Breanna Brink Staff Writer
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has been teasing fans with trailers for months, and when it finally hit theatres on Dec. 15, the film quickly generated a total of over 1.2 billion dollars against a budget of 200 million. This should not come as a surprise. With a fanbase in the millions and spanning across generations, “Star Wars” has become one of the most iconic film series. Naturally, this comes with its ups and downs. A series so good being followed up by another that was, at best, enjoyably boring and would warrant confused reactions to Disney resurrecting a legacy long since capable of polarizing its fans. Now that George Lucas himself is rich off the Mouses’ decisions to officially own the space operas content, have the new movies been doing well as fans had hoped?
This is not the first new instalment in the series, and much like Episode VII, Episode VIII has received polarizing opinions. With a brief and spoiler-free explanation provided by IMDb, we know that “Luke Skywalker’s peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he encounters Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of the Force. Her desire to learn the ways of the Jedi forces Luke to make a decision that changes their lives forever. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren and General Hux lead the First Order in an all-out assault against Leia and the Resistance for supremacy of the galaxy.” The film itself can’t help but carry over ideals from previous films, while also introducing some new concepts to the series. In a quote from Kylo Ren himself, “let the past die.” Entertainingly enough, this concept still seems to be something the new trilogy is struggling with, and fans can hope to see a whole new brand of Star Wars with the third instalment all but set in stone.
Despite fans being undeniably excited for a new film, people tend to feel one way or the other about this attempted move away from the traditional formula. Mat Zoller Seitz with RogerEbert.com had a few things to say as an old-time fan. “The Last Jedi” still manages to maneuver in unexpected ways, starting with the decision to build a whole film around a retreat where the goal is not to win but to avoid being wiped out.” With this as the catalyst for a story, each moment in the fight for survival is extended and should carry proper weight, Seitz explains that, “along that narrative backbone “The Last Jedi” strings what amount to several tight, often hastily devised mini-missions, each of which either moves the heroes (or villains) closer to their goals or blows up in their faces. The story resolves in lengthy, consecutive climaxes which, refreshingly, don’t play like a cynical attempt to pad things out. Old business is resolved, new business introduced.” It is enjoyable and well-acted; the scenery is beautiful and we are introduced to the new flora and fauna of the “Star Wars” universe.
However, others consider these flaws to be more problematic, and are not swayed by the environment and acting. As a whole, it can be noted that timelines fail to match up on several occasions. Rey’s Jedi training seems to take months of practice and plot points, however everything else the film presents us with spans only over 18 hours or so. This movie, as one writer for Vox put, “can be taxing to watch.” They discuss pointedly how some scenes can be easy to complain about. The plot could have been written better, characters are introduced to be thrown away, and the weight of the world is not settling properly on the audience’s shoulders, but is more so disproportionately annoying with unwarranted scenes that go nowhere or are never clarified. For people who have seen this film, most can agree the majority of Poe’s plot could have easily been resolved with a simple conversation.
This film seems to be more impactful than its predecessor, with the division it has caused among fans. Some have proclaimed it as their new favorite, exalting it above the originals. While others would rather watch all three prequels back to back instead of witnessing the monstrosity again. This film is great when it’s great and bad when it’s bad, however simple that is to say. And just like there is no shortage of opinions, there will likely be no shortage of Porg merchandise. Fan of “The Last Jedi” or not, this film has made milestones and broken them, gaining new fans, and blowing people away with its visuals and stellar cast. And if you didn’t like this film, you can hold your breath for “Star Wars: A Solo Film,” for some time later this year.