Point/counterpoint: Two reviewers differ on success of latest Star Wars film

Jared Ramirez and Sam Wettemann

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By Jared Ramirez 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is to some an unrivaled masterpiece, and to others an insulting slap in the face. The new Disney canon storyline has always attracted great amounts of both criticism and praise, but this movie accentuated it in a way that we Star Wars fans really haven’t seen before. Naturally, as a long time fan of the series, I had a few words to say about the movie as well.

I will begin with the parts about the movie that I praised. Visually speaking, the Last Jedi was an absolute masterpiece. There wasn’t a time throughout the entire movie that my mind wasn’t blown at the sheer perfection of the special effects work.

In true Star Wars fashion, the film made viewers feel as if they were engulfed in the story of another universe, and then some. Although I disagreed entirely with the premise of the scene, one of my favorite moments of the movie was when Admiral Holdo zoomed at light speed through Snoke’s flagship, resulting in a beautiful explosion of light and color. Seriously, for all visuals buffs, I would definitely recommend this movie.

Another aspect that I thought TLJ did well was the further character development of Kylo and Rey. We got to see a different side of Rey as she went through her (brief) lessons with Luke Skywalker, and we were able to get some insight with Kylo in his struggle between the light and dark side of the force.

Rian Johnson, the director, also furthered an interesting dynamic between Kylo and Rey, with Snoke using the force to connect the two in spirit. Kylo and Rey had numerous (fairly awkward) encounters through the force, with one almost causing the curious and inexperienced Rey to turn her back to Luke and the light side. Let’s also not forget the endless supply of “Ben Swolo” memes.

Lastly, what I came to praise was the performance of the cast in the movie. Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), and Daisy Ridley (Rey) performed beautifully – you could really tell what the characters were feeling or thinking at the time through their dialogue and subtle actions. To me, the acting in Star Wars, from the beginning, has been top of the line, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

For critiques, I have a few that jump into mind immediately. The first and foremost is the way that Disney twisted Luke Skywalker into something that he is not and has never been. It is canonically recognized (because it is shown in the movie) that Luke sensed a massive growing darkness within his student, Ben Solo (Kylo Ren), and after a while, he decided to attempt to murder his student before Luke’s fears came true. What ended up happening is that Ben Solo burned down Luke’s temple and then took a few students with him, running away from the scene.

However, that’s not the important part. The important part is that this is entirely against Luke’s established character morals, considering that he spent an entire movie trying to convince Anakin Skywalker to return to the light side. Sorry, Disney, but this is B.S.

Another criticism I have was deeply saddening. The send-off of Admiral Ackbar, one of the series’ most iconic and loved characters, was terrible and far less than mediocre. To put it simply, he was blown up along with a bunch of other people on a bridge. No epic send-off, no remembrance, no ode to the past, just nothing. One second he exists, the next he does not, as if he were simply another nameless storm trooper waiting to get blasted by a protagonist.

They also added insult to injury when they allowed Admiral Holdo – an incompetent, unwavering, annoying character who had no more than an hour of screen time, to have an epic send-off, with her crashing into Snoke’s flagship at lightspeed. There was absolutely no reason for her to have such a send-off while Ackbar, a far more important figure, was disposed of like an irrelevant side character. This is just disheartening and surprising coming from Disney, and it’s something I won’t forget.

My last criticism is the wasted opportunity with Snoke. Snoke is one of the most powerful beings to have ever existed within the galaxy at any time. He had lived for a thousand years, seen everything from the rise of the Empire to the annihilation of the Hosnian System, risen to power to control the First Order and become a being of unrivaled mastery with the Force.

The guy is kind of a big deal. Seems logical to keep him alive as a main antagonist, right? Wrong. He gets betrayed by Kylo Ren and cut in half about three quarters from the movie. Come on now, Disney, are you serious? One of the most powerful and ancient beings around and his only relevant impact, besides using the Force to connect Kylo and Rey, is his death scene. Despite this, there are some convincing theories that Snoke may still be alive or had become a force ghost – only time will tell if these theories prove to be true. Hopefully Disney will redeem themselves and revive Snoke somehow.

This is probably just cherry picking, but I’d like to point out how Rey, an inexperienced, scrappy fighter from Jakku was able to best Luke, one of the most legendary melee combat experts to have ever lived in the galaxy, in melee combat. Just some more garbage on Disney’s part, but this one isn’t all that significant.

Overall, I thought the movie did a lot of things right but also a lot of things wrong, and I’m interested to see how they follow up on it with the next movie for the Disney canon, which should be coming out in 2019. For now, we Star Wars fans can enjoy the theories and the memes until the next movie releases.

 

By Sam Wettemann 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in my opinion, was a massive disappointment. Let’s start with five of the main issues.

Oh, and of course, spoilers.

1.. The so-called morals or “sad” parts of the movie are either barely focused on or glossed over quickly.

2.. A lot of characters become unlikeable and gain an almost new personality.

