The Last Jedi…Movie review

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So after waiting for 2 years we finally got to see the next story in the Star Wars saga…The Last Jedi. After watching multiple trailers and tons of youtube videos on fan theories and etc, I was pumped to see what Rian Johnson had in store for us fans.

My first thought after seeing the movie was “ok, it was pretty good and I actually understand why some of the things that happened in the movie HAD to happen”. Now me (like tons of other people in this galaxy) Im a HUGE Star Wars fan and have been since the early 80’s, so I can understand some fan frustration with the direction Johnson decided to take this movie.

Lets start from the beginning…The last time we saw Luke he had just defeated the Emperor and redeemed his father and was celebrating in the forest with his friends and a bunch of teddy bears. Fast forward 30 years and now he’s a recluse who doesn’t want anything to do with the resistance or stopping the first order?? What the hell’s going on here? This isn’t the Luke we’ve come to know and love over the past few decades. Well we find out that his nephew, Ben Solo (Kylo Ren) had a strong dark presence in him and Luke, for a second felt like a swift lightsaber blow to the head would stop him from becoming this evil person…well Ben didn’t take kindly to that and dropped a ceiling on his dear old uncle Luke. Not only did he drop a ceiling on him but he snatched up a few of his students and took them with him causing Luke to feel like he had failed in life. Dude you saved the galaxy…pick your damn head up! Now I will say im curious as to why they still haven’t delved into the Knights Of Ren yet…like when TFA was coming out they were building them up to be this bad ass super team….well where is the bad-assery?! we’re waiting!! Every time we see Ren he’s by himself or with Snoke…did the knights of Ren want a raise and it wasn’t in the first order budget and they just went to work at target?? Hopefully JJ can tie up this lose end in episode XI.

There are other loopholes Johnson ummm forgot to tie up in this movie…well I cant say that…I’ll say there are things FANS wanted answered that weren’t answered and honestly with the way the movie played out…not sure if they can or will be answered…one of those things is….WHO IN THE HELL IS SNOKE!?! Yeah I know about all the online theories and what not but who is he really?!? Here he is behind the scenes controlling everything, seems to be strong with the force and is like 7ft tall, was able to get Ben to go to the dark side yet, he also seems to be in love with Vader as much as Kylo is! He gets sliced in half without us getting ANY explanation on his background? Come on Disney you gotta do better than that. Then he’s like your big bad!! He doesn’t get any shine wielding a light saber or fighting Luke or Rey or anything? That’s like Marvel building Thanos up and then he finally arrives and is killed by Tony Stark shooting a missile at him and he doesn’t get the other infinity stones. I was HOPING for a showdown in the third movie with Rey, Luke and Leia all three with their lightsabers out and squaring down on Snoke and Kylo and the Knights of Ren. Again…maybe JJ can help fix/correct some of this.

Speaking of Leia, I always figured she’d be powerful…I mean she’s a Skywalker for goodness sakes!!! And we never got to see her REALLY display her force abilities (except for that moment in Empire Strikes Back where Luke calls out to her and she hears him from the falcon)…and I get they wanted to show that she IS in fact force sensitive like her brother but…being sucked out into the vacuum of space and living and then floating back down to safety?? Ok first of all if Leia is THAT strong with the force why didn’t she just train Ben herself?? I mean hell Luke projects himself across the galaxy and it wipes him out and kills him…so are they trying to imply that Leia is the stronger of the two? I mean I have no issue with them saying that Leia is the stronger of the two…but couldn’t they find another way to showcase that?? Like wouldn’t it have been cool if she was on her ship and just reached out and started moving the dreadknot or ripping it apart or something? THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A WOW MOMENT!!

A ton of fans are PISSED that Luke was “killed” off…I mean I understand this from both sides to be honest. On one hand you have the die hard fans who grew up with Luke and in their eyes…he CANT die…he’s Luke Skywalker…there is no Star Wars without Luke…then on the other hand I totally get that Star Wars can’t be about Luke, Han & Leia forever..it just cant!! It’s like JJ said about TFA….in an early draft of the script they had Rey meeting Luke early in the movie but they scrapped it because they felt fans would be focused on Luke the entire time and it wouldn’t allow for Rey to grow as a character. Disney wants it to be known that Rey is gonna be the hero of this new trilogy and that Luke was NOT gonna save the galaxy this time…at least not in the way we all were thinking. Now if we know anything about Star Wars its that when someone dies…they dont really die. I mean Yoda said it himself in episode III…Kwai Gon Jin found the path to IMMORTALITY!!! These force ghosts we see live on forever and are able to interact with people like they would if they were alive. So because Luke “died” in this film does not mean we wont see more of Luke Skywalker. We saw at the end of The Last Jedi that Luke had a change of heart and wants the Jedi to live on so maybe he comes back as a force ghost with Yoda possibly and trains Rey and taps into that raw power she has.

