Frances Winston really enjoyed this addition to the Star Wars franchise, but felt it could be shorter
Directed by: Rian Johnson – Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro
It’s safe to say that Star Wars: the Last Jedi is the most hyped and anticipated movie of the year. That’s no mean feat, since 2017 has also seen the release of blockbusters such as Wonder Woman and Kong: Skull Island.
Ever since the last instalment, The Force Awakens, landed, people have been wondering where filmmakers were going to take the story. Of course, fans had a brief flirtation with the franchise last Christmas, with the release of the sorta prequel, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but Star Wars: the Last Jedi is the one everyone has been waiting for.
The tragic death of Carrie Fisher last year also threw this movie into turmoil, since the much-loved star’s character, Princess Leia, was an integral part of the franchise. However, fans were assured that Carrie Fisher would indeed appear in this film, and be pivotal to the storyline.
I don’t want to post any spoilers for those who have yet to see this, although it’s safe to say that the sold-out midnight screenings countrywide indicate that many people were determined to find out what happened as soon as possible.
For those of you who didn’t sit up until all hours to catch Star Wars: the Last Jedi, I’m going to work on the assumption that anyone with even a fleeting interest in this is familiar with the Star Wars juggernaut, and therefore I won’t explain who everyone is.
As the trailer implies, Star Wars: the Last Jedi picks up where the last movie left off, and Mark Hamill, aka Luke Skywalker, has a lot more to do here than he did in the last one. Forget the brash young Jedi from the earlier films. This Luke is world-weary and battle-hardened when he takes Rey (Ridley) under his wing, becoming her mentor for Jedi training, much like Obi Wan Kenobi did for him.
However, there are numerous other story tangents here – two and a half hours of them – so it is difficult to say too much without ruining the film for people. Suffice to say the plot is appropriately complex, with lots of action, and that it could easily be 20 minutes shorter. There are several sequences that are unnecessary, and really slow down the plot. Star Wars: the Last Jedi is officially the longest film in the franchise, but it doesn’t benefit from the extra breathing space.
That aside, when this is good it is excellent – as you’d expect when millions upon millions of dollars have been thrown at a movie. The effects are state-of-the-art, the action sequences are high-octane, and the character relationships are wonderful. There are also a couple of surprises that will delight the long-time faithful fans.
The new actors introduced in The Force Awakens have really grown into their characters, while the veterans, like Hamill, wear their characters like an old comfortable coat. A special mention should go to Domhnall Gleeson, who completely camps it up as General Hux. If he had a moustache, he would have spent a lot of time twirling it!
Unsurprisingly, Star Wars: the Last Jedi is an epic, stunning, high-octane blockbuster, which has more heart than many of these sort of movies. Fans will love it, and those new to the franchise will want to learn more. I would advise seeing at least The Force Awakens beforehand, however, as it will make far more sense to you.
Star Wars: the Last Jedi really honours the legacy of the franchise, and proves a poignant final outing for Carrie Fisher, who won’t appear in the next and final instalment.
Johnson has upped the bar somewhat, in terms of storytelling, for returning director JJ Abrahams, who will helm IX. However, he should reconsider the running time. Sometimes less is more.
In Cinemas Now! Trailer Below: