to watch another new Disney: Star Wars movie.

    • Shauny says:

      Please see this movie. Don’t let some one else’s opinion be yours. Watch with an open mind and decide for yourself. I only read reviews after I see a movie. This movie will be the second best star wars in history after people accept it as a story in its own right.

      • Right. Listen to “Shauny.” And his “opinion.” About a movie…he hasn’t seen?

      • aarswft says:

        Well I’ve seen it Roger…Go see it VS.

      • See it for yourself. Don’t just listen to “rogerinorlando”. And his opinion. Or anyone else’s. This is a sprawling film covering several decades of character development and the odds are quite good you will like something about it.

      • “Decades of character development?” Studio representatives always want a comment (often turned into blurbs, but generally to gauge critical response) and I avoided giving them one because indifference takes time to articulate. As I started to write it, I hunted for a couple of laughs lines to illustrate the vernacular and the humor, and there were all these notes about lapses here, “Adam Driver doesn’t get it done” and the like. Sat right next to a critic who laughed at no more spots than I did, and yet I saw he gave it four stars out of four. Coward.

  4. Bill Peters says:

    Your review would be more persuasive if you didn’t make basic usage errors (anti-“climatic”).

  5. I think I will trust the other 99% of reviews giving positive good marks.

    • webslinger48 says:

      It is actually 93% right now. But instead of looking at the Tomato-meter, you are better off identifying the critic whose reviews most reflect your own taste and reading what they have to say.

      For me, that person is Roger, and I have a premonition that he is spot-on here. Just as he was for Force Awakens.

      • Interesting to note that Rottentomatoes, which was holding its “score” hostage to its start-up streaming video show (as it did with “Justice League,” etc.) blinked and released that info today. Metacritic, which is a more discerning critics, less fanboy driven evaluation, was eating their lunch in terms of traffic. And the more reliable Metacritic rating, while still swooning, is a more down-to-Earth 85 aggregate avg. score. Everybody who loves these movies should go, but a lot of us are going to feel let down and look for reviews that validate that opinion. Such as here.

      • Trig says:

        I have a weird idea … forget about critics, and watch films for yourself … and make your own opinion.

        Weird huh?

      • @Trig, well no, not really. If a certain critic shares your outlook (for the most part), they can certainly help you decide whether or not you plunk down money for theater tickets rather than maybe wait for a more convenient and cheap option later.

    • Miguel Baptista says:

      Lol. Yea, the majority is allways right. Right.

  6. mickrussom says:

    The new star wars are garbage compared to new hope and empire strikes back. sad they share the name.

  7. Dull Films Forever says:

    Boy, Daisy Ridley sure looks silly in that picture. Is that supposed to be tough? She looks like a mild breeze would blow her off the cliff.

  8. The Devil says:

    Man I was hoping this one would be great. At least you weren’t tempted to give it a one word review like the unmentionable secret agent picture. We are not allowed to speak its name. Mo ah ah ah. (Sound of Thunder) I think there should be a return to 2D animation in movies like this. There’s one I really loved called “Heavy Metal.” That style I think would be great for Star Wars and not the 3D animation style. I also think there should be a Sith Wookie with half a human head and the rest Wookie all the way down to its big feet. Darth Wambo. Just kidding. Great review.

  9. lee says:

    My Vietnamese roommate in college told me that his mom was nearly traumatized when she watched Vader slice off Luke’s hand in Empire Strikes Back. The agonizing “AAAAHHHHHH” was especially disturbing for her. I saw that movie in the 90’s (when it was re-released in the theaters) and that scene was tough to watch. The “I’m your father” line wouldn’t be so powerful without a wounded Luke helplessly crawling away from Vader.

    I actually expected the movie to go on after Luke got a new hand. But it ended! The Empire literally struck back, captured Solo, and routed the rebels at Hoth. It set up the next movie nicely, and I watched Return of the Jedi a few weeks later.

    I’m guessing we won’t see any of that in the new Star Wars movie. I don’t understand why Disney won’t allow directors to take the franchise to newer directions. None of the new movies will ever be good as the originals, why keep emulating them?

  10. Keith says:

    Really appreciate the review. Helps me temper my expectations. Haven’t read much about it but what little I’ve seen has been really positive. I think I’ll shoot for being cautiously enthusiastic.

