Well this post is long overdue. I’ve seen the movie 8 times in the theater now, and I find myself mulling over parts of it at any given point during the day. Will probably try to see it twice more before it leaves theaters.
Before I go any further, the obligatory spoiler warning. If you haven’t seen The Last Jedi yet, consider yourself warned… ***SPOILERS***
Things I loved about TLJ:
• THAT REN/REY TEAMUP!!!!!!! This was on my wish list for things to see, and it surprised the heck out of me that it happened. And I’m gonna be honest, I really wanted her to join him (#Reylo sorry not sorry)
• All of the Ren-Rey Force connection scenes
• Ren was very ROTS Anakin-esque in this; I loved Driver’s balance of evil and vulnerable
• Poe’s “happy beeps” and Hux call scene in the opening
• Loved the opening space battle in general, what a great opening!
• Finn walking around with water spouting out of his bacta suit was fun
• Leia and Poe’s exchange about jumping in the X-Wing and blowing stuff up
• The R2 Leia transmission aboard the falcon <sniff sniff>
• Rey thinking she was feeling the Force when it was Luke holding some foliage*
• The way the electricity glinted off of Phasma’s armor as she faced off against Finn; we saw it all over the trailers and it was every bit as beautiful as expected in the film
• Everyone treating 3PO the way a lot of us feel, especially Poe telling him to shut up
• Could Leia have looked more gorgeous (even if it was more than a little photoshopped) standing at the big door on Crait?!
• Crait itself was visually stunning
• I need a crystal fox in my life
• Had last-minute concerns going into it, but I remain pro-porg
• I didn’t think I’d care for Rose but I really enjoyed the addition of her character—and if you’re not following Kelly Marie Tran on instagram, you need to
• Have I mentioned how much I loved the Rey-Ren dynamic?!
• I like that Ren doesn’t report to anyone now
• The Luke/Leia reunion was so touching and reminiscent of their chat in ROTJ
• Luke seeing a sort of binary sunset before his death hit me in the feels
• Poe’s “what the hell?” line when his foot went through the Crait ski ship (he’s got much better comedic timing than I would’ve thought)
• I really appreciate how unpredictable the majority of the movie was; aforementioned teamup, Yoda’s appearance and Luke’s death were all unexpected for me
*Even though I personally enjoyed the funny bits and one-liners, some of the humor seemed a little out of character for Luke; it felt like they were writing some of the dialogue for Mark Hamill not for Luke Skywalker.
Things I didn’t love about TLJ:
• Mixed bag on the Yoda scene, visually; he looked right when the burning temple was behind him but other shots just looked wrong*
• Leia’s hokey return to the ship—visually it looked cheesy, and I don’t love that our first time witnessing Leia actively use the Force was to save herself
• I thought it would have been more powerful to have Leia and Holdo switch places as the one to go down with the ship
• I know it was planned before the fact, but seeing Leia injured and unconscious for so much of the film hurt my heart
• We now wait 2 more years to find out how they resolve the “Leia Lives” puzzle
• Snoke: 1) I was holding onto hope that he was Plagueis for added impact to both PT and OT; 2) Loved how Kylo tricked him and took him down, but it sure seemed easy to polish off someone so allegedly wise and powerful; 3) his throne room looked like they forgot to finish decorating
• Canto Bight sequence: felt very prequel-esque, which was fine as a sort of bridge for the trilogies, but it ended up being a waste of time overall with regards to propelling the plot, felt shoehorned with other more important goings-on and just wasn’t particularly well done (though I generally loved Rose and Finn during the whole sequence)
• Rey’s parentage (assuming it’s true): yeah, it’s cool that people who don’t come from familiar backgrounds can be strong with the Force, it just seems to lessen the impact of the Force visions from TFA
• Rey’s foray to the dark side of the island was a little blah…except that it set up the scene of her confiding in Kylo (which I LOVED)
• Phasma died like a chump, only slightly better than the trash compactor. Another waste of an awesome-looking villain (I’m looking at you, Darth Maul)
• BB-8 driving an AT-ST… didn’t hate it but meh
• Holdo felt generally unnecessary except to create conflict for Poe—see note above regarding her role being switched with Leia
• Luke milking the animal on Ahch-To was just really uncomfortable to watch
*I have come to the conclusion that either we’ve grown too savvy as a collective audience or I might expect too much from CG on Star Wars. It wasn’t anywhere near Justice League CG levels of bad but even when it is just ever so slightly off now it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Outstanding questions about TLJ:
• I initially wondered if it was Rey or Yoda who put the ancient Jedi texts on the Falcon… I have since decided it was Rey since you see her closing the drawer before she jumps in her personal jet pod to go meet Ren for some kissyface tension (have I mentioned how much I LOVED their teamup?!)
