Tag Archives: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

iEditorial | Why THE LAST JEDI Matters

With the expanding adventures of a galaxy far, far away continuing to draw audiences to the multiplex, there’s a reason Rogue One and The Last Jedi are a significantly important part of the Star Wars mythology.

Not since George Lucas’ prequels has a Star Wars film created so much controversy especially amongst the fandom, but with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi the latest chapter in the growing narrative written and directed by Rian Johnson the filmmaker has given faithful fans an entirely new reason to scratch their heads, and this time we can’t put the blame of Lucas’ inflated overbearing sense. It was after all the creator of the Star Wars saga that decided to revisit his classic original trilogy with a revisited “Special Edition” before returning with new material.

The revisioning gave the creator the inspiration to return to the galaxy of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, but his hope was to fully flesh out the backstory of the film’s ardent villain Darth Vader, who by the end of the Episode VI was on a road to redemption. For Lucas the character’s path into darkness would lay the ground work for the prequel films. With the technology finally entering into an age that would give Lucas the opportunity to manipulate his story, it was open season for him to tell the tale of Anakin Skywalker’s decent into the Dark Side.

If you ask Lucas, he would tell you had always every intention of telling that story; in fact, the story goes that Lucas had always intended for the story of Star Wars to actually be told over the course of nine episodes. After he completed work on the “special editions” and the prequels, Lucas decided that he was in fact, done — and a new generation inherited the franchise. Eventually the narrative extended to The Clone Wars animated series and its follow-up Rebels, but as Lucas handed over the reigns, a demand for more Star Wars would become inevitable.

The continuing adventures…

When Disney purchased the Star Wars empire from Lucas, it went into production immediately on a “new trilogy” — a follow-up to the adventures of Luke Skywalker revealing what had happened to the heroes following the destruction of the second Death Star and the redemption of Darth Vader. Unfortunately, it didn’t all turn out so great, at least not in the way that fans had anticipated. Responsible for reigniting interest in the Star Trek franchise with the 2009 reboot, director J. J. Abrams was recruited to return movie audiences to the Star Wars universe.

Intuitively Abrams was well aware that unlike Star Trek he couldn’t simply recast the original actors and continue to tell the story. Instead the introduction of a new generation of players would be pivotal as the characters that survived the Battle of Endor had gone on with their lives and aged 30 years. The battle was won, but out of the ashes of the evil Empire emerged a remnant force that proved every bit as dangerous in The First Order. The rebellion was done, but the Resistance was now the determinant agency dedicated to restoring freedom to the galaxy.

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens Abrams reminded audiences of what it was that made them fall in love with Star Wars in the first place. The beats of the film were pretty much the same, and with the exception of sacrificing Han Solo, giving the film its most emotional resonance, The Force Awakens was the hope that fans had imagined it would be. Gareth Edwards was tasked with the most challenging part, delivering the first stand-alone story and delivered Rogue One an untold tale and stand-alone that connects right into A New Hope — and it was really good.

Then there’s The Last Jedi

On the latest film director Rian Johnson performed double duty, having written the story and directed the feature, a daunting task indeed for any filmmaker, especially one coming into a franchise of this magnitude. For Star Wars: The Last Jedi Johnson chose to break convention with any expectations and deliver a decidedly different Star Wars film, one not unlike the prequel world that Lucas had ventured into where not everything was orderly or transparent. Where some things just didn’t add up, and perhaps for a reason.

In The Last Jedi Luke Skywalker has isolated himself on an alien planet hidden from prying eyes, but one that is centrifugal to the legacy of the Jedi Knights, and from here he puts Rey on a path — asking the force-sensitive youth to grab her things and go! From here Rey finds that she has a unique connectivity to the Force and links with her rival Kylo Ren. The pair are so powerful they take down the Supreme Leader Snoke, living everyone to wonder what Snoke was in the first place. The rebellion is reborn and in the end, it is Skywalker that gives the heroes the hope to survive.

At the end of The Last Jedi the rebellion lives to fight another day, the First Order is left in much disarray and Johnson has thrown a curveball, expanding the world of the galaxy far, far away and laying the ground work for what’s yet to come. There’s a lot of unraveling that occurs in The Last Jedi some storyline oddities that appear to be major hurdles for Abrams who will be working on Episode IX to face, but whether it’s coherent or not, it’s the “middle story” and therefore the necessary transition by which the next trilogy will find its conclusion.

