Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Considering that this movie franchise has been active for 40 years, it’s amazing to find something new and different in its content.
The characters are the same from the previous film The Force Awakens and the way they interact with their situations hasn’t changed, but the director has, and that’s made all the difference to me. Rian Johnson has taken his “Breaking Bad” experience and put it to good use.
Snoke’s Praetorian Guards
I don’t think I can remember a movie that has so much red in it. It put me in mind of the Roman Army, the Catholic Cardinals and the Devil himself. Interesting. But the clincher is the fact that the Praetorium Guards are designed to remind us of Japanese Samurai (Dragon Warriors).
This is what Roger Ebert wrote:
“the final battle, set on a salt planet whose flat white surfaces get ripped up to reveal shades of crimson. (Seen from a distance, the battlefield itself seems to be bleeding.)”
Even the posters remind you that this is a red-letter day.
May the Force Be with You (again and again)
You can tell when there is a bit of embarrassment in a certain phrase that needs to be repeated , but it now sounds like a cliché. It still gets said, but the awkwardness is imparted along with it. That happened several times in the film, sometimes with characters saying it to each other at the same time. (Of course, the audience never tires of repeating it themselves.)
The Force is strong in this one. That could also be said of Rey, the girl from nowhere special, who also embodies the Jedi spirit.
Luke’s instruction of Rey was so ‘on the money’. It didn’t turn out as he expected, but we knew what was coming because we’d watched the previous film. And I think some of the concepts have evolved since George Lucas introduced the idea in the first Star Wars film all those years ago.
We have been so indoctrinated into believing the myth of “Good vs Evil” that we forget that the Force is both. That’s why the constant reference to the Dark Side. The Dark Side of what? The Force!
The Last Jedi?
We know there is going to be an episode IX. So the story is far from over. There is even talk of yet another trilogy of films. Can it exist without a Jedi at its heart? I don’t think so. And the film gave us two wee clues.
(Look away if you don’t want me to spoil it for you.)
When Finn reaches into a storage drawer under the bed where a wounded Rose is laying, to get a blanket for her, we get a glimpse of the spines of several books, seemingly destroyed by Yoda in front of Luke when the Jedi Tree was burnt. Did we see that right? Could those be the Jedi teachings?
Then, the final scene shows a lone child looking out at the stars from his ‘meaningless’ life as a stable groom. This boy has been given one of the Resistance fighter’s rings. We see him finger it, revealing the Jedi Tree symbol, and then hiding it again. This is an echo of Luke Skywalker in the first film. So all is not lost.
Because the story is as old as time, Star Wars will run and run. And the lessons will continue to be taught to future generations.
I’ll leave you with the one that was shown in this film.
The “Codebreaker” steals a space ship. When they look to see who the owner was, they discover holographic images of war equipment. Initially, the images are those of the enemy’s planes and weaponry, and then some of their own.
The message is simple, but noteworthy: the only people who benefit from war are those supplying both sides. Everyone else loses.