OK, first off… apologies for the lack of posts. Between senior seminar, finals, other homework, then FINALLY being off on break for some SERIOUS, MUCH-NEEDED INTROVERSION— Well, you get the picture.
December, this year, for the most part, is my happy month, guys. For four reasons: 1., Christmas (the obvious), 2., I got yet another 3.8; 3., I AM GOING TO ISRAEL IN LESS THAN A WEEK!!!!! And 4., The Last Jedi.
(Don’t worry; you guys will get pictures galore when I’m back– maybe even a post or two, seeing as how I’ll be chronicling my travels in a physical journal the whole time 😉 But anyways)
So, as you guys know, I am a MAJOR, major, major “Star Wars” geekette. I have a purple lightsaber in my closet as we speak (light-up, too– though, I STILL WANT MY INDIGO LIGHTSABER!!!! ARRRRGGGGHHH), glued to every single episode of Rebels that’s ever been out, as well as some “Rebels Recon” (and most of “Clone Wars”), am in possession of most of the Complete Star Wars Visual Dictionaries (I am planning on buying The Last Jedi one soon), and became so recently appalled at my youngest cousins (ages 10-15) NEVER HAVING SEEN STAR WARS BEFORE, I made SURE to give them the chance to have some mandatory viewings before Episode VIII.
Which brings me to….
The EPISODE VIII REVIEW. (dun dun dun duuuuuunnn…)
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THE LAST JEDI, YOU SHOULD not READ ANY FURTHER! THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING!!!
In brief, for the most part…
I. Loved. It.
OK, maybe “love” is a bit strong: I would say, “really, really liked” is probably more accurate. But in actuality, Episode VIII is probably one of my fave SW Eps.
Sure, there were some dumb things with Poe and the whole mutiny thing, but the Rey’s training, Rey and Kylo, and the awesome SW animal things totally made up for that. Those things made Episode VIII worthy of my love (yes, at the risk of me sounding like Lusamine 😛 ). And, all things considered, the number 8 IS one of my two fave numbers, so I gotta say, no pressure or anything, Johnson— putting up high expectations out there, but for the most part, they were met.
So, here we go! As always, we’ll go with the criticisms first, then end with positive closures:
- The whole Poe Mutiny thing. It was just kinda stagnant for me, and made it more like an episode of “Rebels” than an actual legit SW movie. Didn’t really move for me. Same with Rose and Finn’s mission, it didn’t feel as genuine as the mission with operation Starkiller base shutdown (aka remake of Ep. IV) in The Force Awakens. Then I ended up being confused of who to root for when Leia became conscious and outright STUNNED Poe for his mutiny. Which side is the “good guy” side here?
- Rey being too repetitive, when meeting Luke. She starts to sound like a broken record at times, continually relaying Leia’s message of hope and urging him to join the Resistance, instead of just answering his own questions half the time. It made her sound less realistic, and more like one of MY “pamphlet-y” characters (*cough* Guy… *cough*). This isn’t good, because Rey is such a good, strong, sassy character. She’s more than a recording playback of hope, Johnson. You already had that throwback of Leia’s recording via Artoo to nail that one on the head.
3. Why DID Luke Skywalker pull something of an Obi-Wan on us? Rather than fully face something he believed he triggered, Luke doesn’t show up to confront his fears and face them himself; he sends only an apparition of himself. He owns up, but doesn’t show up. This cowardly behavior is reflected in his initial refusal to teach Rey anything about the Force: He’s afraid of creating or triggering another Kylo. It’s this reason that he says he’s seen that kind of power once before, and while it didn’t frighten him into sense then, it did now. However, this fear leads to him not really resolving his problems, only running away and hiding from them. He literally was so dejected about the whole stupid thing being his fault that he went off to end the Jedi Order by dying, alone, on secluded Ach-To. He didn’t even fully die– just vanished into the Force, like Obi. And Obi at least had the decency to help Luke fight Vader and rescue Leia. Why did Luke do that? The world may never know, but it seems slightly cowardly to me.
- The new critters. Oh. My. Gosh. This film is living proof that there are really cool and cute creatures in the SW universe, not just Hutts. Or Nexus. Or Acklays. Or… Well, you get the gist. In Episode VIII, we get the Vulptices (ice foxes). Those cool, beautiful creatures that Rose and Finn need to ride to get to safety, that look like they’re part horse, part kangaroo, part something else. And, MOST IMPORTANTLY….
We first spy these little penguin-like guys on Ach-To, and later, we learn (with much dismay), that Chewie has been ROASTING THEM OVER AN OPEN FIRE FOR SUSTENANCE. Three poor little porgs look up at him like, “What are you doing?” making him growl, and they scurry off; one brave lil porg remains, looks up at him with huge, watery, eyes, and gives a tiny, pitiful little cry like, “Budddddyyyy…. Why are you eating my buddy?” and Chewbacca ROARS a bit to scare that one off, and thus ease his conscience. We later see him having made amends with the adorable beings, however, by taking them on the Falcon to hitch a ride for kicks.
I want a plushie porg, and I want it now. And unfortunately, the cheapest I can find are on Amazon for no lower than $52. WIM. T_T Why me???