• How is “Leia Lives” resolved? Off-screen death set between movies doesn’t seem good enough for her
• It took until my 8th viewing to notice that the Falcon’s dish got knocked off again on Crait. We will see it rectangular in Ep. 9, or will it be back to the classic dish?
• Does the kid at the end play into Johnson’s new non-Skywalker trilogy or is he just symbolizing the spark of hope and/or that you can be a nobody like Rey and be strong in the Force? If we’re being honest, I hope he and his friends aren’t part of the end game here. They all seemed a little cartoony, and I’m not too keen on the idea of another little boy who yells “yahoo!”
• Speaking of Rey-Nobody… were her parents really nobodies or was Ren lying to manipulate her? I think he was legitimately honest and vulnerable with her but still exploited that weakness. And, more importantly, I think there’s a possibility that Snoke could have planted that vision for him to believe and try to leverage against her./
• Did Snoke really create the Force bond between them? I think the answer to this is a resounding ‘no’ and that he rather realized what was happening and took credit for it so they would believe he was as powerful as he claimed
• So who was Snoke? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter anymore, I guess and it’s low on my list of questions for a reason. I was taken aback, though, at how similar his cadence and diction reflected that of Palpatine. Coincidence?
What say you? Did you love The Last Jedi, hate it, feel conflicted? Let’s chat in the comments!
Something pretty big happened on Friday. Yeah, yeah, “The Last Jedi” opened to U.S. audiences and created a buzz (my likes, gripes and theories on that coming soon)… and there was another disturbance in the Force. My 1iota Super Fan video went live!
There are things I wish I had worded differently and I definitely wish I had been able to drop a lot of weight before it happened. Nevertheless, huge kudos to the 1iota folks for taking my 90 minutes of blabbing and turning it into 4 minutes of footage that gives me such warm memories of the day! I think there’s a “lightning round” video going live one of these days. I’ll share it when I have permission to. In the meantime, there’s this…
You may have seen the cast of Star Wars: The Last Jedi on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” last Friday night. I saw them, too…in person. From the front row of Kimmel’s show.
Our tale of kismet begins 12 months ago: December 2016. After securing ridiculously inexpensive airfare to Los Angeles, we purchased annual passes for Universal Studios Hollywood (mostly so we could imbibe in all the butterbeer deliciousness we could handle). As our year of wizarding drew to a close, we decided to make one last pilgrimage before our passes expired. That trip, booked several months ago, was scheduled for 30 Nov. – 4 Dec.
Knowing we were headed west again, I started checking 1iota for tickets to tapings of “Talking Dead.” And that’s when I found the Star Wars Super Fan search. Initially there weren’t any details about the event other than that it was on 1 December, perfectly situated during our brief time in Los Angeles. To enter, I just needed to submit a short video about why I’m a so-called Super Fan.
You know that feeling when confidence washes over you and you think, “Well, that’s in the bag!” Yeah, me neither. But this was about as close as I’ve ever come to feeling it.
I wrote an unimpressive script, tidied up my impressive (most impressive) Star Wars haven and stepped in front of the camera, awkward and unflattering as could be. After fighting with some video editing apps on my phone, it was done. I exploited a moment of bravery, posted it to social media and waited.
Wednesday afternoon I received word that I’d been chosen by the 1iota team as a Star Wars Super Fan!
After a day of travel and an evening at Universal Studios—the new holiday decorations and light show at Wizarding World are STUNNING btw—I found it impossible to sleep Thursday night. And so I arrived at the 1iota offices on Friday morning to film a Super Fan video interview with puffy eyes and a stomach full of butterflies… all before heading to the Jimmy Kimmel studio.
Guys, I can’t say enough good things about everybody I met at 1iota. They were every bit as cool as you’d expect from a team of L.A. creatives with the added benefit of being super nice, funny and relatable, too. I’m told the video will go live sometime next week ahead of the release of The Last Jedi. I’ll update here when it happens (unless I’m even more awkward and terrible than I thought, in which case we’ll just pretend it doesn’t exist).
The Kimmel taping was a really cool experience. We found ourselves seated in the front row, which ended up being somewhat uncomfortably close to the man of the hour when he filmed his monologue. It took every bit of my self control to keep from chasing down surprise guest BB-8 to take home when he rolled our way. And I couldn’t hold back the tears when Rian Johnson, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Mark Hamill first took the stage not 20 feet away from us. For better or worse, I managed to maintain some semblance of self-control; otherwise the watery eyes would have inevitably escalated to sobbing, which probably would have drawn unwanted attention and created a scene. I mean, I desperately wanted to meet them all but not like a blubbering idiot.
