Star Wars: The Last Jedi

3 stars (out of 4)

Released 2017

Like The Force Awakens, if you think about some of the events in The Last Jedi a little bit, it doesn’t completely make sense.

For instance, at one point Finn and Rose go off to find the Master Codebreaker, only knowing their target would be in a certain place and wearing a specific piece of attire. That’s actually worse than the “Map to Luke.” What, this nameless guy is in that one location always? He never goes home to sleep; he has the attire visibly displayed at all times; and there’s no chance he’s already been enlisted in someone else’s mission? At least things don’t go exactly the way they wanted, but it’s still not quite believable that Finn & co. would even bother to undertake such a not-well-thought-out-virtually-zero-chance-of-success plan.

Also, I thought it was a ridiculously stupid mistake for the Resistance to voluntarily sacrifice one of their top personnel when this was clearly not even the final battle. Narrative-wise, I understood why it had to happen; but considering the difficult fight that’s certainly still ahead, it made no sense.

It seemed like half the things the characters were trying to do were for nothing.

Beyond this, I know many dissatisfied viewers have questioned the portrayal of Luke Skywalker, the various plot holes and inconsistencies. I have to say, I actually agree with nearly all of the complaints. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the film anyway.

At the end of the day, The Last Jedi is thrilling and fun, and it solidly lives up to expectations of what I’ve come to expect from Star Wars episodes – lots of great action and heroes that are easy to root for. The humour works for me too – the funny scenes are some of my favourite parts of the movie. Oh, and overpowered BB-8 is awesome!

ROGUE ONE: A Star Wars Story

rogue-one

3 stars (out of 4)

Released 2016

ROGUE ONE details the events immediately leading up to Star Wars: A New Hope. It explains how the Rebel Alliance managed to procure the plans to the Empire’s Death Star weapon and gives faces to the brave operatives who took on the task.

The plot is not extremely complicated, and there’s no deep message or theme. What we do get is a lot of space warfare and fighting and explosions and death. There is a tiny bit of character development, and also some humour, much of it courtesy of former Imperial droid K-2SO. Basically, it’s an action piece with high production values, good acting, good special effects, and a likeable cast. It is completely consistent with what you would expect from a Star Wars film.

As an unrelated aside, one of the previews at our screening was for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 movie, starring Baby Groot. Groot was already cute before, right? Oh my god, they’re killing me with this Baby Groot!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

star wars the force awakens-700x350

3 stars (out of 4)

Released 2015

I actually saw the movie several weeks ago and I was thinking of not reviewing it, since it seems like it will never be a good time to openly discuss this highly-anticipated sequel to the legendary franchise. After some discussion with Bini, however, I started to think it might be possible to say a few things without giving too much away.

The Force Awakens is not the best thing I have seen ever, but the film is respectably good and for the most part, lives up to the hype. There are nice callbacks to previous installments, great action scenes, likeable new (and old) characters. The new little droid, BB-8, scores major points for cuteness. And there’s even a cameo from The Lord of the Rings.

I have to say, I thought the overall “map” plotline was… a little hard to believe. However, I’m willing to reserve judgement on that, as it is possible future developments might add some context that isn’t apparent now. We’ll see.

There was just one small part that definitely did disappoint, and that was the too-easy shield-disabling scene. The character in question seriously did not think to secretly call for help or set off an alarm? At the very least, she could have done some stalling; it was obvious the people who were threatening her didn’t know the first thing about what she was doing (otherwise, they wouldn’t need her)!

For anyone who is new to Star Wars, it is best to have some familiarity with the original trilogy, Episodes IV, V and VI, (though not necessarily the prequels) before watching this. For established fans, I say: try to keep an open mind. They may not be reinventing the wheel with this film, but it can be a very fun ride nonetheless.