Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Part 3)

Back on Ahch-To Rey discovered a stone hut which houses the original Jedi texts which, as we know, are 1,000 generations (or approximately 20,000 years) old.  This means that Master Skywalker did not choose this remote island planet for its remoteness but rather to stand watch over the Jedi texts.  One wonders whether this planet’s location is common knowledge.  If so, why haven’t the Sith or some of history’s past bad guys showed up and destroyed it?  Also, why wouldn’t anyone have thought to look for Luke here before?

Luke lets Rey know in no uncertain terms that he will never train a generation of new Jedi and that he came to this island to die.  We briefly see his X-wing submerged in the water which seems to indicate that he has no way of leaving the planet except that we are all familiar with the fact that X-wings are more than capable of being removed from water and being flyable.  The only question is that of duration.  In Dagobah his X-wing was submerged for likely a few days, on Ahch-To it could have been a few years.  At any rate it’s also likely that a spaceship designed to survive the rigors of space travel would likely be able to survive a while underwater as well.

On the Resistance ship Leia slaps Poe Dameron in the face and demotes him.  I’d have to say that Poe got off pretty easy in this situation.  I’m not a military man but personally I think anything short of court martial followed by immediate execution is a pretty light punishment for what he did.  Maybe it’s my age but I can’t help but think that Poe is a reckless fool and not a hero.  He needlessly lost a squadron of bombers and valuable lives.  As we see throughout the course of this movie the Resistance’s numbers seem to be best measured by the dozen.  This is not a move that should have left Poe Dameron anywhere other than the brig or the morgue.

Finn is waking up from his injuries in some sort of comical bacta suit.  I didn’t look it up, that’s just what I’m imagining it is.  I’m surprised they didn’t go for the bacta tank callback since these movies seem to be so fond of such things and I can’t decide if the suit with all the tubes is better or worse.  For some reason the scene is filmed in a comical way before Finn returns to action.

Meanwhile the rebels have found a new base they can retreat to. Leia reveals that she has a “binary cloaking beacon” which is Star Wars speak for a homing device which will allow Leia to keep tabs on Rey’s whereabouts.

The Resistance then jumps into hyperspace only to find that the First Order has tracked and followed them through hyperspace.  It’s well established law in the Star Wars universe that this is impossible.  It is not explained how they have done this just that they have.  While I have no problem with them changing the rules with such things it seems to only be delivered to advance the plot.  We have no idea why or how this happened.  It just seems like a convenient fact for the First Order.

It’s then revealed that they only have enough fuel for one more jump and that if the First Order follows them again they will be sitting ducks.

Now this does bother me.  Why?  Because nowhere in the Star Wars movies has the word “fuel” ever been mentioned before.  People love to say that Star Wars is fantasy and not science fiction.  I don’t necessarily agree with that one hundred percent but it’s not an entirely wrong statement.  Fuel, science, technical explanations, these are all things generally reserved for Star TrekStar Wars always seems to focus more on the story than that sort of thing.  The same way that no one in Star Wars has ever had to load their blaster or recharge their lightsaber.  Presumably these technologies have evolved beyond the batteries and gas pumps of our current day technology.

Please don’t start telling me about some nonsense you read in one of the EU novels published in 2004.  I’m talking Star Wars canon here, nothing else.

Some energy source somehow propels them through the stars but I always imagined it to be something more along the lines of Red Dwarf where they’re accumulating particles in space or regenerating matter or something.  Something more advanced than pulling up to the Dantooine Shell Station for a fill up.

When they decide that they can’t go into hyperspace they decide to simply outrun the First Order but this is a problem because it also reportedly burns fuel which they imply will eventually get them caught.  This makes even less sense.  I was watching and fully able to buy their fighters’ space maneuvers, “dropping” bombs in space, etc.  Now that they’ve brought up fuel I’m in science-mode.  Obviously you don’t burn up fuel in space.  You go as fast as you can go then stop burning fuel because inertia will allow you to travel for an infinite amount of time at top speed in a frictionless environment.   They may run out of food or supplies but they will never run out of fuel.  If they’d made it more of a space siege where their supplies were dwindling that could have made this scene have a little more impact though, admittedly, would have taken a considerably longer time to pull off.

I guess the idea of fuel isn’t that big a deal it’s just that it took them over forty years to bother bringing it up.  Fuel is the midichlorians of the new trilogy.  Don’t make me think about the science of all of this.  If I want science I’ll watch Star Trek.

Next up . . . Leiaaaas in Spaaaaaace!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Introduction)

In 2001 I set out to create a definitive list of gripes (or “Reasons to Hate” as I called them) Star Wars: Episode I.  The eight part series of 78 Reasons to Hate became the most read thing I’ve ever written resulting in millions of hits, spawning a vibrant online community, and continuing on through Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

The attention these articles lead to a mention in Entertainment Weekly, a BBC documentary called Generation Jedi which I still haven’t seen, thousands of emails of praise and condemnation, and a fun interview for the movie The People vs. George Lucas.  They even lead to me meeting my wife.

