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STAR WARS EPISODE V + (VI / II)

Posted in Review

Here follows my raw thoughts about STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. The text below goes all over the place. What I want to emphasise is that I am still a fan of Star Wars, because I will not let them win and ruin the old.

I hate writing reviews, the very act of me turning critic boils my blood and makes me feel lesser and that's why I haven't done it before and I would probably never do it again.

But today I am a changed man.

I know it is very trendy to hate on huge, successful movies (in terms of box-office success), but trends or no trends that doesn't change how I feel.

And another thing that's trendy - SPOILERS below. Though I am not sure how much spoiled this mess can even get.

SPOILERS

I will be talking about Episode VIII of STAR WARS and I will start from the ending. There I was, sitting way back next to a child that poked me with his elbow throughout the movie and ate half of his pop corn before the movie even started. There I was when the lights came up and I was sitting in silent horror while people around me were preparing to leave. I quickly got up to my feet, put on my headphones, tuned to some music and left the cinema. Mere moments later a profound feeling of sadness overtook me. I wasn't sad for anything that happened to the characters, I was sad about movies in general and it was a nasty feeling - unclean and revolting. "Why so serious?", you might ask and I will try to answer. There were genuine moments where everything was going in a promising direction, but those were quickly snuffed. In those acts of artistic cowardice I could easily seen the greedy, greasy, cancerous fingers of the mouse, crushing any hope for complexity and exciting development. The status quo had to be maintained - good vs evil - anything in light in the adversaries and anything dark in the heroes was just a manipulation by an irrelevant mastermind who was discarded for some cheap shock value and make way for the TRUE VILLAIN.

This is a short summary of my feelings. Now I would like to go into further details, from the very beginning...

STAR
WARS

EPISODE V + (VI / II)

Titles, titles, opening crawl, classic STAR WARS theme, pan down to planet, starships in orbit, we get nothing unusual for such a movie. Then Poe Dameron comes and he basically starts to fuck up  everything, something he will do the very end. By the end of this movie everyone that survives will wish he hadn't been miraculously resurrected on Jakku. His introduction and that of his opponent - general Husk - drags on far too long and creates a very awkward atmosphere were the intimidating general, and note my irony over this particular adjective for this guy is oozing off my fingers, is having to repeat himself multiple times is baffling to me. Dude, you intend to kill everyone, why in the name of fuck would you even consider chatting with this guy, the military discipline in the First Order is somewhat lacking it seems. Strategy is being trumped by the need for some gloating.
Then we jump into Rogue Squadron 4 for the Nintendo Switch as Poe has a number of turrets to defeat before a timer runs out. I did say before that he fucks up, didn't I? Yup, the timer hits and he still hasn't hit the main gun. GAME OVER. Not really, because Poe is playing on Game Journalist difficulty and the base below was already fully evacuated - 0 casualties - achievement unlocked.
Then Leia orders Poe to get the hell out of there, but the crazy pilot is hungry more battle. Hey Poe, I understand you, I don't like these turret blasting missions too. Round two - here comes the bombers. Gone are the Y-Wings of old, replaced by somethings called B/SF-17 heavy bomber. This is a good thing actually, I don't really think the Y-Wings were a good bomber design being far too small and unmenaceing. So the new bombers function work just like WW2 bombers here on earth - you get the above you target, open a bay door and drop some god-damn-bombs - in space - should I say anything more, ahem-gravity-ahem. Well, the bombers keep a tight formation just to be more easily shot down and then the casualties counter starts to rank up with  an unnerving speed. Of course in the end a single bomber manages to drop its bombs on one of the huge, bulky ships of the First Order, which follow in the grand tradition of Darth Vader to overcompensate for tiny dicks (or burned off dicks like in Vader's case). This success fulfils the quota for a big explosions in the first act and whatever is left of the Rebels, Resistance hyper jump out of there.