  11. Nate K says:

    Roger, I was just wondering what your feelings are for the rest of the franchise. Do you consider yourself a fan of Lucas’ original trilogy? Clearly you had lukewarm feelings about The Force Awakens, but I was just trying to put this review in the context of your thoughts on the other installments. This was brought on by your comment, “Everybody who loves these movies should go, but a lot of us are going to feel let down”. Am I to interpret that as you saying that you don’t have a real connection with these films, or feel that this series is simply so-so? I consider myself a fan of yours and find that I agree with your evaluations more often than not, but with a series such as this which holds a special place in the hearts of many viewers, knowing whether or not that is the case with you would really help me gauge how much this review would be useful to me personally. Thank you!

    • Fair question, I adore “A New Hope,” studied its antecedents in grad school (“Searchers,””Hidden Fortress”) intensely — loved “Empire,” was fine with “Return,” was OK with the second Lucas trilogy despite Jar Jar and the blatant toy selling. Because George knows you’ve got to kill beloved characters off to have all these “Wars” mean something. Far preferred “Rogue One” to “Force Awakens” for that reason. Better actors, to be blunt, more intriguing characters and motivations and HIGHER STAKES. “Jedi” has this feminized (not talking about characters here, women in foreground, women in charge worked in “Rogue”) the whole affair, a lecture about the slavery that props up the empire (good), namby pamby “limits to sacrifice” and “just survive” etc. (NOT good) just made this clear. We don’t say “Remember the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo.” We say “Remember the Alamo.” Wimpy.

  12. CogInTheWheel says:

    Hmmm, sounds like they played this completely safe and not much happens in terms of high-stakes. That’s not good for “the longest Star Wars”. While I can’t agree that TFA was “emotionally sterile” (Poe was fun and we lost a major character), this review tells me they attempted a balancing act and stumbled quite a bit.

    “Nobody’s character is fully served by the script”
    And that’s the big one for me. It seems any meaningful character plotting is relegated to their books. Complex character arcs can make for better plotting than another “send these one-dimensional characters to get the macguffin” plot.
    Anyway, great review, hope everyone has fun at the movies.

  13. LoyalSWcitizen says:

    Finally, someone with a honest review for this abomination. I remember how nostalgic I was back than at TFA premiere and how heartbroken I felt later. This one turned out to be the same, or even worse. This is not Star Wars, not for me.

  14. James says:

    Sometimes people need a voice, someone to share what they are feeling to a bigger audience. Thank you sir. From one of those in the fan base that isn’t angry any more, just disappointed. What a load of garbage this film is, and how far from the glowing reviews it is, and yes, I do just like you coz we share an opinion.

  15. I says:

    With all the high praises on the net, I’m glad I found yours. Star Wars isn’t Star Wars anymore! Rian Johnson ruined it!

  16. Hmmm. I wonder if I saw the same film you did? I can’t comment with specifics because I will never post a spoiler (I wouldn’t even have put the “cockpit” line in my review, for instance), but I would say the three things you said weren’t present for you in the film will be highly present for…let’s say MOST people. Following the film’s writing itself, the romance side is more…nuanced, for lack of a better term.

    I would also argue that there are as many moments of pathos as any given SW film…and MUCH more than some of them. But even if I as a reader could (grudgingly) let those two things go, there’s no possible way I could agree with your “no gut punches” assessment. There are several, depending on the viewer. One HUGE one and a series of smaller ones, including some shards of tiny heartbreak.

    Important to note…the excellent crowd I saw it with was peppered with children, probably about 1/3 of the makeup, and they were VERY into the film, reacting in every possible manner that Johnson may have intended. They cheered, laughed, clapped (often) and it was a fully joyous experience for them, which I suspect some older viewers (and critics) quite often forget. This is a fine cinematic offering from a very talented writer and director, one who very much understands that there is a tone to strike, and after achieving that one and nodding to the series, subverts almost every situation in a near impossible manner.

    I do see that this seems to be the gathering ground for the First Order of hard to impress angry viewers to come and vent, and perhaps that’s no mean feat, but this review feels misguided. I don’t see it as “a meanie didn’t like the film”, I think by all means, feel free to tell it how you see it. However, I wonder, as Roger Ebert often did, if this film hit the notes that it set out to achieve? I suspect a resounding yes, if Rian Johnson intended to create a beautiful, inspired and inspiring, witty, somewhat complex tribute to some of the world’s most cherished characters while breaking subversive new ground in a universe of an established formula that would appeal to moviegoers who have loved Star Wars since childhood, even if they are currently IN childhood.

