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Rewatching the Last Jedi


Heathcliff

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I’m rewatching this film and looking at it differently and it kind of blew me away. 

I think it’s like an arty Star Wars movie. I feel like it’s a movie about mental illness. 

Also, lots of the scenes look really beautiful. If you didn’t like it the first time maybe try it again.

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I didn't love the movie, but I didn't hate it either. I couldn't really tell you how I felt about it or where I'd rank it compared to the other Star Wars movies, but I don't think it's the abomination that a lot of people make it out to be. I'd maybe have to watch it again at some point to see how I feel about it. Luke's direction is pretty weird, and I don't blame Mark Hamill for not liking it, but they at least try to justify it here, unlike in, say the Dark Empire comic book series where Luke just thinks he can dabble in the dark side and then he goes all the way and they never show him struggling with it, just expect us to take their word for it. Here, whether people want to see Luke as a bitter old man or not, they at least give reasons why he's disillusioned with the Jedi and doesn't want to be bothered with all this bullshit anymore.

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I always really enjoyed The Last Jedi. It's probably my third favorite of the whole franchise after A New Hope and Empire. I originally had it below Return of the Jedi as well, but the more I think about it, the more I realize I really only like the last act of ROTJ and the rest of it is somewhat questionable.

And you're absolutely right about the cinematography. The film looks absolutely gorgeous. It's probably the best-shot movie out of any of them. Personally I like the film on much more than just a technical level though. I like how all the main characters get an arc, and the development between Rey and Kylo Ren could have been something really interesting. One of the complaints I do have about the movie is Finn is a bit underutilized. He does get a character arc too, but it's a bit too similar to the one he already had in the previous movie. I could get really granular and explain why it still furthers his character development, but the fact that I'd need to do that already proves that it's not as great as it could have been.

I also feel the need to go on record and say I actually really liked what they did with Luke. Both the characters and the audience spend all of The Force Awakens believing that all they need to do is find Luke and bring him into the fight, and then he'll be able to save the day. How friggin' boring would that have been if that was all it took? I like how so much of the movie is specifically about how you can't just have the good old days back again, but you should always seek to learn from the past as you move forward.

The last thing I want to do is prop up TLJ by tearing the other movies down, but damn. I miss Rian. Go see Knives Out.

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I'll have to give it another shot. Only ever saw it once when it first came out and walked out of it feeling very meh, compared to the really uplifted excitement I had felt for the Force Awakens (a film I will still stand by despite the current trend for bashing the fact it follows similar story beats to A New Hope - I still believe it kind of had to, it was trying to enthuse a new generation about the brand). 

After watching the Rise of Skywalker, which felt like a headlong rush in which they tried to cram as many ideas, characters and plot points into a 2hr 20 movie as they could, I kinda feel like revisiting the slower-paced Last Jedi to see how it has settled with age. 

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I wasn't impressed by it... I don't like the direction they went with it... I don't like this Luke Skywalker. I don't think he would give up on his friends or family so easily... he could have done a lot of things besides run to a remote planet and hide... he was a new hope now he's a bitter old man who gave up on everything.

I don't like the movie... watching it again won't change that opinion... Rian Johnson did a terrible job with this movie. They shouldn't have gone with the passing the baton approach... they should have had a timeline to go by... an overarching plot to tie all three movies together. Now we have a bunch of bland characters. Finn feels like a missed opportunity, he could have had a better backstory and be more than comic relief. Same for Poe and Rey. I feel like there are so many missed opportunities. Rey feels like a Mary Sue.

I think Rise of Skywalker will suffer from trying to retcon ideas from the last jedi… the big villain was killed one movie too soon so they had to rush to build up hype for the new villain in one movie. Doesn't help they had to use archived footage of Carrie Fisher... which limits the stories that they can tell. R.I.P Carrie Fisher.

Edited by megacycle
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  • 2 weeks later...