A few observations from the taping: the entire cast seemed so charming! I didn’t have quite the same visceral reaction when John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran, Andy Serkis and Gwendoline Christie came on stage—instead of crying, I wanted to fist pump. They were all flawless, of course, but Gwendoline Christie looked especially ethereal in person. I was a little surprised there was virtually no mention of our beloved Carrie; since the actors were unable to talk about plot points, I thought they might have engaged in a more lively discussion about behind-the-scenes interactions, which I assumed would have revolved largely around the late Ms. Fisher. The entire show seemed to go by so much more quickly than I expected, I was so engrossed. I’ve heard from friends and family that we were briefly spotted on TV but we still haven’t watched the episode.
Our 1iota pals caught up with us afterwards for another quick interview on Hollywood Boulevard, then we were on our way to the rest of our vacation adventures (read: more butterbeer and Disneyland). The entire day was absolutely priceless and one that will live in my memory for as long as genetics and brain functions allow.
I need to go stock up on tissues now because The Last Jedi happens in less than a week and I know I’m going to be a hot mess. May the Force be with you!
My last post was sentimental, so here’s the nitty gritty. SPOILERS FOLLOW. Proceed at your own risk. And for the love of Luke, go see the movie already!
First things first: I am historically an Imperial Apologist and Sith Sympathizer, but I’ll be danged if Rey, Finn and BB-8 (and to a lesser extent Poe) aren’t wooing me over to the good side. Like Kylo Ren, I’m being torn apart, tempted by the light.
Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are so darn charming! And BB-8—contrary to my initial thoughts from way back in November 2014 when the very first teaser trailer released—is utterly adorable. I hate that I love them so much.
Oh, and I 100% support the idea of Rey being Luke’s daughter. At this point, I will be terribly disappointed if she isn’t. Luke’s lightsaber (from his father before him) calls to her. She’s a fine pilot with mechanical aptitude. She beckons the saber to her during the snowy duel at Starkiller Base, to the strains of the Luke/Jedi theme music, which made me openly weep. R2-D2 clearly reactivates when she comes on the Resistance base [yes, I know JJ said it was because BB-8 woke him up, but he also said that Benedict Cumberbatch absolutely was not Khan so I don’t believe anything he says that could potentially reveal a spoiler]. And, most importantly, Luke himself gets a little bleary-eyed when he sees her at the end*. Though I do have a love/hate with that ending. I wish the movie was more self-contained rather than a near-literal cliffhanger ending. I do, however, love that we didn’t actually see Luke until the end. So many feels!
*I hypothesize he thought her dead along with his wife and the rest of his Jedi academy. My dearest thinks that Kylo Ren (Rey’s cousin) spared her life and dropped her off on Jakku. I’ll add to his theory and suggest there was probably some sort of Force memory-wipe involved such that she doesn’t remember him.
As for Kylo Ren, I was pleasantly surprised with him. The physical manifestations of his instability with regards to the janky lightsaber and temper tantrums…brilliant! I also love that he’s struggling to fully embrace the Dark Side; it makes him so much more dimensional than your everyday villain. Do wish he would’ve kept his helmet on longer—a big reveal on the bridge with Han would’ve been a nice touch. And holy tauntauns, I want his hair!
Speaking of the son of Solo, I’m curious what you good people think about a particular line when he’s interrogating Rey: “Don’t be afraid, I feel it too.” Adam Driver delivers it in a very nuanced, compelling way and I’m not quite sure what to make of it. In fact, I think that entire scene works very well, save for the quasi-rapey “I can take whatever I want” bit.
Apart from Kylo Ren, I was rather disappointed with the First Order. I had HUGE love for Captain Phasma going into this, and I left feeling deflated. I don’t buy that the character would’ve just complied with Finn/Han/Chewie’s demands without putting up a fight [this is the part of the show where people write in the comments about how she had an angry Wookiee with a crossbow staring her down].
They sibling-rivalry dynamic between Hux and Kylo Ren leaves me wanting more information about the structure of the First Order. Did they both join ranks about the same time? It seems, of course, that Supreme Leader Snoke is in the position once occupied by Emperor Palpatine but we know nothing else about him. I side with those who think Supreme Leader Snoke is really Darth Plagueis. In fact, I’ll be rather disappointed if we don’t learn that he cheated death at the hands of Palpatine then pulled all of the subsequent puppet strings.
