Star Wars Thread v. 2

General discussion, shows, and everything else.

Postby alchemist » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:12 pm

lajoie wrote:
Spoiler: show
ok, thank you, but why did he die and just float away?



Spoiler: show
He became a force ghost, much like Obi Wan in the first movie. I still haven't decided if he gave up his body because of exhaustion from projecting into the conflict with Kylo, or if maybe he just felt that he had accomplished his goal and he was "finished" with his earthly life in a sense. Force ghosts aren't truly "dead" IMO. He will probably make another appearance just like Obi Wan, Anakin and now Yoda have done.
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Postby BRICK_FLAIR » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:32 pm

Hardcore fans hating this makes me pretty excited. I assume it will be the best movie in the franchise now.
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Postby scapegoat » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:35 pm

alchemist wrote:
lajoie wrote:
Spoiler: show
ok, thank you, but why did he die and just float away?



Spoiler: show
He became a force ghost, much like Obi Wan in the first movie. I still haven't decided if he gave up his body because of exhaustion from projecting into the conflict with Kylo, or if maybe he just felt that he had accomplished his goal and he was "finished" with his earthly life in a sense. Force ghosts aren't truly "dead" IMO. He will probably make another appearance just like Obi Wan, Anakin and now Yoda have done.


Spoiler: show
Yea, as he said early on he went to that planet to die, and after finally confronting Kylo he did just that.

I loved the movie but the scene of Leia in space just felt so wrong. I would've much preferred if she was just incapacitated from a blast or debris or something, avoiding that whole weird sequence altogether.
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Postby alchemist » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:42 pm

scapegoat wrote:
alchemist wrote:
lajoie wrote:
Spoiler: show
ok, thank you, but why did he die and just float away?



Spoiler: show
He became a force ghost, much like Obi Wan in the first movie. I still haven't decided if he gave up his body because of exhaustion from projecting into the conflict with Kylo, or if maybe he just felt that he had accomplished his goal and he was "finished" with his earthly life in a sense. Force ghosts aren't truly "dead" IMO. He will probably make another appearance just like Obi Wan, Anakin and now Yoda have done.


Spoiler: show
Yea, as he said early on he went to that planet to die, and after finally confronting Kylo he did just that.

I loved the movie but the scene of Leia in space just felt so wrong. I would've much preferred if she was just incapacitated from a blast or debris or something, avoiding that whole weird sequence altogether.


That whole thing with Leia..

Spoiler: show
I like that they wanted her to demonstrate some force ability, I guess to remind the audience that the force is strong with her in her own way. It that sense it was cool to see. But yeah the actual pose and the way that it looked ended up being kinda corny.
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Postby ChangexofxIdeas » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:14 pm

Killedbyschool wrote:For me, what makes this one so good was the balance of old and new. It had enough nostalgia inducing moments to invoke the other movies and enough new and different elements that it didn't feel like such a rehash like TFA. This movie felt really bold. Poe felt like a real character, Rei and Kylo felt like REAL characters. It was just so good in so many ways. The humor, absent the opening scene, felt natural and good throughout. I can't wait to see it again.

theonefreeman wrote:Here are my thoughts:

Spoiler: show
The Last Jedi is a great film made weaker when you really start to contemplate its place in the film saga and the Star Wars universe at whole. There are moments of brilliance throughout, but then there are scenes or exchanges that make you scratch your head. I think it's safe to say that Rian Johnson has created the most polarizing Star Wars movie yet.

As someone who tries to digest as much Star Wars media as possible, I can't be happy with some of the decisions made. Let's start with Snoke. Yes, everyone loves to say that we didn't know anything about the Emperor or virtually any other Star Wars villain for that matter. They just came out of nowhere and that was good enough. The books were really grooming him to be something important though. References to the Unknown Regions have been made constantly and Palpatine knew that something or someone ridiculously strong in the dark side was out there, which is why he essentially handed over the remnant that would become the First Order to this person. Snoke's very existence was making Palpatine nervous. That should say something. And somehow, despite being so far removed from the Galactic Civil War, Snoke has a vendetta against the Republic and the Jedi. Those few points raise a lot of questions and I can't bring myself to really care now that he has been used as a plot device. Don't get me wrong, I see the merit in why he died. Ben does what Vader could never do and that has significance. The death of a big bad that they were building up to be important in the middle of the trilogy just doesn't satisfy what they were doing with the character though.

Speaking of not satisfying certain story elements, Rey being a random person isn't something I was expecting. I was all-in on her being the offspring of Luke from the moment I left the theater after seeing TFA. She grew up on a desert planet like the Skywalkers before her, the family lightsaber calls out to her, she can't remember her parents and the Force seems to hit her out of nowhere which suggests that some sort of memory repression is in play, etc. It seemed to be the logical choice. If she's truly nobody, then we have a random person at the forefront of a story that is supposed to be about the Skywalkers while the only person of the Skywalker bloodline left in the galaxy is on a path beyond redemption. I get it. The Star Wars universe is bigger than Skywalkers. Time came through before them and it will continue once they're gone, but the episodic titles are supposed to be about them and having their story end on a down note will bum a lot of people out. I definitely think Ben could have been lying about her parentage to her, but who knows.

And now Luke. It's clear why Mark has been voicing what could be as close to his disappointment and hesitance as he's allowed about where they took his character in interviews lately. He knew that after thirty years, people were not going to like this take on the character. I really do feel that they did the character a disservice by having him go out the way that he did. This trilogy was always supposed to be a handing off of the torch to a new generation, but is the only way that they know how to do that through killing off the original characters? If the only way these characters can be advanced is by ending the stories of those who are established, then maybe they aren't good characters. I don't know. The story easily could have ended without Luke passing on and it would have satisfied expectations. He does some crazy shit with the Force that you would come to expect from Master Luke, who was doing stuff like piloting the Millenium Falcon only using the Force in the Expanded Universe, and minds are blown. But now we're only going to see him as a ghost from now on. This part is mainly just me bitching. Shit makes me emotional.

Random thoughts:
Porgs were cool. Don't think they were overused.

The whole scene with Leia surviving the attack should have been much more subtle. As it is, it's goofy and Superman-ish.

Driver is great. It's a relief having a villain who can express anger believably and I like the idea of Kylo being Supreme Leader now.

Take out the Canto Bight storyline and the movie loses absolutely nothing. It was a way to pass time and give Finn something to do.

The Praetorian Guard scene was next-level when it comes to saber fights in this saga.

Johnson really beats you over the head with the humor at parts. Luke tossing the lightsaber was borderline tonedeaf.

Is it just me or has the way that everyone uses the Force in the sequel trilogy been turned up to like twelve? From Rey's untrained proficiency to extracting information and whatnot, it doesn't line up with what we've seen before. That's a problem with both movies so far. I will give it to them that they've made lightsaber choreography much more believable.

I don't know where they go from here now. Luke is dead. Leia has to be written off. It's all new characters now. I'm curious whether or not we'll see a time jump for the next movie.

I guess the last point I'll make is that letting each director decide where they want to go with their movie is leading to less cohesive storytelling. Abrams did what he wanted with his movie. Johnson did what he wanted with his. Now Abrams has to come back and somehow wrap it all up in a way that makes sense. There should have been an outline written from the start charting where the story and characters would go, but it's very on-the-fly and it's diminishing the books as well. Pablo Hidalgo, head of the Story Group, just came out and basically said that the directors are not bound to what the group says. Why should anyone read the books then when we are getting build-up with no pay-off? Especially when we were told that there would be connectedness and consistency across all media forms. Anyways, this all makes it sound like I hated the movie. I didn't. My expectations were just too high.