Not necessarily related to topic, but definitely in the same ballpark, I am really enjoying The Mandalorian at the moment. Two episodes in, and I can best describe it as a combination of Firefly/Fistful of Dollars/Lone Wolf and Cub in the Star Wars universe - its every bit as awesome as that sounds :lol: 

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I do want to see the Mandalorian, but I'm not ready to sign up for a Disney+ account so I'm going to wait on that. But it looks good and people seem to really like it. :)

I am almost done with the second part of the Thrawn Trilogy, part of the no-longer-canon Expanded Universe, and I really enjoy it so far. The books aren't by any means perfect, but there are a lot of interesting ideas in them. It holds true to the Star Wars universe as it was established up until 1991, but also expands on it. It does contradict the prequels, but I look at it as an alternate continuity. So if anyone is unhappy with how the sequel trilogy treated Han, Luke, and Leia, they might want to check out the Thrawn trilogy, which on the whole is a lot kinder to them, ironic, given Disney's reputation with things. Obviously in 2015, it wouldn't have made sense to start a straight adaptation of the first book, given the ages of Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, and Carrie Fisher at the time as opposed to the ages of their characters in these books, but they could've borrowed some elements. Thrawn is a much more interesting villain than Snoke, for example. 

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The Thrawn trilogy has always been one of my favorites.  He feels like such a great villian because he’s not a force user but equally as formidable as the others in the movies and shows.  I’m really hoping they bring him into one of the Disney+ live action shows or future movies because so far in the animated series and books he’s been well portrayed and i think it shows.

I’d definitely recommend the Mandolarian.  It’s a bit slow in the beginning but it picks up in the back half episodes and gives you the total western-in-space feel.

Also, I also feel like there’s a huge movement of folks claiming the The Last Jedi isn’t so bad now that they’ve seen Rise of Skywalker.  It kinda cracks me up since there is so much animosity towards TLJ.  While its definitely not perfect by any means, I thought TLJ made bold choices to give it a different feel and gave each of the 3 plot lines a definitive arc.  Gotta respect directors/artists who do that and are brave enough to tell their take on the story.

Side note:  Gotta agree with Blah!?...go see Knives Out.  I haven’t had that much fun at the movies in years.

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Well, ten or fifteen years ago everyone hated the prequels and everyone hated George Lucas for altering the original movies, which, to be fair, some of the alterations kind of worked and some of them were really bad. But yeah, just sell to Disney and everyone will worship you again. :rolleyes:

I still have to see Rise of Skywalker, so can't comment on that at all yet. 

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Ooh me, me, I'll say it's an abomination! -raises hand- Because it is. Yes, it's beautifully shot and I don't blame the actors for the terrible dialogue or poor character choices. No, don't bully anyone, Kelly Marie Tran is adorable, Rose was terrible. It was all terrible, except the cinematography and music.

I rewatched it recently with someone who'd never seen it and I was surprised to find even more little nitpicks and problems, even without comparing it to any of the Legends stuff. Rian got handed a big ball full of ideas and money and he couldn't have dropped it harder. The movie can be summed up with the opening scene of Hux being made a fool out of by Poe; a lack of respect to everything, everyone, every character whose arcs were ruined and a boring plot that could've been avoided. Canto Bight sucked, fight me. The entire B plot where Holdo doesn't tell anyone the plan wasn't necessary. I couldn't stand what they did to Luke. I'm mad that everyone's character arcs got butchered or abandoned. Etc. et al.

Rian and Kathleen acting like giant dillweeds to people who criticised the movie didn't help. Seeing Mark Hamill in those interviews genuinely makes my heart hurt.

There are hundreds and hundreds of video essayists both defending and deconstructing it more succinctly than I am; I'm keeping it short for the sake of brevity. I'm really glad people like this movie, I really am and there's nothing wrong with people liking what they like or don't like and I'm always down to talk differing opinions on this if anyone wants to PM me.

PS Yes Mandolorian is great. Everyone go watch it. It gives me trepidatious hope that we can get more high-quality shows like it with other characters - I want a Thrawn series and a Grevious mini-series pls.

Edited by Red Ring of Deviancy
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I was sitting this one out because discussions over this movie never seem to be pretty, but I thought I should highlight I don't understand where people get the idea that Rian Johnson and Kathleen Kennedy acted like jerks toward people who criticized the movie. 

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On 1/12/2020 at 7:18 PM, Red Ring of Deviancy said:

Ooh me, me, I'll say it's an abomination! -raises hand- Because it is. Yes, it's beautifully shot and I don't blame the actors for the terrible dialogue or poor character choices. No, don't bully anyone, Kelly Marie Tran is adorable, Rose was terrible. It was all terrible, except the cinematography and music.

I rewatched it recently with someone who'd never seen it and I was surprised to find even more little nitpicks and problems, even without comparing it to any of the Legends stuff. Rian got handed a big ball full of ideas and money and he couldn't have dropped it harder. The movie can be summed up with the opening scene of Hux being made a fool out of by Poe; a lack of respect to everything, everyone, every character whose arcs were ruined and a boring plot that could've been avoided. Canto Bight sucked, fight me. The entire B plot where Holdo doesn't tell anyone the plan wasn't necessary. I couldn't stand what they did to Luke. I'm mad that everyone's character arcs got butchered or abandoned. Etc. et al.

Rian and Kathleen acting like giant dillweeds to people who criticised the movie didn't help. Seeing Mark Hamill in those interviews genuinely makes my heart hurt.

There are hundreds and hundreds of video essayists both defending and deconstructing it more succinctly than I am; I'm keeping it short for the sake of brevity. I'm really glad people like this movie, I really am and there's nothing wrong with people liking what they like or don't like and I'm always down to talk differing opinions on this if anyone wants to PM me.

PS Yes Mandolorian is great. Everyone go watch it. It gives me trepidatious hope that we can get more high-quality shows like it with other characters - I want a Thrawn series and a Grevious mini-series pls.

A little polite rebuttal - of course it's fine if you don't like the plot, and character choices of known Star Wars characters. I feel differently - it's not the same, but people hated the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me but I liked it, as well as the Twin Peaks TV show.

Terrible dialogue - I think it's alright, and it's nowhere near as bad as some of the dialogue from the prequel trilogy. Some of that is just laughable. Also TLJ contains the bizarre line "You wonder why I keep a rabid cur in such a place of power? A cur's weakness, properly manipulated, can be a sharp tool." which is so cod-Shakespeare I kind of love it.

Hux being prank-called by Poe - I actually found that quite funny.

"Rian and Kathleen acting like giant dillweeds to people who criticised the movie". I wasn't aware of this; Rian has more recently been gracious about it. If they were reacting like this, it's probably because of the volume of abuse heaped on them on social media by people stupid enough to think that you show you are a true fan by abusing people on the internet.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of video essayists both defending and deconstructing it". If by "video essayists" you mean people on YouTube, that's fair enough - we are in no doubt about the opinion of a lot of Star Wars fans. If they want to comment on it as a movie (as opposed to specifically a Star Wars movie), I'm sorry but I am interested in proper film critics' opinions, not any old Joe who has a YouTube account where they make videos with names like "EVERYTHING WRONG WITH [INSERT GEEK-CULTURE MOVIE HERE]"

Thanks for your reply though, this has turned into a good, respectful thread.

Edited by Heathcliff
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On 12/29/2019 at 5:04 PM, Blah!? said:

The last thing I want to do is prop up TLJ by tearing the other movies down, but damn. I miss Rian. Go see Knives Out.

I could not agree more. Whether or not you liked TLJ, go and see Knives Out - it's a cracker. :)

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Yeah, I don't think the dialogue in The Last Jedi is bad by any means. There's a couple of corny lines, but Star Wars has always had those. C'mon, it's not even prequel-level bad. And the lines come from Rose who is shown to be naive reflect exactly that, but they're earned. And thanks for bringing up Fire Walk With Me. It accidentally was the first bit of Twin Peaks I ever saw. The third season solidified its place and tone as important and a full part of Twin Peaks. And absolutely, go see Knives Out! 

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Honestly... it's because they made a movie that they knew would be divisive instead of a movie that the fans wanted. They had a chance to reunite the original cast of the original trilogy... and they blew it!

They were so focused on subverting expectations at every turn... every subversion made key characters feel out of character, Luke becoming a bitter old man and giving up on his family. Let's forget that he was willing to forgive his own father for chopping off his hand among all the other horrid things that he had done... but now... he's just hiding on a planet waiting until he dies. Pathetic!
The entire hiding the escape plan from part of the crew was also stupid... it led to a mutiny that could have been avoided, but it had to happen so the casino scene could happen, so Poe and Rose could have their adventure! Poe and Finn didn't have any character progression from the first movie to this movie... in fact it felt like character regression. Finn went from fighting Kylo with a lightsaber back to a bumbling coward trying to escape, willing to abandon his friends. He put himself in danger to protect Rey at the end of the force awakens and is ready to abandon ship at the start of the last jedi... Why? To subvert our expectations.

This is not the end of the franchise but I don't feel excited about what happens next. Yes, the prequels are better than this new trilogy, because it had a coherent story to tell... it had a start, middle, and end. Unlike this trilogy where they killed off the big bad in the middle, leaving a void that needed to be filled in the third and final installment of this trilogy.