    Yeah, I would lay money on that. Respectively, pull your head out of your cockpit, sir.

    • Disney is transforming the films into their biggest kiddie franchise. With lots of violence. They can’t kill “Old Yeller” again. Just assorted bit players and villains.

    • Tommy Nahas says:

      Paul, well stated! I am very surprised by this review, the others who feel the same, and the people who would consider not seeing it because of this review. In an era of superhero movies, remakes, reboots and other unoriginal garbage, Rian Johnson took Star Wars to a new level. Funny how everyone complained that TFA was just the same old stuff, now that there is something completely different, that’s not good either.

  17. Alex Barroso says:

    An honest review that doesn’t ignore the bad character development or simple logic that was completely ignored in the movie. This movie literally ignores it’s own canonical rules and instead of giving characters more back-round, completely glosses over all of it.

    • Matthew Aisbitt says:

      Absolutely spot on. I enjoyed TFA first watvh and it lost its shine very quickly on repeat viewing. Disney played it safe with that one it felt like a Star Wars movie even if it was just more of a Greatest Hits compilation this film however has absolutely no soul to it at all and the characters are completely flat.

      I couldn’t care less what happens to most of them. The first order is an absolute joke, nobody fears or respect them like they did with the empire

  18. skiddiks says:

    Just finished watching the movie and glad to have found a review that shares pretty much the exact same way I felt about the movie. I’m glad not everyone out there is wearing Star-Wars-tinted glasses.

  19. Here’s a question, as a hardcore Star Wars fan, who’s probably going to go watch it tomorrow. Is it something new? That was my main problem with TFA (and yours too, I think based on your review). I pretty much knew what was going to happen. I am not upset if this film tries to go in a new direction, just so long as it is more than a glib facsimile of the original trilogy, which we all know can never be topped.

    • It’s new enough. New ships, some actual surprises. The arc is the same, it’s got “Empire” bones. But Johnson is saddled with Disney’s story/toy selling demands and some weak casting/character creation from the last film. The story and dialogue are a bit all over the place. Heartless, inefficiently so.
      I cried at “Rogue One,” not ashamed to admit it. This is weak tea.

    • burtonboy05 says:

      You will hate it. Tried to take in a new direction and just made fundamental bone head errors that crap on everything that you loved as a hardcore fan in doing so. Good luck. for me it is easily the weakest in the series. I defended the TFA despite it’s flaws, this is indefensible period.

  20. Hanzo says:

    Well it seems your review is more on point with general audience reactions than the other ‘critic’ reviews.

    It’s being eviscerated on IMDb, it has a user 57% score on the FIRST DAY (matching AoTC) on RT, and a 5.3 on Metacritic. There’s a huge disconnect here. I think this is the point at which people start jumping ship from Star Wars finally. Not that Disney won’t make a killing in profits with everything coming out. (and now own 30% of the movie industry)

    Well..

    Star Wars is dead. Long live Star Wars.

    • Thanks, I had not looked at IMDb’s user-comments, a torrent of abuse. And yet they’re saying it rates “8.1?” WTH? I was expecting more blowback comments here once the paying public was diving into it. Maybe this weekend the abuse will rain down. As I work for myself, and not a newspaper/wire-service etc (been there, done that), I don’t have the same fear — I think — that people still clinging to those gigs do. Disney severely cut back on screenings for this, a threat aimed in the direction of long-time reviewers. Those reviewing it know it’s going to be a smash, so bandwagon, All Aboard! But the bulk of the RT reviews are fanboy watered-down, way too many “critics.” It’s the Metacritic score that is, to me, so disheartening. A full year of Grade Inflation thanks to, I fear, a new generation of the less discriminating.

  21. truthbetold says:

    The films pander in the worst Harry Potter tradition. That means nobody’s character is fully served by the script. —–This. It’s what’s wrong all with TV/movies these days.

  22. JB2 says:

    Roger, it seems like you had a more accurate read on this one than the majority of the cool kids club/professional critics.

    On RT, only 57% of fans liked it. On Metacritic, the average fan score is 5.0 of 10. You also don’t seem to be getting showered with invective from angry fans. That, as much as anything, I would say is a tacit admission that the people find the movie lacking.