I really enjoy both of your takes on the franchise as a whole and maybe if three of us who love SW so much all have such strong and different opinions then their really is something to this. The idea though, that Johnson wasn't beholden to any of Abrams ideas or to the LSG is something that sits at the core of some of my misgivings. I read an article on variety after those lego dorks were fired from the Solo movie complaining that Disney would not tolerate auteur directors in charge of a SW film. I was actually glad of that, cos I feel at this point in the franchise they need a collaborative team player who's willing to work within the framework of grand scale cohesive storytelling. Creative freedom is obviously a positive when the alternative is meddling from execs, but not necessarily when it ignores the grand and meticulous world building across television, books, comics, games, etc. For better or for worse Johnson was given a long leash on this movie, and as fans our mileage may vary on how we take that.

I'm going to see it again at 6:30 tonight, I'm very curious as to how I'll feel this time around. I really do think it will grow to where everything I enjoyed overshadows my gripes.
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Postby No Doz » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:34 pm

saw it last night, my initial thoughts:

Spoiler: show
- star wars has always had it's moments of levity and goofy comic relief, but they went outrageously heavy on the cornball jokes, especially in the first half an hour. poe pretending not to hear hux for an entire minute, the lightsaber toss and the milking scene, the comedic banter between rey and kylo during their mind meetings, hated all of it. a good majority the humor felt forced and had more of a guardians of the galaxy or random marvel film vibe than a star wars one.

- the red room battle against the praetorian guards and the silent black and white destruction of the imperial lead ship were two all time great star wars sequences, really amazing. also loved the cinematography with the red salt

- thought the generational "master + apprentice" style conflicts (both internal and external) were really cool, from the more complex ones like kylo + luke or poe + rebel authority to the more trivial ones like finn + phasma

- canto bight felt a little unnecessary to the plot but i liked that it brought the grey element of the people who reside between "good and bad" into play. felt like the inverse version of jabba's palace or sequences we've seen in the outer rim: a similar look into the debauchery of those who have used the war to capitalize, only on the other end of a class divide.

- could definitely do without the porgs, but i'm all in on vegan chewbacca and the animal liberation sequence

- i also hated leia floating herself through space back to the ship, biggest hiccup in the movie by far. seems to be the general consensus in this thread. like someone mentioned before, if they needed her out of the picture to set up the whole laura dern / mutiny sequence and set the stage for the rest of the plot, there were a million other ways that could have been done. interesting that her character was left alive

- the lack of backstory or development into snokes character made it harder to hate him, which lessened the desired emotional effect of seeing him killed. really puzzled as to why they left that completely alone

- love that there's essentially a clean slate for the final chapter in the trilogy to be built off of. so many different ways it could go that it's nearly impossible to guess and that's really really cool

- luke simply disappearing after the projection scene felt cheap, disappointing to see the crux of the entire universe go out like that

- felt that adam driver stole the show, he really came into his own in this one

- overall, i liked the movie and each of the little twists and turns stayed just far enough ahead of me that it made for a really enjoyable viewing experience, but it loses points when i consider it's place in the saga and try to figure out some of the choices they made. this is the first new SW film that has really felt "disneyfied" to me and that's a bummer, because i loved TFA and rogue one might be my favorite all-time SW movie. think the final chapter will help make or break how this one holds up in the long run
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Postby My Tummy is Full » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:49 pm

I fucking loved it. That fight scene was next level. Adam Driver rules.
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Postby No Doz » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:54 pm

question for anyone who may have caught it:

Spoiler: show
while escaping the base on the falcon at the end of the movie, finn pulls a blanket out of a drawer to put over rose. was there a quick shot of books beneath it while he removed it from the drawer?

i only caught it for a split second, but that would probably mean that rey took the original jedi texts with her when leaving the island and that they weren't actually destroyed in the fire. yoda would have known this before he burned everything down, which both preserves the jedi teachings and allows luke to feel emotionally resolved enough to do his whole projection + evaporation into the force thing.
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Postby Spider Jerusalem » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:57 pm

I fucking loved last Jedi
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Postby alchemist » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:09 pm

I was excited to catch a reference to Brazil, didn't expect that:

Spoiler: show
When Finn and Rose get captured by the casino guards, their parking violation was a "27B stroke 6".
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Postby ChangexofxIdeas » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:10 pm

No Doz wrote:question for anyone who may have caught it:

Spoiler: show
while escaping the base on the falcon at the end of the movie, finn pulls a blanket out of a drawer to put over rose. was there a quick shot of books beneath it while he removed it from the drawer?

i only caught it for a split second, but that would probably mean that rey took the original jedi texts with her when leaving the island and that they weren't actually destroyed in the fire. yoda would have known this before he burned everything down, which both preserves the jedi teachings and allows luke to feel emotionally resolved enough to do his whole projection + evaporation into the force thing.


Spoiler: show
Will definitely keep an eye out for that tonight. Would also add another layer to Yoda saying "their is nothing in their that the Rey girl does not have."

Was I the only one who got a bit of a love triangle vibe from that scene? That was what kind of had my attention then.
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Postby Spider Jerusalem » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:27 pm

regarding that last post above me

Spoiler: show
the books were 100% in the drawer


Other things i liked
Spoiler: show
that whole throne room battle was fantastic especially the saber toss to headshot.

the silent destruction of the First Order fleet was fantastic and a great end to a character who's entire purpose i was questioning.

i enjoyed a lot of the comedy in it although there were a couple of instances in the beginning that made me worry about it.

This might be the best looking star wars movie yet, the cinematography was fantastic.

Luke's last stand was so goddamn good and an obvious nod to the samurai that Jedi are based on.



I saw someone sum it up on the way home from the theater. JJ Abrams kept his star wars toys in pristine condition in the box. Rian Johnson played with his toys and created whole new stories in his head set in a galaxy far far away.


I loved that last shot too, thought it really tied together what Johnson is attempting to do with the franchise.
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Postby Heathenist » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:33 pm

ChangexofxIdeas wrote:
No Doz wrote:question for anyone who may have caught it:

Spoiler: show
while escaping the base on the falcon at the end of the movie, finn pulls a blanket out of a drawer to put over rose. was there a quick shot of books beneath it while he removed it from the drawer?

i only caught it for a split second, but that would probably mean that rey took the original jedi texts with her when leaving the island and that they weren't actually destroyed in the fire. yoda would have known this before he burned everything down, which both preserves the jedi teachings and allows luke to feel emotionally resolved enough to do his whole projection + evaporation into the force thing.


Spoiler: show
Will definitely keep an eye out for that tonight. Would also add another layer to Yoda saying "their is nothing in their that the Rey girl does not have."

Was I the only one who got a bit of a love triangle vibe from that scene? That was what kind of had my attention then.


Yes, I caught the books too. They are definitely the Jedi texts that were being stored in the tree that Yoda torched. Potentially making Rey "the last Jedi".
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Postby Luthor » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:47 pm

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The throne room duel, the star destroyer crash, Luke's final stand all beautiful and incredible, but let's also acknowledge the scene where Finn almost kills himself. That shit had me on the edge of my seat.
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Postby Spider Jerusalem » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:48 pm

this review nails it.

https://filmcrithulk.blog/2017/12/15/the-force-belongs-to-us-the-last-jedis-beautiful-refocusing-of-star-wars/

Spoiler: show
1.

Okay. I wasn’t going to write anything for one simple reason: I know way too many of the Johnson clan at this point for this to be anything but biased blatherings. So there it is. I have no idea what to do with this hope-diamond-sized-grain of salt. Feel free to literally disagree with all I say and proclaim my bias for all to see. It’s deserving. All I can say is I knew literally nothing about THE LAST JEDI going in. And if I didn’t like it, I probably would have been very quiet about it. But then a thing happened that only happens when your brain is caught on fire by a lovely movie… I couldn’t stop talking about it. And suddenly I was talking with people who had some different reactions, but also complex ones. And in those discussions I found that there was nothing less at stake then the entire meaning of STAR WARS all together… So let’s get spoilery and into this shit, shall we?

2.

I’ve made my feelings about The Force Awakens quite clear before. To sum them up, I think J.J. has always been a talented filmmaker with an incredible casting eye, quite adept at imbuing a given moment with energy and emotion, but it’s always just that: a moment. There’s never a larger context. Carol Markus will scream as her father dies then the entire movie will go on as if it never happened. It’s all bits of affectation that excite and delight, and as far as meaning goes, it’s all promise and deep questions and lingering intrigue that pull you in deep, deep, deep… but, you know, never amount to anything. And it’s not that the “answers” are bad, it’s just that they were never set up to be meaningfully answered in the first place. That’s the mystery box. That’s literally the design. He doesn’t think it matters what’s inside as long as he makes you think it’s important. He’s literally said this. And that’s what it’s always been. It’s a grift. A con. A charming way of storytelling that whispers sweet nothings in your ear and is out the window before you wake up. And in making a Episode 7, I was hoping he’d cast it aside, and in some ways he did, and in some ways doubled down on some of his worst story habits of “momentary effect” over building to a coherent point. And the lack of that point is all symbolized in that final moment, Rey standing there to hand a lightsaber to Luke. It’s not a story beat. It’s not really anything. Just someone waiting to hand a baton to someone who can figure out a way to have any of this make a lick of sense.

There’s a reason this movie begins with Luke throwing it off a cliff.

In fact there’s a number of moments in the film that seem like direct refutations to the mystery box questions that were vaguely teased as maybe kinda sorta being deeply important. Why did we think they were? Because destiny! Because Skywalkers! Because Luke I am your father! Because mysteries and answers! And so for two years the internet does what they always do with J.J. and trying to solve the unsolvable questions that were never meant to be answered in the first place. So for two years they’ve been speculating about Rey’s parentage, or Snoke’s origins, or the Knights of Ren, etc. And what does the film do in response? It definitively takes those mystery box questions and throws them off the literal and proverbial cliff. Sometimes it’s done in a funny way, sometimes in an incredulous way, but it’s always in purposeful way. Because in the end, The Last Jedi is actually about something really, really important.

And it’s going to lay the groundwork to get us there…

3.

I was having a conversation after the film and it was largely about the methodology of filmmaking. One person was talking about how they don’t like seeing the strings or feeling the manipulation of a film, which I get, and it’s often a popular criticism of filmmakers like Spielberg. But to me, andI probably expressed this a little too flippantly, I said “But that’s filmmaking.”

Filmmaking is always a construction. And what we feel or don’t feel in terms of that construction is purely the virtue of what we can actually sense as an individual. So for something to be “invisible” and for you to be “in it” is not necessarily a virtue of any filmmakers ability or the lack, but largely what we bring in our own way of seeing. In fact, it gets at the Catch 22 of movie-watching the more you can see of the construction, the less you can feel. Unless, you just learn to be cool with idea and get a sense of fluency. To that, when I say “the best cuts are invisible” I’m not arguing that I don’t actually see them and that that’s the only way I can experience the purity of movie watching (although sometimes it is). But that’s because my own vacant lack of awareness is not my end goal. I’m saying that it will largely be “invisible” for a popular audience (as are most filmmaking techniques), which is the very reason I tend to celebrate traditional functionalists because they’re the best at tapping into what a general audience brings to a movie. After all, there’s a reason Spielberg is also considered the best american filmmaker: he’s great at making you feel the thing he wants you to feel. Which is why a lot of young movie goers go through a phase of disliking him. They don’t want to be manipulated… but that’s what filmmaking always is… so you can see the complexity of all this, no?

Anyway, the point is actually that beyond the artifice, it is actually the pure story level that makes things meaningful and last. For all his kinetic stylization, I still think Johnson’s just a traditional formalist under all of it (I wrote extensively about his work years and years ago and it’s mostly in there). And in this movie I felt so much of the rigorous work. It’s all set-ups and pay-offs. The opening bomber sequence is stacked with clarity, geography, and pure function. Same go for the army of slowly creeping dread sequences that follow. All of which are build on direct storytelling function. Poe’s arc vs. Laura Dern’s characterization is a prime example. The way the film plays with audience expectations with her is never a “ta-da! surprised you, didn’t I!?” It’s what most good turns do in that they make you slap your forehead and go “of course!” Poe’s mutiny was always misguided, him repeating the mistakes of the past. And so the narrative turn played right into his arc beautifully. And holy hell, does she get a triumphant moment as a result… the silent cut.

But perhaps there is no functional moment quite like the ending show-stopper with Luke. And as a quick aside, we finally got the Mark Hamill performance that HE always deserved to get to show US. I have no eloquent words for it. His version of Luke in this film is just incredible. A culmination of humor and love and friendship and so much more that went beyond the pale of mere posturing. But it’s all built off grounded story function. Because it has to earn so much of the real biggest mystery presented in the last film and that’s WHY, why would Luke ever do this and run away? The answer, and then the films answer to that answer, is one of the most brilliant last lessons that the Star Wars universe has yet to give: and that is the acceptance of / and learning from failure. And it’s all built up into a crystalline moment of teaching both from an old friend in Yoda, and then what he has to give forward. My audience was practically hovering three feet above their chairs for “see around kid.” But at the core of Luke’s arc, at the core of everything in this movie, is the most important message of all…

4.

“Fuck Skywalkers.”

My friend said this in a conversation a long time ago. And he didn’t mean it about the characters themselves, nor what they meant to him. He meant it in the sense of the Star Wars series’ focus on lineage and the way some all powerful family who are the most powerful force users who basically controlled the fate of galaxy was… super gross. And he’s right, quite frankly. Because it’s everything I hate about the notion of ‘destiny” and “why I’m destined to be a hero!” bullshit. That psychology only leads you to the kind of place where you are the asshole kid screaming DO YOU KNOW WHO MY FATHER IS!?!?! at night clubs. And as this series has gone on and on, it has fed more and more into that thinking. So it would always this deep fear in me that in the return to the galaxy far far away, the new trilogy would get sucked back into that thematic toxicity.

But in TFA, we actually got a nice self-aware version of that with Kylo where it saw the juvenile villainy in such bloodline thinking (he is absolutely my favorite part of that film, btw). But I still always dreaded it with Rey parentage angle and fan theorying, etc: “Is she secretly Luke’s kid, etc!?!?” Is this just going to be more stories about Skywalkers and the children of all-powerful Jedi and Sith and how they’re the only ones that matter? And so in the moments of The Last Jedi that led up to the confrontation with Snoke, I’ll admit it… I fell for the feint. I thought there was going to be Lord Snoke “I am your father” moment. Why? Well, because that’s the what gets nicely set up in the scene before with Kylo’s feint of “I know who you parents are”… but nope, the lightsaber literally goes sideways and it’s another “OF COURSE!!!” reaction that rings out in my brain, because it all says it so clearly. Especially in their scene after: Kylo just wants to burn it all down with him atop the totem pole. And Rey, she’s just a kid whose parents sold her away for nothing… a meaningless child who therefore needs to share her place among those destined to be great, in order to be great… That kinda gross regal thinking sound familiar?

But Rey won’t do it. She would never. I actually ended up arguing with some folks about the “disappointing” nature of this reveal, but to me it was the only reveal that could actually mean anything in this story. Because she’s not “just” anything. Which is actually everything. For she and Rose and so many others are everything important about this movie. They are people who aren’t the sons of daughters of legends. People who have their own lives and wants, but they are people who have been discarded and stepped on and put under a system of unbearable weight. But from those leanings, there’s nothing that makes them any less capable of the force, any less a jedi, any less powerful…

And anything less than a Skywalker.



5.

You can argue the one “dalliance” of the film is the action on what I’ll be too lazy to google and just call “Monte Carlo planet.” But it’s also the most thematically important because it’s where the entire Skywalker point made above comes into focus. No, not just in the clear criticism of high society and war profiteering, but deeper within the sights of nameless young children who are put under the thumb of the world. And who, within them so innately carry the understanding of the horrors of that world, and thus so tangibly know the simple, inescapable ways for it to be better. And so, within that simple, final speech about what really matters in this big old universe that we share, it’s not about Skywalkers or whose bloodline is most powerful or whose dad can beat up your dad… it’s about that equally simple, final image.

