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The Antelope

The Force is not strong with this one


Schneider’s acerbic pen tears its way though the latest intergalactic Christmas blockbuster 

Kaitlin Schneider
Antelope Editor

Do not read unless you have watched the latest “Star Wars” movie. I know it came out over a month ago, but this warning still stands. Serious spoilers ahead.

I know I am reviewing this movie rather late, or at least it seems that I am. Well, I actually wrote it three days after seeing “The Last Jedi.” I needed a few things to do during Christmas break, and what kind of movie critic would I be if I didn’t do a review of the latest installment of one of the best cinematic sagas to ever grace the silver screen? Anyway, this time, I decided to embrace the holiday season and take my whole family along to the movie.

I was expecting huge, winding lines of anticipating fans like when I saw “The Force Awakens” the first time, lines that meandered through the entire theater, with people having stood there for hours in advance just to get a good seat. Well, maybe it was because I went a few days after the film had already released instead of opening night, or maybe it was just, to my disappointment, that the movie wasn’t as stellar as the past films have been. It wasn’t “Justice League” by any means (in other words, awful), but it certainly didn’t live up to the hype that had been building since Episode VII’s release in 2015.

Don’t get me wrong; there are many “Star Wars” flicks that are far from perfect, but “The Last Jedi” certainly isn’t the worst of them all (just picture me angrily leering at a VHS copy of “The Phantom Menace.”) However, “The Last Jedi” was filled with poorly-timed humor. In especially serious moments, characters would have to crack a joke. Such instances happened throughout the entire film, taking away any potential depth these scenes may have had.

The Porgs, while adorable, are no doubt a part of the film merely to sell toys, and they do not add any major substance. At least the Ewoks did more than act as Chewbacca’s dinner. Speaking of the Wookie, why was he on the island the entire time but hardly present in the film overall? I know that these new movies are meant to bring in new characters, but Chewy definitely got the shaft in Episode VIII.

The next topics for nitpicking are the matters of Rey’s parents and Snoke’s background. Both are brushed aside after being so heavily emphasized in Episode VII. Why would the creators of this film bring up such important questions if they weren’t going to at least give detailed answers? Or, for the latter, any answers? The movie essentially says “Who cares?” and slices a lightsaber right through the matter, moving right along to the next epic fight scene and possible-redemption-turned-sour moment for Kylo Ren.

The other major issues I had with the film were Kylo’s unnecessary shirt-lacking, fan-service-oriented moment and Rose and Finn’s entirely unneeded romantic fling. Otherwise, it was pleasant, but still lackluster. The plot stays together, the backstory is interesting but not too overwhelming, and the cinematography is stunning. Even though underwhelming in other means, this movie is about as aesthetically pleasing as “Mad Max: Fury Road.” The scenes that take place on the island of Ach-To, the island where Luke isolates himself, are superb, especially Luke Skywalker’s swan song, when we see him peering up at the double sunset, a scene paying homage to the first film.

Although the beginning of the film made him into a hermit and a curmudgeon, the rest of it was wonderful, especially his final act. The scene that occurs toward the end, when Kylo has directed all firepower onto Skywalker—that’s a whole row of Imperial AT-ATs and more—followed by Luke’s casual brush of the shoulder, as if to clear away a miniscule bit of dust, had me applauding. Of course, once viewers see what has actually happened, and that Luke essentially saved what was left of the Resistance through astral projection, the waterworks begin. Although that scene wasn’t sad per se, it was certainly bittersweet watching this hero of heroes becoming one with the Force, joining past greats like Yoda and his father. (Kudos to Yoda by the way for torching the sacred Jedi tree as a Force ghost.)

Not perfect by any means, but not horrible either, “The Last Jedi” stands as an apt installation in the latest developments of the “Star Wars” saga. Packed with several beautiful fight scenes, emotional moments with classic characters—I’m trying not to mention Leia because I will probably start sobbing, this movie having been the late Carrie Fisher’s last time taking up the role—and a farewell to one of the best fictional characters in science fiction.

Episode VIII is worth seeing—just maybe not eight times.

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