My favorite film when I was a child was The Empire Strikes Back. The first Star Wars film was kind of a bore and Return of The Jedi didn’t capture my imagination in the same way. When I got Shadows of The Empire on The Nintendo 64, I played the heck out of it, replying several of the missions just for the pure joy of it. The Prequal Trilogy happened, and I thought those films were fine.
My father, who banned me from watching The Empire Strikes Back every day, remarked how I fell asleep watching The Phantom Menace. My feelings on these films have changed throughout the years. At first, I thought they were fine, but by the time I had gotten into watching films that aired on TCM I began to think they were bad. A few years ago, I gave these films another rewatch and concluded that they’re a mixed bag. I think what helped me get to this point is seeing terrible movies, like Plan 9 From Outer Space for example. While The Prequal Trilogy has terrible writing, I don’t find them boring and there’s plenty of interesting ideas.
I was excited for The Force Awakens and I felt that was a film I needed to see in theater. While I certainly enjoyed the film, I was annoyed that the filmmakers decided to use an old plot device of the bad guys having the ability to destroy planets. It didn’t help that to get myself ready for the film that I watched all the 6 prior entries before it. If you did a marathon of these films the problem of the bad guys having and using a planet destroying weapon would be part of the main story in A New Hope, Return of The Jedi and The Force Awakens. And that’s skipping over feature films like Rouge One.
I’m not saying you can never do a Death Star, but there’s a lot more to Star Wars than that. Honestly The Force Awakens made me appreciate The Prequal Trilogy, even though they’re not the greatest films George Lucas wanted to do something different. This being different is what I appreciate about The Last Jedi. While The Last Jedi is far from a perfect film it presents something different for the audience.
It’s strange that a kid would have been barred from watching The Empire Strikes Back every day, only for him to grow up and not even care to watch this supposed last entry of The Skywalker Saga until 3 years after it came out. Part of the problem was Disney’s attempt to keep pumping out Star Wars films like The MCU does, but without the quality. This new film has all the old characters we loved, but gives us no reason to care. It’s great to see Lando again but to do nothing? I guess thanks for stopping by. To have a good film you need more than the good will built up in the pervious films from decades ago.
The greatest example of leaning heavily on what fans like from the past is bringing back Emperor Palpatine. He clearly died in Return of The Jedi and bringing him back though some convoluted cloning process didn’t work. A main issue with this film is there’s no consequences to anything, so much so to that this film ruins the older films. Why should Darth Vader’s redemption mean anything if he didn’t actually kill Palpatine? Heck in The Last Jedi Kylo Ren destroyed his helmet and that ended up being on a starship that was destroyed, but just like Palpatine the helmet came back… but why?
I tried to like this film, there’s certainly cool moments. When Rey was exploring The Death Star, I thought it was such a cool scene. The lightsaber battle that followed with those gigantic waves was a fun idea. As stupid as it was a cavalry boarding a Star Destroyer was awesome. It all falls apart though when the filmmakers not only did nothing to make us care, but they also really sucked the tension out of everything. CP30 sacrificing his memory to help his friends should have been a huge moment in the franchise, on the level of Spock sacrificing his life to save his friends in the second Star Trek film. But I guess the fans had to be sent home happy do R2D2 gave him his memory back. This also happened Rey, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, and even more characters that I don’t even remember. If there’s no stakes at all why should I care?
I gave the film a 3/10. It’s not a total wash but it’s not something I’m interested in seeing again. I’d be sad at the untapped potential of Star Wars, but we are getting the new shows on Disney+. While these might never be as good as the original trilogy, I think they’re a lot of fun. Honestly out of all the films Disney has made I wish Solo would have done better and something like that would have been a good direction for Star Wars. While not perfect the film is fun while exploring parts of The Star Wars Universe we hadn’t seen. Thankfully now we’re getting the TV shows for that.