A young child cleaning a stable.

Who dreams of being more.

The force belongs to them, too.

And so it belongs to us.
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Postby Alex 2K » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:25 pm

Yo there was for sure some dumb shit in this movie, but the cool things were incredibly cool.

The Snoke stuff was such a bold choice and I loved it. That we then get the guard fight through that makes it even better. I am not as attached to SW as some of you, but I still grew up on it and the nostalgia hit me hard.....all the Luke stuff made sense. He was not leaving that island.

And YODA


The only objectively bad things were flying Leia, milk tit, and portions of Canto Bight.
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Postby Alex Practice » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:42 pm

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The Canto Bight scene felt like the weakest inclusion but it had some important plot elements, most importantly showing the little kids that the Rebellion was alive, but it's unfortunate such a large portion of the movie was dedicated around that exchange because you could have had some kids onboard before Fin and Rose took off, who were family members or had escaped and they got to see their heroes being a spark of hope, and that would have served the same purpose and not messed with the pacing so much.

From a storytelling/filmmaking perspective though that bit was important to 1. parallel the cantina 2. acquire the codebreaker. Still feels tacked on, even though I enjoyed the bit of character development during that time.
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Postby Alex Practice » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:43 pm

No Doz wrote:question for anyone who may have caught it:

Spoiler: show
while escaping the base on the falcon at the end of the movie, finn pulls a blanket out of a drawer to put over rose. was there a quick shot of books beneath it while he removed it from the drawer?

i only caught it for a split second, but that would probably mean that rey took the original jedi texts with her when leaving the island and that they weren't actually destroyed in the fire. yoda would have known this before he burned everything down, which both preserves the jedi teachings and allows luke to feel emotionally resolved enough to do his whole projection + evaporation into the force thing.


Both of you are correct, had to have significance.
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Postby Alex 2K » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:48 pm

Alex Practice wrote:
Spoiler: show
The Canto Bight scene felt like the weakest inclusion but it had some important plot elements, most importantly showing the little kids that the Rebellion was alive, but it's unfortunate such a large portion of the movie was dedicated around that exchange because you could have had some kids onboard before Fin and Rose took off, who were family members or had escaped and they got to see their heroes being a spark of hope, and that would have served the same purpose and not messed with the pacing so much.

From a storytelling/filmmaking perspective though that bit was important to 1. parallel the cantina 2. acquire the codebreaker. Still feels tacked on, even though I enjoyed the bit of character development during that time.

Yeah the idea and inclusion isn't bad, just some of how it was executed. Pretty much they didn't need to ride on them boys.
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Postby Heathenist » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:00 pm

Alex Practice wrote:
Spoiler: show
The Canto Bight scene felt like the weakest inclusion but it had some important plot elements, most importantly showing the little kids that the Rebellion was alive, but it's unfortunate such a large portion of the movie was dedicated around that exchange because you could have had some kids onboard before Fin and Rose took off, who were family members or had escaped and they got to see their heroes being a spark of hope, and that would have served the same purpose and not messed with the pacing so much.

From a storytelling/filmmaking perspective though that bit was important to 1. parallel the cantina 2. acquire the codebreaker. Still feels tacked on, even though I enjoyed the bit of character development during that time.


Spoiler: show
What I thought was odd about the Canto Bight scene was that they went through this trouble of releasing the horse like creatures, but just left all those slave children behind. Like, wtf, you couldn't have tried to take those kids with you? I guess in the end they likely would have died, but there's no way they would have known that would be the case.

That said, while I agree that the Canto Bight stuff didn't seem to drive the plot forward in this particular movie, I think it set up a lot of really important stuff. First, it has maybe been the first time that I recall class being an important plot point in the Star Wars film universe, so showing the ways in which the rich has benefited from the wars is pretty important. Two, del Toro's character said a lot of stuff that provides more evidence for a theory that came out after TFA, that this trilogy would abandon the ideas of the ancient Jedi of light and dark, and instead we will see the emergence of the "gray force". He continously points out there there isn't really good and bad, and this absolutism has only served to benefit the absurdly rich arms dealers. I think this will come back to be a pretty essential element in IX.
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Postby DG3000 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:03 pm

Spider Jerusalem wrote:this review nails it.

https://filmcrithulk.blog/2017/12/15/the-force-belongs-to-us-the-last-jedis-beautiful-refocusing-of-star-wars/

Spoiler: show
1.

Okay. I wasn’t going to write anything for one simple reason: I know way too many of the Johnson clan at this point for this to be anything but biased blatherings. So there it is. I have no idea what to do with this hope-diamond-sized-grain of salt. Feel free to literally disagree with all I say and proclaim my bias for all to see. It’s deserving. All I can say is I knew literally nothing about THE LAST JEDI going in. And if I didn’t like it, I probably would have been very quiet about it. But then a thing happened that only happens when your brain is caught on fire by a lovely movie… I couldn’t stop talking about it. And suddenly I was talking with people who had some different reactions, but also complex ones. And in those discussions I found that there was nothing less at stake then the entire meaning of STAR WARS all together… So let’s get spoilery and into this shit, shall we?

2.

I’ve made my feelings about The Force Awakens quite clear before. To sum them up, I think J.J. has always been a talented filmmaker with an incredible casting eye, quite adept at imbuing a given moment with energy and emotion, but it’s always just that: a moment. There’s never a larger context. Carol Markus will scream as her father dies then the entire movie will go on as if it never happened. It’s all bits of affectation that excite and delight, and as far as meaning goes, it’s all promise and deep questions and lingering intrigue that pull you in deep, deep, deep… but, you know, never amount to anything. And it’s not that the “answers” are bad, it’s just that they were never set up to be meaningfully answered in the first place. That’s the mystery box. That’s literally the design. He doesn’t think it matters what’s inside as long as he makes you think it’s important. He’s literally said this. And that’s what it’s always been. It’s a grift. A con. A charming way of storytelling that whispers sweet nothings in your ear and is out the window before you wake up. And in making a Episode 7, I was hoping he’d cast it aside, and in some ways he did, and in some ways doubled down on some of his worst story habits of “momentary effect” over building to a coherent point. And the lack of that point is all symbolized in that final moment, Rey standing there to hand a lightsaber to Luke. It’s not a story beat. It’s not really anything. Just someone waiting to hand a baton to someone who can figure out a way to have any of this make a lick of sense.

There’s a reason this movie begins with Luke throwing it off a cliff.

In fact there’s a number of moments in the film that seem like direct refutations to the mystery box questions that were vaguely teased as maybe kinda sorta being deeply important. Why did we think they were? Because destiny! Because Skywalkers! Because Luke I am your father! Because mysteries and answers! And so for two years the internet does what they always do with J.J. and trying to solve the unsolvable questions that were never meant to be answered in the first place. So for two years they’ve been speculating about Rey’s parentage, or Snoke’s origins, or the Knights of Ren, etc. And what does the film do in response? It definitively takes those mystery box questions and throws them off the literal and proverbial cliff. Sometimes it’s done in a funny way, sometimes in an incredulous way, but it’s always in purposeful way. Because in the end, The Last Jedi is actually about something really, really important.

And it’s going to lay the groundwork to get us there…

3.

I was having a conversation after the film and it was largely about the methodology of filmmaking. One person was talking about how they don’t like seeing the strings or feeling the manipulation of a film, which I get, and it’s often a popular criticism of filmmakers like Spielberg. But to me, andI probably expressed this a little too flippantly, I said “But that’s filmmaking.”

