Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
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Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Andy Serkis, Kelly Marie Tran
Star Wars series has always been a family feud spread over the entire universe but this version of the trilogy takes the plot away from the family- expanding it further, giving it a potential to make it bigger and a better magnum opus. This trilogy was always about the transition and was always to be judged on how smoothly it happened without taking away the essence of the Star Wars franchise and in that regard the Last Jedi is bang on target.
The old characters- General Leia Organa (Late Carrie Fisher) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) add their charm and nostalgia to the movie but are not the central characters and you realize that only at the end. And thats some achievement given the cult fan following of the franchise.
The old characters are either killed and their death forms the basis of a new feud or fade away into oblivion as a symbolic representation of the mantle being passed to the new generation.
The new generation comprises of Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Issac) and the newcomer Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) who carry the force with them and form the pillars of Resistance against Kylo Ren(Adam Driver) who is with the Dark side.
This movie has matured the characters of all these kids- while Rey has convinced Luke to come out of self imposed exile to teach her the force and help her become a Jedi, Finn has transformed from a self serving prick trying to escape from the first order to joining the Resistance and risking his neck to help the Resistance fleet escape the first order. Poe Dameron has evolved from a hot headed x wings combat pilot to a more wise and circumspect general of the Resistance (yes it is not shown clearly but given the death of Carrie Fischer this should be the logical sequence). And of course Kylo Ren has metamorphosed from a whiny kid with daddy issues to the supreme leader commanding the first order.
But the beauty of the Last Jedi is in the fact that it is relevant in the current world and has incorporated current themes like feminism and diversity. All the female leads are strong characters either advising their male friends/mentors on what to do and what is right or saving the day by destroying the enemy ships by suicide bombing. The characters of Finn and Rose tick the diversity box which was not the case in the previous movies- this matters to the millennials- for example when John Boyega raised objections against Game Of Thrones for lack of black characters.
There is also the fact that previously there were only two sides- right vs wrong but this movie gives a third and an even more sinister one of war profiteering. These people are sadists who spend their life in casinos with no loyalty to anyone and will support anyone with spending power. The character of DJ- an underworld code-breaker( Benicio del toro) is a product of such a community and will change sides at the drop of a hat.
Star wars have always polarised opinion over new characters- Jar Jar Binks was panned but the Porgs introduced in this movie are the cutest of all. Their scenes with Chewbacca bring some much needed lightness in the movie.
A special mention to Carrie Fisher who played Princess Leia in a final appearance and who was a royalty on and off the set. She was a beautiful and sultry woman- a dream girl for many guys but in reality she was a fierce character. She once hand-delivered a cow’s tongue wrapped in a Tiffany box to a predatory Hollywood producer and said: “If you ever touch my darling Heather or any other woman again, the next delivery will be something of yours in a much smaller box” said Heather Robinson- a screenwriter and a good friend of Carrie fisher. She took care of her friends and had the courage to stand up to anyone. Also Peter Mayhew who has appeared as Chewbacca in every Star Wars movie except this one- he will always be remembered fondly for bringing to life that iconic character.
The Last Jedi is a movie for all generations with a good mix of old iconic characters like Yoda, Luke or Leia and the new ones like Rey, Finn and Kylo and the mantle has been passed in a matter of 2 and half hours.
Watch it and if you are a real Star wars fan you will cry when Luke passes into afterlife like Oogway in Kung fu panda.