Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Last? Promise?

This weekend, The Last Jedi limped over the $600 million mark in domestic gross.  For any other film, this would be a great achievement--it's presently the sixth biggest grosser of all time.

But for the new Star Wars series, this is a disappointment.  Last Jedi opened huge but burned out fast.  The first of the Disney Star Wars, The Force Awakens, made $936 million.  Last Jedi will end up with about two-thirds that.

Fans couldn't wait to see it, but they had serious problems after they did.  I didn't hate it, but I certainly had my problems.  I could list quite a few, but here are my top five:

1)  What happened to Luke?

He started as an eager kid hoping to be a hero.  He later became a Jedi master.  And now he's a whiner.

Rey comes to his planet, Ahch-To (which sounds like spitting) to learn the Jedi way.  She finds Luke, who half the time acts like a jerk, the other half like a baby.

Then when we get to the big explanation for how he got this way, it turns out we were right--he's just a big whiner who, when things didn't go perfectly, took his ball and went home.  Imagine if the original Luke pouted the entire first film because he couldn't go to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.

Characters should grow over time, but Luke regressed.

2)  Everyone is too close.

Look how they did it in The Empire Strikes Back.  The Empire is hot on the trail of the Rebels.  They catch up to them and attack.  But the good guys manage to escape, though eventually the bad guys catch up again.  The cat and mouse aspect is fun.

Instead, The Last Jedi has good guys and bad guys who are, cosmically speaking, ten feet away from each other, engaged in a staring match for two and a half hours.

3)  Han Solo is dead.

Okay, this problem was bequeathed to The Last Jedi by the previous film. But Han was the best of the old characters, giving The Force Awakens a jolt of energy, so it wasn't easy to recover from his loss.

All the more reason not to have Luke spend most of the film licking his wounds while Leia spends most of her time in a coma.

4)  Everyone's got secret plans.

Poe sends some friends on a secret mission to disable a tracking device.  Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Holdo has her own secret plan to save the Resistance. If these people just sat down for a second to compare notes, maybe they could have come up with something.

By the way, neither plan really works. (Snoke also has a secret plan which fails ever worse.)

5)  The worthlessness of Captain Phasma.

I want my bad guys to be tough, so when you beat them it means something.  Instead, Captain Phasma, in charge of the storm troopers, can barely get out of her own way.

She captures Finn and Rose, but soon afterwards loses a fight and that's that.  (And why hire a well-known actress to play the role if we're not allowed to see her face?)

Bonus complaint.  As I noted in my 2017 film year in review, the great Admiral Ackbar is dispatched with even less ceremony than Bob Fett got in Return Of The Jedi.

Oh Ackbar, you should have known it was a trap.


Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Instead, The Last Jedi has good guys and the bad guys who are, cosmically speaking, ten feet away from each other, engaged in a staring match for two and a half hours.

For nearly the entire movie, the bad guys follow the good guys at a constant distance, waiting for the good guys to run out of gas.

Now, I might be able to forgive their ignorance of basic physics (when you run out of gas in space, you don't "stop"), since Star Wars never cared much for actual science. But this is inconsistent with every previous Star Wars movie, since it is based on the axiom that every space ship travels at the exact same speed as every other space whip.

Oh Ackbar, you should have known it was a trap.

I'm an old-time fan, but I only know who Ackbar is from Sheldon's impression of him on Big Bang Theory.

9:38 PM, January 21, 2018  
Blogger New England Guy said...

Too many stories and new characters many of which proved irrelevant. (Disclosure- I was never crazy about Lando as a new character though I quite liked Empire Strikes Back)

Also - what's up with Snoke- - this scary all-powerful villain in the background just starts to get a little interesting and then he gets smoked. I wanted to know more about him but I am not interested in learning in through backstory in the next episode

6:28 AM, January 22, 2018  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

One viewing was enough for me. My biggest disappointment was [Spoilers, obviously] that Rey and Kylo didn't team up after beating Snoke and his imperial guards. That would have created some interest, and I thought that was where the series was heading. The realization that light can't exist without dark, that it was futile (and counter-productive) for the Jedi to stamp put the Sith, and vice versa - we will always revert to the mean it seems.

So it would have made sense to have a 3rd movie where Kylo and Ren explore how they are supposed to co-exist. Now I guess the third movie will simply have the two sides fight and the light side of the force will win after a desperate struggle. Ho hum.

By the way, why were Snoke's guards fighting with Snoke lying there cut in half? Who were they serving. If anything, they should have hailed Kylo as their new leader, since Sith generally advance by killing their master.

9:15 AM, January 23, 2018  

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