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The Last Jedi --- no spoilers please

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Marc Tessier, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. Marc Tessier

    Marc Tessier Well-Known Member

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    "The Last Jedi -- An explosive thrill ride of galactic proportions"

    This is the headline for The Guardian's review of the film. I'm not going to read the review, of course, to avoid plot spoilers, but I'm encouraged that this British newspaper gave it a good review. They can be a bit snooty about pop culture at times.

    I still haven't seen a release date for the film here in China, so avoiding spoilers will be tricky. The Force Awakens and Rogue One both opened around the second week of January, meaning I could have about a month to wait still.

    Let's all be respectful of one another. Please don't give away plot details for the next few weeks so as not to spoil the movie for others.

    Thanks
     
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  2. Electricboa

    Electricboa Moderator Staff Member

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    But doesn't everyone love spoilers?

    [​IMG]

    I just can't believe that Snoke was really
    three ewoks in a Snoke suit.
     
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  3. AhnNu Rie

    AhnNu Rie Active Member

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  4. Marc Tessier

    Marc Tessier Well-Known Member

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    Oh my! I would have never guessed.
     
  5. Kevthejedi

    Kevthejedi Active Member

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    I assume everyone has seen it by now? Probably multiple times? Did you like it? Are you a hater?
     
  6. Marc Tessier

    Marc Tessier Well-Known Member

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    I've only seen it once. It didn't do well at the box office here in China, so it wasn't in cinemas very long.

    I really liked it. I thought it was a very mature film in many respects with a lot of surprises. After watching it, I started reading some of the backlash and thought most of the fans that hated it came across as a bunch on entitled whiners because they didn't get what they expected. I also have a feeling it will be even better after multiple viewings.
     
  7. Kevthejedi

    Kevthejedi Active Member

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    I saw it in the cinema 3 times.

    After the first viewing I actually wasn't sure how I felt about it, I really wanted to like it, but there were a few things that really bothered me about it as well.
    Second viewing was a different story - I left the cinema with a smile on my face. I picked up on more of the subtleties and could overlook the things that bothered me previously. Same with third viewing, I just enjoyed it more.

    There's still aspects that frustrate me about it as there would be with any film, but they're not deal breakers and I still enjoy it.
     
  8. SumiXam

    SumiXam Moderator Staff Member

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    I was in the same boat, but I only saw it once. There were certainly a few things I didn't care for, but overall I was entertained and it felt like Star Wars.
     
  9. Electricboa

    Electricboa Moderator Staff Member

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    The first time I watched it, I enjoyed it enough. There were parts I didn’t really care for that much, but it didn’t seem that bad at the time. The more I’ve thought about it, though, the things that I didn’t like just got worse for me. I don’t think it’s a bad movie, and the most frustrating thing about it I think a lot of the problems could have been easily fixed. The whole Poe/Holdo conflict could have been completely explained if Holdo simply said she suspected there was a spy on board (how they were tracking them though hyperspace), so she couldn’t tell anyone she didn’t know. Poe could have thought she was the spy. Nothing else would have needed to be changed, and it would have made sense.

    Probably the worst part of the movie for me is Luke. I’ve read a bunch of the EU, so admittedly the Luke that I think of doesn’t really match that much to the one we got. That in and of itself isn’t that bad. In fact, I actually wrote a short story after TFA that put my own interpretation on it (and very nearly predicted the name of the next movie by pure chance):

    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11684558/1/

    So I don’t object to Luke giving up on everything and going away to live as a hermit. My problem is the movie doesn’t give him a good motivation to do so, or really any at all. I mean he just up and decides to murder his nephew in his sleep? I’m going to need a lot more context for that, because I don’t see how the same Luke that did everything to redeem Vader would just decide “welp, Ben Solo touched the dark side—he must die.” As-is, the Luke they gave us didn’t work because they didn’t do a good job explaining why he is the way he is now. I don’t know if it was lazy writing or they didn’t care because they wanted to push out the OT actors as soon as possible, but it didn’t work for me.

    Yeah, the whole casino planet planet part was pretty pointless and wasn’t needed, but it was no worse that a lot of the prequel stuff we got. Just a waste of time. I never actually hated Rose, she just seemed like she didn’t have any purpose for being there.