That’s why it matters.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.

Advertisements

iReview | STAR WARS The Last Jedi

The continuing adventures of a galaxy far, far away are finally coming to a Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD – Star Wars: The Last Jedi proves the most complex chapter in the ongoing saga that is the Skywalker legacy.

With the Force now awakened, STAR WARS: The Last Jedi the next chapter in the new trilogy is perhaps the most controversial narrative in the continuing adventures. As the galaxy races against time a mounting Resistance emerges to prevent the tightening totalitarian grip of the evil First Order from suffocating all that is good and right! After Disney purchased the franchise from its creator George Lucas, filmmaker J. J. Abrams was given the daunting task of reigniting the continuing saga, and went to work immediately to expanded on the universe.

In The Force Awakens Abrams introduced a new generation of heroes, the original trilogy’s cast was there too, but as a new threat to the galaxy emerges, the First Order, the Rebellion that defeated the Empire and destroyed their tyranny with the destruction of the second Death Star, has been mounting a new Resistance to stop this evil from taking root. Lead by the legendary might of General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) her ragtag group strike from hidden bases, but the First Order is growing and use a new super-weapon to destroy the New Republic.

It becomes apparent to the Resistance that if they are to defeat The First Order they must seek out Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who must once again inspire them with renewed hope. The search for Skywalker is only the beginning for a lonely young woman on a journey of discovery, Rey (Daisy Ridley) who along with her companion, First Order defector Finn (John Boyega) and the astromech droid BB-8 begin an adventure that reunites them with the ill-fated Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his trustee co-pilot Chewbacca.

Episode VII which sets in motion the events for this new trilogy, also introduced Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is the Force-wielding son of Leia and Han once known as Ben Solo. Luke Skywalker attempts to train his nephew, but loses him to the Dark Side. Rey is able to best Ren in combat as her own Force powers begin to surface, but she needs the self-exiled Luke Skywalker to help her. Once Kylo Ren mercilessly murders his own father, his path into the Dark Side becomes nearly complete, but Rey feels the conflict within him and is convinced she can save him.

After destroying Starkiller Base, The First Order’s weapon of mass destruction, the Resistance regroups, and Leia sends Rey to seek out Luke Skywalker with a map that will lead her right to him, but will Rey be able to bring the Jedi Master back into the fold, to rejoin the fight?

…in a galaxy far, far away.

Fans had waited nearly 40 years to see their favorite Rebel heroes back together! Although Abrams had sacrificed the rogue spacer Han Solo appropriately in the final act of his film; Harrison Ford had always expressed a desire to have his character meet a heroic end. Hoping to save the soul of his son, who is on the brink of complete corruption, Han exposes his vulnerability and pays the price. Abrams passed on directing the next installment and Kathleen Kennedy sought out Rian Johnson to both write and direct Star Wars: The Last Jedi the next chapter in the ongoing saga.

The filmmaker took a decidedly risky approach to expanding the universe, by elaborately deconstructing much of what Abrams had engineered to reestablish. The most obvious course for Johnson was to focus his attention on the new generation of characters specifically Rey and Kylo Ren whose fates appear intertwined. After Rey finds Luke Skywalker, the Jedi Master doesn’t live up to her expectations. Instead of a Rebel hero, she finds a cynical isolationist, who has lost the will to fight and is instead resigned to let the Jedi Order end.

Sensing the conflict within Kylo Ren, Rey uncovers secrets about the relationship between student and apprentice and the incident that leads to both their downfalls. Fearing that he’s failed his nephew as the evil influence of The First Order’s Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) Begins to take over the young Ben Solo, Luke feels he has no other alternative but to strike Ben down! The attempt delivers Ben Solo, now Kylo Ren right into the hands of Snoke, who sets his new apprentice on the path once traversed by his own grandfather Darth Vader.

For much of The Last Jedi the Resistance are at the relentless mercy of the seemingly unstoppable First Order and the advancing fleet that is slowly picking off each one of their vessels one by one. It seems foolhardy to say the least that the impressively powerful navy of the First Order doesn’t simply dispatch auxiliary ships to descend on the Resistance, giving the willful rebels an opportunity to strategize an action plan to make haste their escape. Dispatching Finn (Boyega) to the casino planet Canto Bight manufactures an opportunity to revisit a Star Wars trope indeed.

