Cast - 95%
Story - 86%
Music Score - 95%
Effects/Quality - 90%
Originality - 84%
A long time ago…it seemed like a pipedream to expect any more Star Wars movies from George Lucas and Lucasfilm, despite longstanding ideas for Episodes VII, VIII & IX. That was however, until Disney purchased Lucasfilm and made it no secret that they would be continuing the cinematic adventures set in the “Galaxy Far, Far Away”. It’s almost hard to imagine now with three new Star Wars movies released in the last three years, that there was a time when this was nothing but a fantasy. The hype train for ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ has been rolling full force ever since audiences left cinemas at the end of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in 2015 and with speculation of Rey’s origins, full details about Supreme Leader Snoke and Porgs; all audiences want to know is whether this newest entry into the ‘Star Wars’ saga is good and worth all the hype invested into it. The short answer is……MOST DEFINITELY!!!
No spoilers here so fear not, you’re entering a safe space.
The Rian Johnson directed ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ continues where ‘The Force Awakens’ left off and ups the stakes significantly for our heroes in the Resistance. This film doesn’t waste any time dropping us right into the thick of it as the Resistance faces off with the villainous First Order while Rey’s story continues after having discovered Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To. There are many instances throughout the film of moments and nods to earlier films in the series like ‘Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’ that will feel instantly familiar to anyone who’s seen those films but at the same time will be very different and altogether new given the context of the film and trajectory of where these moments lead. It’s as though ‘The Force Awakens’ was channeling as lot of familiar ground in a narrative and visual sense from ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ in order to reintroduce fans new and old to the series, and while there are certainly seemingly still elements of that to be found in ‘The Last Jedi’ it seems a lot less outright deliberate here and more of a slight of hand before taking viewers in some very new and surprising directions which will challenge what we know already and hopefully leave the door wide open to go in bold new directions for the trilogy finale in ‘Episode IX’. Some might argue that the film drags somewhat in the middle of the second act, although I never got that impression personally. It almost seems as though this film not only have three acts, but quite possibly a fourth for as soon as you get the sense that things are wrapping up and the film might be coming to an end (assuming you aren’t the type of viewer who checks their watch during the movie) and then suddenly things pick again and we get a whole additional sequence which almost could have easily been in ‘Episode IX’ but comes across an extra gift from the film makers here and what a gift it is. This is truly one to see.
The film is beautifully directed and shot by Rian Johnson. The blend of live action sets and props with carefully placed and necessary CGI look great and make this one of the more visually enriching and eye pleasing Star Wars films in the series, more so than even ‘The Force Awakens’. The trend of great directors from Episode VII to Episode VIII continues. The visual and narrative callbacks to earlier films are very well done too and at one point there is even a scene that looks as though it was inspired by or directly lifted from an episode of ‘Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs’, anyone who has seen that series will recognize this moment when it unfolds on the screen.
Very little needs to be said about the cast as everyone brings their ‘A’ game. Every major featured character of note gets at least one moment to shine. While the bulk of the movie and the current trilogy so far center around Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who both more than carry their share of scenes they appear in and fair even better in this movie than the last; every other actor like John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Laura Dern, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran and more both returning and new deserve credit for their performances. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher who arguably give their best performance to date as an older and wiser Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa respectively. It makes this all the more saddening that this will be the final time we ever see Carrie Fisher in this role. One almost has to wonder what her role and impact would have been in the next film in the saga two years from now.
Finally, no Star Wars review would be complete without mentioning the beautiful orchestral score from the legendary John Williams. A veteran of of this franchise, scoring every film in the series, as well enhancing plenty of other classic movies throughout the decades with his distinctive scoring, this film would not sound the same without him. The scoring throughout is so good that I’d strongly recommend anyone with an interest in such things to get themselves a copy of the soundtrack to appreciate it in all its glory.
Any Star Wars fan worth his salt, new or old, owes it to themselves to see this movie, but if you are already a Star Wars fan you hardly need me to tell you that. While this is a strong self contained story within the overarching narrative of this trilogy and the series a s whole, anyone jumping on board for the first time with film might feel a little overwhelmed and out of their depth without some prior knowledge of character and events that have come before. Try to go into this movie avoiding spoilers as it will make the experience all the more richer and you don’t want to have to leave the room when others start inevitably talking about all the big developments from this movie. ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and now ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ have both been a treat and cannot be recommended enough. For anyone too young to have been able to see the original trilogy in cinemas during first and 20th anniversary releases, or the prequel trilogy during its theatrical run, this is the closest feeling to capturing that excitement, particularly now for ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’.
Reviewed on: Cinema 2D
Available on: Cinema 2D, Cinema 3D, 4DX, IMAX 3D, Cine Prestige
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Age Rating: 10-12 PG V
Estimated RRP: R50 – R175
Release Date: 15 December 2017
- The cast and characters, new & old
- The story
- The score
- The development and fate of some characters *currently without knowing what is in store next*