Meanwhile on Ahch-Too we get a repeat of the closing scene of the last movie. Last time this was played for drama and emotion, this time it is the beginning of a comedic montage (when this movie comes to Home Video I am definitely editing it with some silly music). Luke just throws the lightsaber that Rey gave him and walks away. I must admit I like cranky old Luke and it is totally what I had imagined him in his 60s, he was raised by uncle Owen, after all. We're then presented with some wonderful scenes of Luke Skywalker milking a cow, fishing, brooding and generally being an awesomely unwelcoming old man.
By this point Luke is adamant that he would not train Rey and we all know that he will, end of discussion, we can skip a few scenes where they go back and forward about this.
Here follows my biggest pain, when Luke starts to teach Rey about the Force and stuff the movies starts to appear interesting, building on whatever we know about the mystical side of the Force. I can really imagine Luke really thinking over how to better explain the Force than Yoda did, without sacrificing the core concept or rationalising it with science. Also do you think that the rocks and starships in the STAR WARS universe have midi-chlorians? E-mail me at vasofilipov@icloud.com with your answer, the best answer will win a digital photo of a rabbit. I should mention that I am not strongly opposed to the idea of something physical connecting the meta-physical, knowing what a magnet is doesn't invalidate its magical properties, you know.
Basically Luke is one of those weird genius professors that are very knowledgeable in their field but can't teach a thing. Rey gets drawn to the dark side literally seconds into her first lesson with Luke. Also there is a Dark Side asshole on the planet, like every respectable planet has to have. It is the place where evil is being farted out.
Rey starts to have weird conversations with Kylo Ren, where it seems they come over a certain understanding of each other. They are both lost and are mistreated by their teachers. Mistreated why? Because both Snoke and Luke don't trust them and they don't trust their apprentices because they are shitty teachers. And while I can believe the Sith dude can be mistaken in his assumption that anything less then perfect darkness is a weakness, I find it weird that Luke with all his talk about balance is so adamant on his position that even a single drop of darkness will taint a person.
Around these conversations between Kylo and Rey we learn two different versions on how Ben turned to the dark side and destroyed Luke's new Jedi Order. The movie implies heavily that Luke wasn't really going to kill Kylo in his sleep. But he attempted. And here is the moment where the legacy of Luke Skywalker is destroyed. The thought of this guy murdering a child in his sleep is deeply disturbing. That is the same man that believed that his murderous cyborg father was redeemable and refused to strike him down. I guess Mark Hamill's feelings when reading that particular jewel in the script was something similar when reading the fine script in a telecom contract you've just signed that says they get to slap you twice a day for the next two years. I think at the end Mark begged the producers of STAR WARS to kill his character off and forget he exists.
There was also the moment when Rey literally fell in the Dark Side asshole where she found a mirror that worked like pointing a camera at a screen that is displaying what the camera picks up, complete with delays and weird sound effects. You would hear how this was a cool shot and yeah, it is, but it is also pointless, the ironic thing is that is exactly the point.
Next we see Rey and Kylo getting cosy in Rey's room, building, tiny tower. While I think those two tragically falling in love would be an interesting angle I am inclined to think that this isn't going to happen. They hold hands for a second but then papa Luke burst in (literally). There wouldn't be any hand holding on this sacred ground, because religion is funny this way. Of course blowing up Rey's room isn't something that would make her behave. Instead Papa Luke decides to teach her a lesson by whooping her ass, but Rey isn't above cheating and she brings a lightsaber into a wooden sticks (or metal sticks, I am not sure, that scene was kind'a dark) duel. Then she's off to save Kylo, because he is cool, dresses in leather, has a starship and is in a band, oh yeah, Kylo and the Knights of Ren. Get that mental image out of your head, I dare you. With this act Rey manages to repeat the same mistake Luke did back when he faced Vader on Bespin. Force visions are NOT to be trusted, guys. Haven't you read Harry Potter?! Then, for no apparent reason Yoda appears, oh there is a reason, Frank Oz is still alive unlike Alec Guinness and Disney brining in Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan would've been too similar with replacing old Anakin with young  Anakin in Return of the Jedi. The two have a nice conversation how they need to change and by change they mean not really change. Also we find out that Luke was never read the stupid Jedi lore that he was living next to. I guess he had been busy milking that cow thing that had tits that suspiciously looked like human boobs.

By this point we have to go back to the Rebels and their fleeing from the first Order. The reason why I didn't come up before - because all can be summarised in six sentences.
The rebels jumped to a predeterminate place to rendezvous with Rey. The first Order followed them. A slow and unexciting chase follows. Finn, Poe and Rose hatch a stupid plan to escape. Leia can fly in space apparently. There is a severe lack of communication and discipline in the ranks of the Rebels.
Oh, you wonder who this Rose is? Well, she is a girl that hates rich people who profiteer from war. She also falls in love with Finn, even though she catches him trying to sneak out to find another woman. Don't get me wrong, Rose is nice and grounding, but ultimately uninteresting and her adventure with Finn - even more so.
We're introduced to Leia second in command. She is introduced like a mastermind tactician and somewhat of a bitch, she also has purple hair. There is one big flaw in that character - her refusal to share the plan with the rest of the Rebels, even when she knows that people like Poe are insubordinate, prone to acts of stupid heroism and plainly dumb.
Ok, let me tell you what their plan is. Amid the slow chase Finn and Rose will sneak out on a shuttle, jump to some star system, get a hacker, use the hacker to infiltrate the Snoke's big Star Destroyer (may be it's mandatory to have a small dick to serve in the Empire, may be Finn's grew too big and that's why he defected). Rose and Finn's star trekking leads them to a luxurious planet and they go straight into a casino. Hijinx ensue, with being captured, a prison break, high speed chase on horse-thigies being chased by speeders and getaway on a stolen vehicle with a shady person who will in not way betray them, ever.
Now if it sounds like I am brushing over this portion of the movie, it is because I am, because I didn't care for it too much. In the end they failed miserably, got captured and helped the First Order by delivering the actual plan for escape, because the shady guy betrayed them, betrayed them hard.

