Regarding the new Star Wars film, The Last Jedi—I enjoyed it. It is the best movie of its kind made these days. To me it’s a long way off from George Lucas’ original vision and is much more progressive. When I say that I’m not knocking it for its various species and races working together for a common cause—its just the value system is very collective based—much more than it used to be and that makes the film step on itself often. But for kids 15 and under, Star Wars is magical stuff, and for everyone else—it’s the best pop culture eye candy that you can get anywhere with a stirring new John Williams score to go with it. So there is a lot to love and I did. Disney did a good job as far as movies made by committee go—and I thought Rian Johnson did a good job navigating all the needs of those committees quite well to even pull off something that did sometimes reflect the classic Star Wars film The Empire Strikes Back. Honestly, I wish there were more films like The Last Jedi because when it comes to the movie going experience my sentiments go to the theater owners who often get screwed by Hollywood for putting out a bunch of liberal crap that nobody wants to see. At least films like The Last Jedi give theater owners a chance to make some money—which they desperately need these days in the age of changing entertainment options.
Since I’m a Star Wars guy I was going to see it at the soonest opportunity and that came on a Thursday night before the film’s official release. Thursdays are rough for me because I usually have an oversea call with people on the opposite side of the world, so their 8 AM on a Friday is for me 6 PM Thursday. And of course my first responsibility was to the call. So at the conclusion my wife and I had plans to meet at the Cinebistro in Liberty Township to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi at 8 PM. It was on these kinds of evenings that excited me originally when I learned a Cinebistro was coming to my hometown—and since its arrival it’s really been the only movie theater we’ve gone to. I love every visit to that theater. But Star Wars is a special event and everything is elevated during those kinds of movie releases—so I was very grateful to leave my call meeting and arrive at the bar in Cinebistro with a nice overlook down into the square at the Liberty Center shopping complex and have a Ohio brewed Star Wars beer with my wife while we waited for our assigned seats to be called.
I was hungry, as we hadn’t eaten anything that day so it was quite a delight to be seated with all the politeness you expect at a nice restaurant by the staff at Cinebistro. Our waitress was a veteran who had been working at the Cinebistro since it opened and she was sharp as a tack which to my tired presence was very welcome. My wife and I ordered our food and within a few minutes our order started coming back at us and it was one of the best burgers I’ve had in a while made more so by how hungry I was. The movie hadn’t even started and it was already one of the best nights out to a movie that I could remember having in several years. Then the lights went down and The Last Jedi started and it was just a fun movie to sit there dead tired after 14 straight hours of working and enjoy.
My honest impression of the film was that it painted itself in a corner. There isn’t much reason to have an Episode 9 as most of the big climaxes that you would expect in a Star Wars film happened in The Last Jedi. There was a big standoff with Luke at the end as he faced down the might of the First Order stoically that was particularly powerful and made the worth of the entire movie valid in that one moment. But there were a lot of good moments that made this an above average film about science fiction. There were many times that I felt the filmmakers were secretly trying to make an anti-Trump film where they turned the Rebellion symbol into a calling sign to liberalism—and that bothered me. Hey guys, I was a Rebel before anyone else was who are making these movies now. Just for the record, and I’m certainly not a liberal. I have no sympathy for Kylo Ren or Darth Vader. I have never liked the bad guys in these films so I’m not sure the filmmakers really understand their modern audiences the way that George Lucas did. Instead, Lucasfilm and Disney are happy to just pick every demographic that’s out there and plop them into the plot and make all the white males the villains and hope that nobody gets pissed off and refuses to see their movie. I tried not to notice, but it was very distracting.
Way back in the first Star Wars movie Han Solo says to Princess Leia—“now if we can avoid any female advice, we might be able to get outta here,” or something to that effect. Well, the members of the Resistance would have been wise to listen to that—because in this new film there is no Han Solo to keep all these crazy overly emotional women in check—and they’ve pretty much ruined the Resistance. The Poe Dameron character tries to fill in the shows of Han Solo’s pragmatism, but the women end up shooting him and incapacitating him into a feeble position several times demoting him and harassing him as if he were an imbecile—when really, he’s the best that they have. Han Solo always was the older guy and had a father knows best quality in regard to Luke and Leia. Now they are the ones in charge and Leia has ruined the Resistance and Luke is hiding on an island ready to die—to quit the world. Without thinking about things too much, the movie is still fun—but with a little analysis it doesn’t take much to sympathize with Ben Solo who essentially rebelled against all this stupidity and became seduced by Snoke to essentially run the First Order.
The First Order seems to have unlimited money and resources when the Resistance is supposed to be fighting for the Republic which is the current governing power. So the question I had for the whole movie is that if the First Order were so bad, how did they get such great wealth? There was an attempt to explain that a casino planet where many of the galaxies rich and famous resided was how the First Order obtained all its power—but honestly the point failed to be made. All I heard was some chubby Asian chick yack on about how evil money and wealth was while she and Finn tried to figure out how to save the Resistance for which her sister had given her life. I wanted to pull her aside and say—“hey little lady—try making a little money so that you can fund your rebellion and stop resting on ideas of hope and sympathy to get your point across. You might have more luck.”
That’s what makes these movies made by liberal San Francisco young people different from George Lucas who came from a small business background and made the Star Wars movies with great personal risk and cost to himself. Even though George was a political liberal he was a fiscal conservative when it came to making movies and the industry was better for it—and so were his characters. That is missing from the prequel films and these made by the next generation. These filmmakers have all the budgets and resources they need whereas Lucas didn’t and that certainly shows up in the final product. The special effects company Industrial Light & Magic got it reputation from the first Star Wars movies. Now everyone expects excellence, so there’s that element as well. It’s a lot harder to WOW an audience now than it used to be so the emphasis is obviously spent on doing that for fans. I see that it hurts the story, but that is an older guy speaking. Kids will love these movies and they should—they are the best morality tales available to young people, so the benefits are obvious.
The Last Jedi ended in a way that I thought probably should end all Star Wars movies, because there will never be a way to top that last scene with Luke. It was pretty magnificent. And I left the theater thinking about big lofty ideas about whether or not the dead and vanished would even care what goes on in the world of the living. In Star Wars they do, and it’s a fascinating concept that more than made up for some of the obvious liberalism. But even better than the movie was the experience of seeing it at the Cinebistro. They certainly did a good job there, and around the theater with all the Christmas decorations. For me that night was probably the climax of the entire Holiday season and I couldn’t have expected more. A good movie to watch in a top-class movie theater at a top-class entertainment district within my home town. It’s the way these kinds of experiences are supposed to be, and thankfully for one night everything was perfect and I’m very thankful for that.
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