Star Wars: The Last Jedi Screen 14 articles

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Poster
  • There are some real surprises in here; a purely visual gag involving a close-up of a steam iron has my full admiration, as does a bit in which Oscar Isaac’s delivery of a mundane line is a dead ringer for Chevy Chase’s Land Shark. Somewhere along the way, though, the expert recombination of the limited elements powering the journey of various (wo)men with a thousand faces mostly made me tired. The surprises are in the details; the journey is as expected.

  • Johnson is like Christopher Nolan but better, the other side of Nolan’s showily dour Janus-face. Unlike Nolan, Johnson has an authentically enticing virtuosity, joining a sense of vision to a sense of glee. But “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” yokes Johnson’s formidable cinematic intelligence to an elaborate feat of fan service that feels, above all, like the rhetorical and dramatic gratification of a religious sect.

  • Most of the surprising plot twists and character developments that eventually enliven The Last Jedi walk back their radical implications on the story. . . . Three films into the Disney Star Wars era, there have been enough unique elements introduced to this familiar world to suggest the kind of ways Star Wars could grow and change. But there's also been resistance to letting those elements escape an oppressive sameness.

  • The Last Jedi tells me the series has plateaued in terms of what it can accomplish and how it’s going to do it, and that reasons why I’ve loved this material in the past are slowly but surely being neutered. Where the prequel trilogy has only doggedly and insistently earned my admiration for their achievement over the past decade or so, these new films lay all their cards on the table instantly.

  • It’s a mixed bag of Jedi mind tricks. Entertaining enough — if I had kids I would feel I was poisoning them if I let them watch the prequels, but this would get a pass. Not an exact clone, for all its harking back, so that counts for something. But then, not as emotional as FORCE AWAKENS was. Watch this space, but I think I’m done with seeing this series on the big screen. But I’d like to see Johnson build a universe of his own.

  • Resenting and growing weary of that and those we’ve inherited doesn’t make us monsters, nor does putting real emotion onto that which has been engineered and mass produced make us fools—it makes us human. It also doesn’t mean that we’re required to take it all seriously, and Johnson’s visual gaggery and at times jarring situational humor suggests he doesn’t either. Nor does it mean I am required to stop fantasizing about what that other story would have entailed.

  • It opens with one of the funniest bits I’ve ever seen in a Star Wars film and then mostly keeps that lightness of spirit throughout. That’s not unwise for a movie crammed with confrontations and near-escapes and betrayals and counter-betrayals and speeches and mechanical minutiae and climaxes and pseudo-climaxes. . . . Johnson has certainly made the busiest Star Wars film of them all, but he keeps it from becoming a slog by infusing it with humor, verve, and visual charm.

  • About as idiosyncratic, stylized, and wacky as these things are likely to get. Johnson really doubles down on the the original’s Kurosawa influences (lotta rain, cinders, and chanbara-style sword fighting here) and the hoodoo mysticism of the Force. (There are points where this almost threatens to turn into “John Boorman’s Star Wars.”) The action scenes—both of the Star Destroyer and light saber varieties—are some of the best in the series.

  • Johnson can make you forget . . . the franchise’s insistent obligations; it also seems like he had a good time at work. He brings lightness to his banter, visual flair (not simply bleeding-edge special effects) to the design, and narrative savvy to Rey and Kylo Ren’s relationship. Johnson’s use of deep red is characteristic of how he turns ideas into images, most vividly with a set that looks like something Vincente Minnelli might have dreamed up for a Flash Gordon musical with Gene Kelly.

  • A sprawling, incident- and character-packed extravaganza that . . . guides the series into unfamiliar territory. It’s everything a fan could want from a “Star Wars” film and then some. . . . Most importantly, the damned thing _moves_, both in a plot sense and in the sense of a skilled choreographer-dancer who has visualized every millisecond of his routine and practiced it to the point where grace seems to come as easily as breathing. Or skywalking.

  • Johnson has taken a property—one that by this point has so many characters, so much mythology and so many requirements—and given us an actual _movie_. . . . His movie has a sense of humor about itself and a sense of joy, but its emotional generosity, even in the midst of all the extravagant green-screen work, is its best special effect. He’s taken Disney’s money and given the audience all the things money can’t buy: Instead of selling to us, he’s speaking to us. You can feel the difference.

  • All good movies have their own version of the Force. We critics call it “directorial vision.” Johnson had it in his first film, Brick (2005), and it has come back here as strong as ever. It isn’t a matter of pulling off camera moves that reveal an auteur’s soul or establish a creative signature. It’s about a writer-director juggling every element of story and production so they drop into place.

  • There’s plenty of emotion and spectacle, with Adam Driver’s Ben Solo/Kylo Ren the most complicated character in the entire saga, and a terrific final skirmish on a planet whose salty white topsoil churns to reveal blood-red dirt as men and machines scramble against each other. Johnson . . . leavens political high seriousness and fan-service tear-jerking with enough charm and humour to prevent The Last Jedi becoming the biggest downer ever delivered at Christmas by the Walt Disney Company.

  • What's most interesting to me about The Last Jedi is Luke's return as the mentor rather than the student, grappling with his failure in this new role, and later aspiring to be the wise and patient teacher that the Jedi masters Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi were for him.

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