At this point Rey prepares to board Snoke's ship. How? By getting herself captured in an escape pod. Thank the Force the First Order still follows the orders not to fire on escape pods, ever. I wanted to make a joke about Rey not being alive, but damn it, I have a soft spot for her, even this movie. Also this is a good place to share my thoughts about her. She has been called a Mary Sue, which is not really fair. Most of her triumphs were because of skill she had possessed beforehand like  knowing her way around starships - repairs and flying or just lucky circumstances like being able to beat Kylo who at that point in the last movie was emotionally distressed, oh and shot by a wookie bow caster, not to mention that most of the time he was toying with her. That reminds me of the fable about the rabbit and the tortoise, Kylo, my man, you gotta take that dueling shit seriously. Anyways, in the last movie Rey was delightful, she had great chemistry with Finn and was an overall nice character. In this movie she had basically taken a step backwards - she hardly had any interesting scenes, the characters with which she interacted used or mistreated her or tried to kill her. Only Chewbaca was somewhat nice to her, but he is a wookie and his dialog is really hard to understand.
So poor Rey gets captured, handcuffed and all and brought to Snoke who is sporting the latest in gold lamé. I haven't mentioned, but his throne room is ridiculous. It contains a few things and has bright red walls and looks like an unfinished set. I'd speculate that the green or blue screens they had ordered came in red and they decided to roll with it.
In the room of hell Snoke reveals two important things:
    1.  Any interactions between Rey and Kylo were his doing, thus invalidating any character growth between them and relegating Rey to Lawful good and Ren to Chaotic evil, roll the dice
    2.  He is an idiot.
Snoke's goal is to kill Luke, destroy the Rebels and rule the galaxy. May be he could do just the latter two things and leave Luke to fester on his island. I don't think he would've been much of a threat to anyone milking his cows and fishing with his ridiculous harpoon and not reading the original Jedi texts. But no, he had to stir this pot and stir some more and try to kill Kylo's girlfriend, well as close as that maniac will ever get to having a girlfriend or just a friend for that matter.
Instead he opts to kill his master, cutting him in half, presumably doing a better job than Obi-Wan did with Maul. Snoke looks very dead later, complete with a tongue hanging out and having an even more lifeless look in his eyes. I must say I did not fully expect this to happen. At least we were finally treated to the mystery behind Snoke - why was he so mysterious - simple, because he had been irrelevant, a red herring. Good riddance I say, he was a cheap knock off of Palpatine with the brain of a squirrel.
Wouldn't it be funny if he actually is a tiny  creature operating a Snoke droid. That would certainly better explain the need for huge holograms and ships, though probably the small dick hypothesis is more accurate.
Afterwards Rey and Kylo duel with the rest of Snoke's guards who are pathetic and get slaughtered one by one in more and more ridiculous ways.
Here is my second biggest problem to which I alluded - the fixed positions of Rey and Kylo. After their temporary alliance they quickly revert back to their designated roles. Ren, or may be now just Ben, is a colossal asshole and has a mind uniquely suited for fucking shit up. Earlier in the movie he didn't fire on his mother's ship, cause well he had already killed his father so he can have her all to himself. Now he doesn't order a ceasefire. May be he things Leia is dead, but dude, can't you at least try using some of the Force to check on that or something. Nah, by killing Snoke he inherited all of that madman's goals and ambitions. Dude, the rebels are a few hundred people and may be they won't rebel if you reform. I mean if you want the old things to end may be you should consider revisiting slavery and mistreatment and such fun activities to actually bring peace. But that would require some thought and Kylo Ben Solo Ren has none to spare. He'll try to focus on tempting Rey to join him, plus he reveals who her parents are. He must've seen Empire Strikes Back, but stubbornly Rey refuses to have her hand sliced and give up Anakin's lightsaber for which they Force fight once more. It seems this time the Force is tired of those two fighting over this silly thing and lets them break it in two, though Rey gets both parts, because...
Anyways, at that moment Leia's second in command is alone on the big (well, still tiny compared to the USS Snoke-has-a-small-dick) Rebel ship and she engages light speed right through the First Order's fleet, cutting through them like butter.
In this chaos Rose and Finn escape, well not before Finn has a chance to trade some insults and blows with Phasma, who again is under-utilised, but at least she goes down in battle and not in the trash.
Rey escapes too by using Snoke's personal shuttlecraft (which I presume is 10 times bigger than a shuttle needs to be).
At this point you would start wishing the movie to end. All the heroes escape, the enemy is crippled - cue end credits music.

