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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

[1]2,188 words

The Last Jedi isn’t an awful film. Not Force Awakens [2] awful. But it is pretty bad. Down there at the bottom of the scrap heap, with The Force Awakens and The Phantom Menace. The question on my mind was whether The Force Awakens was just a Phantom Menace moment, a rocky start to a trilogy that redeemed itself with two pretty good films. (Yes, I like Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Fight me.) But no, it was not to be. It was not hard, of course, for The Last Jedi to improve upon The Force Awakens. But it still isn’t a very good film, and no amount of directorial and technological wizardry can redeem this wretched trilogy now.

So is it time for the Star Wars franchise to die?

No. Last year’s Rogue One [3] proved that Disney can turn out a good Star Wars film. Rogue One took elements from the established mythos and populated it with new characters and an original story. There is literally no end to the possibilities of such films, especially if they have good scripts and good directors. I am actually looking forward to next year’s Han Solo film, directed by Ron Howard. That, Disney, is the way to go forward. But the scripts have to be original and good, and why not get the best possible directorial talent? Why not get Christopher Nolan to direct a Star Wars film? Why not David Lynch, who was actually discussed as director for Return of the Jedi? (Imagine what he would have done with Jabba and the Ewoks.)

The problem with the new trilogy is that it is a calculated remake (a “soft reboot”) of the original one. Given that there is a whole universe of fan fiction as well as countless authorized Star Wars novels to steal from, the cynicism and complete poverty of imagination revealed by the decision to do an ill-concealed, sometimes shot-by-shot, remake is truly breath-taking. I have already detailed [2] how The Force Awakens is a shameless remake of A New Hope and elements of The Empire Strikes Back. Let’s look at how The Last Jedi rips off The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

At the end of Awakens, the Death Star Star Killer Base has been destroyed. But the Rebellion Resistance is put to flight, and the Imperial First Order fleet commanded by Dark Side adept Darth Vader Kylo Ren is hunting them down.

The pursuit of the Rebels Resistance is intercut with the story of aspiring Jedi Luke Skywalker Rey going to a remote sanctuary to learn the ways of the Force from cantankerous old Jedi Master Yoda Luke Skywalker.

Midway through the film, we are diverted to the cloud city of Bespin casino planet of Canto Bight (an upscale Mos Eisley cantina scene) where the fleeing Rebels Resistance seek the aid of an off-white rogue named Lando Calrissian DJ, who later betrays them to the Empire First Order.

The third act takes place on Emperor Palpatine’s Supreme Leader Snoke’s Death Star command ship, where the Emperor Supreme Leader tortures Jedi adept Luke Skywalker Rey, who watches the destruction of the Rebel Resistance fleet, until Darth Vader Kylo Ren has a change of heart and kills his master. Then Vader Ren reaches out to Skywalker Rey with the offer of a lifetime: to join him and help rule the galaxy. Vader Ren even offers Skywalker Rey information about her parents. No, Ren is not Rey’s father, because that would be derivative, and Rian Johnson is a director with artistic integrity.

The fourth act of the movie, which feels tacked on, is on an ice planet called Hoth Crait, where the Rebellion Resistance has taken refuge in an underground base protected  from space bombardment by a shield, so that it must be taken by ground assault by Imperial First Order Walkers.

Yes, it really is that derivative.

Of course, even with a derivative plot, The Last Jedi might still have been redeemed with interesting characters and good dialogue, especially if well performed and directed. There are some witty exchanges (“Can you put on a cowl, or something?”), some cute details (Luke Skywalker’s island is swarming with Pokémons), some neat product tie ins (all I want for Christmas is a crystal fox), etc. Supreme Leader Snoke was astonishingly well realized. Some of the scenes between Kylo and Rey worked quite well, even though they were a pale imitation of the Vader-Skywalker relationship. Kylo and Rey’s battle with Snoke’s guards was highly entertaining, although why they just didn’t shoot them down with blasters is beyond me. Mark Hamill was surprisingly good throughout and, along with Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), really carried the movie, but Yoda’s scene stole the show. The music by John Williams is truly magnificent. His score for The Force Awakens, although the best part of the movie, had a phoned-in feel. The score for The Last Jedi is truly riveting.

But there’s just not enough that’s good here.

I hated Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia from the first trilogy, where she was a rude, abrasive bitch. Here, she is practically a corpse, with the croaking voice and decrepit movements of a woman of 90. (Fisher died this year at the age of 60, worn out from a lifetime of mental illness and drug abuse.) It is just as well that she spent most of the movie in a drug induced coma. That, at least, was convincing. I love how she flew through space like a witch, but that was mostly CGI. If they bring her back for the third movie in CGI form, it might actually breathe some life into the role. Obviously, given that Carrie Fisher is dead, the best thing they could have done is killed her off when she was sucked into the void, and then reshot her subsequent scenes without her. Or dropped them altogether. Instead, they weighted the movie down with a ridiculous resurrection scene and passed the buck on explaining her demise to the next director, who has a lot bigger problems to worry about.

Aside from Admiral Akbar, who dies, practically the whole leadership of the Resistance is a collection of cat ladies, including Laura Dern’s Admiral Holdo, whose locks are Tumblrite purple and whose idea of communicating authority and inspiring confidence is to wear an evening dress and tiara into battle. It is perhaps unsurprising that Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron mutinies twice, but the cat ladies think he’s just too adorable to dump out an airlock.

