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Robin Bland

THE LAST JEDI - Movie discussion and critique

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2 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

I think Rian Johnson played by one rule when he wrote and directed The Last Jedi: “Subvert expectations.” 

That he did. There’s little story time given over to mourning or even celebrating the past, or people’s places in legend. Even when Yoda turns up, he’s there to push Luke to the edge and encourage him to burn the past and move forward - which Luke does. Like the Founder, I did experience some annoyance that Luke’s legacy seemed a bit shambolic. This guy, who saw a spark of light in Darth Vader - Darth Vader! - seemed a little too ready to condemn one of his own students. On the other hand, that’s classic Luke, rushing in before he’s thought through a situation entirely, and the script does cover this indecision and the agony he went through - from three different perspectives. It’s not treated lightly. Plus, one of his best friends was Han Solo, and Luke doing before thinking is, well what he and his buddies do best. I admit, I felt some disappointment with how Luke had ended up, and found the island sequences quite frustrating. Possibly, now I know how this sequence plays out, it’ll feel better on a second viewing, but that was definitely one of the problems I had with the story, too. 

On the other hand, this plot is partially about redemption (or lack of it) and how life choices aren’t always as straightforward as they can later seem. Like Empire, the point of it is that it’s a moral victory, a spiritual one, not actual. It dares to be metaphorical, and even if I don’t like some of the plot beats, I think that’s admirable, and a layer of depth The Force Awakens didn’t really have. For sure, this is a more difficult film. While there’s a lot I enjoyed, there’s bits I really don’t like - but I think, with time, even those may begin to make some sense.  

I’d rather have Star Wars that’s a bit difficult, that takes some time to digest, over a straight nostalgia-fest, which to an extent are the philosophies that drove both TFA and Rogue One. My first impression was that, the Canto Bight sequence aside, TLJ is a hell of a lot more coherent of a film than TFA. I don’t think TLJ renders the OT moot - the Rebels stopped two Death Stars, saved billions of lives. What this new trilogy says (which seems timely and relevant) is you have to remember not to be complacent about peace, something Leia always clearly knew. You have to keep watching the fascists, otherwise they’ll rise again. 

^  You make very good points.

And perhaps it’s better to have a SW that takes us to uncomfortable places than one that just gives us what we want.  But I still maintain that TFA was the right tonic at the right time; the SW cinematic universe was a crippled mess after the prequels.   It needed to get back on track.   TFA was not the time to get too experimental; it was a time to get back to what made us fall in love with the SW universe in the first place.   To that end, it succeeded perfectly (while adding delightful new characters to the mythology as well).

TLJ is more challenging, and as our friend told me the night we saw it, “It gets better on the 2nd viewing” (she’d seen it the night before as well).  But some of its flaws (the Canto Bight sequence, the editing, frenetic pacing, etc)  I don’t expect to just ‘get better’ on repeated viewings, though perhaps I might reevaluate some of what I initially perceived as poor story decisions and unfortunate character choices (?).  Who knows...

That said, I really don’t dislike this movie; I enjoyed it.  But I can’t quite bring myself to put the ‘L word’ to it... not yet, anyway.   If I do change my mind on it later?  Well, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve reevaluated a movie (either in more positive or negative ways) upon repeated viewings.

2 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

But Chewie and Artoo wuz robbed. 

So very much this.  

You’d think Chewie would at least be in some kind of mourning after the death of his best friend of who knows how long (at least 30-odd years or more).  

R2 was an animated prop.   RIP, Kenny Baker...

 

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2 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

[SPOILERS and discussion thereof]

 

I think Rian Johnson played by one rule when he wrote and directed The Last Jedi: “Subvert expectations.” 

I reached a different conclusion: this whole thing is a Rian Johnson self-centered narcissistic exercise. It's all about him and his creations. Notice how Rose, a new character, practically has top billing. A mechanic. Nothing interesting about her except for our real world application of diversity(much needed of course). But in the Star Wars Universe she's simply a mechanic. We've got a new Jedi, A new Sith something or other, a former stormtrooper. Each of those has a heck of a story to show and yet quite a chunk of the movie was devoted to this new character. We even got more background info for her than we have of the main characters!!!

Notice how he blows up the couple of Rebels shown in the last movie. If the goal was to have a prominent Asian role then they could have had it easily with Jessica Pava(Jessica Henwick) from the previous movie. Not sure if she's blown up in that scene but she's nowhere in the movie. She's a good actress that imo deserves more exposure and would have provided a bit more continuity. Nothing against the  actress who portrayed Rose. She did a fantastic job. It's just not a character that is interesting. Flynn is her sidekick in this movie. 
 

This is all about Rian. His story. Forget the plotlines, the character development, etc... from the previous movie. 

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Can I just say that...I kinda hate Rose a little bit.

I had no huge problem with her, even though she dragged me to Casino Royale just to give me some back story.

But there was no expectation nor reason to even dream that Shade Luke was going to come and buy them time.

 

So Rose stopped Finn from saving what was left of the resistance with the utter nonsense of, "We win by saving what we love."

No. In that case SHE wins by saving what SHE loves. Cold comfort for the resistance, but good for you.

So, yeah, hate her a li'l bit.

 

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1 hour ago, Nombrecomun said:

Notice how Rose, a new character, practically has top billing. A mechanic. Nothing interesting about her except for our real world application of diversity(much needed of course). But in the Star Wars Universe she's simply a mechanic.

I dunno... I really liked her.  I didn’t care for the Canto Bight storyline, but her introduction was first-rate character stuff.  And c’mon...it’s not the first time the franchise has trotted out a seemingly unimportant character with a lot of hype.  Boba Fett, anyone?  Or what about Darth Maul?  Yes, and I know both came back later in cartoons, books, etc.  but in the movies?  They’re little more than overhyped one-offs.

