Rogue Hippo’s Review Score: 6.5
Haha! Get it? The force is weak with this one! Because usually, in Star Wars, they say; “The force is strong with this one.” But I used WEAK instead! I read a bunch of Last Jedi reviews and I can’t believe I haven’t seen this brilliantly clever line used yet! What could that mean? Either I’m more cleverer than all of the movie review peoples on the internets… or somehow everyone else actually liked this 2.5 hour escapade in mediocrity.
Luckily, Rogue Hippo is here to give you the correct answer. Let’s review The Last Jedi!
OK, so maybe “escapade in mediocrity” is a bit harsh. In truth, I thought The Last Jedi was all over the place. There were moments that I really enjoyed, there were moments that were nauseatingly bad, and there was everything in between. It’s difficult to give a movie a single, numerical rating when my enjoyment of said movie, over time, looks like a Bitcoin value graph…
…but I think a ‘6.5’ is fair. Now, normally, I would try to give a spoiler-free review before discussing specific details but I’m just going to dive right into it today…. so:
**** SPOILER ALERT ****
The Last Jedi picks up right where The Force Awakens left off: Rey has found Luke Skywalker and does her best to convince him to return and assist the Rebellion. Meanwhile, Leia, Finn, Poe, and the rest of the Rebels, are simply trying to avoid obliteration as they flee across space, staying half a step ahead of The First Order fleet.
The Leia, Finn, Poe Quest
Ugh… so many illogical, inconsistent, and physics-defying moments. This is the “nauseatingly bad” part of The Last Jedi that I referenced above; and it’s a BIG part of the movie. There are absolutely no redeeming moments when Leia, Poe, Finn, and Rose are on screen. Not a single one.
Let’s start with the ridiculous plot, and really, the entire reason for urgency during the movie: the Rebel ships can outrun The First Order ships… but they’re about to run out of fuel and will soon be caught!
Really? Let’s talk basic physics: if you’re in space, travelling in a straight path at a constant speed, it requires absolutely no fuel to continue travelling at that speed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Problem solved, Rebels! Once the Rebels have outpaced The First Order fleet, they can literally NEVER be caught whether they run out of fuel or not! But not in The Last Jedi! In the Disney-verse, when a ship runs out of fuel, it immediately stops and then spirals out of control in the opposite direction.
Speaking of physics, why do the bombers in the opening scene have to fly directly above their target so they can “drop” their payload on the Dreadnaught… there’s no gravity! Just shoot the bombs at them! And why do the lasers fired at the Rebel ships travel in a ballistic arc? These are lasers, not artillery shells! And even if they were using artillery shells, there’s still no gravity; so even artillery shells wouldn’t travel in an arc in outer-space!
And what was with Leia flying through space?! It looked a little absurd when it happened but I thought; “Well, maybe they’re setting it up so Leia is the last Jedi and they’re showing that she has some powerful Force skills.” I could’ve gotten behind that. It would’ve been a cool twist and a nice way to end Carrie Fisher’s run in Star Wars. Nope, it’s never explained or referenced again. Even Poe, Finn and Rose didn’t think to ask; “So Leia, you can survive in the vacuum of space?”
Speaking of Poe, Finn and Rose, congratulations on creating the dumbest plan in the history of… ever. I’m not just talking about the dumbest plan ever concocted in a movie. No, their plan is the most absurd plan ever devised in cinema, television, comic books, and novels. It’s dumber than the most poorly thought-out and executed plan in your most embarrassing D&D and/or Shadowrun campaign moments. We all know which scene I’m talking about… The Last Jedi‘s most cringe-worthy premise, and dialogue sequence, went something like this:
“They tracked us through hyper-space? But that technology doesn’t exist! But if it did exist then it will only be on the lead Star-Destroyer which we can’t blow up because they’ll just put it on a different Star-Destroyer so the only reasonable option is to sneak on board and then turn off a circuit breaker which will give the Rebel fleet exactly 6 minutes to escape! But we can’t do that without the galaxy’s greatest code-breaker who, luckily, is gambling on a nearby planet so we’ll just go pick him up and he’ll sneak onto a Star-Destroyer with us.”
Fuck you whoever approved that! Ugh. OK, I’m starting to turn to the Dark Side so I’m going to move on and let go of my hate before I’m corrupted.
The Rey Quest
Years ago, I went on a weeklong camping trip in the Boundary Waters. We didn’t have refrigeration, and also wanted to avoid attracting bears, so we ate a lot of bland things like plain oatmeal and water. After the trip, we stopped at a Burger King, and to this day, I still remember it as one of the greatest meals I’ve ever had. Now we all know that Burger King has some decent things on the menu, but after days of eating plain oatmeal and water, two double-cheeseburgers and a Mt. Dew tasted fan-freaking-tastic!
