Sunday, December 17, 2017

Star Wars The Last Jedi: Massive Failure and Disappointment

"This is not going to go the way YOU THINK!" Jedi Master Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

This movie is a huge failure and disappointment. The irony is, that is the whole point of the movie. If you understand this then maybe things aren't too bad...

This weekend I went to see the latest Star Wars movie. Like the previous movie I avoided most of the trailers (it was forced on me at a theater during the Dunkirk movie) and to stay away from news headlines like the title of my post since I wanted to go in fresh not knowing what to expect. My apologies if you have tried to do the same and have not seen the movie yet because this blog post might be somewhat of an irritation for you. That is if you are a fan of the series. Even if you are not, I still think there is something interesting going on with this movie that a lot of the fans are not picking up on.

I'm a Star Wars kid who grew up with the originals. As a little kid, I lived and breathed anything that dealt with the series. When the original series ended in 1983 I was satisfied with the conclusion. I had grown up enough that for me I knew it was time to move on to other things in life. My interests changed. When the prequels came out I enjoyed them for what they were knowing full well that Lucas had to put certain limitations on himself in creating those stories.

Here is the fundamental problem with every Star Wars movie that has come out after the original trilogy: it is trying to create and satisfy expectations within a storyline without repeating itself; in other words something NEW and ORIGINAL. It's kind of like J.R.R. Tolkien's attempt to do a sequel after The Lord of the Rings series. He did actually start something, but never got really far. If you have the biggest and baddest fight between good and evil in a story, then anything after it is going to be a let down. I think The Hobbit movies suffered from this issue when they were made after The Lord of the Rings movies. You are going to trivialize the original story by creating bigger and badder villains and super weapons. If you do that OR anything less, all you are doing is just repeating yourself.

While I love Westerns they are really just variations of the same few stories. Same with the Japanese Samurai and Chinese Kung-Fu genres. There is a certain tension within Star Wars fans in that they want something totally new, but at the same time want the same type of movie over and over again. Some of the issues I have raised here is what I thought of the previous installment Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. It introduced the new characters by replaying the formula from the original 1977 movie. It was rather cookie-cutter in doing this, but I understood why. I realized this new Episode VIII movie was the key to finding out where this series of movies is going. Are we going to rehash the original movies, or go into a different direction?

When I saw the movie this weekend I got to the theater as early as I could to get a good seat. BTW, I hate the whole reserve seating thing most theaters are going to now...another story for another time. Waited about an hour to watch the twenty-five minutes of trailers you have seen over and over on Youtube and TV. The movie started and after two and half hours ended. As I walked out of the theater I realized this is the first Star Wars movie that I really was disappointed in all the way through it. A massive failure and huge disappointment. I was saying to myself, "I'm just not a kid anymore," "Forty years of these movies to come to this," "My hero of the original movies shows up and they do this to him,"  and "Did the director and people connected to this movie actually watch the previous movie?"

There is a certain story progression in all of these movies. They build on the legends and lore of each other. For the past two years, people have been speculating on certain things that were brought up in the previous movie (Ep. VII: The Force Awakens). I mean, I haven't seen every video and message forum discussion because I was trying to avoid those type of spoilers, but I know people were completely over-analyzing every little detail of pictures, trailers, and words of actors, directors, etc.

This movie doesn't really take anytime giving any explanations for those things that people had been speculating on the most. It does do a "Rashomon effect" on one central plot point which was okay, but even that was sort of a let down. Other than that there didn't seem to be much revealed based on the what was hinted at time and time again by the previous movie and those who were connected with it.

What was the point of this movie?

After thinking about it over the past day, I think the main theme of this story deals with personal failures and disappointments. There is a sense that the movie is supposed to be a complete failure and disappointment. Now, that sets the bar really low! Lol! I mean, I could write a movie that is a complete failure too!

The characters and the viewers of the story have an idea in their heads as to the way things are supposed to be. A hero will rise up, a revelation/truth will be revealed that will change everything, the final duel or battle or confrontation will resolve everything, we can solve any problem to create the perfect utopian society, etc. Then to find out those things don't always happen is a major let down. The ideals have been crushed! Things that were supposed to be mysterious and awesome never were. That utopian society that has always been the center of the ideological conflict in that galaxy (and ours) will never exist. That's not the real world. Everyone in the movie and the real world fails! Everyone and everything is disappointing.

So, I think that is what is going on in this movie. There is a sense that you are not supposed to like it. Believe me, I could list a lot of things I really didn't like about it. There is a lot politically correct junk in it, but it's now a Disney movies series so I knew that going in. There is a bunch of interesting points in it. I thought what I am calling "quantum entanglement" between the force users was quite interesting. Story-wise, I think this movie will cause a lot of controversy when one looks back at Star Wars movies, and am not sure what will happen in the following Episode IX when it comes out in two years. I'm sad Carrie Fisher will not be a part of it which you can tell that her death in the real world really messed things up for her character's role in the Episode IX movie.

The funny thing to me is I did check a lot of the Youtube Star Wars fan channels after seeing The Last Jedi who were doing massive predictions and analysis over the past two years. They were made to look like fools, but they don't care since they are probably making a lot of money through ads on Youtube. After seeing the movie which basically told them exactly what Luke said, "This is not going to go the way you think," they are already speculating on the same things for the next movie!!! No lesson has been learned!

In any case, whether you have seen this movie or intend to, I think seeing it through the lens of "failure" will make it easier for you to understand and maybe enjoy.

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