I really wanted to see more of Rose; but not riding racing beasts on Planet Monaco...

 

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29 minutes ago, Sehlat Vie said:

I dunno... I really liked her.  I didn’t care for the Canto Bight storyline, but her introduction was first-rate character stuff.  And c’mon...it’s not the first time the franchise has trotted out a seemingly unimportant character with a lot of hype.  Boba Fett, anyone?  Or what about Darth Maul?  Yes, and I know both came back later in cartoons, books, etc.  but in the movies?  They’re little more than overhyped one-offs.

I really wanted to see more of Rose; but not riding racing beasts on Planet Monaco...

 

C'mon. He's the best failed assassin in the galaxy.

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3 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

^  You make very good points.

And perhaps it’s better to have a SW that takes us to uncomfortable places than one that just gives us what we want.  But I still maintain that TFA was the right tonic at the right time; the SW cinematic universe was a crippled mess after the prequels.   It needed to get back on track.   TFA was not the time to get too experimental; it was a time to get back to what made us fall in love with the SW universe in the first place.   To that end, it succeeded perfectly (while adding delightful new characters to the mythology as well).

I agree; I'm not taking a pop at TFA. I really enjoyed it and it was JJ Abrams doing what he does best - delivering a big, fun rollercoaster ride. But I don't think he's the guy to give you deep Star Wars. Maybe Johnson thinks he is. At least he's giving it a try. (Hi Dave Filoni. Yes, I think you are the guy to give us deep Star Wars, but they haven't let you direct a live action feature yet.)

3 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

TLJ is more challenging, and as our friend told me the night we saw it, “It gets better on the 2nd viewing” (she’d seen it the night before as well).  But some of its flaws (the Canto Bight sequence, the editing, frenetic pacing, etc)  I don’t expect to just ‘get better’ on repeated viewings, though perhaps I might reevaluate some of what I initially perceived as poor story decisions and unfortunate character choices (?).  Who knows...

I don't know if it'll get better so much as you get used to it.

 

3 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

So very much this.  

You’d think Chewie would at least be in some kind of mourning after the death of his best friend of who knows how long (at least 30-odd years or more).  

What bugged me is that he got sort of forgotten at the end of TFA too, when Leia didn't greet him at the end. At least Rian Johnson corrected that one very obviously. I liked Chewie's jokey cutaways; just wish he'd been more obviously a part of the main action. I guess he's Rey's loyal sidekick now, which I admit, is a passing-of-the-baton I'm not sure I'm fully on board with. 

As for Artoo... meh.

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14 minutes ago, Robin Bland said:

As for Artoo... meh.

Never had much tingly love for R2.

I like him and B4 fine, but I don't quite consider them characters in a real sense. If they vanished, I wouldn't care all that much. 

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3 hours ago, Nombrecomun said:

I reached a different conclusion: this whole thing is a Rian Johnson self-centered narcissistic exercise. It's all about him and his creations. Notice how Rose, a new character, practically has top billing. A mechanic. Nothing interesting about her except for our real world application of diversity(much needed of course). But in the Star Wars Universe she's simply a mechanic. We've got a new Jedi, A new Sith something or other, a former stormtrooper. Each of those has a heck of a story to show and yet quite a chunk of the movie was devoted to this new character. We even got more background info for her than we have of the main characters!!!

Notice how he blows up the couple of Rebels shown in the last movie. If the goal was to have a prominent Asian role then they could have had it easily with Jessica Pava(Jessica Henwick) from the previous movie. Not sure if she's blown up in that scene but she's nowhere in the movie. She's a good actress that imo deserves more exposure and would have provided a bit more continuity. Nothing against the  actress who portrayed Rose. She did a fantastic job. It's just not a character that is interesting. Flynn is her sidekick in this movie. 
 

This is all about Rian. His story. Forget the plotlines, the character development, etc... from the previous movie. 

Show me a mainstream film director who isn't a narcissist...! :laugh: Seriously, that's a bit strong, Nombre. All film directors have massive egos... they need to, to do that job. The film and TV worlds are all about the auteur showrunner these days. They come in and are authorized to put their stamp upon a big franchise. It's how it's done. It's what is expected. Within that framework, if the dude or gal is at least trying to serve up something halfway original, attempting to please both his or her own muse and the fans, then at least you get something with a bit of heart to it. I think TLJ did achieve that, even if i didn't agree with all the story or stylistic choices made,. But to each his own.

As for Rose, all the points you make are fair, but as Vie says, every installment gives us new characters. Was Lando Calrissian all about Lawrence Kasdan? Well, yeah, sorta. He has that writer's trademark devilry-disguising-a-good-heart all over him. He was a great foil for Han that no-one really knew what to do with in the next movie. Re: Rose, I liked her earthiness and humor. When Finn was doing his suicide run, I did wonder if they were going to "kill the black character" which would have f@#%ed me off no end. I sort of saw Rose's intervention coming, and I wasn't entirely pleased about that either, but her reasons for doing it were at least understandable. If the Rebels go as low as the fascistic enemy, what is there left to fight for? I have problems with this entire sequence, but not her emotions.

1 minute ago, prometheus59650 said:

Never had much tingly love for R2.

I like him and B4 fine, but I don't quite consider them characters in a real sense. If they vanished, I wouldn't care all that much. 

And they will vanish, because Artoo and B-4 are going to be in their own Star Wars / Star Trek crossover team-up movie. "Data's brother and a Star Wars droid save the uuuuniiiiverse!" You heard it here first.

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1 hour ago, Sehlat Vie said:

I dunno... I really liked her.  I didn’t care for the Canto Bight storyline, but her introduction was first-rate character stuff.  And c’mon...it’s not the first time the franchise has trotted out a seemingly unimportant character with a lot of hype.  Boba Fett, anyone?  Or what about Darth Maul?  Yes, and I know both came back later in cartoons, books, etc.  but in the movies?  They’re little more than overhyped one-offs.

I really wanted to see more of Rose; but not riding racing beasts on Planet Monaco...

 

I don't see the similarities between Fett, Maul, and Rose. Fett and Maul were interesting but underdeveloped. It was the fans that rallied around those characters wanting to know more. Rose is not an interesting character that gets a lot of exposition. That's widely different. 

I wanted to see more of Rey, Finn, and Ben...and to an extent Luke(since we want to know what the hell he's been doing) and Leia since it's her last movie. Not Rose. 

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8 minutes ago, Nombrecomun said:

and Leia since it's her last movie.

Though, of course, no one knew that at the time, so one can't quite ding the man for withholding some of that, especially when, from Fisher and Johnson himself, as TLJ was "Luke's," Episode 9 was to be Leia's.

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41 minutes ago, Robin Bland said:

Show me a mainstream film director who isn't a narcissist...! :laugh: Seriously, that's a bit strong, Nombre. All film directors have massive egos... they need to, to do that job. The film and TV worlds are all about the auteur showrunner these days. They come in and are authorized to put their stamp upon a big franchise. It's how it's done. It's what is expected. Within that framework, if the dude or gal is at least trying to serve up something halfway original, attempting to please both his or her own muse and the fans, then at least you get something with a bit of heart to it. I think TLJ did achieve that, even if i didn't agree with all the story or stylistic choices made,. But to each his own.

As for Rose, all the points you make are fair, but as Vie says, every installment gives us new characters. Was Lando Calrissian all about Lawrence Kasdan? Well, yeah, sorta. He has that writer's trademark devilry-disguising-a-good-heart all over him. He was a great foil for Han that no-one really knew what to do with in the next movie. Re: Rose, I liked her earthiness and humor. When Finn was doing his suicide run, I did wonder if they were going to "kill the black character" which would have f@#%ed me off no end. I sort of saw Rose's intervention coming, and I wasn't entirely pleased about that either, but her reasons for doing it were at least understandable. If the Rebels go as low as the fascistic enemy, what is there left to fight for? I have problems with this entire sequence, but not her emotions.

And they will vanish, because Artoo and B-4 are going to be in their own Star Wars / Star Trek crossover team-up movie. "Data's brother and a Star Wars droid save the uuuuniiiiverse!" You heard it here first.

They can be narcissist all they want as long as they deliver. Rian didn't. He made the movie what he wanted it to be, not necessarily something that served the story. There was a lot of potential wasted. It's like Prometheus to me. 

This wasn't a good movie. It wasn't a Star Wars movie either. It was a generic action movie with Star Wars clothing. It's what I would think Tarantino would do with Star Trek if he has the chance to write and direct one except he's a talented, albeit one note type of writer.

The movie had good parts. Dialog was atrocious. Even the crawl read like an elementary essay. I'm not expecting prose but yuck. And that 'call on hold' gag? Bleh....That's something out of the Marvel movies. Not Star Wars. There's plenty of humour within that universe. I loved that Luke tossed that lightsaber over his shoulder. But symbolically I also take that as a 'Screw you fans, I'm not giving you something you like' which is totally fine had he come up with something that was good or better. He didn't.   

I liked Rose too but her character felt like she had as equal time(or more) to the main characters. That wasn't ok for me. Ok, she saved Finn for love. I get it's Disney but c'mon! She knows him for a day? Two? Goes from thinking of him as a traitor to love interest in 2.2 parsecs? 

Glad that some folks like it but it's clear it's not a unanimous 'win' here. Plenty of people have also felt it was missing. That's doesn't get to be easily dismissed by saying stuff like "anti-JJers"(not that you're saying that). The movie is very flawed. It just depends on whether someone is ok with overlooking the flaws or even see the amount of flaws. I couldn't unfortunately. 

6 minutes ago, prometheus59650 said:

Though, of course, no one knew that at the time, so one can't quite ding the man for withholding some of that, especially when, from Fisher and Johnson himself, as TLJ was "Luke's," Episode 9 was to be Leia's.

I think we got a good dose of Leia in this one. I'm happy with it. 

Edited by Nombrecomun

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18 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

Founder?  As usual that was a spot-on and deep analysis.  I may have disagreed with a couple things (the character of Rose, for example), but on the whole I find myself agreeing with you a HELL of a lot more than my relatively trivial disagreements.

While I wouldn’t say I disliked the movie (nor did I sink in my chair, riddled in shame and self-loathing, as I did through the prequels), I did have some really serious issues with TLJ that kept me at arm’s length from embracing it as I certainly wanted to.    

And yes, I very much agreed with you on the treatment of Chewie, R2 and even C3PO (though he did have more screen time, at least); they were little more than props.

Thank you. I enjoyed reading your measured review. :)

What is your opinion on Luke's arc? I'm not asking to argue, but I am curious. I know you're from my generation of Star Wars. You grew up with Luke. Not Anakin or Rey.

10 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

I think Rian Johnson played by one rule when he wrote and directed The Last Jedi: “Subvert expectations.”

