Tag Archives: Star Wars

The Last Jedi…Falters (updated)

I am sad to say but The Last Jedi is an action packed sugar rush that crashes and burns after careful consideration.

Whereas I gave a pass at Force Awakens retelling of A New Hope given the respect that JJ gave to the source material I am afraid that I can’t do the same to The Last Jedi. In story telling there is an internal consistency rule that states that authors should always obey the self imposed rules that they established for their world. In many instances  The Last Jedi  is willfully  ignores those rules in order to serve the plot.  This is perhaps one of the main problems with Rian Johnson’s script.  It aims at creating dramatic tension at the cost of internal consistency.  Even some of the advancement in the Jedi mythology puts into question some of the main plot points of its own movie.  Furthermore,  some of the characters decisions are well out of character. This was something that JJ did very well in Force Awakens, Han Solo felt like Han Solo, but in Johnson script, Luke was unrecognizable. He idealism and optimism are long gone, left in the dust of post modernism. Old age, failure and cynicism transformed this character in something unappealing, something that is not Luke Skywalker. I can understand the change in character if the rational is well articulated, but Johnson script does not take the time to do so. The words of Robert McKee sounds very true on this point: in his book Dialogue he stresses the importance of writers writing from the point of view of their characters. The question is not what would I do if I were this character, but rather what would my character do…absent any explanation the character feels alien and the magic of disbelief is broken.

On the bright side, some of the scene are just beautiful to look at.  The concept design are in good Star Wars form and Mr. Willian score is adequate. However, the constant plot holes, fan service scene, check box for character diversity,  and over active editing damper your mood; not to mention  artistic decisions that impacted the course of Star Wars mythology.

What a missed opportunity and to think that Mr. Johnson is in charge of bringing a new trilogy…Star Wars is not in dextrous hands.

Best,

Caleb

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5 things I didn’t like about Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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1. Lack of originality

The script is more interested in successfully re-launching a film franchise than it is in offering an enduring original story. Instead it is unabashed in how it borrows from the original trilogy, careless in its dramatic build up and uneven in its character development.

2. Character development

My biggest worry going in The Force Awakens was whether or not JJ Abraham would be able to create a real threat for the next trilogy…although this worry is slightly premature given that the first installment centers in establishing the core characters of the franchise against what basically can be call a stage set (insert your generic threat), it was disappointing the character exposition of Kilo Ren, the main villain. The idea of conflicted and complex Kylo Ren, like many other characters in the Force Awakens is absolutely brilliant but its execution was poor. We only get a poorly constructed scene exposing his conflicted state of mind and nothing that would engender a catharsis towards the character. The same can be said for Finn, one of the new heroes. There was nothing in the script that made me empathized for his hero’s journey. One cannot help but to think of the many ways this could have been easily address but the reality is that it wasn’t, leaving an emotional gap between the audience and the characters.

3. Predictability

The lack of originality sadly translated into a highly predictable plot. This robs its audience of those unexpected moments that thrills you and makes you wonder.

4. No singular moment that made you love the film.

Instead we get a bunch of minor moments that entice you but don’t quite make you think: WOW I LOVE THIS MOVIE. For all their faults all the prequels have such moments. Phantom Menace had the Duel of the Fate, Attack of the Clones had Yoda’s duel against Count Dooku and the Revenge of the Sith had Anakin’s dual against Obi-wan…of course these movies are deeply flaw but at least they have that one moment that made you stand at the edge of your seat.

5. Lack of internal consistency

A few plot devices used in this film are lacking in explanation.  This is a huge distraction since it not only detracted from the characters but the action of the film.  The hope is that they will be explain in future installments otherwise they will  continue to detract from what was a thrilling and fun Star Wars movie.

Cheers,

Caleb

5 things I loved about Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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By now most everyone has seen the Force Awakens and the inter web is full of reviews, comments and criticisms. Here are the five things I like the most about Star Wars, soon to be followed by the five things that I didn’t like about it.

1. The Return of the Force as a cultural phenomenon.

In an age of political tensions and tribe mentality it is refreshing to have a cultural icon such as Star Wars once again at the center of our national consciousness.  One thing that really made an impression on me was seeing families together, full of excitement and anticipation to see this movie, from little kids with their parents to teens and adult children…

Star Wars like many old folk tales reminds us that there is a constant struggle between good and evil and that there are things worth fighting for…

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2. The worlds inhabited by the characters

The Force Awakes is a brilliant visual statement that captures the texture and feel of the original trilogy. It imbues a perfect balance between stunning visuals and special effects. It is a great coup for JJ Abraham attention to details and respect for its source material.

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3. John Williams Score

Rey theme is just brilliant…what else can be said from a score made by one of the greatest composer of our time?

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4. The return of Han Solo.

Harrison Ford brought back to life one of the most iconic character in modern cinematic universe with gusto. His performance as Solo made everything else work in the film…even its weak parts.

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 15: (L-R) Actors Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong'o, Daisy Ridley, director J.J. Abrams of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS and Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn took part today in "Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios" presentation at Disney's D23 EXPO 2015 in Anaheim, Calif. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

5. The cast

The cast readily complements the script, which is light on its feet, funny and full of thrills. Oh yeah…BB-8 was brilliant!


 What are your favorite things about the Force Awakens?