    Most of my other problems were just nitpicks. Like how much they made Snoke a cheap imitation of Palpatine, right down to the second-rate red guards. Ackbar dying off screen when they should have put him in charge of the fleet. Holdo could have been the head of Resistance Intelligence and the idea of a traitor would still have worked. Hux being the comic relief really doesn’t make the FO that intimidating, especially with the fact that Kylo keep coming off as a whiny emo the whole time. Now that Snoke is gone, we’re supposed to be intimidated by these two? Definitely not up to the Tarkin and Vader standard.

    The only other thing I’ve heard people complain about that didn’t bother me were Rey’s parents. I was okay with them being nobodies and a hero could rise from anywhere. From a storytelling perspective, you could tell they had no idea what they were doing from one movie to the next. Abrams sets up these big mysteries in TFA, and Johnson just didn’t seem to care about answering them. Who is Snoke? Snoke is dead—next. Rey’s parents? Drunks—next. Why is Luke in exile? Attempted Nepoticide—next.
     
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  10. Marc Tessier

    Marc Tessier Well-Known Member

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    Boa, I think a large part of the problem is the expanded universe. Many of the fans keep up with these stories, so they have certain built in expectations about characters. Outside of the series when Thrawn was first introduced and some of the early Dark Horse comics, I never followed the expanded universe.

    When I first started reading the backlash I have to admit I was surprised at the venom spewed by some fans.

    I'll quickly go through my thoughts on the most contentious points.

    Luke
    Luke's story arc made perfect sense to me. It was clear in The Force Awakens that he had gone into seclusion for some time. For Rey to show up on Achh'to, hand him his old lightsaber and expect him to say, "Yeah, sure. I'm ready. Let's go", well that wouldn't have made any sense. I thought it made him more interesting not to be the perfect hero. It also reminded me of ESB and his training scenes with Yoda. He wasn't the best of students and resisted Yoda's advice on several occasions. I also thought Mark Hamill was great and gave a much stronger performance than I was expecting. I really hope he returns as a force ghost.

    Having Luke exhibit a powerful ability like Force projection was also cool. I didn't understand why people didn't like it. I'm glad that we don't know everything about the Force and like the idea that Jedi and Sith can learn different powers through their knowledge and training. It would be kind of boring if all Jedi just used lightsabers and manipulated objects. Come on, there's tons of space for cool Force powers.

    Leia
    The scene with her using the Force to get back to the ship was very cool. I didn't see this as a problem like some since it was clearly established in ESB that she could feel the Force. She heard Luke call to her in the final moments of ESB after his duel with Vader. And in RotJ when Luke reveals they are siblings, she responds with something along the lines of, "Somehow, I've always known." So having her control the Force spontaneously with her life on the line, I thought it made sense and really liked it.

    Poe/Holdo
    Boa's suggestion about Holdo telling Poe there's a spy aboard the ship would have worked although I don't think it was necessary. In the military, subordinates are given information on a need to know basis. Poe was clearly out of line. He's supposed to follow orders, not question them, especially in front of everyone else.

    Snoke
    Kylo killing Snoke was probably the biggest surprise in the film, at least to me. It clearly opens up things for Kylo in ways that wouldn't have been possible had Snoke remained Supreme Leader. I really like this aspect as well, since it moves away from the Palpatine/Vader type of story. In my opinion, there are more possibilities going forward now.

    Kylo
    The one area I would have liked more depth was the flash back scene where we learn what happened between Luke and Ben Solo. I can accept Luke having a moment of weakness, but the scene was too short. If you're Kylo, wouldn't you want to know more rather than just lashing out like he did? This scene needed to be fleshed out more.
    It reminded me of when Anakin goes to save his mother and she dies in his arms. Rather than show him slaughtering all the Tuskens, they cut the scene. It was one of the major turning points in Anakin's life, pushing him towards the Dark Side. I always felt they were too soft with that scene. It needed to be harder and more brutal.

    Rey
    There was also backlash about Rey being too powerful without any training. Again, I don't see why that was turned into such a big deal. It was established in TFA that Rey wasn't going to be your average Jedi. She resisted Kylo when he tried to read her thoughts. She used the Force to get the lightsaber out of the snow before Kylo could and fended him off in the ensuing battle. Clearly she is much more intuitive than Luke ever was. Perhaps she is destined to be one of the greatest Jedi. I have no issues with her story line.