 

The problem with "subvert expectations" is multi-fold for me:

Number 1 - subverting expectations is often used as a mask for poor story telling. It's code language for "We wanted to do our own thing and were too lazy to bother to see where the characters had left off." Star Trek: Voyager "subverted expectations" when we thought we were going to get BSG in the Delta Quadrant. Instead we got TNG-Lite. TLJ "subverted expectations" in the most obnoxious of ways. There were different avenues that they could have gone with Luke since RotJ. This was the best these writers could come up with? I think the worst part of it is - Luke's integrity and growth was snuffed out solely to give Rey/Kylo something to do.

Number 2 - almost no fan had waited 34 years (since we last saw Luke on the big screen) to watch his character assassination. I did not wait to see him return to be wasted as a cowardly, elderly hermit that had to be guilted into fighting the good fight again. I understand the whole "it's pure fan fiction trash for Luke to be some Jedi God". "It would be too hard to write a threat for the rebels if Luke can swoop in like a Deus Ex Machina and eradicate the enemy with ease." I didn't want Luke to be a living God - but to give us the exact opposite with a slap in the face? I waited DECADES for this?

Number 3 - subverting expectations doesn't have to come at the cost of character growth. This is not a zero sum game. You can take Luke in a direction different from being a Jedi God that has perfectly restored the Jedi Order (the fanboy wish since RotJ) without doing the exact opposite. Instead of being a powerful Force user and on the way to "returning the Jedi" - he is instead some bitter old man with a last hurrah at the end.

I'm sorry but that's note subverting expectations. That's bad story telling.

10 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

There’s little story time given over to mourning or even celebrating the past, or people’s places in legend.

Because of poor writing. This was well within the control of the writers. There was nothing forcing them to write the characters in this desperate rush. They could have had the second movie take place over time which allowed us to breath since TFA. To allow for more development. To understand motivations. Not this rushed mess.

I understand these movies are about Rey/Finn/Poe and it is their story. But that doesn't mean they have to crap on the originals to make the new people look good.

I feel like ... I suddenly understand why some TOS fans hated Kirk's death. I never really minded it because Kirk was before my time. While I understood his importance in the Trek mythos - I didn't directly hero worship the character. But I suddenly understand how it must've felt to watch a legend of Trek die in an unceremonious way and done mostly so that Picard can defeat the villain. That is essentially what was done to Luke. One final hurrah so that Rey/The Resistance can defeat this enemy.

10 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

 Even when Yoda turns up, he’s there to push Luke to the edge and encourage him to burn the past and move forward - which Luke does. Like the Founder, I did experience some annoyance that Luke’s legacy seemed a bit shambolic. This guy, who saw a spark of light in Darth Vader - Darth Vader! - seemed a little too ready to condemn one of his own students.

His nephew, no less.

It seemed odd that Luke, of all people, would be the one to push for the death of someone because they saw darkness within them or whatever nonsense they wrote. It would have made more sense that Kylo became infatuated with the legacy of Darth Vader and that led him to Snoke. Who in turn completed his transformation into Kylo Ren from Ben Solo. Then Ren would have returned to the temple to wipe out the new Jedi/Luke with an imperial army at his back.

As the story would have you believe - Ben was sleeping peacefully and Luke tried to murder him in his sleep. Then ... Kylo Ren ... alone went and brought down the entire Jedi Order (all one building of it). WTF!? How powerful is his character .... that's ridiculous.

And - yes, I hated that Luke's legacy is essentially pointless. And I don't care if its "true to life". Victory and success are also true to life too. Why couldn't Luke have that?

10 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

 On the other hand, that’s classic Luke, rushing in before he’s thought through a situation entirely, and the script does cover this indecision and the agony he went through - from three different perspectives. It’s not treated lightly. Plus, one of his best friends was Han Solo, and Luke doing before thinking is, well what he and his buddies do best. I admit, I felt some disappointment with how Luke had ended up, and found the island sequences quite frustrating. Possibly, now I know how this sequence plays out, it’ll feel better on a second viewing, but that was definitely one of the problems I had with the story, too.

We're not dealing with classic Luke, though. The implication here is Luke has not changed in 20 plus years ... I didn't expect him to necessarily be as wise as 900 year old Yoda, but he's still brash and runs off to do stupid things?

I too am wondering if watching it again will make me feel a bit differently.

 

10 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

On the other hand, this plot is partially about redemption (or lack of it) and how life choices aren’t always as straightforward as they can later seem. Like Empire, the point of it is that it’s a moral victory, a spiritual one, not actual. It dares to be metaphorical, and even if I don’t like some of the plot beats, I think that’s admirable, and a layer of depth The Force Awakens didn’t really have. For sure, this is a more difficult film. While there’s a lot I enjoyed, there’s bits I really don’t like - but I think, with time, even those may begin to make some sense. 

Am I the only one that liked TFA more than TLJ?

 

10 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

I’d rather have Star Wars that’s a bit difficult, that takes some time to digest, over a straight nostalgia-fest, which to an extent are the philosophies that drove both TFA and Rogue One. My first impression was that, the Canto Bight sequence aside, TLJ is a hell of a lot more coherent of a film than TFA. I don’t think TLJ renders the OT moot - the Rebels stopped two Death Stars, saved billions of lives. What this new trilogy says (which seems timely and relevant) is you have to remember not to be complacent about peace, something Leia always clearly knew. You have to keep watching the fascists, otherwise they’ll rise again.

Again - this isn't a zero sum game. You can have a more "mature", conflicting Star Wars that make you think AND that doesn't undo the achievements of the classic characters or turn them into background noise (Chewie/R2).

I have no problem with the "themes" they are trying to convey but their execution of it.