Filmmaking is always a construction. And what we feel or don’t feel in terms of that construction is purely the virtue of what we can actually sense as an individual. So for something to be “invisible” and for you to be “in it” is not necessarily a virtue of any filmmakers ability or the lack, but largely what we bring in our own way of seeing. In fact, it gets at the Catch 22 of movie-watching the more you can see of the construction, the less you can feel. Unless, you just learn to be cool with idea and get a sense of fluency. To that, when I say “the best cuts are invisible” I’m not arguing that I don’t actually see them and that that’s the only way I can experience the purity of movie watching (although sometimes it is). But that’s because my own vacant lack of awareness is not my end goal. I’m saying that it will largely be “invisible” for a popular audience (as are most filmmaking techniques), which is the very reason I tend to celebrate traditional functionalists because they’re the best at tapping into what a general audience brings to a movie. After all, there’s a reason Spielberg is also considered the best american filmmaker: he’s great at making you feel the thing he wants you to feel. Which is why a lot of young movie goers go through a phase of disliking him. They don’t want to be manipulated… but that’s what filmmaking always is… so you can see the complexity of all this, no?

Anyway, the point is actually that beyond the artifice, it is actually the pure story level that makes things meaningful and last. For all his kinetic stylization, I still think Johnson’s just a traditional formalist under all of it (I wrote extensively about his work years and years ago and it’s mostly in there). And in this movie I felt so much of the rigorous work. It’s all set-ups and pay-offs. The opening bomber sequence is stacked with clarity, geography, and pure function. Same go for the army of slowly creeping dread sequences that follow. All of which are build on direct storytelling function. Poe’s arc vs. Laura Dern’s characterization is a prime example. The way the film plays with audience expectations with her is never a “ta-da! surprised you, didn’t I!?” It’s what most good turns do in that they make you slap your forehead and go “of course!” Poe’s mutiny was always misguided, him repeating the mistakes of the past. And so the narrative turn played right into his arc beautifully. And holy hell, does she get a triumphant moment as a result… the silent cut.

But perhaps there is no functional moment quite like the ending show-stopper with Luke. And as a quick aside, we finally got the Mark Hamill performance that HE always deserved to get to show US. I have no eloquent words for it. His version of Luke in this film is just incredible. A culmination of humor and love and friendship and so much more that went beyond the pale of mere posturing. But it’s all built off grounded story function. Because it has to earn so much of the real biggest mystery presented in the last film and that’s WHY, why would Luke ever do this and run away? The answer, and then the films answer to that answer, is one of the most brilliant last lessons that the Star Wars universe has yet to give: and that is the acceptance of / and learning from failure. And it’s all built up into a crystalline moment of teaching both from an old friend in Yoda, and then what he has to give forward. My audience was practically hovering three feet above their chairs for “see around kid.” But at the core of Luke’s arc, at the core of everything in this movie, is the most important message of all…

4.

“Fuck Skywalkers.”

My friend said this in a conversation a long time ago. And he didn’t mean it about the characters themselves, nor what they meant to him. He meant it in the sense of the Star Wars series’ focus on lineage and the way some all powerful family who are the most powerful force users who basically controlled the fate of galaxy was… super gross. And he’s right, quite frankly. Because it’s everything I hate about the notion of ‘destiny” and “why I’m destined to be a hero!” bullshit. That psychology only leads you to the kind of place where you are the asshole kid screaming DO YOU KNOW WHO MY FATHER IS!?!?! at night clubs. And as this series has gone on and on, it has fed more and more into that thinking. So it would always this deep fear in me that in the return to the galaxy far far away, the new trilogy would get sucked back into that thematic toxicity.

But in TFA, we actually got a nice self-aware version of that with Kylo where it saw the juvenile villainy in such bloodline thinking (he is absolutely my favorite part of that film, btw). But I still always dreaded it with Rey parentage angle and fan theorying, etc: “Is she secretly Luke’s kid, etc!?!?” Is this just going to be more stories about Skywalkers and the children of all-powerful Jedi and Sith and how they’re the only ones that matter? And so in the moments of The Last Jedi that led up to the confrontation with Snoke, I’ll admit it… I fell for the feint. I thought there was going to be Lord Snoke “I am your father” moment. Why? Well, because that’s the what gets nicely set up in the scene before with Kylo’s feint of “I know who you parents are”… but nope, the lightsaber literally goes sideways and it’s another “OF COURSE!!!” reaction that rings out in my brain, because it all says it so clearly. Especially in their scene after: Kylo just wants to burn it all down with him atop the totem pole. And Rey, she’s just a kid whose parents sold her away for nothing… a meaningless child who therefore needs to share her place among those destined to be great, in order to be great… That kinda gross regal thinking sound familiar?

But Rey won’t do it. She would never. I actually ended up arguing with some folks about the “disappointing” nature of this reveal, but to me it was the only reveal that could actually mean anything in this story. Because she’s not “just” anything. Which is actually everything. For she and Rose and so many others are everything important about this movie. They are people who aren’t the sons of daughters of legends. People who have their own lives and wants, but they are people who have been discarded and stepped on and put under a system of unbearable weight. But from those leanings, there’s nothing that makes them any less capable of the force, any less a jedi, any less powerful…

And anything less than a Skywalker.



5.

You can argue the one “dalliance” of the film is the action on what I’ll be too lazy to google and just call “Monte Carlo planet.” But it’s also the most thematically important because it’s where the entire Skywalker point made above comes into focus. No, not just in the clear criticism of high society and war profiteering, but deeper within the sights of nameless young children who are put under the thumb of the world. And who, within them so innately carry the understanding of the horrors of that world, and thus so tangibly know the simple, inescapable ways for it to be better. And so, within that simple, final speech about what really matters in this big old universe that we share, it’s not about Skywalkers or whose bloodline is most powerful or whose dad can beat up your dad… it’s about that equally simple, final image.

A young child cleaning a stable.

Who dreams of being more.

The force belongs to them, too.

And so it belongs to us.


Damn I needed to see this , excellent review.
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Postby jaredfromsubway » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:17 pm

Just watched it. It had its flaws, but it was entertaining.
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Postby dwh_87 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:25 pm

They should of had a Billy Dee Williams cameo on Canto Bight.
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Postby Alex 2K » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:32 pm

Should they've?
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Postby vtbte » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:39 pm

Spider Jerusalem wrote:this review nails it.

https://filmcrithulk.blog/2017/12/15/the-force-belongs-to-us-the-last-jedis-beautiful-refocusing-of-star-wars/

Spoiler: show
1.

Okay. I wasn’t going to write anything for one simple reason: I know way too many of the Johnson clan at this point for this to be anything but biased blatherings. So there it is. I have no idea what to do with this hope-diamond-sized-grain of salt. Feel free to literally disagree with all I say and proclaim my bias for all to see. It’s deserving. All I can say is I knew literally nothing about THE LAST JEDI going in. And if I didn’t like it, I probably would have been very quiet about it. But then a thing happened that only happens when your brain is caught on fire by a lovely movie… I couldn’t stop talking about it. And suddenly I was talking with people who had some different reactions, but also complex ones. And in those discussions I found that there was nothing less at stake then the entire meaning of STAR WARS all together… So let’s get spoilery and into this shit, shall we?

2.

I’ve made my feelings about The Force Awakens quite clear before. To sum them up, I think J.J. has always been a talented filmmaker with an incredible casting eye, quite adept at imbuing a given moment with energy and emotion, but it’s always just that: a moment. There’s never a larger context. Carol Markus will scream as her father dies then the entire movie will go on as if it never happened. It’s all bits of affectation that excite and delight, and as far as meaning goes, it’s all promise and deep questions and lingering intrigue that pull you in deep, deep, deep… but, you know, never amount to anything. And it’s not that the “answers” are bad, it’s just that they were never set up to be meaningfully answered in the first place. That’s the mystery box. That’s literally the design. He doesn’t think it matters what’s inside as long as he makes you think it’s important. He’s literally said this. And that’s what it’s always been. It’s a grift. A con. A charming way of storytelling that whispers sweet nothings in your ear and is out the window before you wake up. And in making a Episode 7, I was hoping he’d cast it aside, and in some ways he did, and in some ways doubled down on some of his worst story habits of “momentary effect” over building to a coherent point. And the lack of that point is all symbolized in that final moment, Rey standing there to hand a lightsaber to Luke. It’s not a story beat. It’s not really anything. Just someone waiting to hand a baton to someone who can figure out a way to have any of this make a lick of sense.