[4]

The First Order’s officers include Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux, who is ludicrous, and Gwendolyn Christie’s Captain Phasma, who is useless. Their posh British accents are supposed to symbolize the acme of aristocratic European civilization, which is to be brought low by the Resistance, which consists of a rabble of Americans and non-whites.

The ugly and charmless John Boyega returns as Findu, joined by an ugly and charmless Vietnamese girl named Rose, to appeal to the vast Asian market. Although he is a sanitation worker and she a humble technician, both of them turn out to be competent speeder pilots in the final battle, because diversity is magic. Just when we think that Findu might sacrifice his life for the common good of the Resistance and the Franchise, Rose deflects him — out of love. We don’t win, she says, by killing the people we hate but by saving the people we love. Then she plants a kiss on Findu’s huge lips, causing the stomachs of all Asia to flip. Is this an argument against love? Because the other interpretation — that it is okay to endanger everything and everyone one is fighting for on a romantic whim — is surely too disgusting a meme even for Leftists. Finn was just about to save all the people he loves by killing some of the people he hates. But apparently that is too nuanced for Tumblristas. Really, it is just the sort of morally confused rubbish one would expect from an army led by cat ladies.

The whole Canto Bight sequence seemed to have been invented just to give Findu and Rose something to do, but it was ridiculously arbitrary. First, we have to accept that the First Order fleet cannot catch up with the Resistance in conventional space, and the Resistance cannot jump into hyperspace, so the only thing the First Order can do is pursue the Resistance ships until they run out of fuel. This premise gives us enough time for Findu and Rose to race across the galaxy to Canto Bight to find the one guy who can solve their problem, a code breaker named DJ (Benicio del Toro, for added diversity), who can get them on the First Order flagship and enable the Resistance to escape. Basically, another thermal exhaust port.

Beyond that, there is a massive incoherence in the timelines, for Rey’s period of training with Luke seems to last much longer than the events taking place with the two fleets in space. But that is a problem with The Empire Strikes Back as well, for Luke’s time with Yoda seems to have been much longer than the timeline connected with the Millennium Falcon.

Yes, they spent 200 million dollars on a movie, and this plot was deemed good enough for the goyim.

The opening battle features space bombers which open their bomb-bay doors and drop bombs into space. Apparently, the designers of these ships never heard of cabin depressurization or gravity. And when the witch Leia opened the door to re-enter the ship, why didn’t everyone else get sucked out into space?

Given all the genuinely terrible things in this movie, it strikes me as odd that many viewers had especially negative reactions to Luke Skywalker’s dismissive and brusque attitude toward Rey. For instance, quite a few fans were upset that Luke tossed away his lightsaber as soon as Rey presented it to him. But the Jedi are in part modeled after Zen monks, and it is standard Zen practice to test seekers by discouraging them as much as possible. The same can be said of Luke’s claim that he simply came to his planet to die. Obviously, that was a lie, since the last movie was all about getting ahold of the map he left so people could find him in case of emergency. The complainers are just snowflakes who would wash out the first day.

Still, there seems to be something more than just a test to Luke’s insistence that the Jedi order needs to die — namely, guilt and bitterness over his failure with Kylo Ren. Yes, it seems a little implausible that Luke would wish the destruction of an ancient initiatic order that has upheld goodness across the galaxy for millennia simply because he can’t forgive himself for his greatest failure — but then one remembers that millions of whites actively support policies that are leading to the destruction of our race to expiate spurious and unearned guilt for racism, colonialism, and slavery.

Whether Luke was sincere or not about claiming that the Jedi order should end, he ultimately passes his teachings and torch on to Rey, who remains the same absurd “Mary Sue” character from the first film, a girrrl who can effortlessly do anything a man can do only through arduous training and hard work. Luke Skywalker may not be the last Jedi, but if Disney has its way, he will be the last white male one.

Others were outraged at Luke’s death. But of course he will just reappear in the next film more powerful than ever, with a ghostly glow.

Why is Disney hell-bent on making such a botched and derivative reboot of Star Wars?

One possible explanation is a complete lack of any understanding of the essence of what made the original films so appealing, which would necessitate the imitation of all sorts of inessential details, hoping that they might luck out and find the formula.

This would make sense if Disney were run by 70-IQ cargo cultists. But Disney is run by cynical, predatory, but intelligent Jews and their ilk.

Were they just motivated by greed? No, that is not enough. Making new Star Wars movies with original plots is not exactly a financially risky proposition.

Which forces us to consider another possibility: Disney chose the “soft reboot” route because they want to make as much money as possible from Star Wars nostalgia while simultaneously degrading the originals and packing them full of Left-wing rubbish. This interpretation is supported by two plot details that strike me as calculated swipes at hard-core fans: killing off Snoke without telling us anything about his back story, and revealing that Rey’s parents were nobodies. There are countless fan articles and videos spinning out theories about Snoke and Rey. But the truth is that these characters were not to be taken seriously. They are just one-dimensional, disposable ciphers in a giant cash grab based on the calculated exploitation of nostalgia for Lucas’s genuinely heroic and inspiring films.

Disney is spitting on the Star Wars mythos and its fans. It is time for the fans to strike back.