With regards to storytelling, it didn’t hit all of the beats I expected or hoped. The fact that it parallels Episode IV doesn’t bother me so much as the fact that it feels like the lazy version of it. Whereas plans were carefully stolen—huzzah, Rogue One!—and analyzed to identify the first Death Star’s weakness, Starkiller Base was surveyed for just a couple of minutes and then off they went. It all felt overly contrived. Moreover, the destruction of the Republic planets had no emotional weight, as we knew nothing of them. At least we felt Leia’s emotion when Alderaan bit the dust.
I was also a little bummed that the John Williams score didn’t hold more stirring treasures than it did. Rey’s theme stands apart, as does Kylo Ren’s, but it’s otherwise pretty forgettable. And while I initially hated the song from Maz Kanata’s watering hole (composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda), I was bummed when it didn’t show up on the soundtrack. It has grown on me in ways I would rather pretend didn’t exist.
Maz Kanata herself wins a spot on my “likes” list for the film. During the course of production, we were told only that the lovely Lupita Nyong’o was performing a motion-capture creature; I sensed a disturbance in the force. When rumored concept art surfaced, I was sure it was bad news. When the movie released, it was as if the skies opened and we were granted a gift. Maz is wonderful! She’s one of the better CG characters I can recall seeing, matching up to the likes of Groot or Rocket Raccoon. To top it off, her personality is affable and her wisdom hearkens back to the Yoda of yesteryear rather than the obnoxious prequel Yoda.
Something wholly unrelated that bothered me ever so slightly is Finn’s status within the Stormtrooper ranks. At the beginning of the film, we’re lead to believe the troops on Jakku are an elite squad. Later, however, Finn says that he worked in sanitation and defected on his first mission. Doesn’t add up.
The opening scene between Poe and Max Von Sydow felt like a missed opportunity, too. Title crawl reference an old ally, so I assumed it would be someone we recognized (if only by name). Alas, just a random old guy. Of all places, that felt like a good time to throw in some fan service.
Another missed opportunity…in fact, one that I believe should have been wholly scrapped, was the Han scene with the Guavian Death Squad, Kanjiklub and rathtars. It was so obvious it had been considerably chopped down for time that it should’ve just gone away altogether. It was the one scene where I felt Harrison Ford didn’t deliver, and I can’t say I blame him since it was so silly. The only redeeming moment was Rey closing the bay doors on the monster that held Finn and then her response of “that was lucky” when he told her about the apparent miracle. Okay, the moment where Chewie agreed that Han had let them down on more than one occasion was pretty fun, too.
Chewie was a far better addition to this film than any prior. In fact, this was probably the first time I felt any real affinity for him [ducks to avoid flying bottles and tomatoes]. The “You must be very brave” scene with the Resistance-base medic checking his arm cracked me up. The dejarik/chess game felt a bit forced (ha!), though I did dig Chewie’s reaction to it. I also enjoyed seeing the crossbow get some love. And the way he hugged Leia…awwwww.
Dear, dear Leia. Carrie Fisher is a galactic gem, and I was glad to see her back in the sass. Her role in the film, though, felt like it was written a bit flat. And that “fashionable gas-station attendant” outfit, oy! I wouldn’t trade her for all of the Meryl Streeps in the world, though.
So I guess that kind of sums up my thought process…though there are roughly a billion other opinions and related musings that I haven’t managed to dig out of my brain yet. What say you? Comment below & let’s discuss!
It’s finally here, you guys!!!!! In just a couple of sleeps we’ll be getting our first full look at The Force Awakens, and I’m downright giddy. GIDDY!
Because we’re this close I’m steering clear of social media until after the 7pm Thursday (CST) showing. I might make some remote posts during the movie marathon on Thursday, but I’m sure as heck not reading anything that gets posted. With friends and fellow fans across the globe getting their glimpse before I get mine, I don’t want to chance anything. Here’s a little variation on what I posted to my Facebook account yesterday in advance of my quarantine…
’Twas the week of new Star Wars, and in the Amethystos house
One girl couldn’t stop stirring—You guessed it, Severus’s spouse. (that would be me)
The tickets were purchased with months left to spare,
And now the time came, it so soon would be there;
Even when nestled all snug in my bed,
Visions of TIE Fighters danced in my head.
With trailers, tv spots and internet on tap,
Avoiding the spoilers feels like IT’S A TRAP!
Driver, Ridley, Boyega, Ford, Fisher and Hamill,
Old heroes, new villains and droids, worlds and mammals,
In J.J. we trust, it won’t be too long now,
Prepare the tears, gasps and the re-sound-ing “WOW”s.
Of course, if it’s bad, you’ll hear all of that too,
As if millions of voices cried out a “screw you!”
So now hear me exclaim as I log out of sight—
“Happy Star Wars to all, I’ll be back Thursday night!”
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH US