Star Wars: The Last Jedi – 2017 Rian Johnson
- I’m excited to see it again because I had mixed reactions to different parts of the film upon first viewing. I thought, by and large, the first 60-90 minutes were pretty mediocre but thought the final hour (whenever Driver and Ridley finally connected) were superb
- Chief amongst the elements I want to praise is the use of the color red. Again, I wish Johnson had just done it throughout the entire film—- Snoke’s throne room, his guards, that long scene where he’s killed and the salt mine sequences are just saturated in the color and I can’t help but think of Kurosawa’s Now the great Japanese auteur did it for the entire running time and Johnson does it for like 25% of the movie (or so I think—but I need to revisit) but still. Superbly done and quite gorgeous.
- Driver’s performance, his relationships (with Hamill, Ridley) and the entire Kylo Ren character and character arc is right up there with the use of color amongst things I’d like to praise. He’s a brilliant performance and every scene he’s in is a highlight. On the downside, the scenes without him (with the exclusion of the Ridley/Hamill story) suffer.
- Johnson also keeps his voice and stamp on the film in other ways- he clearly has the “rainmaker” moment with Ridley raising the rocks and the reaction shots (great sequence) of those she saves. There’s a “this rainmaker could go either way” duality to her, Kylo Ren and have the sacrificial battle much like the JGL vs Willis with Hamill’s conflict to kill Ren or not. I love it—it’s a Disney Star wars- but also his film
- I also like the final epilogue with the kid with the ring—thought it was a very nice ending
- Upon first viewing I had some issues as well
- Issues include the first hour which is largely loud noises and drivel. It reminded me of a Joon-ho Bong or Luc Besson film (two auteurs I’m not quite as high on as many) with the wild swings in tone and genre, lines and inane dialogue that would make the writers of a die hard sequel cringe, etc. He’s a great actor but I thought the opening prank call and the entire character of Domhnall Gleeson would fit better in Mel Brooks spaceballs.
- I don’t understand the casting of Serkis as Snoke at all. Why you’d want your arch-villain sounding like Gollum from another wildly popular and successful franchise is beyond me
- The scene where Hamill wipes his shoulder off as to show Driver’s Ren that he’s unharmed is awful
- I would’ve cut the entire Boyega and Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) story out– Benicio Del Toro’s role/character is an unmitigated disaster
- I like Justin Chang’s LA Times review— really liked the film but not the “somewhat forced moments of cutesy comic relief”—he had the same problem of like the 10 reaction shots from the mini-ewoks – Chang gives it a 4-start review but keeps it off his top 12 of the year (it does make his list of honorable mention) and honorable mention is I think where I have it with my problems with it- at least upon first blush