Friday, December 15, 2017

Star Wars The Last Jedi Review: A Dynamic Chapter in the Star Wars Saga!

In 2015 moviegoers returned to a galaxy far far away when Star Wars made its way back to the silver screen. What was once a six film saga became something more when Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrived in theaters. A journey began for the franchise as Episode VII started a new story that was filled with adventures, throwbacks and mysteries. Two years have passed since then and the time has come to continue the Saga with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Directed by Rian Johnson The Last Jedi continues the events from Episode VII and feature an array of exciting factors such as the return of Luke Skywalker. On the eve of the film's release I had the chance to watch this new chapter, and I have to say (coming from someone who likes all the Star Wars films) Episode VIII could very well be the most ambitious and dynamic entry in the Saga.

Continuing from The Force Awakens the story to The Last Jedi centers on Rey (Daisy Ridley) who seeks out a a weary Luke Skywalker(Mark Hamill) in order to become a Jedi and stop Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). As Rey seeks guidance from the old hero the Resistance are pushed to the brink by the First Order as Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Issacs) must find a way to keep the group alive. As the iconic scroll faded away and the story began I was not sure what to think about the plot. However as the adventure unfolded I found myself impressed with The Last Jedi's story. The plot kept true to the idea of Star Wars but how it utilized these concepts is what made all the difference. Story elements such as the Force were not only well presented but expanded upon in ways that were unexpected. The movie also took its time to establish each part to the story and,in doing so, created a sense of relevance for the overall plot. Now this is not to say the story was perfect. While its narrative was sound the plot could drag on in places and certain moments in the story were questionable. Yet despite the issues Episode VIII’s story was still effective as its twists, turns and sense of adventure were surprising; making it an engaging experience.

The cast of The Force Awakens was a formidable ensemble but I felt that it was lacking in vital areas. This was not the case for The Last Jedi as its band of characters was a group worthy to Star Wars alumni. The movie made Rey into a hero that I could behind and it turned Kylo Ren into a engaging antagonist. Characters such as Finn and Poe Dameron, whom I thought both had weak development in Episode VII, were fleshed out and they became characters that I could follow. This direction was not just seen in the heroes but the villains as well. The likes of General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Snoke (Andy Serkis) had standout qualities in this film despite their limited time.The new characters were, more or less, effective. While the additions such as Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) and DJ (Benicio Del Toro) had little to offer, the likes of Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) ended up being a strong supporting character for the cast. As for the iconic characters all of them had their time in the spotlight (even C-3PO). Carrie Fisher provided an engaging performance as Leia; which was good seeing that this marks Fisher’s final performance. Yet the one to steal the show was none other than Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. Luke’s development sparked new life into the iconic hero while giving Hamill one of his best performances to date.

Star Wars helped define the term movie magic. So when it comes to technical elements the likes of spectacle is an expected trait for this series; and The Last Jedi was no exception as its sense of spectacle was on par with that of its predecessors. The effects were stellar as it blended both practical and cg techniques in a fluent fashion. The film’s cinematography was also top notch. The likes of camera work created shots that were simply stunning to see. The design however could have been more elaborate as the likes of the Casino City came off as “too normal”. Along with its spectacle Episode VIII also delivered in the likes of action. The movie’s action featured everything one could expect from Star Wars such as space battles and lightsaber combat. Where the sequences stands among the previous films I cannot say, but the action managed to work for movie and has some distinction to it; which was partially thanks to the cinematography. Last and certainly not least was the score by John Williams. Williams’ composition for The Last Jedi was effective as it blended the tunes of the Star Wars Saga while enhancing the movie’s  adventurous themes.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi was an experience to say the least. From storytelling to characters the film took the series’ concepts and brought out something new to the Galaxy Far, Far Away. This movie was adventurous, fun, touching and a spectacle through and through. Too put it simply:The Last Jedi was everything that makes Star Wars what it is, and because of this I can say that the latest chapter in the saga is not just one of the best in series but in fact of the best of films of the year.

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