In regards to the OT - I don't feel the ST renders it moot. I think the two movies rendered the trio to be a superflous road bump in the plots since Episode 1 - Episode 8. Luke/Han/Leia literally die where they left off in the OT. Leia isn't restoring the Old Republic. She's an underground military general. Han was a smuggler running from bounty hunters. Luke was the only Jedi and alone. Their progression thrown into the trash bin of novels taking place between Episode 6 and 7. To see their progress I have to play Battlefront 2 and read novels. To see their regression back to where they left off - I just have to watch the ST.

I am genuinely curious about the "nostalgia-fest" comment. This is something I've never understood in the fantasy realm or sci-fi realm. I see that comment a lot here about Star Trek and a lot on other forums about different types of franchises. This concept that actually progressing the story in a structured way is just making a film for the fans. This is why Abrams Trek and DSC have to be as different from the original Trek as possible. Why? Because anything accurate is just BS that will only attract hardcore fans. "Go watch the fan made films if you want that!!!!" is what I see. What is this hatred (not saying you have it) of appealing to fans? Would it have really been that off-putting to the average movie goer if we saw Leia as Chancellor of the New Republic? If we saw Luke as a Jedi Master training students? Really?

Let me put it to you this way ..... when most people think of the best bit of Rogue One - one of the top scenes if Darth Vader in the corridor killing rebels. Why? Because it's what fans wanted to see of Darth Vader. Seeing him at his absolute height of power. A pure "fan" gushing moment. Yet - highly successful. When the prequels came out and we got hints we were going to see Yoda in his prime - fans were excited. Why? Because of his power in the OT. Personally I hated Yoda flipping around but it was cool to see him take on the Emperor. Rogue One was basically a giant love letter to SW fans. From cameos to OT characters, to painstaking details of ships/clothing matching the gritty OT, to even the "feel". Is Rogue One bad because of it?

What is this .... idea that appealing to fans first or progressing the story in a way that does not subvert pathways built by the OT is bad? Why is it bad to appeal to the people that like these movies? If these writers and directors wanted to create a sci-fi movie (or any genre) that subverts tropes, etc. Why pick Star Wars? Hardcore fans and even casual fans weren't excited about the return of the original trio because they were hoping to see their progress subverted to derail expectations.

I'm not even asking this to argue with you or anyone - but I am curious as to why exactly there is this utter dislike for "nostalgia" or trying to match the expectations of the story laid out in the OT while simultaneously giving i the unique twist each director wanted?

10 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

Johnson follows the mantra, “Don’t give them what they want. Give them something they didn’t know they wanted.” 

In the real world, now that Star Wars isn’t an independently owned entity, we can fully expect Disney to play the safe path. They didn’t here; not entirely. Despite the multiple changes in directors on various films, seems like they really allowed Johnson to follow his muse and mess with audience expectations. Now they’ve entrusted him to expand the SW Universe beyond the Skywalker saga. Only other guy who has been allowed that freedom is Dave Filoni on Rebels, which has paid dramatic dividends. 

But Chewie and Artoo wuz robbed. 

Johnson gave me neither what I wanted, nor what I didn't know what I wanted.

I'm fine with "taking risks" but intelligently. A "risk" was killing off Snoke. One that I thought was interesting but it rendered Han Solo's death pointless. This was a risk that was done for shock value, but no consideration for events that came before.

I don't know what Rebels is. Some EU material I imagine?

8 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

And perhaps it’s better to have a SW that takes us to uncomfortable places than one that just gives us what we want. 

I ask - why? What exactly is the pay off by cheapening the legacy of the original three? By turning the original side characters into cutesy props to say "Hey remember me?"

Uncomfortable places/themes/stories are good in a well written story. Nothing about Luke's self-imposed exile was particularly hard-hitting. Seemed like a copy of Yoda/Obi-Wan. At least Obi-Wan had a mission to watch over Luke. Versus Luke just sulking in a corner while people die in the galaxy over his uncharacteristic idea of murdering Ben in his sleep. Meanwhile, the rest of the galaxy has to clean up his mess.

The issue with not going where we want is - then what is the point of laying down victories? Luke's entire character existence is that he holds the legacy of the Jedi. Leia's entire existence is to restore the Old Republic. Both of them succeeded in the end, only to ... just randomly fail so that Rey/Poe/Finn have something to do.

This isn't brilliant story telling that makes us think outside the box. This is what all the remakes of late are about - luring us in with nostalgia but then just throwing out any crap that comes to mind. Jurassic World did this. Star Trek (Abrams and Discovery) did this. The Terminator movies. The Alien movies. The DC movies. etc. etc. etc. They know they can lure us by being like "....heeeeeeeey remember this?" and when we're there - it of course doesn't live up to expectation. Than they cover it up by dismissing us as whiny fan boys that can never be pleased.

8 hours ago, Nombrecomun said:

I reached a different conclusion: this whole thing is a Rian Johnson self-centered narcissistic exercise. It's all about him and his creations. Notice how Rose, a new character, practically has top billing. A mechanic. Nothing interesting about her except for our real world application of diversity(much needed of course). But in the Star Wars Universe she's simply a mechanic. We've got a new Jedi, A new Sith something or other, a former stormtrooper. Each of those has a heck of a story to show and yet quite a chunk of the movie was devoted to this new character. We even got more background info for her than we have of the main characters!!!

Notice how he blows up the couple of Rebels shown in the last movie. If the goal was to have a prominent Asian role then they could have had it easily with Jessica Pava(Jessica Henwick) from the previous movie. Not sure if she's blown up in that scene but she's nowhere in the movie. She's a good actress that imo deserves more exposure and would have provided a bit more continuity. Nothing against the  actress who portrayed Rose. She did a fantastic job. It's just not a character that is interesting. Flynn is her sidekick in this movie. 
 