    Kudos on being bold enough to say the Emperor has no clothes.

  23. The Devil says:

    I see what you mean about this movie. I didn’t like the first 25 minutes, but then the movie gets more exciting after the first 25 minutes. For me it was missing a great beginning. Maybe next time after the scroll, the audience is taken straight from space into a strange metal planet where the main characters are in the middle of a fight on a metal world with new odd weapons. Metal. Cha Chunk Cha Chunk. heh. Just kidding. I liked the rest of the movie after the first 25 minutes. You were right though. AMC is awful at 3D. Ten minutes into the film, I noticed it wasn’t in 3D and had to tell the manager to turn the 3D on. She stopped the movie to do it, and when I returned to my seat, people shouted at me because they thought I asked for her to stop the picture. I was trying to help those people. But AMC sucks in 3D like you wrote. This time AMC really stunk.

  24. R says:

    You sir, are a hero.
    Were other critics paid off or is it some implicit pressure..
    You may be the only one who pointed out this obsession w. strong female characters. It’s great, but when done right. And this is not the right way.
    Same about diversity – give Finn and Rose enough screentime by all means, but why not make that screentime be actually something meaningful..

  25. ray_man says:

    i gave the same rating for this movie

    really disappointing 2 years wait to see SWTLJ

    the movie felt so long for me even r2d2 dit not stay more then 10seconds in this movie LOL

    finn and rose story was pointless

  26. thosedarnbrackets says:

    Well it seems several thousand people agree with you. This movie is getting hammered by user scores which in my opinion are much better than pro scores once you have a large sample size. This thing is getting around 50% on Meta and 60% on tomatoes which, given the initial reviews were likely all paid for, is more like 25% and 30%…. Thats pretty bad and by far the worst user score Star Wars has ever seen.

    I definitely wont pay to see it regardless. I am a huge fan of the originals like most folks and I really enjoyed a lot of the comics and books and especially KotOR 1 & 2. But honestly I cringed through the prequels and the 1st remake (episode vii) was horrendous imho. Rogue One was ok but I wont throw any more money on these movies. Ill just wait for it to hit video and rent it. My family can wait too.

    • The few people still working for Big Media are clinging to their jobs like grim death, afraid to offend “Star Wars” fandom? Younger generation of critics without a whole lot to compare this picture to? Or merely require something less demanding or fulfilling in different ways from people like us? It is a puzzlement.

  27. The Devil says:

    I still can’t understand why Luke would want to kill Ben Solo rather than try first to reason with him. Luke went beyond all measures to save his father. I guess he didn’t give a crap about his nephew. Poe thinks like a Sesame Street puppet in this movie. I saw this turd a second time, and my opinion has changed. I wanted to love it. Rey has no personality or quirks to make her interesting. I hope they do a better job with new characters. There seems to be push by directors to add dumb TV put-down humor in every action movie now just to stir mouth-breathing chortles from stick heads.

    • Go to Netflix. See “Rogue One” again. Seriously, it’s got all the heart, gravitas, character development, lump-in-the-throat sacrifice, cool additions to the universe (Forest, Donnie, Diego, Felicity, Mads, Ben Mendelssohn, Riz), it’s operating on a whole other level. Isaac is the best actor in this lot, and he’s trying too hard. Daisy is a bit of a washout, IMO. I watched “Rogue One” again Sat. night and my faith was restored — not in Disney/JJ-Rian. In the story. If they wimp this up any more, it’ll be “Star Conference: The Ladies Make Peace” — which is great, in general, crappy news for drama.

      • The Devil says:

        Yeah, you’re right. I didn’t give “Rogue One” a fair chance the first time. I watched it in comparison and watch The Last Jedi again. “Rogue One” is alarming in how better it is from this stiff thing “The Last Jedi.” The comedy seemed to work for many in the theater but not me. If directors are going to do comedy I think they should hire real comedy writers and not rely on their own frat boy humor. It really stinks. I think when I was a kid I saw the first advertisements for Star Wars and was excited about an Sasquatch on a space ship. However, I was even disappointed in the first Star Wars movie because I thought he might be an ape who speaks in a way the other characters can understand him and the audience would also understand. The Wookie and Droid bit is a lot like Arnold Ziffle from “Green Acres.” Rogue One is cool.

