STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
Posted by: Jo Hyde
Date: December 13, 2017

SYNOPSIS: In Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of THE FORCE AWAKENS join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . .”

A courageous general struggles desperately to hold the rebel resistance together. Her son, a rising leader of the First Order, struggles equally to annihilate the resistance. Three young resistance fighters strive to keep hope alive while battling the First Order. An aging and disillusioned Jedi Knight retreats to a remote island to avoid facing his demons. A young woman, imbued with The Force, seeks him out to learn her place in the battle between good and evil.

From the first moment that John William’s soaring original score seizes your imagination, Star Wars: The Last Jedi offers action, pathos, conflict, and stunning visuals in a complex story showcasing both old and new characters. Carrie Fisher, as General Leia Organa, evokes bittersweet emotions as she passed away shortly after completing the film. It’s hard to imagine the franchise going on without her, but her final performance is an endearing tribute to her iconic character. Leia has always been the glue that holds the storyline together, and so it is with this film. She’s the last, best hope for the resistance against the tyrannical First Order led by the evil Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Her only son, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), has murdered his father and become the mentee of Snoke. Consumed by the Dark Side, he claims to carry on the bloodline of his grandfather, Darth Vader.

But like other aspects of the film, nothing is guaranteed to be unambiguous. Is Kylo Ren beyond redemption? And is Leia the last, best hope? The answer to both questions, and to almost everything else in the storyline is “maybe.” After all, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) still lives, but he’s in self-imposed exile, bitter and disheartened. He now believes that it’s time for the Jedi to end. His choice to go to a remote island to hide out and die is suddenly challenged by Rey (Daisy Ridley), a young woman filled with The Force and power she doesn’t understand. She has come for answers and training, wielding Luke’s own light saber, and their adversarial relationship will provide clarity, if not direct answers, to the questions haunting each of them. Is Rey the last Jedi? Maybe.

Meanwhile, after discovering that the First Order can track them even through light speed, three young resistance fighters, Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega), and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), disobey the direct orders of Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern), and set out to locate a master decoder in the casino city of Canto Bight. They run into a world of trouble there and find a thief, DJ (Benicio Del Toro), who may or may not be said decoder. Can he be trusted? The answer is always “maybe”.

Over on the Dark Side, Kylo Ren finds himself in conflict with Supreme Leader Snoke’s second in command, General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). Who will prevail? Even Snoke doesn’t foresee what will happen although he believes that he can.

Other familiar figures also return: Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Anthony Daniels as C3PO, and R2D2, now played by Jimmy Vee after the death of Kenny Baker.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an amazing and completely engaging film. It’s a long film at 2 hours 32 minutes, but it takes that long to tell such an elaborate story. The cinematography and effects are equally elaborate. By the way, Luke’s island retreat is a real place – Skellig Michael, County Kerry Ireland – in case you want to visit!

From the title crawl to the very last, powerful scene, Star Wars: The Last Jedi pleases. If you’re a fan, it’s a must-see. I’m already planning to see it again. Even if you’ve never seen a Star Wars film, you’ll have no trouble understanding this one. True, it’s fairly dark in tone, but there are a few light-hearted scenes that keep it from being too heavy. I’m thinking I’ll spring for an IMAX ticket next time! - Jo Hyde

GRADE: A


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