3.. A lot of plot threads are totally unnecessary or make no sense.

4.. Tons of questions are either blown off or give an unsatisfactory answer.

5.. Lots of weird/pointless things in the movie or specific scenes.

Starting with No. 1, many scenes in this movie could have carried more weight. Scenes like tons of rebellion fighters dying due to Poe or the “big sad reveal” that the rich people on the casino planet abuse poor people are brushed off pretty quickly or seem like they don’t carry much weight in the rest of the film.

As for the characters, this point is mainly focused on Poe, Luke, Rey, and Kylo. Snoke also gets a major change but I’ll talk about him in point number four. Poe is now an always angry, rebellious teenager who thinks he knows best. He seems so different from the fun and happy Poe from Force Awakens.

Rey, while not as bad as the others, seems to have constant mood swings. She hates Kylo, she likes him, she likes Luke, she hates him; and while these are given reasons, the reasons are pretty bad.

Kylo, while not amazing in the last film, was still somewhat cool. We saw him fight and stop lasers with the force. But in this movie it seems that he went from threatening to constant “I’m about to cry” face. He constantly looks like he’s about to start a tantrum or burst into tears, and his eyes are always wet and red.

Luke, most of all, is so different in morals and personality from the original series that even Mark Hamill said it practically wasn’t the same character.

Plot. My main issue with this was Poe, Finn, and Rose’s plot thread. Not only is the casino a boring place compared to other Star Wars locations, but it was a totally unnecessary part of the movie.

If Poe trusted his admiral, or if the stupid purple-haired moron just told the crew her plan instead of keeping it secret because “Poe done goofed”, then the casino plan would not have been formed. Not only that, but if they hadn’t gone to the casino and just stayed on the ship and trusted the admiral, then everyone would have made it alive and the First Order would not have found them.

And what’s with the master hacker? They never actually get to speak to him, and he is supposedly the only person who should be able to do what they need. So why is some random bum able to do it too? Was Maz just trying to get her friend some street cred? Lastly, if Luke was going to die anyways by using too much of his force power (already a lame way for such a built-up hero to die) then he could have just gone to the rebel planet and actually fought.

Questions. Oh boy, this got me steaming. It’s time to talk about Snoke. In the first movie, we don’t know who Snoke is, what his powers are, or anything about him. Just that he appears as a giant menacing hologram every time he needs to talk to someone. He is intimidating. What do we find out about him in The Last Jedi? Nothing.

We learn he can use force lightning (which he does once to basically force-slap Kylo) and that he can use other force powers. But that was expected. Not to mention all of his intimidation is gone. He appears as a hologram once, and after that every time we see him he’s in a stupid playboy mansion bathrobe in a red throne room. And to add to how awesome and hardcore he is, they kill him. Like, super easily. He doesn’t even get a chance to fight, as they cut him in half by surprise. Not only does this mean we never learn the background of who we thought was going to be the main villain, but we never learn how the First Order came to power.

The other big question, Rey’s parents, is almost brushed off. She goes to this dark side artifact and everything looks awesome and dark, only to reveal that this ultra powerful girl’s parents are…nobodies. Yeah. Kylo says they were nobodies. They traded Rey in for booze. This was a huge disappointment. And while Kylo could have been lying, we don’t currently have any proof that he was.

Last point, this one should be short. A few scenes could have been changed or left out so as to remove awkward parts of the movie. We didn’t need to see Luke milking a space walrus and drinking the liquid from a water bottle. When did Leia learn to use her force powers to fly? That’s something that’s never explained to us. Did Kylo need to be shirtless during his weird mind-talk with Rey? Why does Hux want to kill Kylo?

These things could have been explained or left out during the film. Last of all, Porgs. Now, there is an actual reason that Porgs were put in besides merchandise. The island that they filmed on for the Luke scenes had a lot of puffins flying around, and Porgs were put in to cover them up in different scenes. But in scenes where there weren’t puffins, why keep them? Why put them on the falcon or anywhere else where they aren’t serving their original purpose? Well…I have a theory…

SNOKE WAS A BUNCH OF PORGS IN AN OVERCOAT, BOOM MOVIE MAKES SENSE!

But seriously, while the movie did have some cool scenes and throwbacks to the original trilogy, it was underwhelming and disappointing.

 

 

1 Comment

One Response to “Point/counterpoint: Two reviewers differ on success of latest Star Wars film”

  1. Tag on January 13th, 2018 12:56 pm

    I just like to point out to San that Luke couldn’t have gone to fight Kylo in person because he’s no where near the planet Crait and even if his X wing still works after sitting underwater for probably 10+ years it would still take a significant time to travel at light speed to reach the battle on Crait.
    Actually also the two reasons why we are told of Rey’s parents being nobodies is A. Kylo wants to manipulate Rey to joining him or B. They actually are nobodies just like the boy on the Casino planet to create a new story line because so far all of Star Wars is just a story of the Skywalkers.

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