The film feels the most alien and not just because Johnson has created an entirely new world with Canto Bight, but introduced the idea of a corrupt capitalism and profiteering from war. The lines between who is good and who is bad are blurred, and even the question of whether the Jedi are necessary is questionable. These aren’t all-too new ideas within this universe, but it is the first time that they are so dynamically portrayed inside the narrative — and it is unexpected. As in The Empire Strikes Back, at the end of The Last Jedi there is a significant amount of loss.

The Resistance is decimated and ultimately make their escape aboard the Millennium Falcon; in effect all the remaining fighters fit within the smuggling ship’s seating area. Perhaps the most difficult pill to swallow is the uncharacteristic interpretation of Luke Skywalker; the actor himself, Mark Hamill had been very vocal about how disappointed he was with how the one-time Rebel hero and Jedi Knight was portrayed in what is obviously his last film. Johnson stood by his decision, even though Hamill protested. Whether it will ultimately serve the final act, has yet to be seen.

The most astounding aspect of the film is the complex relationship that is developing between Rey and Kylo Ren. How that is going to play out is still to be determined, and even now J. J. Abrams is figuring out what course to set with Episode IX, whether there is time to course correct will be determined by how much of Episode VIII, he intends to stick with; seeing as how much Johnson retconned to meet his own ends, will Star Wars Episode IX be something as obscure as The Last Jedi? Will The Force be with it?

The Blu-ray bonus features include several deleted scenes that fill out key action sequences, including pertinent dialogue that would have helped give Finn a little more bite not to mention a powerfully much more potent moment with First Order military Captain Phasma. The package also includes a specially produced documentary on the filmmaking process from Rian Johnson’s perspective that gives detailed insight to his process.

STAR WARS Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is directed by Rian Johnson and available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.

Teaser Poster :: STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII – The Last Jedi Revealed

Evoking much of the feel of the original trilogy, the teaser poster for the next installment of Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi features the film’s heroine Rey in a striking homage to Luke Skywalker with the Jedi Master himself looking as if from above and the menacing visage of Kylo Ren, Skywalker’s nephew turned disciple of the Dark Side.

Beautifully crafted in its simplistically overpowering splendor, fan expectation for the continuing saga and the dramatic turn it will undoubtedly take with some all-new revelations has built to a fever-pitch this weekend thanks in large part to the release of the film’s first teaser trailer.

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi opens in theaters across the world in December.

Breaking Down the STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII – The Last Jedi Trailer

The Skywalker Saga continues and the helm is being passed down, but at what cost if the galaxy cannot repel the advancing forces of the First Order? How much is hanging in the balance?

Now that the glorious day has arrived, the trailer for the next chapter in the greatest space opera ever told, this first look at Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi raises more questions than answers them. The first images reintroduce Rey — the hero from Episode VII – The Force Awakens played by relative newcomer Daisy Ridley — as she undergoes what looks like the trials to become a Jedi who have been all but lost especially since the last of the order Luke Skywalker went into hiding.

The Last Jedi promises to pick up right from where we left off, with Rey arriving at the top of a lonely mountain after recovering the last piece of a map leading to a secluded location where Luke has been hiding. Fans of the original trilogy were in complete awe when Mark Hamill was finally revealed. The actor was the focus of the mystery that leads us up to this moment, and as the evil First Order presses on, the Resistance led by Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) may need all the help that they can get.

As the trailer relates the Resistance will find itself in several battles with the First Order and Resistance fighter Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) may not make it to his X-Wing in time to fight off the advancing fleet. Even his astromech BB-8 can outrun the firestorm. The one-time First Order stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) appears to still be recovering from his injuries sustained in the climatic confrontation with the menacing Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who appears to be descending further into the darkness.

It may be all up to the Chosen One — the Jedi meant to bring balance to the Force. Over the course of the saga that mantle has been passed from one Skywalker to another, but perhaps there is still hope, especially if Luke is all too ready to put aside all he’s learned and allow nature to take its course. The trailer ends with Luke’s ominous declaration: “Its time for the Jedi…to end.”

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi opens in theaters everywhere in December.