      • The Devil says:

        I meant a Sasquatch. I liked the idea of Star Wars more than the movies. Droids and Wookies are like the comedy used in “Green Acres” with Arnold Ziffel. Another piece of comedy didn’t work: the part where Rey all of a sudden becomes stupid and mistakes The Force for a feather seemed forced. People laughed and laughed at it. I had to get stoned to watch it again and still couldn’t laugh. Pardon the missshpellings. This movie made me depressed for the future in anything. I need to see good movie fast like Taxi Driver. There are some movies I can watch many times and still like. “Face in the Crowd” with Andy Griffith and “A Touch of Evil” also seem to wash away the bad movie blues.

  28. JohnA says:

    This is the fairest review I have read. The move is better than okay as a kids and mum’s movie. Aside from the trip to the casino, which definitely does not pay off. To say the movie is rubbish is not fair.

    But as a Star Wars movie it is terrible. I gave TFA a pass because I was prepared to wait and see if the unanswered questions would have a payoff, and frankly, after this movie the answer is no. Harrison Ford added so much to TFA in general and to Rey’s character in particular. Perhaps after some focus groups and trail screenings they’ll decide to make her parents significant, after all. I doubt it, an dit would be too late in any case. I suspect that they will go down the Katniss path with Kylo and Rey defeating the First Order, abolishing the Jedi, and after the cultural revolution they’ll put a council of women and eunuchs in charge and retire to a remote planet like Ahch-To and raise a family while living a simple subsistence lifestyle.

    Star Wars is about warriors, not farmers, which is why Rouge One, faults and all, is infinitely better. Rogue One ticked the diversity and PC boxes and was still a good movie and was faithful to Star Wars.

  29. Chris says:

    This star wars lacked a story. All the questions from Awakens were either not answered or just killed off, which is bad story writing, why introduce them in one movie (when you know they’ll be more) just to downplay the characters or just kill them off (no story).

    The two big plots seem to take place with Luke and Leia, except one takes place over the course of a few hours (Leia) and the other a few days (at least), how does that work?

    I wasn’t too impressed with awakens, more so since they just redid Hope, but was really looking to see this one. Disappointed in this effort is an understatement, and it bored me.

    For those who have seen it, what dangling plot is left for part 3? I left the theater thinking I had watched a 150minute poorly written live action Star Wars Rebels episode…

  30. jd1234 says:

    It was just a bad movie and the fact it was a bad movie had nothing to do with how they treated the mythology of Star Wars or Luke Skywalker. Honestly, that was the least of the movie’s problems. MANY plot holes, poor dialogue and surprisingly poor acting from some great actors, boring story (spoiler alert, nothing of consequence happened to advance the plot or mythology), aside from Rey and Kylo pretty boring characters with 0 chemistry (Padme and Anakin jumped off the screen in comparison to well pretty much everyone). And by the end even Rey and Kylo journeyed to the land of predictable and boring. Even the sets made the movie feel claustrophobic unlike Rogue One which made tremendous use of its locations…
    Oh, and I like Rey a lot, but even she got lost somewhere in this movie which lacked a center and a purpose.
    All I have to say is: Good luck cleaning this mess up, JJ Abrams!

    P.S. I forgot to mention how emotionally sterile the whole thing was overall. It really was; sure it had twists and turns, but there was no passion or ferocity or swashbuckling bravado… the movie just created a sense of righteousness that is great if it were not the only emotion you were left with as a viewer.

    • Rey and Kylo, Ridley and Driver are the big empty acting holes in the middle of this.

      • The Devil says:

        That’s another thought I had about this one while watching it. Star Wars movies are a lot like time capsules. If this one is a time capsule of 2017, this year was a convoluted mess of conflicting ideas which were all trash. There is one character who looks over the audience and tells them they should not give a fork about anything, not to stand for anything, and just look out for number one and take the money. I think it was the pointless code breaker character you wrote about. I’m mad at myself for trying to like it. I don’t know why anyone would be mad at you for doing your job as a critic. They should be glad you warned them in an intelligent way and informing them of what you did like along with what you thought was awful.

  31. Jack says:

    Nice Review, Roger. And I agree with everything you wrote.

    And a note to the Corporate shills demanding that “everyone see it for themselves and then decide!”: Well, guess what you failed marketing hacks, unless you are going to PAY FOR MY TICKET to see the film, do it or shut up. Reading trusted and UNBIASED film critics is not only normal, but ESSENTIAL. By the time you given your precious time and money to watching a crappy film it’s too late. They’ve already got your money and are now laughing at you. But that’s what these soulless Corporations, that manufacture assembly line, unimaginative, lazy, copy cat, PRODUCTS, want.