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This whole subverting expectations criticism sounds like a meme. I blame Red Letter Media. Luke has never been a perfect character. Ever. In A New Hope, he could be whiny. In The Empire Strikes Back, he was impulsive and cocky. In Return of the Jedi, his greatest strength became his own fault: Him caring for his loved ones. At almost every turn he suspected he was endangering the mission and his friends. That almost tipped him to the Dark Side because he couldn't collect himself. Him almost killing Kylo led to exactly that, but this time, he couldn't control people's other actions. Kylo, controlled by the Dark Side misunderstood what had happened and that led to his rampage and final tipover into the Dark Side. I don't know about you, but if my own nephew whom I was trying to protect from evil turned out to kill my students and single-handedly destroy something I had been working to build for years, I'd sure as hell be depressed. 

Holdo didn't allow Poe's plan, so of course, they had to keep it secret. What was Poe's character arc in The Force Awakens? He didn't really have any. In The Last Jedi, he actually gets one. And if you think that challenging a character or showing their faults is regression, then I recommend you look back to The Empire Strikes Back and see how that movie makes the characters face their faults. A continuing story isn't necessarily about progress, but instead for other attributes or faults to the characters to come into the foray. Finn still absolutely cared for Rey. Immediately upon waking up he asked for her, and was leaving to look for her. Not sure how can that be missed. And Kylo is the big bad of the trilogy at the end of the day. Again, not sure how that can be missed either. 

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At every turn you don't need to subvert expectations or force in a bad joke or regress character development or make Rey more of a Mary Sue than she was before.

This is just one of those movies where the more I watch it the more flaws that I see and the more I dislike the direction they took the characters... Luke isn't Luke and to me this movie was a disaster. I didn't hate the force awakens and maybe I will like the rise of skywalker but I doubt it. From what my friends have told me they tried to retcon as much as they could, trying to ignore the last jedi.

Edited by megacycle
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Yeah, I think "the movie only wanted to subvert expectations" is a very surface-level way of looking at it. Even though that was something Rian Johnson said he wanted to do, that's not the only thing the movie does. Though to be honest, I'm glad the movie didn't just do exactly what I expected it to. The Force Awakens is an entertaining movie for sure, but to me almost all of it feels like it's just trying to serve nostalgia. It's cool and flashy, but it really doesn't interest me very much. The only thing I consistently like about it is the new characters, since people like Rey and Finn are unlike any characters we've seen in Star Wars movies before. The characters are great, but the story and world they fit into are completely uninspired, hamstrung by their attempts to cater to original trilogy nostalgia.

The Last Jedi is unfortunately still stuck in that same setting, but one thing I really love about it is how it takes the force in new directions. We see the force explored in a way that's mystical and mysterious that we haven't really seen since we saw Yoda training Luke in Empire. "The force isn't a power that you have" is something that I think has always been true at the core of Star Wars, but a lot of things like the video games and expanded universe seem to forget that. Like I've never understood the fascination with family dynasties and lineage that some people have. Why would the force, the all-powerful, all-encompassing force, give a damn who your parents are? The Last Jedi also does some digging into why the previous movies even happened, why evil keeps returning and all that. It presents the idea that "balance" in the force isn't simply "killing all the bad guys," and that the Republic fell during the prequels due to the hubris and arrogance of the old Jedi order, not simply because the villains shot at them too much.

This is probably going to sound vindictive, and I'm not gonna lie, it kind of is, but I think it's also worth thinking about. I think some people really just want a fun, surface-level Star Wars adventure movie. They just want to see space battles and light saber duels, and when they see something like Luke contemplating killing Ben, they don't see it as an internal conflict for him or imagine what he could have seen that was so horrible to make him consider doing something like that. They just see it as a previously heroic character doing something bad, and they don't like it. Similarly I'm just floored by the number of people who thought the kid with the broom in the final scene was going to be a major character if not in Episode IX, but at least in some future movie. He was never meant to be a literal new protagonist emerging, but rather a symbol that hope had been rekindled, that greatness can come from anywhere, and to show the power that legends can have. You know, like how a ton of people grew up loving the "legends" of the original Star Wars movies and can be moved and motivated by them.

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I guess that if you want movies to be predictable, then you'll hate subverted expectations. That's fine. We all go to the movies for different reasons. I'll say: Stay away from YouTube critics, though. Most of them are next to useless. More interested in clickbait and monetizing their nerdrage instead of actual insightful criticism. Then again, that's how I feel about most film criticism nowadays. i'm afraid the internet is both the best and worst thing that has happened to those folks. But that's off-topic.  I'm not sure how Rey in The Last Jedi is more of a "Mary Sue" (a term I find borderline sexist  and reductive, and in this context just outright incorrect) since she's shown to make mistakes and to get hurt far more so than she was in the first film. 