This is all about Rian. His story. Forget the plotlines, the character development, etc... from the previous movie. 

I largely agree about this. Rian had his "own idea" on how it should all go down, but he didn't care about what came before. Not just the OT, but even TFA.

I think Rose was well acted and a good character, but she came too late in the game to suddenly be so important. If they wanted to go this route - they should have had her in TFA and introduced Finn in this movie.

4 hours ago, Nombrecomun said:

There was a lot of potential wasted.

This largely sums up what I hate about the PT and the ST.

What an absolute waste of potential. So much beautiful set up by the OT in either direction and ... this is the end result? Because people wanted to "surprise" me with a different path? An unexpected one?

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20 minutes ago, The Founder said:

What is your opinion on Luke's arc? I'm not asking to argue, but I am curious. I know you're from my generation of Star Wars. You grew up with Luke. Not Anakin or Rey.

I thought it was a mite...er, pointless (?).  I mean, that last ‘holo-ghost’ thing was kinda neat (and a riff on Kenobi’s sacrifice to help his friends escape the Death Star), but why did it kill him afterward?  Did it drain him?  Did he just...quit living?  I’m not sure, and the narrative wasn’t terribly clear on that.

That said, I thought Mark Hamill was terrific, though I wish he wasn’t so ‘Gran Torino’ to Rey; they could’ve better used that time exploring who she is, and not just pointlessly arguing.

24 minutes ago, The Founder said:

Am I the only one that liked TFA more than TLJ?

No, you’re not...:)

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This might be a bit KM-ish. My brother watched it today. He mentioned something quite interesting and that's potential backlash of a Rey romance with Finn. I remember people gasping in the theater when Rey kissed Finn while he was in a coma/stasis. It shouldn't be a big deal. It's kissing a friend who she has been through some hard times. It didn't need to be interpreted as a love thing. But so what if it was?

So now we have a love story with an Asian girl(not a white girl) coming out of the blue. More palatable to white audiences? No disrespect to the actress but pretty she wasn't. Her sister in the movie was a looker and so was X-Wing pilot Pava from the previous movie. So the black guy can't get a hot chick? 

Edited by Nombrecomun

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50 minutes ago, Nombrecomun said:

I remember people gasping in the theater when Rey kissed Finn while he was in a coma/stasis. It shouldn't be a big deal. It's kissing a friend who she has been through some hard times. It didn't need to be interpreted as a love thing. But so what if it was?

Wow, really?  There was no reaction at all when we saw it. 

51 minutes ago, Nombrecomun said:

So now we have a love story with an Asian girl(not a white girl) coming out of the blue. More palatable to white audiences? No disrespect to the actress but pretty she wasn't. Her sister in the movie was a looker and so was X-Wing pilot Pava from the previous movie. So the black guy can't get a hot chick? 

Maybe I’m in the minority on this one, but I think Kelly Marie Tran is cute.  :inlove:

3a6d9578-4ebd-448c-a387-885d1a709477.JPG

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1 hour ago, Sehlat Vie said:

I thought it was a mite...er, pointless (?).  I mean, that last ‘holo-ghost’ thing was kinda neat (and a riff on Kenobi’s sacrifice to help his friends escape the Death Star), but why did it kill him afterward?  Did it drain him?  Did he just...quit living?  I’m not sure, and the narrative wasn’t terribly clear on that.

That said, I thought Mark Hamill was terrific, though I wish he wasn’t so ‘Gran Torino’ to Rey; they could’ve better used that time exploring who she is, and not just pointlessly arguing.

I'm not sure why it killed him. It seems like astral projection was a new Force power. I didn't mind it and it allowed Luke ONE moment to shine ...

I agree - Hamill's acting was really good. I just wished he had gotten the chance to play Luke Skywalker.

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Sure. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps I'm a bit rough with my comment. But here is the sister:

Star-Wars-Bomber-Command-Cover-Top.jpg

 

And this is the X Wing pilot that for some reason wasn't in this movie:

jessica-henwick-screening-marvel-s-iron-

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10 hours ago, Nombrecomun said:

They can be narcissist all they want as long as they deliver. Rian didn't. He made the movie what he wanted it to be, not necessarily something that served the story. There was a lot of potential wasted. It's like Prometheus to me. 

This wasn't a good movie. It wasn't a Star Wars movie either. It was a generic action movie with Star Wars clothing.

Oboy, I didn't realize you felt that bad about it. It's too bad. I definitely have my reservations, but I think I enjoyed t more than you did.

10 hours ago, Nombrecomun said:

It's what I would think Tarantino would do with Star Trek if he has the chance to write and direct one except he's a talented, albeit one note type of writer.

 

Yeah, that's what I'm worried about...

10 hours ago, Nombrecomun said:



The movie had good parts. Dialog was atrocious. Even the crawl read like an elementary essay. I'm not expecting prose but yuck. And that 'call on hold' gag? Bleh....That's something out of the Marvel movies. Not Star Wars. There's plenty of humour within that universe.

Can't do anything but agree with you there. It's the kind of humor that'll date, like the lingo/urban vernacular, which we both picked up on.  Whereas in earlier SW movies the humor seemed more naturalistic, more observational in flavor, arising out of situations and character rather than sight gags or similar.

10 hours ago, Nombrecomun said:

 

 

I loved that Luke tossed that lightsaber over his shoulder. But symbolically I also take that as a 'Screw you fans, I'm not giving you something you like' which is totally fine had he come up with something that was good or better. He didn't.   

