Cast: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer, Domhnall Gleeson), John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie, Bernicio Del Toro
Director: Rian Johnson.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is a rollicking, great ride that embraces fresh ideas, fresh characters and a new world of special effects. It will surprise and stun and certainly won’t disappoint hardened fans..
Writer and director Rian Johnson has approached this popular franchise with a bold new vision. He sticks to the spirit of George Lucas’ creation and the story’s dynamics, and his dazzling production will wow new devotees.
The opening sequences of the space opera, with its iconic text crawl, updates the state of affairs between The First Order and the Renaissance which, once again, are at war.
We see a group of evil First Order ships floating in space. There’s a battle brewing, but instead of an opposing fleet, the Order’s General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), is met by a single fighter piloted by the Resistance’s Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). Hux is enraged and determined to crush the impish Poe, but a fun element is introduced when the character out manoeuvres the pompous General.
In “Luke’s last words to Leia now serve as an inadvertent but perfectly bittersweet farewell.
The Force Awakens” the key characters were dispersed. “The Last Jedi,” however, spends a great deal of time assembling the band again. Rey (Daisy Ridley) struggles to convince a disillusioned Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), a powerful Jedi Master who has been in self-imposed exile on the planet Ahch-To, that the Jedi faith still has a contribution to make toward galactic harmony. She also develops her newly discovered abilities under Skywalker’s guidance.
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is Supreme Leader Snoke’s loyal servant who is strong with the dark side of the Force and leader to the Knights of Ren. He vies with Hux for the attentions of Snoke (Andy Serkis) and struggles with his own internal allegiances. In another story thread the trigger-happy Poe tries to persuade Laura Dern’s Vice Admiral Holdo to take the fight to the First Order instead of taking up a defensive approach.
And Finn (John Boyega) joins with Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose, an enthusiastic grease monkey whom fate promotes to being a key player. Rose is tasked with a journey to retrieve a key element in the Resistance’s defence strategy.
Director Johnson does a sterling job in keeping the various plots afloat and the many characters active. The striking cinematography enhances every frame as the entities come into focus. There are even new creatures like the Porgs, which are furry, wide-eyed, winged critters.
Mark Hamill’s Luke is a worn out figure, bent double by the weight of his own failure, and his appearances are tinged with bitterness. It shows in his face.
Carrie Fisher died after filming was completed, but Johnson has left her story, pointing to a now-impossible role in “Episode IX,” intact. Her role gives a hint of fragile mortality. Luke’s last words to Leia now serve as an unintentional but perfectly bittersweet farewell.
Alongside them has risen a new, more diverse cast of universe-savers who are perfect for the moment. They are born into an unending war that may never really be won, that knows that evil can be kept at bay but never defeated. Without the responsibility of beginning a trilogy or ending one, Johnson has the freedom to steer “The Last Jedi” into murkier moral waters.
“The Last Jedi” is a film of genuine beauty, with awesome set designs and sharp choreography and characters that will resonate with audiences some of whom you will hate and others whom you will root for.
This production is going to be the hottest movie ticket in town.