<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Rian Johnson. Starring Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Laura Dern, Benecio Del Toro, Lupita Nyong’o
Running time: 2 hours 32 minutes
The Force Awakens had the novelty of being Star Wars recreated after a long time in the mould of the original three Lucas films. It even looked and felt like them. Rogue One was truly original and made up for the predictable The Force Awakens. The Last Jedi takes a different turn with new director Rian Johnson taking over from JJ Abrams. It’s funny and at times self-deprecating. Which is good considering the actual story – and its plot holes – isn’t revelatory.
Picking up from The Force Awakens, Rey (Daisy Ridley) must convince Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to come back and be the ‘force’ for the Jedi since he seems to be the last one. He’s like, ‘Meh’. The First Order is chasing down the remaining ‘Resistance’ fighters led by Leia (Carrie Fisher). That’s pretty much it. Oh and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is still throwing tantrums like a baby; a fact that they acknowledge in the film.
Which is one of the few things that I like about this movie. A whole fleet of Death Stars can’t seem to chase down and destroy tiny little Rebel ships for half the film. And General Hux (Domhnall Glesson) makes fun of this by saying something to the effect of, “All this and we still can’t get them.” It does boggle the mind considering the futile attempts to explain away the silly cat-and-mouse chase falls flat.
The problem is there aren’t any classic moments in the film. There’s lots of CGI creating lots of cute creatures and weird aliens. There’s plenty of heroes, but not one that really stands out. You have Laura Dern playing Vice Admiral Holdo with purple hair and an apparent apprentice-like connection to Leia, which is never fleshed out. John Boyega as Finn and Oscar Isaac as Poe will never play out a gay love story since Finn seems to be juggling two girls now – Rey and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran).
Out of the entire ensemble, only Mark Hamill as Luke really stays true to form; him and R2D2 (they’ve made a mess of C3P0s character) seem like pieces stuck in time.
There are plenty of moments in the film where you go, ‘Wait, why didn’t they just do that’, or ‘Come on, surely they don’t expect us to believe this’. Then there’s the dancing red Imperial Guards for Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). What are they doing in the background with all those funny poses? And speaking of backgrounds, that red material catches fire and burns in a fight sequence making you wonder why it was there in the first place.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an enjoyable enough one-time watch. It’s not a classic. I’d sooner watch Rogue One again. I think they should focus on making more of these standalone Star Wars Stories.