That’s kind of how I view Rey’s storyline in The Last Jedi. It’s not the best story arc in Star Wars lore but it had it’s good moments; and compared to the aforementioned Poe/Finn/Rose storyline, it was like giving a Burger King double-cheeseburger and a Mt. Dew to starving person.
I liked the gradual revelation of the truth as Luke, and then Kylo Ren, each gave their account of their confrontation and Kylo’s turning to the Dark Side. It’s interesting that each saw the other as threat, just for second, and that brief moment started all of these tragic events in motion. Yet, before we paint Kylo Ren as a victim, let’s remember that he didn’t just defend himself and then ran away. No, he defended himself, killed EVERYONE, and then ran away. So, yea, there’s some Dark Side in him.
I also really liked the ability of Rey and Kylo Ren to communicate with each other. It brought back memories of Luke and Vader trying to sway each other in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Those are some of my favorite scenes in all of Star Wars and, in my opinion, they’re at the heart of the Light Side/Dark Side conflict. Killing an enemy Force-user is a win, but converting one to your side is a game-changer… and I liked how that staple of the franchise played out in The Last Jedi.
And then there’s Yoda. Yoda is always a welcome addition, in my book. This Yoda appearance was a nod to Luke’s first encounter with Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back… that cooky little guy, dropping bits of knowledge with his backwards style of speaking. That’s my favorite Yoda and it was nice to see him.
The Stories Converge
Eventually, the storylines all converge as we reach the dramatic climax.
Remember my Bitcoin graph? (Go review if you forgot) It’s an accurate representation of how much I enjoyed the end of The Last Jedi; starting with the encounter with Rey, Kylo Ren and Snoke. It’s very similar to the encounter between Luke, Vader and and The Emperor; which is probably why I enjoyed it. That was one of the best moments in the original trilogy; and, like I stated above, the struggle between the Light and the Dark is what Star Wars is all about.
Sure, Snoke’s death was a bit anticlimactic but he was a shit character who got less screen time than these bird things…
…so I don’t think anyone actually cared (Except maybe the uber-nerds who spent YEARS on Star Wars fan sites trying to guess Snoke’s origin… get a life nerds!) This leads us to my favorite moment in the film; which was when Kylo Ren revealed Rey’s parents:
“They were filthy junk traders who sold you off for drinking money. They were nothing. You are nothing… but not to me.”
Such a good moment. So devastating to Rey. So well-played by Kylo Ren. If he was going to get Rey to tap into the Dark Side, this was the way to do it. It didn’t work, but it was a chilling moment. And it’s the best answer to the Rey’s parentage question (Sorry again nerds! I hope your hundreds of hours spent on fan-theory websites was worth it!). Is it possible that Kylo Ren is lying? Sure; but I hope not. It would ruin the best moment in the movie.
Finally, the movie wraps up with a Hoth-like invasion of a rebel base. It’s 100% pure, sci-fi eye candy… but I like sci-fi eye candy. The visuals were fantastic! I know the bright red sand was only there to create cool dust clouds… but those were the coolest dust clouds I’ve ever seen! The AT-ATs looked great. The TIE Fighters VS Millenium Falcon scenes looked great. The confrontation between Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren was great. It was all good enough to make me overlook the ridiculous moments like Rose intentionally ramming her speeder into Finn’s speeder.
Oddly, in the end, it feels like the story is right back where it started. The Rebel Alliance is still hanging on by a thread; and Rey and Kylo Ren are still on course for an epic showdown. So, is The Last Jedi as waste of time? Not completely. As you can probably guess, I’d like to watch a cut of the movie that eliminates every second of Poe, Finn and Rose. However, if you exclude those awful scenes, The Last Jedi has a lot of good moments and I think it’s worth watching; but it’s not like you needed my advice to go watch a Star Wars movie. You were going to see it anyway.
The Bantha in the Room – Diversity
One last thing… I didn’t want to get controversial, but the lack of diversity in The Last Jedi is painfully obvious. I’m no SJW, but I couldn’t help but notice that the Rebel Alliance is made up of about 98% humans. That’s unacceptable. The key word in Rebel Alliance is alliance… as in a unified coalition of peoples and species, from across the universe, working together for the betterment of all. I’m not sure if this is some kind hidden agenda by Disney to segregate the Star Wars universe but there’s absolutely no reason why the Rebel’s souldn’t be recruiting every man, woman and gender-neutral entity they can get. Hey Leia, Chewbacca is pretty useful, why aren’t you trying to get more Wookies to join the rebellion?
There’s no logical reason for it within the context of the story; so I have to assume it’s a decision that Disney made intentionally. Well, it hasn’t gone unnoticed and I’m calling Disney on to add some diversity in future Star Wars movies. I await their response.
Well, there you have it. The Last Jedi is like a metaphor for life… it’s got controversy, great moments, awful moments, mediocre moments, and lots of people saying some really stupid shit. And just like life, it ends abruptly and leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions… much like this review.
Until Next Time,