There’s a reason this movie begins with Luke throwing it off a cliff.

In fact there’s a number of moments in the film that seem like direct refutations to the mystery box questions that were vaguely teased as maybe kinda sorta being deeply important. Why did we think they were? Because destiny! Because Skywalkers! Because Luke I am your father! Because mysteries and answers! And so for two years the internet does what they always do with J.J. and trying to solve the unsolvable questions that were never meant to be answered in the first place. So for two years they’ve been speculating about Rey’s parentage, or Snoke’s origins, or the Knights of Ren, etc. And what does the film do in response? It definitively takes those mystery box questions and throws them off the literal and proverbial cliff. Sometimes it’s done in a funny way, sometimes in an incredulous way, but it’s always in purposeful way. Because in the end, The Last Jedi is actually about something really, really important.

And it’s going to lay the groundwork to get us there…

3.

I was having a conversation after the film and it was largely about the methodology of filmmaking. One person was talking about how they don’t like seeing the strings or feeling the manipulation of a film, which I get, and it’s often a popular criticism of filmmakers like Spielberg. But to me, andI probably expressed this a little too flippantly, I said “But that’s filmmaking.”

Filmmaking is always a construction. And what we feel or don’t feel in terms of that construction is purely the virtue of what we can actually sense as an individual. So for something to be “invisible” and for you to be “in it” is not necessarily a virtue of any filmmakers ability or the lack, but largely what we bring in our own way of seeing. In fact, it gets at the Catch 22 of movie-watching the more you can see of the construction, the less you can feel. Unless, you just learn to be cool with idea and get a sense of fluency. To that, when I say “the best cuts are invisible” I’m not arguing that I don’t actually see them and that that’s the only way I can experience the purity of movie watching (although sometimes it is). But that’s because my own vacant lack of awareness is not my end goal. I’m saying that it will largely be “invisible” for a popular audience (as are most filmmaking techniques), which is the very reason I tend to celebrate traditional functionalists because they’re the best at tapping into what a general audience brings to a movie. After all, there’s a reason Spielberg is also considered the best american filmmaker: he’s great at making you feel the thing he wants you to feel. Which is why a lot of young movie goers go through a phase of disliking him. They don’t want to be manipulated… but that’s what filmmaking always is… so you can see the complexity of all this, no?

Anyway, the point is actually that beyond the artifice, it is actually the pure story level that makes things meaningful and last. For all his kinetic stylization, I still think Johnson’s just a traditional formalist under all of it (I wrote extensively about his work years and years ago and it’s mostly in there). And in this movie I felt so much of the rigorous work. It’s all set-ups and pay-offs. The opening bomber sequence is stacked with clarity, geography, and pure function. Same go for the army of slowly creeping dread sequences that follow. All of which are build on direct storytelling function. Poe’s arc vs. Laura Dern’s characterization is a prime example. The way the film plays with audience expectations with her is never a “ta-da! surprised you, didn’t I!?” It’s what most good turns do in that they make you slap your forehead and go “of course!” Poe’s mutiny was always misguided, him repeating the mistakes of the past. And so the narrative turn played right into his arc beautifully. And holy hell, does she get a triumphant moment as a result… the silent cut.

But perhaps there is no functional moment quite like the ending show-stopper with Luke. And as a quick aside, we finally got the Mark Hamill performance that HE always deserved to get to show US. I have no eloquent words for it. His version of Luke in this film is just incredible. A culmination of humor and love and friendship and so much more that went beyond the pale of mere posturing. But it’s all built off grounded story function. Because it has to earn so much of the real biggest mystery presented in the last film and that’s WHY, why would Luke ever do this and run away? The answer, and then the films answer to that answer, is one of the most brilliant last lessons that the Star Wars universe has yet to give: and that is the acceptance of / and learning from failure. And it’s all built up into a crystalline moment of teaching both from an old friend in Yoda, and then what he has to give forward. My audience was practically hovering three feet above their chairs for “see around kid.” But at the core of Luke’s arc, at the core of everything in this movie, is the most important message of all…

4.

“Fuck Skywalkers.”

My friend said this in a conversation a long time ago. And he didn’t mean it about the characters themselves, nor what they meant to him. He meant it in the sense of the Star Wars series’ focus on lineage and the way some all powerful family who are the most powerful force users who basically controlled the fate of galaxy was… super gross. And he’s right, quite frankly. Because it’s everything I hate about the notion of ‘destiny” and “why I’m destined to be a hero!” bullshit. That psychology only leads you to the kind of place where you are the asshole kid screaming DO YOU KNOW WHO MY FATHER IS!?!?! at night clubs. And as this series has gone on and on, it has fed more and more into that thinking. So it would always this deep fear in me that in the return to the galaxy far far away, the new trilogy would get sucked back into that thematic toxicity.

But in TFA, we actually got a nice self-aware version of that with Kylo where it saw the juvenile villainy in such bloodline thinking (he is absolutely my favorite part of that film, btw). But I still always dreaded it with Rey parentage angle and fan theorying, etc: “Is she secretly Luke’s kid, etc!?!?” Is this just going to be more stories about Skywalkers and the children of all-powerful Jedi and Sith and how they’re the only ones that matter? And so in the moments of The Last Jedi that led up to the confrontation with Snoke, I’ll admit it… I fell for the feint. I thought there was going to be Lord Snoke “I am your father” moment. Why? Well, because that’s the what gets nicely set up in the scene before with Kylo’s feint of “I know who you parents are”… but nope, the lightsaber literally goes sideways and it’s another “OF COURSE!!!” reaction that rings out in my brain, because it all says it so clearly. Especially in their scene after: Kylo just wants to burn it all down with him atop the totem pole. And Rey, she’s just a kid whose parents sold her away for nothing… a meaningless child who therefore needs to share her place among those destined to be great, in order to be great… That kinda gross regal thinking sound familiar?

But Rey won’t do it. She would never. I actually ended up arguing with some folks about the “disappointing” nature of this reveal, but to me it was the only reveal that could actually mean anything in this story. Because she’s not “just” anything. Which is actually everything. For she and Rose and so many others are everything important about this movie. They are people who aren’t the sons of daughters of legends. People who have their own lives and wants, but they are people who have been discarded and stepped on and put under a system of unbearable weight. But from those leanings, there’s nothing that makes them any less capable of the force, any less a jedi, any less powerful…

And anything less than a Skywalker.



5.

You can argue the one “dalliance” of the film is the action on what I’ll be too lazy to google and just call “Monte Carlo planet.” But it’s also the most thematically important because it’s where the entire Skywalker point made above comes into focus. No, not just in the clear criticism of high society and war profiteering, but deeper within the sights of nameless young children who are put under the thumb of the world. And who, within them so innately carry the understanding of the horrors of that world, and thus so tangibly know the simple, inescapable ways for it to be better. And so, within that simple, final speech about what really matters in this big old universe that we share, it’s not about Skywalkers or whose bloodline is most powerful or whose dad can beat up your dad… it’s about that equally simple, final image.

A young child cleaning a stable.

Who dreams of being more.

The force belongs to them, too.

And so it belongs to us.


:smt038 :smt038 :smt038

I absolutely loved this movie and this review does a great job of articulating why.
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Postby ButtDan316 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:40 pm

This was the first Disney Star Wars movies that feels like a Star Wars movie made by Disney. I read something saying that the director was going to change the formula for Star Wars but nothing w.r.t. plot, character, or theme was different. Everything just had way too much CG and way more forced merchandising opportunities.
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Postby flask1203 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:26 pm

I loved it and only have minor complaints. Most of them are related to the casino portion. But my favorite thing is that they they casually throw a lot of mysteries and build up out the window. Luke just tossing his saber aside at the beginning pretty much summed it up. I think that review a few posts up perfectly articulates my feelings.