Now the whole thing with Rey’s parents and what not…ehhhh im on the fence about….do I believe her parents were drunks who sold her for drinking money??? NO of course not! I do still think she’s a Skywalker descendant, maybe not Luke’s daughter but she has some Skywalker blood in her. Maybe JJ will go into this more in depth in episode XI. I won’t be upset if she’s not a Skywalker but they better give a damn good explanation as to why Ben has this awesome power and so does a child who’s parents were nobody and were drunks and then died off.

I was kinda upset that Captain Phasma didnt get more shine in this film…again…they spent so much time building this character up just to have her end abruptly…we never even got to see her without her helmet on…it seems like someone sat in a room and came up with these great characters but no backstory for them. Finn and Rose’s mission seemed rushed and really didn’t need to happen…but I get they had to find something for their new character to do and someone for her to interact with…Finn being the only one she could possibly interact with.

Overall I think it was a good movie…sure, some of the fan theories didn’t pan out and some of our questions STILL haven’t been answered but I feel this movie served as a “tester” movie for the fans….to gauge the reactions to the bold moves made by Disney…I think if a lot of the backlash continues, they go to JJ and say “hey look, you’ve gotta correct some of this and do this and do that”. I think Disney is seeing first hand that you can’t really mess with something so beloved in so many ways…maybe playing it safe is just the better bet when it comes to these movies. People want to see a menacing bad guy, a deep story and some twists and turns that play to THEIR liking and they Skywalkers prevail, is it fair?? probably not…but its whats worked for over 4 decades and why mess with a good formula…think about it…you work at a job for 40yrs and then another company comes in and buys your job and changes everything up…they have to expect people arent going to be too receptive and theres gonna be some backlash.

Again I understand what Johnson was trying to do…but the next time Mark Hamill tells you he fundamentally disagrees with everything you’re doing…listen to him! Hopefully in episode XI JJ can bring Luke back as a force ghost as the Luke we all know and love…powerful Jedi knight and willing to train Rey so that she may train others and keep the Jedi’s relevant.

 

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Hollywood Shift

For as long as I can remember, Hollywood, CA has been the gold standard for making movies big and small. Big A-listers such as Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks have all made huge blockbuster hits in Tinseltown.

And while its nothing new for producers and directors to opt for shooting on location out of the country, I mean look at films that date back as far as the first Star Wars, it seems that in recent years Hollywood has shifted its sights to shooting in “money saver” locations…mainly Georgia.

Films with huge budgets such as Marvel’s Captain America Civil War and the upcoming ¬†Avengers: Infinity War are choosing to opt out of filming in Hollywood and taking their talents to Georgia. While I love Hollywood and the walk of fame and the Hollywood sign and etc, I think its a GREAT move for studios like Marvel and Fox to start filming in locations that allow their films to stretch their budgets as far as possible.

Now I know some are going to say “well just because a movie has a huge budget it does NOT mean its going to be a success, just ask Michael Bay and his Transformers movies”. And yes I totally agree with those people but lets be honest here can you really tell the difference between a movie shot in Hollywood and one shot in Atlanta? NO! People went and enjoyed Captain America Civil War and NOT ONE person said “hey…that movie was great, but it would’ve been a lot better if it was shot in Hollywood.

I say this to say I’m glad this shift is taking place, sort of like how the Super Bowl used to just be played in Florida or California…now it seems every city is getting a chance to host the big game. Even if your team isn’t in the Super Bowl, if its in your city, the city is just alive and fun. I remember when I was in D.C. and Transformers 3 came to film there, the entire city was a buzz and excited. Did we get to see actual transformers in action? no…actually all we saw was a bunch of pyrotechnics and cameras following invisible robots, but when we saw “bumblebee” and “optimus prime” drive on set we lit up with emotion. So why can’t fans all over the country feel that same joy about seeing their favorite actor or fictional character?

Hell lets start filming big budget films in Idaho for all I care, lets film Justice League in Mississippi, lets just roll the dice and see where they fall!!! I’m sure those fans in those states would love to see Brad Pitt just eating in a local diner or Will Smith shopping in a mall.

And yes I love Hollywood and the history and mystique of it just like everyone else and NO I don’t think that choosing to film less and less there will somehow diminish its meaning to the movie world. A great director and producer can film in the darkest cave or a barren moon and make it great.

Ask anyone who wants to be an actor where they want to move to and 90% will say “Los Angeles”, but in recent years I’ve heard more and more people opting to move to Atlanta because they know more and more major films and tv shows are being filmed there and they may have the same opportunity there that they would have in Los Angeles (Hollywood).

In closing, anyone reading this who wants to pursue a career in acting should definitely make Atlanta an option. Cheaper cost of living and less congested and I promise you that only more and more big budget productions are going to be made available to you.