2. Rey’s Jedi Training. Rey finally starts on the path to what she is destined to be, and will be the ultimate tide-turner for the story as a whole. In fact, I feel like the whole story of the three new movies is a major telling of HER story. She, not Finn or Poe, is the true protagonist, or the major protag. Because, if you think on it– in The Force Awakens, the Force has literally been awakened in her; she learns that she’s Force-sensitive. In The Last Jedi, she is literally the last, singular, Jedi at the end of the film, as well as according to Luke. I feel like the film titles alone dictate her destiny, or at least what happens to her specifically in each film. I can hardly wait to see what happens to her in the final installment!
3. THE WHOLE DYNAMIC BETWEEN REY AND KYLO. I could literally go on for pages about this (seriously, someone shut me up if I start fangirling too much here). One major motif I noticed even in the trailers ( and thought about a LOT while watching the movie) and found thoroughly fascinating was the whole idea of them being a LITERAL balance of good and evil, light and dark. Kylo’s “dark” but struggles with resisting the light; Rey has the opposite problem: She’s fighting for “good,” but is somehow called by the “evil,” and finds it surprisingly difficult to resist. While I could write a little sermon-post on this interesting topic, on how it relates to human nature as a whole (and perhaps someday I will…), now is not ideal; however, this does affect their relationship a great deal. Thanks to a certain individual’s interference, the two interact a lot more and actually get to know each other better. While Rey initially thinks Kylo’s a monster (as implied in Ep. VII), she gradually warms to the fact that he’s only fallen, only twisted (“twisted” in this sense meaning that he is a warped version of initial good) because of a sad backstory, and eventually comes to believe he needs her help in returning to the light. However, we eventually see that Kylo has the mirror sentiment of her; he believes her own ideals are “twisted,” and senses her own inner conflict, and believes he can help her in turning to the dark side. There is a returning familiarity with these scenes as they grow more and more comfortable with each other’s presence, that reminds me strongly of the Darkling coming to visit Alina numerous times, via corporeal apparitions, in Siege and Storm. And maybe it’s just me, but I think because he gets to know her, because he can relate to her inner struggle, that he might even be ATTRACTED to her. Sound far-fetched? Well, in one vision episode, he appears to her SHIRTLESS (obviously intentional) and she, somewhat embarrassed, asks him to put something on, clearly flustered (he doesn’t). Later, when in Snoke’s throne room, and on our way to Snoke’s room in the elevator, we see several direct parallels:
Kylo’s conversation with Rey in the elevator mirrors a similar one Darth Vader had with Luke Skywalker, also in an elevator, when Skywalker comes to redeem him– Vader also wished to turn his son to the Dark Side.
Kylo’s act of killing Snoke and sparing Rey mirrors Vader’s albeit more selfless act of killing Hideous– sorry, SIDEOUS– to spare Luke’s life.
Kylo literally offering Rey the chance to rule alongside him. Not beneath him, not just to JOIN him, but ALONGSIDE HIM. This parallels Vader TWICE: When Vader told Luke they could rule the galaxy side-by-side, as father and son, and when Vader made that same offer to Padme Amidala, albeit in a slightly more romance-oriented sense.
I believe that Kylo meant more of the latter here, even saying that while most saw Rey only as nothing, a lowly scavenger at best, he knew she was something special, and meant much more than that to him. Again, I get a very Darkling-and-Alina vibe here, which is probably why half my body and mind is screaming, “JOIN HIM, YOU FOOL” (because, what can I say, still suffering from a loss of Darklina shippings…), the rest saying, “Oh, you know she’ll only resist.” And yup, sure enough, she does. She tries once to get him to the Resistance’s side, major fail (don’t do that to a passionate guy; he’ll take that as dissing his passions). Even after she has rebuffed him, though, this doesn’t stop him from calling out to her one. Final. Time. At the very end, before she leaves with the Resistance. And it’s heart-wrenching, because of the look she gives him before the door shuts, severing their connection. It’s a look I imagine Alina giving the Darkling, but even she was more sympathetic.
4. The Yoda cameo. Because seeing old friends is always a pleasant surprise for nostalgic old geezer fans like myself (and even older).
Shipping-wise: Initially, I shipped Finn and Rey, but now I’m thinking of Rey and Kylo a LOT more (namely because sucker for sympathetic villains.). And now considering events in the new film, I gotta say I’m also leaning towards shipping Rose and Finn, too. Because reasons. 😉
Anyways, though this film had a few bugs to work out, and a couple unanswered questions, I do want a couple things to happen:
I want another animated series, similar to Clone Wars and Rebels, only this time, set RIGHT AFTER this film. So, similar to Rebels in some manner, but I want to see Finn and Rose’s, as well as Kylo and Rey’s, relationship bud and blossom. This stuff takes time, more time than could ever be conveyed super realistically in a single film (unless you count the whole, “time day skip” thingy, but we aren’t gonna count that). I want Rey to talk to Yoda’s, Luke’s and Obi-Wan’s ghosts. I want to see her training more. I want her training younglings, the future of the Jedi. I want more Kylo Ren temptations. (I don’t know if I would’ve resisted, if I were her, or not…) GOSH DANGIT GUYS, I WANT IT ALL!!!!!
I do want the final installment to have answers to my questions, including why Luke chickened out, is Rey going to cave (got a feeling that answer is “no,”), is Kylo going to slowly about face and start to turn to the Light Side, why did Chewie stop eating porgs (other than their unadulterated cuteness), and so much more.
My final rating: 4 outta 5 stars. Sooooo close, Johnson; just a BIT more!!!