*edit*
Damn I’m on a new page.
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Postby Alex 2K » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:33 pm

I think I'm actually coming around on Super Leia.



Milk tit was still dumb though.
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Postby My Tummy is Full » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:33 pm

My only remaining question is why Kylo had such a strong reaction to hearing about “a girl” in TFA if Rey is who he said she was.
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Postby Disrupticon- » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:34 pm

Not the best Star Wars movie, but the best looking SW to be sure. Flawed, and if you're expecting a huge climax you'll be disappointed.

Rey and Kylo were a lot better this time around but the movie is driven primarily by Hamill.
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Postby Alex 2K » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:55 pm

My Tummy is Full wrote:My only remaining question is why Kylo had such a strong reaction to hearing about “a girl” in TFA if Rey is who he said she was.

Abrams tryna be slick.
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Postby turd burglar » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:05 pm

how hasnt anyone else mentioned yoda??
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Postby turd burglar » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:06 pm

about to go see it again, i hope i can come to terms with lukes final outcome more ugh idk if i ever will

gonna nap during lamas
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Postby Killedbyschool » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:38 pm

Spider Jerusalem wrote:this review nails it.

https://filmcrithulk.blog/2017/12/15/the-force-belongs-to-us-the-last-jedis-beautiful-refocusing-of-star-wars/

Spoiler: show
1.

Okay. I wasn’t going to write anything for one simple reason: I know way too many of the Johnson clan at this point for this to be anything but biased blatherings. So there it is. I have no idea what to do with this hope-diamond-sized-grain of salt. Feel free to literally disagree with all I say and proclaim my bias for all to see. It’s deserving. All I can say is I knew literally nothing about THE LAST JEDI going in. And if I didn’t like it, I probably would have been very quiet about it. But then a thing happened that only happens when your brain is caught on fire by a lovely movie… I couldn’t stop talking about it. And suddenly I was talking with people who had some different reactions, but also complex ones. And in those discussions I found that there was nothing less at stake then the entire meaning of STAR WARS all together… So let’s get spoilery and into this shit, shall we?

2.

I’ve made my feelings about The Force Awakens quite clear before. To sum them up, I think J.J. has always been a talented filmmaker with an incredible casting eye, quite adept at imbuing a given moment with energy and emotion, but it’s always just that: a moment. There’s never a larger context. Carol Markus will scream as her father dies then the entire movie will go on as if it never happened. It’s all bits of affectation that excite and delight, and as far as meaning goes, it’s all promise and deep questions and lingering intrigue that pull you in deep, deep, deep… but, you know, never amount to anything. And it’s not that the “answers” are bad, it’s just that they were never set up to be meaningfully answered in the first place. That’s the mystery box. That’s literally the design. He doesn’t think it matters what’s inside as long as he makes you think it’s important. He’s literally said this. And that’s what it’s always been. It’s a grift. A con. A charming way of storytelling that whispers sweet nothings in your ear and is out the window before you wake up. And in making a Episode 7, I was hoping he’d cast it aside, and in some ways he did, and in some ways doubled down on some of his worst story habits of “momentary effect” over building to a coherent point. And the lack of that point is all symbolized in that final moment, Rey standing there to hand a lightsaber to Luke. It’s not a story beat. It’s not really anything. Just someone waiting to hand a baton to someone who can figure out a way to have any of this make a lick of sense.

There’s a reason this movie begins with Luke throwing it off a cliff.

In fact there’s a number of moments in the film that seem like direct refutations to the mystery box questions that were vaguely teased as maybe kinda sorta being deeply important. Why did we think they were? Because destiny! Because Skywalkers! Because Luke I am your father! Because mysteries and answers! And so for two years the internet does what they always do with J.J. and trying to solve the unsolvable questions that were never meant to be answered in the first place. So for two years they’ve been speculating about Rey’s parentage, or Snoke’s origins, or the Knights of Ren, etc. And what does the film do in response? It definitively takes those mystery box questions and throws them off the literal and proverbial cliff. Sometimes it’s done in a funny way, sometimes in an incredulous way, but it’s always in purposeful way. Because in the end, The Last Jedi is actually about something really, really important.

And it’s going to lay the groundwork to get us there…

3.

I was having a conversation after the film and it was largely about the methodology of filmmaking. One person was talking about how they don’t like seeing the strings or feeling the manipulation of a film, which I get, and it’s often a popular criticism of filmmakers like Spielberg. But to me, andI probably expressed this a little too flippantly, I said “But that’s filmmaking.”

Filmmaking is always a construction. And what we feel or don’t feel in terms of that construction is purely the virtue of what we can actually sense as an individual. So for something to be “invisible” and for you to be “in it” is not necessarily a virtue of any filmmakers ability or the lack, but largely what we bring in our own way of seeing. In fact, it gets at the Catch 22 of movie-watching the more you can see of the construction, the less you can feel. Unless, you just learn to be cool with idea and get a sense of fluency. To that, when I say “the best cuts are invisible” I’m not arguing that I don’t actually see them and that that’s the only way I can experience the purity of movie watching (although sometimes it is). But that’s because my own vacant lack of awareness is not my end goal. I’m saying that it will largely be “invisible” for a popular audience (as are most filmmaking techniques), which is the very reason I tend to celebrate traditional functionalists because they’re the best at tapping into what a general audience brings to a movie. After all, there’s a reason Spielberg is also considered the best american filmmaker: he’s great at making you feel the thing he wants you to feel. Which is why a lot of young movie goers go through a phase of disliking him. They don’t want to be manipulated… but that’s what filmmaking always is… so you can see the complexity of all this, no?

Anyway, the point is actually that beyond the artifice, it is actually the pure story level that makes things meaningful and last. For all his kinetic stylization, I still think Johnson’s just a traditional formalist under all of it (I wrote extensively about his work years and years ago and it’s mostly in there). And in this movie I felt so much of the rigorous work. It’s all set-ups and pay-offs. The opening bomber sequence is stacked with clarity, geography, and pure function. Same go for the army of slowly creeping dread sequences that follow. All of which are build on direct storytelling function. Poe’s arc vs. Laura Dern’s characterization is a prime example. The way the film plays with audience expectations with her is never a “ta-da! surprised you, didn’t I!?” It’s what most good turns do in that they make you slap your forehead and go “of course!” Poe’s mutiny was always misguided, him repeating the mistakes of the past. And so the narrative turn played right into his arc beautifully. And holy hell, does she get a triumphant moment as a result… the silent cut.

But perhaps there is no functional moment quite like the ending show-stopper with Luke. And as a quick aside, we finally got the Mark Hamill performance that HE always deserved to get to show US. I have no eloquent words for it. His version of Luke in this film is just incredible. A culmination of humor and love and friendship and so much more that went beyond the pale of mere posturing. But it’s all built off grounded story function. Because it has to earn so much of the real biggest mystery presented in the last film and that’s WHY, why would Luke ever do this and run away? The answer, and then the films answer to that answer, is one of the most brilliant last lessons that the Star Wars universe has yet to give: and that is the acceptance of / and learning from failure. And it’s all built up into a crystalline moment of teaching both from an old friend in Yoda, and then what he has to give forward. My audience was practically hovering three feet above their chairs for “see around kid.” But at the core of Luke’s arc, at the core of everything in this movie, is the most important message of all…

4.

“Fuck Skywalkers.”

