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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 14.89%
Average: 8.51%
Pretty Bad: 4.26%
Total Crap: 23.4%

3 reviews, 29 user ratings

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Star Wars: Episode VIII : The Last Jedi
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Kill your heroes."
4 stars

So much happens in these new 'Star Wars' films, and at such a ferocious clip, you’d think Lucasfilm had enough material for another whole trilogy. (Many stand-alone “Star Wars stories” are planned, including 'Solo' in May.)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is also, at two hours and thirty-two minutes, the longest of the nine movies thus far, and deep into the second hour it can feel a little draining. There’s some stuff that feels extraneous (the whole Canto Bight sequence, which seems to exist to set up a new Lando-like character played by Benicio del Toro), and the cycle of attack and retreat — mostly retreat — gets a bit monotonous. But writer/director Rian Johnson pulls it together for the finale, unfolding on a planet with white salt coating red soil. The tracks of vehicles and feet scoring out crimson marks in the ground, as if slicing and drawing blood, has a poetry that matches the binary sunset of Tatooine, an image stirringly echoed here.

In The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) returns, only to tell us and his student Rey (Daisy Ridley) that he and everything he once stood for deserve to die. This is a real “there are no heroes” movie, although not in a nihilistic way. I was amused to see that Luke, all these years later, is excoriating himself for the hubris — the smugness, really — he showed in Return of the Jedi. Hero myths of the sort that fed Star Wars in the first place, we are informed, are lies. There are only flawed people (or aliens, whatever) trying to resist tyranny. Luke says to us, in effect, “You grew up looking up to me. You were wrong, but I was more wrong to accept that reverence. The fact is that I am a failure.” He’s wrong there, too — one of the movie’s gentler points is that someone who fails (meaning all of us) is not a failure. A failure is a failure, and victory proceeds by small and not always satisfying degrees.

The plot has what’s left of the Resistance, led by General Leia (Carrie Fisher in a moving swan song), running from the relentless forces of the First Order, led by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and his soul-divided apprentice Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), son of Leia and Han Solo, one-time student of Luke. There’s an awful lot of back and forth, people hopping into ships and revving off for here and there, a good amount of pew pew and lightsaber hum, but the meat of the movie is a young man torn between good and evil, a young woman who feels he can turn to the good side, and an old man who has been there, done that, and takes a lot of convincing that any of it means anything. Johnson and his team (cinematographer Steve Yedlin, editor Bob Ducsay) stage the action cleanly and sometimes with a cathartic swoop of exhilaration, but a good deal of it is the same pew pew and hum we’ve been seeing for forty years.

The currency here is the people. Hotshot pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) taunting First Order General Hux (“Hi, I’m holding for a General Hugs”) is a risky but gratifying way to open the movie; returning stormtrooper-turned-rebel Finn (John Boyega) and newcomer Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), zipping around trying to crack into a tracking device, make a fun team in perpetual motion. The Vietnamese-American Tran is one of many women and/or people of color taking their places at the foreground of these new Star Wars movies, upsetting racist fanboys but pleasing everyone else. A most welcome addition is Laura Dern as purple-haired Vice Admiral Holdo, whose command is gentle but firm — she bats away the indignation of hothead Poe without raising her voice. Whoever decided to bring the warmhearted, levelheaded Dern into the Star Wars universe deserves a good cigar.

Ultimately, The Last Jedi speaks for the strength of a united front against imperial aggression, and forget about elevating a few people to godhood — and that includes the villains, too. The final image leaves us with the assurance that young people tired of injustice will pick up the ball their elders dropped; the movie was filmed and released before the Parkland shooting and its subsequent students’ movement, but seems to anticipate it. The Star Wars universe is starting to mirror our own in that it is re-evaluating its holy trinity of heroes — Luke, Leia and Han — and advising their worshipers to look to themselves for rescue, redemption, and faith.

The Force (whose power no longer seems to depend on the “midichlorians” of George Lucas’ doofus prequels) shares with Zen Buddhism a cleansing disregard for icons (foreshadowed when Rey hands Luke his father’s lightsaber and he tosses it over his shoulder): If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

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originally posted: 04/03/18 08:08:53
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User Comments

12/21/19 WHAT A PILE OF DUNG Wow, Peter SOBczynski really looks like an arrogant fool on this one! 1 stars
5/29/18 Dane Walker Did Disney pay you to write a good review or did you give it a good review to find favor? 1 stars
5/22/18 OdyM Best of all of them! The Last Jedi Rules! 5 stars
5/18/18 wahid one word: garbage 1 stars
3/25/18 oz1701 its better than Atlantic Rim but it is tediously long 3 stars
2/26/18 The Lovelorn Ewok Quite simply, a masterpiece. Totally unimprovable perfection from first frame to last. 5 stars
2/14/18 the giver of the law One of THE most astounding pieces of film-making i`ve ever witnessed, totally amazing. 5 stars
2/05/18 Charles Tatum Perhaps the single most entertaining movie ever made. 5 stars
1/28/18 Suzanne The mental battle between Rey and Kylo Ren is mesmerizing. 5 stars
1/22/18 The Big D The Force has fizzled--seems dated today. Meanwhile, Star Trek TOS is as good as ever. 1 stars
1/22/18 Jeff Utterly worthless. A pile of garbage. The revenge of George Lucas. 1 stars
1/06/18 Armando Guillermo Del Toro directed The Shape of Water, not Benecio Del Toro. 4 stars
1/06/18 Mary Wilkes Truly amazing film-making, maybe the greatest movie of all-time ! ! !. 5 stars
1/04/18 Turner Efilmcritic has lost all credibility. This film is beyond bad 1 stars
12/26/17 Rich Brilliant!! 5 stars
12/24/17 teddy crescendo A stunning masterwork, quite astonishing, the best of the series so far. 5 stars
12/24/17 Jack The WORST of all the Star Wars movies. It's even worse than TFA. Completely worthless. 1 stars
12/24/17 Chris Another disgusting insult to the original trilogy - bassicly a remake 1 stars
12/23/17 Tyler Lynch I can assure you longtime fans of Star Wars wont be celebrating on the streets. 1 stars
12/23/17 Matt Bad. Luke is not Luke. Blow-in Holdo takes Ackbar's 'scene'. Leia Poppins. More. 2 stars
12/23/17 Chris Worst one since Phantom Menace. If you're a child or a moron, you'll like it 1 stars
12/22/17 Danny gamerman Benicio del Toro, 'fresh from his gig directing “The Shape of Water”'? Wha? A silly cra 5 stars
12/22/17 Steve Horrible! Characters were boring, flat and unlikeable. Not to mention they ruined Skywalk 1 stars
12/21/17 mr.mike Slows to a crawl in the middle 3 stars
12/18/17 the sayer of the truth Quite astonishing, pure magic from first frame to last. 5 stars
12/18/17 Koitus Original story-line; yay. Some will have issues w/ Leia and Luke scenes .. 5 stars
12/17/17 Bluetooth They ruined star wars. 2 stars
12/17/17 Bob Dog Far better that Force Awakens and some good moments, but still only fair as a SW movie. 3 stars
12/15/17 a cold shower during hot sex VIII feels like rape--i was constantly in another place as my holes were violated = (_ 3 stars
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  15-Dec-2017 (PG-13)
  DVD: 27-Mar-2018


  DVD: 27-Mar-2018

Directed by
  Rian Johnson

Written by
  Rian Johnson

  Daisy Ridley
  John Boyega
  Mark Hamill
  Adam Driver
  Oscar Isaac
  Benicio Del Toro

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