23. STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI (dir. Ryan Johnson, 2017). Is this still a controversial film? Wildly acclaimed in its opening week as another example of why the new trilogy was light years (sorry) better that Lucas’ pretty turgid prequels, now it seems to attract nitpicking more than admiration. Apparently the casino sequence is weird and pointless, Snoke isn’t developed enough, Mark Hamill’s portrayal as Luke doesn’t match his previous characterisation in the original trilogy and the film, as a whole, is probably too long. But as usual, I rarely agree with fans of major series in actually appreciating and being moved by the most controversial addition to the new films; that Rey is no-one of consequence and whose cosmically insignificant parents abandoned her. In fact, that revelation is probably my favourite scene of the film - a nice little comment on how heroism isn’t always preordained by the Gods or fate or whatever. And similarly, it enables us to see how capable Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley are as actors (they weren’t just cast for their pretty faces and ability to look good in a lightsaber duel). I’ve seen the film twice now and probably enjoyed it more the second time, you can appreciate how delicate it is getting the right balance of plot, character, mythology and artistry (the use of the colour red is as emotionally impactful as it is visually stunning). If it isn’t everyone’s idea of a great Star Wars film, that’s fine (and to be honest, the more dragged out the series is, the more upset people are going to get that the films don’t match their personal vision of what Star Wars ‘is’). But it made me, someone who never really ‘got’ the whole Star Wars thing, want to see the next one. And really, isn’t that the whole point?
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