Judging by way the box office records that have been tumbling in all directions, we are going to be seeing Son of Jedi, Granddaughter of Jedi, Jedi Until the Cows Come Home, Return of the Prodigal Jedi, Jedi as if there’s no tomorrow, you name it.
In The Hobbit, Bilbo complains to Gandalf that he feels ““thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” It’s an apt description of The Last Jedi.
When Rey (Daisy Ridley) tries to convince Luke Skywalker, played by an ageing Mark Hamill, to rejoin the battle against the forces of darkness, he is reluctant to join in.
You can understand why.
The Last Jedi is a rambling poorly coordinated travesty of what was once a great franchise. Hamill was well advised to stay in his stone hut. He only reappears in the later scenes as a hologram. A good decision.
The film opens with a battle scene but there is only so much you can do with battle scenes and this one even is a throwback to some good old WWII bomber sequences.
I know I am getting old. Perhaps I have have seen too many films
They’ve even named one of the First Order battle cruisers The Dreadnought after the British battleships first launched in 1906.
There are other references to the past.
One that I found particularly inexplicable was the cinematic reference to The Lord of the Rings and the battle between Gandalf and Saruman in second book of The Fellowship of the Ring. It is the scene where Kylo Ren has brought Rey before Supreme Leader Snoke and he is throwing her around the room much as Saruman does to Gandalf. Question is: Why? What is the point of making this reference? And how many people in the audience are going to recognise it?
There are other references to LOTR which I’m sure that Tolkein fans would have picked up.
It’s indicative of the way in which the franchise is running out of ideas, actors, characters and inspiration. There is none of the star quality of Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher at their best. Even the droids seem to have lost their lustre.
One of the things about the original films was that there were some tremendous characters but also some fabulous dynamics between them:
Han and Leia
Han and Chewy
Luke and Yoda
r2d2 and c3po
And Obi Wan and Darth Vader
There is simply no one left with the charisma or interest like these characters any longer.
Finn, General Hux, Maz Kanata, Poe Dameron, Rey, Supreme Leader Snoke, Captain Phasma and Kylo Ren are not a particularly interesting lot.
The ideas are running out as well. There’s only so much you can do with the battle for good and evil and Kylo Ren is no Darth Vader. And Alec Guinness is gone forever
And then there’s the plot. Now it’s worth defining what a plot is at this point to see why The Last Jedi is such an unsatisfying experience .
A plot is a story. Most films have one. The plot is a series of events held together by some logical causal sequence. In other words, one thing tends to cause another, often not directly but generally in some way that the audience can understand.
In your good old-fashioned, knock’em down, drag ’em out blockbuster, like The Last Jedi, this sequence needs to be pretty clear. The audience needs to know what’s happening and why. That’s what action movies are all about.
In the middle of this film, there is a long sequence where Finn and his sidekick, Rose, go off to find a code-breaker as some way of stopping the enemy fleet. It’s a long part of the middle of the film.
It’s meant to be part of the plot. But it’s not. It has no connection whatsoever to what has happened before or what happened afterwards. Partly because the mission fails.
But it’s worse than that. It’s a completely self-contained part of the film with no connection whatsoever either within itself or in relation to the rest of the film.
It’s just a series of unconnected events.
Finn leaves the rebel spaceship and somehow appears somewhere else in space, in a gambling casino. He winds up in jail when he fails to find a code breaker but coincidentally meets someone else who pretends to be a code broker. He then starts riding round on some fluffy animals. And then gets captured by General Hux, who get blown up. And then he gets back to the rebels and General Organa (Carrie Fisher, in her last Star Wars role).
You could take this entire sequence out of the film and it would make no difference whatsoever. In fact, it would improve it.
At the end of the film, Rey has used her Jedi powers help the rebels escape through a rabbit hole and we see a small child, picking up a broom as if it were a lightsaber and then sweeping some cobblestones and looking at the stars.