It’s hard to imagine that my criticism of The Phantom Menace would indirectly lead to the birth of my three children.  Nothing else I’ve ever written has had such an impact on my life.  Much like Darth Plagueis, my criticism of these movies had the power to create life.

In the twelve years since Revenge of the Sith I’ve had time to reflect and think about these movies more.  While I stand behind all my gripes, I do not stand behind the word hate.  I have no hate for any of them.  One thing I told Alexandre O. Philippe while filming The People vs. George Lucas is that I don’t enjoy the hate that’s risen out of the prequels.  Sure, I have my problems with them, I even used the term “hate” which in retrospect I wish I hadn’t done.  However, things got pretty ugly with the way that George Lucas, and unfortunately his family, were treated because people simply didn’t like the movies.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like these movies.  I think that is clear.  I also don’t mind some goodhearted poking of fun at Mr. Lucas.  However, he is George Lucas.  He didn’t kill or do anything to your childhood by making movies you didn’t like.  He simply disappointed you.  He disappointed me too.  For that I will always be happy to make a lighthearted joke at his expense.  At the same time I realize my “hate” came from love.  Love of the original movies and love of the man who was behind them, creating something that was so important to me and so many others of my generation.

When The Force Awakens came out I was bombarded with tweets and emails from people asking me what I thought, asking me to review and give new reasons to hate this new movie.  I answered everyone simply that I couldn’t do it.  I honestly really enjoyed the movie.

I am baffled by people who say that The Force Awakens was terrible or the worst thing they’d ever seen, etc.  I’m past that.  I had nothing invested in The Force Awakens.  I refused to watch any trailer, read any review, or look at any fan theories.  I went into the movie completely blind and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

With The Force Awakens I simply had no energy to make a list of gripes with it.  It was fun.  I laughed, I was touched, I was entertained, it moved quickly.  Sure, I could pick apart every little detail about it but at the end of the movie I was happy and satisfied.  That seems to be what it all boils down to.  I could poke holes in A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, or even The Empire Strikes Back.  No film or piece of art is without its problems or inconsistencies.  To me it’s all about the balance.  Was the film fun enough, good enough, or entertaining enough to allow you to let go and ignore the small distractions?

I could probably write a 10,000 word essay about my problems with “The First Order” and “The Resistance” and how they relate to The Empire and The Rebellion and all those odd political things going on in the film.  However, getting to know Rey and Finn, seeing Han Solo back in action, and learning about Kylo Ren were all well worth those distractions to me.

So it was that I never publicly talked about or wrote about The Force Awakens.  I simply waited patiently, ignoring all trailers, fan theories, and potential spoilers for The Last Jedi.  Even with that it was hard to ignore the general sense of elation and joy coming from the media and critics who seemed to be in love with this movie.  Many compared it to The Empire Strikes Back or even called it the best Star Wars movie yet!

I was starting to get excited.

 

When I finally saw the movie on December 15 I felt much the same way I did after seeing The Phantom Menace.  This is not to say I though it was at all on par with The Phantom Menace as far as quality.  The Last Jedi is a much, much better movie.  The feeling I felt was that of confusion.  I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not.  I didn’t want to say anything bad about it but at the same time I was disappointed.  I was confused.  Was there something I was missing?  Everyone else seemed to love this movie!

I had to sit on it for a few days.  I had a chance to talk it out with some people and I could feel those same wheels turning, the ones that in 1999 eventually lead me to write my 78 Reasons to Hate articles.  I didn’t write those articles to be funny.  I didn’t write them to get people to praise me or to wish death upon me via email.  I wrote them because I had to.  There were so many things swirling around in my head and I had to get them down on “paper.”  I had to make a comprehensive list for my own sake, to get it out of my system.

And you know what? It worked.  I felt much better after having done so.

Now I find myself in the same position with The Last Jedi.  I must personally feel that here are enough distractions and inconsistencies with the movie that they outweigh the overall feeling I got from the film or I wouldn’t feel this way.  I know a lot of people who loved it, a lot who feel the way I do, and still others who hate it well beyond anything I feel.

I don’t hate it.  But I have a lot of problems with it.  After having a couple of weeks to think about it I think I’m ready to get them out in the open and discuss them.

Unlike my previous articles, which were written in their completion before being broken up, I have nothing written at this time.  All I have is the thoughts in my head.  I have no schedule and no timetable.  I will no doubt have to watch the movie again to take some notes and I will try to get my thoughts out in as close to chronological order as possible.

I’m ready to talk but I don’t wish to debate.  I have three more children and one more wife than I had when I wrote my original articles.  I don’t have time for that.  Enough people have asked for my thoughts that I will get them out there.  If you agree with any of them, great.  If you don’t, even better.  That means you’re a self-aware human being with your own thoughts and ideas.  Cherish that and be yourself.  Like and enjoy what you like and enjoy and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

2018 will see the beginning of my feelings.  In the meantime if you wish to read any of my previous reviews of the movies you can do so here.

Here we go . . .