I agree with Blah in that I think some people just want a surface-level enjoyable Star Wars movie with lightsaber fights and spaceship battles, which is perfectly fine, especially since the prequels denied those pleasures at the expense of failed drama or interesting characters. I think these new movies provided plenty of that, but also (or at least The Last Jedi) managed to add thematic depth in a deeper way than the saga had managed before. If I have a hot take about Star Wars is that I love the original trilogy very much, but its themes of good vs. evil are all very surface-level and straightforward, and there's nothing wrong with that. I hold those three movies as a holy grail. But we live in an age of complex fantasy where The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, the works of Alan Moore, The Dark Knight trilogy and others have managed to add political and thematic depth to the fantasy genre, in addition to artfulness in the craft of Blockbuster filmmaking. Easily, the sequel trilogy could've stuck to the sensibilities of the 70s and 80s and maybe we would have had simple fun movies, but I'm glad the sequel trilogy has aimed to go beyond that. 

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The thing is... this is how I felt about the last jedi before watching any of these reviews... I feel they betrayed the characters original design and ignores the growth that they went through from the original trilogy to this trilogy. Luke was a new hope... now a cynical old man who didn't try to right any wrongs or save his nephew. He just gave up!

You can have these deep philosophical plots without destroying a beloved character in the process... Han didn't need to die in the first movie (Thanks J.J.) and Luke didn't need to be a cynical old man waiting for death. (Thanks Rian) They went out of their way to butcher these beloved characters. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I've heard mixed things about the third movie, mainly how it has to retcon and cherry pick content from the previous movie to keep while tossing the rest back into the burning dumpster. This is coming from people that I know, people that have gone to see the movie. Not people on youtube.

P.S. If the movie was good they wouldn't be trying to retcon it in the third movie, that's how ya know it's actually bad. lol.

Edited by megacycle
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Eh, I still stand by my comments regarding critics. You see betrayal, I see change. And I like change in characters. It's often what keeps them interesting and Star Wars has always been about characters changing. I think the claims about TROS retconning TLJ are greatly exaggerated to an extent. Also, Aliens is a great film. Alien 3 immediately killed off two of its beloved characters and took on a completely different tone and direction than the previous film. That doesn't mean Aliens is bad. Almost every James Bond movie is a retcon of the previous one, that also doesn't mean the one that came before is bad. The Mad Max movies play fast and loose with their mythology and worldbuilding, and I'm sure that George Miller is fond of all of them. 

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I agree... critics are usually wrong, but in this case the real critics praised "the last jedi" but the fan base did not. Remove the movies connection to star wars, remove everything we already know about the characters and the lore, and it would probably be an okay standalone movie... but when it is part of a greater universe it fails... it takes what people know and love and ruins it and it got backlash for it. The character that people looked up to turned out to be a bitter old man who turned his back on his friends and family.

Why stay away from youtube critics though... I like hearing their side of the story, see unlike real critics they aren't being paid to say good things about a movie or a product. I usually don't watch their reviews because I want to experience for myself, no spoilers, but after viewing the film I will watch their reviews and see if they see what I see and be entertained along the way.

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I'm not sure if fan reception is a real metric of quality for anything. First of all, because it's art is subjective. I also remember that phrase that Brian DePalma says in his documentary: "You're being judged against the fashion of the day." That applies to both critics and fandoms. There's plenty of films and shows that were detested by audiences in their day, and then later became classics. I already had my say about YouTube critics, but to elaborate, I've found most if not all of them to be woefully misinformed about the filmmaking process, even though quite a few of them claim to be (or really are) flimmakers themselves. Where do you get that critics are paid to say good things? 

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It's their job to review movies... if a company can pay somebody to say something nice about their films, they will. Some of these companies that hire these critics probably have ties to the movie studios... perhaps they used to work for said studio, like Disney. Disney has deep pockets and they have a lot of connections, I can assure you that they do. the whole rotten tomatoes scandal is proof of that... so yes, professional critics do get paid or pressured or cherry picked to write reviews that might put a more positive spin on a bad movie to sell tickets and merch.

Like when IGN reviews the newest madden or sports game, it's never the same guy from the previous review of last years entry... because if it was he or she would probably complain about everything basically being the same with an updated roster.

Edited by megacycle
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