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From: Mark Leeper <mleeper@optonline.net>
Subject: Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
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Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2017 09:26:01 -0800 (PST)
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Subject: Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
From: Mark Leeper <mleeper@optonline.net>
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               (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

    CAPSULE: As we left the "Star Wars" story two years 
    and two chapters ago, Rey has found the missing Luke 
    Skywalker.  But Skywalker now lives and looks like a 
    monk.  He refuses to bring Rey into the Jedi order.  
    Meanwhile the First Order is preparing an insidious 
    attack against the Rebellion.  The Jedi have not gone 
    out of the universe yet, but the story structure of a 
    beginning, a middle, and an end has.  Rian Johnson 
    writes and directs.  Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

It is early December, the new standard release time for a new "Star 
Wars" film.  Last year it was STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE and the year 
before it was STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.  Back when the major 
series would release in December it would be a chapter of an 
existing book like from the "Harry Potter" or Tolkein "Middle 
Earth" series.  The viewer had some guarantee that the film was 
based on a book that had an ending.  We were assured that the story 
had an end coming in a year or two.  But now "Star Wars" films were 
never based on a book.  The "Star Wars" series is "sustainable" in 
the worst sense of "sustainable."  As long as the writers keep on 
writing the series may never come to an end.  We may be seeing a 
high-tech "General Hospital".  Certainly this latest chapter has a 
lot of soap-opera-style plot twists to keep the viewer coming back.  
The writers love leaving misleading clues to what is going to 
happen and then something else happens instead.  Little in the film 
is highly predictable.  Speaking of the writing, I think people 
were disappointed when Disney got ownership of the series.  "Star 
Wars" films would be coming from the people who made films like THE 
LION KING.  But I am not hearing a lot of complaints that the 
writing has suffered since the ownership has changed.  The writing 
now is better appreciated than that of the prequel trilogy.

A few days after seeing the film I think the most common complaint 
I have heard about STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is that the film is 
just too big.  It is more than 150 minutes long.  It has too many 
plot twists and too much fighting and too many characters.  If you 
want to claim the acting is bad there are scenes with fairly good 
acting.  But if you say the acting is good you can pick out scenes 
that are not.  The script has a large number of stories developed 
and many of them get twists.  Battle scenes are no longer one X-
wing being chased by two enemy TIE fighters down a trench.  
Instead, the film shows the viewer one huge tapestry of fighting 
with action in six or seven parts of the screen.  The excitement 
comes from a sort of sensory overload.  And it is more than just 
two or three battle set pieces.  There is a lot of loud and action-
filled fighting.

You know your fantasy may be getting a little florid when--as in 
Russian novels--characters have two different names.  Ben Solo is 
also Kylo Ren and Adam Driver plays him.  I have not seen a lot of 
Driver and have liked him in previous films, but he certainly has 
an unusual acting style.  He bears watching.  And much more 
experienced but always bearing watching is Laura Dern as Vice 
Admiral Holdo.  Mark Hamill has a fair amount of screen time but 
gives a performance that is only adequate.  In addition to Luke 
Skywalker, he plays a character named Dobbu Scay in the casino 
scene.  I guess I did not notice.  Carrie Fisher plays an aging 
Princess Leia Organa for the last time.

If you are going to another galaxy you might as well pick a beautiful place 
to visit.  The cinematography and the art direction are as usual 
first rate.

One more thing is worth noting.  Until now the series has been 
about a conflict that is essentially a feud within a single family.  
That is just a bit claustrophobic.  At least the new film is trying 
to broaden the character base.  That means the most interesting 
people are no longer related to Darth Vader.  I rate STAR WARS: THE 
LAST JEDI a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

Film Credits: <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2527336/combined>

What others are saying:

					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2017 Mark R. Leeper