Star Wars: The Last Jedi(2017) Review
Cast : Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Benicio del Toro
Director : Rian Johnson
Genre : Space Opera
Consider Me Conquered!
"She's never seen Star Wars? Ted, the only people in the universe who have never seen Star Wars are the characters in Star Wars and that's cause they lived them Ted, that's cause they lived the Star Wars." - Marshall[How I Met Your Mother]
I do remember the time when I first watched A New Hope, and to be honest, I couldn't quite figure out just what was the whole hysteria surrounding the mother of all film franchises. Having grown up in the era of Harry Potter and The Lord of The Rings(films), honestly, a fantasy universe containing the oddest of the odd looking creatures, conversing in a strange language didn't exactly appeal to my cinematic appetite. However, I can imagine that for the people who were born or old enough to enjoy movies around the late 70's and early 80's, they were witness to the making of a cultural phenomenon. To them, George Lucas' vision of a Galaxy far far away may have been the first conscious synthesisation of pop culture into myth. Imagine taking every element of pop culture and spreading them across the characters' arcs, in order to appeal to any young boy's ultimate fantasy. So Darth Vader is modeled on the lines of an evil samurai, the Jedi are a combination of samurai and wizards, the Stormtroopers resemble the fascist Nazis, Hans Solo is basically a galactic cowboy, and if there's a fantasy world, there's always got to be a princess somewhere.
I didn't like the latest Star Wars film, and no, I most certainly did not love it. I EXPERIENCED IT! I've said it time and again, and I'll say it now. Many a movie gets ruined by it's usage of CGI purely for spectacle, which isn't really a bad thing, but many makers make the mistake of relying only on CGI to make their film, storytelling be damned! Take the recent Justice League for example, a movie that was so confused with what it wanted show to its viewers in the first place. Thankfully, The Last Jedi does not adopt a similar route, instead opting to give us a mindblowing story of Shakespearean proportions, and at the same time, seamlessly blending the use of CGI and practical effects to give us space battles that can only be described as AWESOME!
To be honest, there's absolutely nothing original about the story. For one, there's an entire subplot that seems to be borrowed from Harry Potter, which I'll talk about more in the spoiler section. Themes of good vs evil, darkness & light in each of us, hope, rebellion, fascism, tyranny, death, love, family, and every other trick in the book is used by the film as a classic mythical template. But when told with such conviction, hey! Anything works.
Another problem that I have with recent franchise films is how underdeveloped the CGI created villains usually are. Which is exactly why I find Kylo Ren such a fascinating character. Conflicted between the love of his parents, and the desire to be seduced by the dark side of The Force, he is so beautifully complex. Adam Driver yet again shines in giving his character a rare vulnerability, which in itself is perhaps the most subversively terrifying thing in the new batch of Star Wars films. Rather than pure evil, Ren is something far more familiar: he is human. Just like all the real-life young men with minds clouded with fear, hate, and anger who commit unspeakable acts in our world every day, and yet, you sense that there is still a faint glimmer of Light present in him, best demonstrated by a moment of hesitation in one of the best parts of the film when about to destroy a ship that contains his mother.
Despite its overlong duration of 2 hours and thirty minutes, there's a lot going in favor of this one, including what is perhaps one of the best teacher-student lightsaber duels in cinema. Star Wars original star cast Carrie Fisher(in her final role, owing to her passing away in 2016) and Mark Hamill(career best performance) shine in their respective roles. John Williams' euphoric score stays with you long after the final frame. And Rian Johnson's direction assures you that The Force is indeed strong in his hands!
I'm going with 4/5.
Stray Observations[May CONTAIN SPOILERS!!] :
* RIP Carrie Fisher.
* Plenty of Harry Potter similarities. Rey and Kylo mentally conversing with each other feels reminiscent of a similar kind of connection established between Harry Potter and Voldemort in the books.
* Another Harry Potter connection. So many characters seem to believe that Kylo Ren still has some good in him. Even Harry Potter in the buildup to his final confrontation with Voldemort offered him the chance to come back to the good side.
* Yet another Harry Potter connection, both, Kylo Ren and Voldemort are characters who ended up killing their fathers.
* BB-8 is still the most adorable droid ever!