I liked Rose too but her character felt like she had as equal time(or more) to the main characters. That wasn't ok for me. Ok, she saved Finn for love. I get it's Disney but c'mon! She knows him for a day? Two? Goes from thinking of him as a traitor to love interest in 2.2 parsecs? 

Glad that some folks like it but it's clear it's not a unanimous 'win' here. Plenty of people have also felt it was missing. That's doesn't get to be easily dismissed by saying stuff like "anti-JJers"(not that you're saying that). The movie is very flawed. It just depends on whether someone is ok with overlooking the flaws or even see the amount of flaws. I couldn't unfortunately. 

I think we got a good dose of Leia in this one. I'm happy with it. 

Definitely not a unanimous win, although critics seemed to love it. It's seemed to split people. Like I say, I'm running on first impressions, and I came away with about half/half. I'm hoping a rewatch may raise that slightly. We'll see.

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4 hours ago, The Founder said:

Thank you. I enjoyed reading your measured review. :)

What is your opinion on Luke's arc? I'm not asking to argue, but I am curious. I know you're from my generation of Star Wars. You grew up with Luke. Not Anakin or Rey.

 

The problem with "subvert expectations" is multi-fold for me:

Number 1 - subverting expectations is often used as a mask for poor story telling. It's code language for "We wanted to do our own thing and were too lazy to bother to see where the characters had left off." Star Trek: Voyager "subverted expectations" when we thought we were going to get BSG in the Delta Quadrant. Instead we got TNG-Lite. TLJ "subverted expectations" in the most obnoxious of ways. There were different avenues that they could have gone with Luke since RotJ. This was the best these writers could come up with? I think the worst part of it is - Luke's integrity and growth was snuffed out solely to give Rey/Kylo something to do.

Number 2 - almost no fan had waited 34 years (since we last saw Luke on the big screen) to watch his character assassination. I did not wait to see him return to be wasted as a cowardly, elderly hermit that had to be guilted into fighting the good fight again. I understand the whole "it's pure fan fiction trash for Luke to be some Jedi God". "It would be too hard to write a threat for the rebels if Luke can swoop in like a Deus Ex Machina and eradicate the enemy with ease." I didn't want Luke to be a living God - but to give us the exact opposite with a slap in the face? I waited DECADES for this?

Number 3 - subverting expectations doesn't have to come at the cost of character growth. This is not a zero sum game. You can take Luke in a direction different from being a Jedi God that has perfectly restored the Jedi Order (the fanboy wish since RotJ) without doing the exact opposite. Instead of being a powerful Force user and on the way to "returning the Jedi" - he is instead some bitter old man with a last hurrah at the end.

I'm sorry but that's note subverting expectations. That's bad story telling.

Well, I'm always gonna play devil's advocate on that one. That's an entirely subjective POV. Loads of people didn't think so and have praised it for not being too safe, for taking risks. But the consensus here is clearly different. And, on the other hand, I hope you can tell I definitely had my problems with it. I'm sort of pulling back, because I wasn't in the best mood when I saw it due to some personal circumstances, and wondered if this had affected my perceptions of the film. So I'm trying to be fair and give it another go before I write it off.

4 hours ago, The Founder said:

Because of poor writing. This was well within the control of the writers. There was nothing forcing them to write the characters in this desperate rush. They could have had the second movie take place over time which allowed us to breath since TFA. To allow for more development. To understand motivations. Not this rushed mess.

I understand these movies are about Rey/Finn/Poe and it is their story. But that doesn't mean they have to crap on the originals to make the new people look good.

I feel like ... I suddenly understand why some TOS fans hated Kirk's death. I never really minded it because Kirk was before my time. While I understood his importance in the Trek mythos - I didn't directly hero worship the character. But I suddenly understand how it must've felt to watch a legend of Trek die in an unceremonious way and done mostly so that Picard can defeat the villain. That is essentially what was done to Luke. One final hurrah so that Rey/The Resistance can defeat this enemy.

His nephew, no less.

It seemed odd that Luke, of all people, would be the one to push for the death of someone because they saw darkness within them or whatever nonsense they wrote. It would have made more sense that Kylo became infatuated with the legacy of Darth Vader and that led him to Snoke. Who in turn completed his transformation into Kylo Ren from Ben Solo. Then Ren would have returned to the temple to wipe out the new Jedi/Luke with an imperial army at his back.

As the story would have you believe - Ben was sleeping peacefully and Luke tried to murder him in his sleep. Then ... Kylo Ren ... alone went and brought down the entire Jedi Order (all one building of it). WTF!? How powerful is his character .... that's ridiculous.

And - yes, I hated that Luke's legacy is essentially pointless. And I don't care if its "true to life". Victory and success are also true to life too. Why couldn't Luke have that?

We're not dealing with classic Luke, though. The implication here is Luke has not changed in 20 plus years ... I didn't expect him to necessarily be as wise as 900 year old Yoda, but he's still brash and runs off to do stupid things?

I too am wondering if watching it again will make me feel a bit differently.

 

Am I the only one that liked TFA more than TLJ?

 

No, I like TFA more as an overall experience. It started out that way, and I've rewatched it about ten times.

 

4 hours ago, The Founder said:

Again - this isn't a zero sum game. You can have a more "mature", conflicting Star Wars that make you think AND that doesn't undo the achievements of the classic characters or turn them into background noise (Chewie/R2).

I have no problem with the "themes" they are trying to convey but their execution of it.