    And finally there was a lot of junk written about the Disneyfication of Star Wars and all the women being too powerful. These comments were just ridiculous. Star Wars is filled with strong female characters from Leia and Mon Mothma to Jyn. I thought this was just people jumping on the hate bandwagon. If you don't like a character, fine. But to moan about a character simply because she's a woman, well that just shows you don't have anything constructive to say.

    So there you have it. I'm looking forward to seeing it again, but all the pirated DVD shops have closed in Shanghai (such a shame since it was less than $2 per disc) because everyone's getting stuff online now. Maybe I'll have to order the DVD from Amazon.
     
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  11. Kevthejedi

    Kevthejedi Active Member

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    I really tried to go into the movie with an open mind and disregard everything I had read in EU Legends. For the most part I think I did this, especially after seeing TFA already.

    The problem with Star Wars is that everyone has their own expectations of what they want - no one will ever be able to produce something that matches everyone's different perspectives.

    I'm going to follow on from Marc's break down by character, I like the layout.

    Luke I liked, he wasn't the hero we wanted him to be, but more a fallen hero who had succumbed to the pressure of his burden, of being the last Jedi, the shining light that the galaxy could turn to, and trying to rebuild the Jedi Order. I'm a fan of Mark Hamill's work and I thought he played the part really well - he is Luke. He even admitted it wasn't the Luke he wanted it to be, but he still stepped up and played the part.
    Luke had a lot of growth in the original trilogy, and that growth continued with both great power in his abilities and a bitterness that we had never seen in him before, born of his failures.
    His Force projection at the end was awesome as well, I thought it was also an excellent way to allow a confrontation between him and Kylo Ren with a good answer to how Kylo survived - one on one Luke had to be the victor.

    Leia's flying scene I struggle with - I accept that she should be able to use the Force, but the physics of getting sucked out into space and surviving really don't work well for me. The physics of arcing laser blasts in space also bothered me a little, although I get past this by telling myself that physics work differently in a galaxy far far away. Apply the same thought to Leia's flight and I can get past it, although I still cringed a little on the later viewings.
    I thought Carrie Fisher played her part really well too, I did feel a bit emotional when she was on screen due to her passing, the whole floating in space part really pulled the heart strings too.

    Poe/Holdo felt like lazy writing to me, creating conflict based on a lack of communication is what often happens on TV. Yes there is a hierarchy in the military, but machines follow orders blindly if the order is to just walk until everyone is dead. Commanders have to give their soldiers more than that, even if it is just confirmation that there is a plan but it can't yet be revealed.
    The opening sequence with Poe was awesome, and the film showed his character progressing from hotshot to leader - although technically he was already squadron leader so must have had some leadership qualities besides being the best. I believe I can see what they were trying to do with him.

    The whole Rose/Finn mission to save the day was a pointless waste of time and filler. It seemed to be there to set up a potential spin off for broom boy and as a means to get Finn in a position to face off with Phasma. I admit I don't like Finn's character, he's inept and seems to only achieve anything through luck, and I know this side mission was put in there to build tension with the whole chase through space, but it just seemed to drag out a lot. I didn't mind Rose, I didn't particularly like or dislike her. Rather than being a hero character she seemed more like a generic rebel and embodied the ideals they're fighting for.

    Snoke I liked, from his display of power to the subtlety of his death. He was an imitation of Palpatine in the same way Kylo Ren was an imitation of Vader. His back story isn't important for this trilogy, I can find that out in the inevitable book releases. By killing him off now the new trilogy has broken away from the original that it had been following very closely. While that doesn't leave a figure of terror at the head of the first order, Snoke has been replaced by someone who is arguably more dangerous in his unpredictability - a child with great power who throws temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way.

    Kylo/Rey interactions I liked a lot, I thought they were very well done. I don't know why Rey wouldn't tell Luke that she had been communicating with Kylo Ren, but whatever.