  32. RickRickerson says:

    I saw this at Alamo Drafthouse and I must say the most memorable aspect of the evening was my loaded cheese fries.
    There were some good scenes and the special effects were OK but for the most part it was just a jumble of nonsense and disappointment. The whole planet Vegas/codebreaker storyline was cringe-worthy. I’m only a casual SW fan but I agree that this film took a giant crap on the SW saga and mythology.
    I don’t know how many times I’ve watched the original trilogy, and I’ve even seen each of the prequels at least a few times over. I doubt that I will ever have the desire to lay eyes on VIII ever again. Not out of protest or because I feel betrayed and mentally damaged by this fiasco. It just wasn’t a good movie.

  33. burtonboy05 says:

    Roger great review and thank you for the honesty.

    I wouldn’t say I’m a star wars tragic but close to it. It’s one of life’s guilty little pleasures for me. Having grown up with it, and about to turn 40, it’s that little thing that allows me to revisit my childhood from time to time, to imagine that mythical universe and follow your childhood hero’s through their crazy adventures among the stars. I read all of the EU prior to it being cut. That was fine because as much as I loved it, I was excited to get to do it all again. I’ve watched all the animated series, and played all of the video games. In short I’ve invested a great deal of time in this saga.

    I went in to the TFA with a clear open mind. I was happy with the result. Not great like the OT, but the fan service at least made it feel like Star Wars again which the PT certainly did not. I enjoyed the reboot enough to feel confident SW was good again in its movie form and on the right path and I defended it for what it copped.

    So the TLJ is coming, I don’t really do social media so no issues there, and again a clear mind, ignored all the speculation etc and the end credits roll……………………it is as though someone has just punched me in the mouth, like really hard. WTF did I just watch??

    I’m not a film student or critic, so I don’t pick up on the minor details that you would, for me it’s pretty black and white. I either like it or I don’t for varying reasons. What on earth was Rian Johnson thinking? What was Disney thinking hiring him? A relative unknown at best. His past work was average, then you hand him the holy grail, and he dropped it.

    Where do I start?? It is an utter train wreck. A mindless plot, pointless sub plots, poor pacing poor CGI, even the score lacked the usual John Williams impact, and the biggest killer, pathetic forced humor. It was like every key moment is trashed by some rubbish joke. I have no issues with female leads, I actually really like Rey although her development in this was lacking, but the thing that kills me the most is the handling of Luke Skywalker. My boyhood hero trashed in 2.5 hours of some of the worst star wars material I’ve ever watched or read.

    I checked my watch 3 times during this film, answered an email and one text message. As a rule I’d never do that in a cinema especially for a SW film, but I was so burnt by what I was seeing I just didn’t really care. This movie was dead when Luke tossed his fathers saber, the princess Leia vacuum scene, I probably should have walked out. It had positives in parts but I’m so let down by the negatives they’re just null and void. That is just my opinion, others clearly love it and that is great, but I walked out feeling so let down it was like the Phantom menace all over again. I need to see it again just to confirm it was that bad, but I don’t want to spend money on it hahaha.

    I don’t even know where to rank this movie in the whole saga? If I’m totally honest it probably sits between Ewoks: The Caravan of Courage and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor! It’s not even in the eight. Where does it go from here? There was no cliff hanging moment, no ending that leaves you wanting more? It’s like a stand alone film that crapped on everything before it, all the lore, all the characters, and that is it. Now JJ is left to tie it all up? I don’t think there is enough lens flare to fix this mess!!

    That guilty little pleasure I mentioned at the start, is a whole lot hollow now. I’ll probably stick to a select few novels pre the TFA for my SW fix – but right now I’m in star wars denial.

    Your review was too kind.

  34. Matthew Aisbitt says:

    Thank you! An honest professional review by someone clearly not on Disney’s payroll.

    You only need to look on IMDB to see a high average user score, yet everyone who left a review gives it 2, 3 or (occasionally) 4 out of 10.

    A poor story played out by one-dimensional characters with little or no development, so you have no vested interest in their fate or endeavours. The attempt at humour is well wide of what is expected in a SW movie. It is a pale imitation of the OT, with no heart at all.

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