My friend said this in a conversation a long time ago. And he didn’t mean it about the characters themselves, nor what they meant to him. He meant it in the sense of the Star Wars series’ focus on lineage and the way some all powerful family who are the most powerful force users who basically controlled the fate of galaxy was… super gross. And he’s right, quite frankly. Because it’s everything I hate about the notion of ‘destiny” and “why I’m destined to be a hero!” bullshit. That psychology only leads you to the kind of place where you are the asshole kid screaming DO YOU KNOW WHO MY FATHER IS!?!?! at night clubs. And as this series has gone on and on, it has fed more and more into that thinking. So it would always this deep fear in me that in the return to the galaxy far far away, the new trilogy would get sucked back into that thematic toxicity.

But in TFA, we actually got a nice self-aware version of that with Kylo where it saw the juvenile villainy in such bloodline thinking (he is absolutely my favorite part of that film, btw). But I still always dreaded it with Rey parentage angle and fan theorying, etc: “Is she secretly Luke’s kid, etc!?!?” Is this just going to be more stories about Skywalkers and the children of all-powerful Jedi and Sith and how they’re the only ones that matter? And so in the moments of The Last Jedi that led up to the confrontation with Snoke, I’ll admit it… I fell for the feint. I thought there was going to be Lord Snoke “I am your father” moment. Why? Well, because that’s the what gets nicely set up in the scene before with Kylo’s feint of “I know who you parents are”… but nope, the lightsaber literally goes sideways and it’s another “OF COURSE!!!” reaction that rings out in my brain, because it all says it so clearly. Especially in their scene after: Kylo just wants to burn it all down with him atop the totem pole. And Rey, she’s just a kid whose parents sold her away for nothing… a meaningless child who therefore needs to share her place among those destined to be great, in order to be great… That kinda gross regal thinking sound familiar?

But Rey won’t do it. She would never. I actually ended up arguing with some folks about the “disappointing” nature of this reveal, but to me it was the only reveal that could actually mean anything in this story. Because she’s not “just” anything. Which is actually everything. For she and Rose and so many others are everything important about this movie. They are people who aren’t the sons of daughters of legends. People who have their own lives and wants, but they are people who have been discarded and stepped on and put under a system of unbearable weight. But from those leanings, there’s nothing that makes them any less capable of the force, any less a jedi, any less powerful…

And anything less than a Skywalker.



5.

You can argue the one “dalliance” of the film is the action on what I’ll be too lazy to google and just call “Monte Carlo planet.” But it’s also the most thematically important because it’s where the entire Skywalker point made above comes into focus. No, not just in the clear criticism of high society and war profiteering, but deeper within the sights of nameless young children who are put under the thumb of the world. And who, within them so innately carry the understanding of the horrors of that world, and thus so tangibly know the simple, inescapable ways for it to be better. And so, within that simple, final speech about what really matters in this big old universe that we share, it’s not about Skywalkers or whose bloodline is most powerful or whose dad can beat up your dad… it’s about that equally simple, final image.

A young child cleaning a stable.

Who dreams of being more.

The force belongs to them, too.

And so it belongs to us.


There is no need for me to write my review because this literally says what I wanted to say in a much more articulate way.
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Postby Alex 2K » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:47 pm

I can see "fans" being upset with the Luke stuff and cowing about how this is supposed to be a series about the Skywalkers.....well, this is the bookend trilogy. It's not an ending if it doesn't actually end.
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Postby Killedbyschool » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:51 pm

I think the Canto Bight stuff was some of the most important world building in the new series so far. It served the purpose of expanding our view of the Galaxy which has been Lazer focused on the Skywalkers, and also toyed with the narrative of the secret spy mission to disable the thing that allows the heroes to do the thing that the bad guys were never expecting. Our heroes failed. Because failure, an excellent teacher is.
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Postby CK3count » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:54 pm

Spoiler: show
It seems like a lot of people missed the kid at the end using the force to get the broom. That’s pretty huge for someone that young to already be a force user.
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Postby ButtDan316 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:00 pm

CK3count wrote:
Spoiler: show
It seems like a lot of people missed the kid at the end using the force to get the broom. That’s pretty huge for someone that young to already be a force user.


Spoiler: show
I missed that, it actually brings my opinion of the movie up quite a bit. It just looked like a scene to sell a toy.
Where I was hoping they were going with the name The Last Jedi was a democratizing of the "use" of the force but it really didn't seem they were going that way. The ending just seemed like there is still the select few who can wield the force, they're just not called Jedi/Sith anymore, but one group uses it for bad and the other good.
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Postby Sernogath » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:16 pm

rewatching the force awakens now and the quality between the two is vast
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Postby Alex 2K » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:20 pm

ButtDan316 wrote:
CK3count wrote:
Spoiler: show
It seems like a lot of people missed the kid at the end using the force to get the broom. That’s pretty huge for someone that young to already be a force user.


Spoiler: show
I missed that, it actually brings my opinion of the movie up quite a bit. It just looked like a scene to sell a toy.
Where I was hoping they were going with the name The Last Jedi was a democratizing of the "use" of the force but it really didn't seem they were going that way. The ending just seemed like there is still the select few who can wield the force, they're just not called Jedi/Sith anymore, but one group uses it for bad and the other good.

Me when I noticed kid did that:


Image
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Postby Alex 2K » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:23 pm

Also other people audibly gasped lol
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Postby ChangexofxIdeas » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:26 pm

THIS KOVIE DIDNT OPEN THE FORCE UP TO EVERYONE THAT HAS BEEN THE PREMISE FOR A LONG TIME. THE SKYWALKERS AS A LEGACY ARE THE EXCEPTION NOT THE RULE.


And by everyone that means not everyone, but the potential for force sensitivity isn’t necessarily passed along bloodlines, which is why the Jedi recruited children from all over. Not saying hereditary proclivity wasn’t a thing, that was established in Return, but it was definitely not exclusive to that.
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Postby Alex 2K » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:35 pm

Sure. I understand that. The majority of the general audience prob doesn't.


What just kinda clicked with me is that a ton of stuff in this movie (some of it what people will be/are upset with), along the lines of "opening up" the Force, is in service of the Star Wars Universe. TFA set up the new trilogy and TLJ brushed a lot of that aside. This was the first step in fully opening up the possibilities of all they're going to be doing as they release one or more new SW movies a year.
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Postby ChangexofxIdeas » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:37 pm

Sorry, that wasn’t directed at you but a lot of these reviews/thinkpieces are acting like this is a revolutionary twist.
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Postby Orbiter » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:03 pm

loved it
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Postby My Tummy is Full » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:41 pm

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Postby shadysands » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:15 pm

Just came out from the movie about an hour ago. I really want to like it but my initial reaction when the movie ended was meh:

Spoiler: show
- Nothing was learned about Snoke. Yeah, I know, we would've still known nothing about Palpatine had it not been for the prequels, but learning nothing further about this flashy and enigmatic character was still disappointing.
- No character development for Finn. I get it, his character knows the ins and outs of a star destroyer and that pocket pussy battering ram.
- No character development for Maz Kanata. Did not care for the character in the TFA, but I was open to learning more.
- No development on Knights of Ren. Sure, let's get a 5 second flashback on some badass looking dudes and never bring them up again.
- I could've done without the casino bit. I'm sure they were going for the Mos Eisley Cantina paralleI but it instead felt like I was watching Harry Potter again and entering Gringotts.
- The humor felt forced, cliche, and too frequent.
- Leia drifting into space then using the force to save herself was fucking hokey.

Edit: Luke projecting himself was really fucking cool.


I went in overhyped. Will definitely go see it again and hope it grows on me.
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Postby Sernogath » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:37 pm

i agree with pretty much all of the sentiments there and then some ^
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Postby _shiv_ » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:58 pm

The fan nitpicking over this movie is absurd

I've been into Star Wars since I knew what movies were and The Last Jedi moved me in ways no SW has since ROTJ

I don't give a fuck about what some nerd thinks a character would or wouldn't do

I know this shit like the back of my hand too, and the movie worked for me, and I was glad it went places I would never expect, and that even made me uncomfortable. That's what I've been wanting.

So yeah 10/10 you're probably a bitch if you hate it
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Postby shadysands » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:08 pm

This fucking guy....
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