    Rey herself - my biggest bug bear. I have no doubt that she will win the day. I know she doesn't fit the true Mary Sue profile because she does have some moments of failure and doesn't immediately defeat Snoke and Kylo and the whole first order, but she does have a hell of a lot going for her. I do actually like Rey, but it irks me that she will always save the day.
    Comparing her directly to Luke, he was a whiny boy who kept asking questions and getting beaten up (cantina, tuskens), finished the second film with one less arm and requiring saving, and only won the third film because of the compassion of his father saving him. Rey started out self sufficient, fighting her own battles and saving Finn multiple times, telling Han Solo what is wrong with the Millennium Falcon (compressor?!), winning her first light saber duel.
    Using the force Luke had to concentrate for his first lightsaber pull, fails to extract his X-Wing from the swamp and constantly loses focus when lifting 3 or 4 rocks. Rey has a stronger force pull first go than a trained force user who can top blaster bolts mid air, uses a mind trick because she had been told the force is real a few hours earlier, and when the resistance is trapped she lifts an entire rock slide no problem (and also doesn't lose concentration with relief when she sees her allies).
    Millennium falcon quad guns - Han and Luke together manage to take out 3 TIE fighters in their escape from the Death Star. Finn demonstrates how difficult they are to use in TFA, has difficulty taking out one TIE fighter, and only gets the second one because Rey kindly lined the shot up for him while flying the ship (see my point here?). Rey - 3 TIE's, 1 shot, as the Falcon shows up. "Ooh I like these" she says, because (like all but Han) she's never used them before. She then picks off an entire squadron of TIE's as they chase the falcon, because she's the best at everything.

    I may have ranted a little - short version, I do like it, it's Star Wars fun. I have bug bears. Rey is a Mary Sue, not because she's female, but because she's the best at everything.
     
  12. Marc Tessier

    Marc Tessier Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't help but think of President Trump when I read this line.
     
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  13. Marc Tessier

    Marc Tessier Well-Known Member

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    @Kevthejedi

    You make some valid points. I can see why you find Leia's big scene troubling. Your criticism makes more sense than those who said, "How'd she do that? There's no way she can do that!"

    Carrie Fisher's death hit me unexpectedly hard. With celebrity deaths, I usually just think, "Oh, that's sad," but hers affected me on a much deeper level than I ever would have expected. Perhaps because of that, I found all of her scenes in The Last Jedi tinged with sadness. There was also an intensity to Leia that I really liked that was combined with a calm authority.

    As for an interesting take on The Last Jedi, take a look at the link below. The writer's theory is that the film is basically making fun of fandom, which I find fascinating. I can see it to in the scene where Rey hands Luke his old lightsaber and he just tosses it over his shoulder. Right there, I knew the film was going to take us in unexpected directions. The scene where Luke says something along the lines of, "What's one guy with a laser sword going to do?" was another example where I thought Johnson was messing with fans and the myths of Star Wars.

    It's a fairly long read, but I think you guys will enjoy it.

    https://slate.com/arts/2018/01/the-...-movie-about-fandom-and-the-lure-of-myth.html
     
  14. Electricboa

    Electricboa Moderator Staff Member

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    As I said, I don’t object to Luke being in exile. My problem is they didn’t give him a good enough reason to be there. They made him bitter and disillusioned without any good instigating reason. I’ve read a lot of the EU, and I understood that we were not going to get the same Luke. It simply wasn’t possible to do so with Mark Hamill. But they needed to bridge the Luke from the end of ROTJ to this movie, and they just didn’t do it. And it’s not like Luke didn’t have something similar in the EU. When Mara was killed, he basically cut himself off from everything because of his pain. He stopped caring, and it was only his son that really brought him back.

    Except Leia would have been dead long. From what I’ve read, you'd lose consciousness from lack of oxygen in a little as 15 seconds, you can't hold your breath because your blood vessels would rupture from the lack of pressure. Besides, that lack of pressure would cause all the fluid in your body to boil. That would be death in under a minute. We’re also ignoring that fact that she was in a room that was blown up and yet didn’t receive a single burn. But that’s general physics issues. It’s not like we question the fact that there are explosions or sound in space battles. My biggest problem with the whole thing is that’s where Leia should have died. Maybe not in the original cut, but after Carrie Fisher passed away, it would have made more sense in the long run. She could have had an onscreen death that could have helped made Kylo question his loyalty to Snoke. Instead, she’s probably going to get killed off in the text crawl for episode 9.