No, we've had the chase scene, we've had the Jedi training scene, we've had the confrontation with the bad guy scene + the parents reveal, we've had the scenes on a somewhat peaceful city being devastated by the main heroes, we've had the betrayal from a new character, we even had Yoda. What are we missing? The Battle of Hoth 2.0, but this time it is at the end, so it's totally different. Oh and the planet is not covered in snow, but in salt, absolutely different.
What follows is an attack from the First Order. They want to use a weapon to destroy the thing that keeps the rebels safe. It is a miniaturised Death Star, because someone finally decided that there should be BALANCE between having enough firepower to destroy planets and not being able to cut a hole through some thick metal door.
Should I comment on the ancient speeders that the rebels use to fight off the attack and how it miserably fails. Poor Finn tried  to end it all, but was saved by Rose who trades Finn's life for a few minutes so that she could kiss him and then they can all die together. Yeah, Rey and R2-D2 have better chemistry than those two.

The end is near, the First Order is moving forward to finish off  the rebels. Then Luke - God in a hand machine - Skywalker comes to have some awkward reunions and face his nephew and former apprentice.
I did mention earlier that Kylo inherited Snoke's stupid obsessions so he has his army blast Luke with enough blasts to level a city. But this is Luke Skywalker, he is beyond death, also it seems he had dyed his beard for some undisclosed reason.  "Fight!", you are yelling at the screen and nephew and uncle oblige. Mark Hamill's stand double does an impressive job of avoiding Kylo's attacks.
In the meantime what's left of the rebels sneak out of their base following an unlikely creature - a fox made out of crystals. At the other end of the cave waits Rey with the Falcon where she demonstrates her favourite Force ability - to lift rocks. There is a nice reunion between her and Finn. Let's just emphasise that whatever is left of the rebels can fit in the Falcon, that is horrifying and sad. Did I mention that the rebels send out a distress call to all their allies and none came. That is truly inspiring, almost as inspiring as the end scene where a kid holds a broom like a lightsaber, for real, this movie ends on that. INSPIRING. I bet that kid dies before the end credits finish.
Oh, did I mention that Luke died? He did. No, he wasn't killed by Kylo, why would Luke be given a dignified death? Actually he was still on Ahah-Too, projecting himself across space. May be he shouldn't have left his X-Wing in the sea for so long. Anyways the sheer strength required to project himself kills him. Luke Skywalker, hero of the rebellion, legend, would-be-child-murderer dies tired on a forgotten planet where the most interesting thing are a couple of penguins creatures... and the cow with human tits, of course. Rey said that he died peacefully, may be, in high hopes we wouldn't have to appear in the next episode and probably Mark Hamill has a greater understanding towards the late Alec Guinness' feelings toward the original STAR WARS - being made to do undignified things for a colossal sum of money.

Rest in Peace Luke

And the best irony, Leia survived all of this - best case scenario to be killed offscreen between now and Episode IX or worst case scenario to be brought back as Tarkin-like zombie using dark CGI magic.

In conclusion I would say, after writing this thing thing and reliving this movie once more I am still disappointed at all the missed opportunities. I got in the cinema with very low hopes. The trailers never touched me, but this movie shattered all my expectations. This past month EA killed my enthusiasm for STAR WARS video games, Disney killed whatever was left out of my enthusiasm for STAR WARS movies. Will I see Episode IX? Probably, but in the same manner how I saw Hobbit Battle of the Five Armies - just to get it over.

LUKE SKYWALKER is dead
STAR WARS is dead

As an epilogue I wish to express my sincere apologies to George Lucas in every saying that the prequel trilogy was too bad. It may have been worse than the original, but what space opera movie isn't. There was genuine love for the craft in those movies - there is none now.