Movie Review: Cinema Cindy Reviews Star Wars The Last Jedi
By CYNTHIA BIDDLECOMB
“Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi”, the latest installment in the 40 year old Star Wars franchise, was released Dec. 15 to an eager audience.
As promised, the story picks up immediately where “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” ended, with our new heroine, Rey, approaching Luke Skywalker on a rocky island.
We wondered with the last movie, what will happen when Rey and Luke meet? Expectations for each new Star Wars film are always high; people get anxious about the fate of their favorite characters, making an audible buzz before the film opens.
Fortunately for us, Writer/Director Rian Johnson (who directed Looper) does not disappoint with this film. His is a massive responsibility, to work with beloved characters developed by George Lucas and most recently by J. J. Abrams, yet to breathe fresh life into their galaxy and to help us care about them again.
What Johnson manages to do with Last Jedi is to create a new trajectory for the tale and a durable future for the franchise. Deftly handling the original stars as well as the new ones, Johnson weaves a plausible story arc for each of them. He expands the galaxy (and the length of the film—2 hr. 32 min.), allowing us to spend time with characters who take on more dimensions, as a result. We are kept guessing which side Rey will choose, the Light side of the Force, or its Dark Side.
We are willing to hope Kylo Ren might turn from the Dark Side. Our trust that Luke will save the day is given full rein throughout the movie. And then there are the new critters created for this film—the puffin/pug-like Porgs and the Caretakers on the island who look like fish-nuns, racing quadrupeds called Fathiers and crystalline foxes called Vulptices—take your pick which one will become the popular new toy in 2018.
The longer story arc, taking place on several planets and spaceships, gives the myriad of characters room to move. Returning to us from the original 1977 film are Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher as his sister, Princess/General Leia Organa. Furry Chewbacca has a part to play, especially with the Porgs. Androids C3P0 and R2D2 share the bill with BB8, but get less screen time. Returning from Episode VII to fight for the First Order (on the Dark Side) are Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, and Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux.
Returning to fight for the Resistance are: Daisy Ridley as Rey, Oscar Isaac as the pilot Poe Dameron, and John Boyega as the former Stormtrooper, Finn. New characters will join them: veteran actress Laura Dern (adorned with lilac hair) as Vice-Admiral Holdo, and young Kellie Marie Tran as maintenance worker Rose Tico—who shows us that anyone can step up and be a hero. Benicio del Toro plays a small, scruffy part as a scoundrel named DJ.
A handful of devout Star Wars fans disagree with what Rian Johnson did with their favorite characters. But for the rest of us, this is a better, deeper, more spiritual story than its predecessors, its characters more fraught with intra-personal struggles.
“Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence,” The Last Jedi is sure to entertain and enthrall, proving once again that The Force is with us.