    The reason why the whole Holdo and Poe conflict doesn’t work as-is is because it’s stupid. While it’s true that in a military a superior officer doesn’t have to tell someone under them what they’re doing, what reason does Holdo have for not telling him? Poe is clearly someone with a lot of unofficial authority, since he’s able to mount a mutiny like he does. And apparently all these other people don’t trust Holdo, either. So, it’s not like it’s just Poe. Other than as a plot device, what reason does Holdo have for not telling anyone that they’ve got a plan? That’s why you need a line explaining it. Because the way they wrote it, Holdo was in the wrong. You can’t be a leader if no one under you trusts you, and clearly, they didn’t. She gave them no reason to and did so for no real reason.

    Except we know nothing about Snoke. He’s built up as a mystery in TFA as this important villain. When nothing about him is explained, that’s bad writing. Just because something is a surprise doesn’t make it good. It needs to further the story. Snoke could still have been killed, but we needed some payoff for his build-up. That would be like Vader killing off Palpatine between ESB and ROTJ. What point would he have had? Nothing.

    I had no real problem with Rey or Kylo in TLJ. I did have some issues with her being so good at everything in TFA. There were things she probably shouldn’t have known or struggled with more, but Anakin and Luke had sort of similar issues. It’s just I would have liked them to have done better with Rey.

    As for the anger at female leads, that’s just sexism. The problem isn’t the gender of the protagonist, it’s the writing. If they’re going to be good, they’ll be good. If they’re going to be bad, they’ll be bad. Unfortunately, I think that disconnect can go both ways. There are some people out there that think that a female lead will automatically make a movie good or a character have depth. I hate to say it, but I think Kathleen Kennedy is one of those people. I’ve seen a bunch of quotes from her that seem to be entirely focused on gender. How she thinks girls can’t relate to Luke Skywalker. Are we only allowed to relate to characters of the same gender now? She’s also said how her priority is to get more women writers. That’s fine, but shouldn’t the focus be on getting good writers? If they’re women, that’s great, but it worries me that her first priority doesn’t seem to be the quality of the work.


    I don’t know, that article sounded like it was trying to justify everything. It reminded me a bit about this Ring Theory I read a while back about how the prequels were secretly brilliant inversions of the original trilogy. Some interesting arguments, but pretty clear that they were giving Lucas (or in this case Johnson) more credit than they deserved. As for making fun of the fandom, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Who else do they think is going to boost the sales for the movie? I’ve read that TFA made about $2 billion. Rogue One made around $1 billion. That makes sense, since you’d expect the trilogy movie to get more people. TLJ? $1.3 billion. Maybe pissing off so many fans wasn’t the best idea.
     
  15. SR-71 Blackbird

    SR-71 Blackbird Member

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    While there were several problems with The Last Jedi, I thought that it was a great movie. And most of my complaints fall into the "Casino planet expedition was not necessary, Chewbacca roasted a adorable Prog, and Luke's metal hand should have fallen to the ground when he rejoined the Force" type objections. Speaking as an observer, the way the plot line unfolded, with new twists in the use of the Force, Snoke dying, and Han's golden dice making a reappearance, the movie was a master class in the process of surprising audiences and telling a riveting, exciting story.

    There were several moments that made me cock an eyebrow in disbelief, like "Finn is committing suicide by cannon?" and "Really? Out of everyone in the Galaxy, nobody responded to the call for help?" But on the whole, it was a well made, enjoyable movie.
    I think part of the backlash was from discontented fans, who had bought into various theories surrounding Rey's parents, Snoke's backstory, and more.

    Frankly, part of me thinks that they should have ended the main line of Star Wars movies after TLJ. The image you are left with - Kylo Ren kneeling in the ruins of his failure, having been publicly embarrassed and fooled in front of his troops, while the Falcon flies away triumphantly - was a stirring one. The overarching idea, that the Resistance would always escape, that someone would always be there to take a stand against tyranny and the First Order, could have been the open-ended ending that everyone could have accepted, because to every fan, the events after the movie could be personally tailored by their own imagination.

    Then, of course, I remember that another Star Wars movie is coming, and I get excited for it all over again.
     
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