In regards to the OT - I don't feel the ST renders it moot. I think the two movies rendered the trio to be a superflous road bump in the plots since Episode 1 - Episode 8. Luke/Han/Leia literally die where they left off in the OT. Leia isn't restoring the Old Republic. She's an underground military general. Han was a smuggler running from bounty hunters. Luke was the only Jedi and alone. Their progression thrown into the trash bin of novels taking place between Episode 6 and 7. To see their progress I have to play Battlefront 2 and read novels. To see their regression back to where they left off - I just have to watch the ST.

I am genuinely curious about the "nostalgia-fest" comment. This is something I've never understood in the fantasy realm or sci-fi realm. I see that comment a lot here about Star Trek and a lot on other forums about different types of franchises. This concept that actually progressing the story in a structured way is just making a film for the fans. This is why Abrams Trek and DSC have to be as different from the original Trek as possible. Why? Because anything accurate is just BS that will only attract hardcore fans. "Go watch the fan made films if you want that!!!!" is what I see. What is this hatred (not saying you have it) of appealing to fans? Would it have really been that off-putting to the average movie goer if we saw Leia as Chancellor of the New Republic? If we saw Luke as a Jedi Master training students? Really?

Let me put it to you this way ..... when most people think of the best bit of Rogue One - one of the top scenes if Darth Vader in the corridor killing rebels. Why? Because it's what fans wanted to see of Darth Vader. Seeing him at his absolute height of power. A pure "fan" gushing moment. Yet - highly successful. When the prequels came out and we got hints we were going to see Yoda in his prime - fans were excited. Why? Because of his power in the OT. Personally I hated Yoda flipping around but it was cool to see him take on the Emperor. Rogue One was basically a giant love letter to SW fans. From cameos to OT characters, to painstaking details of ships/clothing matching the gritty OT, to even the "feel". Is Rogue One bad because of it?

What is this .... idea that appealing to fans first or progressing the story in a way that does not subvert pathways built by the OT is bad? Why is it bad to appeal to the people that like these movies? If these writers and directors wanted to create a sci-fi movie (or any genre) that subverts tropes, etc. Why pick Star Wars? Hardcore fans and even casual fans weren't excited about the return of the original trio because they were hoping to see their progress subverted to derail expectations.

I'm not even asking this to argue with you or anyone - but I am curious as to why exactly there is this utter dislike for "nostalgia" or trying to match the expectations of the story laid out in the OT while simultaneously giving i the unique twist each director wanted?

I'll come back to you on this one - see below.

4 hours ago, The Founder said:

Johnson gave me neither what I wanted, nor what I didn't know what I wanted.

I'm fine with "taking risks" but intelligently. A "risk" was killing off Snoke. One that I thought was interesting but it rendered Han Solo's death pointless. This was a risk that was done for shock value, but no consideration for events that came before.

I don't know what Rebels is. Some EU material I imagine?

Rebels is an animated TV show set five years before A New Hope. There's quite a lot of posts about it over on the General SW thread.

 

4 hours ago, The Founder said:

I ask - why? What exactly is the pay off by cheapening the legacy of the original three? By turning the original side characters into cutesy props to say "Hey remember me?"

Uncomfortable places/themes/stories are good in a well written story. Nothing about Luke's self-imposed exile was particularly hard-hitting. Seemed like a copy of Yoda/Obi-Wan. At least Obi-Wan had a mission to watch over Luke. Versus Luke just sulking in a corner while people die in the galaxy over his uncharacteristic idea of murdering Ben in his sleep. Meanwhile, the rest of the galaxy has to clean up his mess.

The issue with not going where we want is - then what is the point of laying down victories? Luke's entire character existence is that he holds the legacy of the Jedi. Leia's entire existence is to restore the Old Republic. Both of them succeeded in the end, only to ... just randomly fail so that Rey/Poe/Finn have something to do.

This isn't brilliant story telling that makes us think outside the box. This is what all the remakes of late are about - luring us in with nostalgia but then just throwing out any crap that comes to mind. Jurassic World did this. Star Trek (Abrams and Discovery) did this. The Terminator movies. The Alien movies. The DC movies. etc. etc. etc. They know they can lure us by being like "....heeeeeeeey remember this?" and when we're there - it of course doesn't live up to expectation. Than they cover it up by dismissing us as whiny fan boys that can never be pleased.

I largely agree about this. Rian had his "own idea" on how it should all go down, but he didn't care about what came before. Not just the OT, but even TFA.

I think Rose was well acted and a good character, but she came too late in the game to suddenly be so important. If they wanted to go this route - they should have had her in TFA and introduced Finn in this movie.

This largely sums up what I hate about the PT and the ST.

What an absolute waste of potential. So much beautiful set up by the OT in either direction and ... this is the end result? Because people wanted to "surprise" me with a different path? An unexpected one?

Founder, you sound quite aggrieved in this post, so I'm gonna come back tomorrow and read again and answer a few of your points more carefully than I can at this late hour. I actually agree with a lot of what you say, but I think I perceived the film in a far more overall positive light than you, despite the crappy mood I was in.

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Addressing one of the points made above: the moment where Luke casually tosses the lightsaber over his shoulder.

Okay, I get the impulse to go for a quick laugh, but IMO it was at the expense of the moment.   That scene was the last scene of the previous movie and was obviously done with planned payoff that was basically subverted and arguably ridiculed.

Imagine if Vader’s flying off at the end of “New Hope” were continued in “Empire...” with a shot of him crashing through a chicken farmer’s roof?   Or if “Empire...” began in the Throne Room with Chewie complaining to Han that he didn’t get a medal?   Sure, it’d get a cheap laugh but it’d destroy the setup.   There’s a fine line between an earned laugh and simply mockery.  IMO, Luke’s casual dismissal of his father’s lightsaber fell into the latter.    I just didn’t like it.

Same with the phone call to Hux gag. 

It was funny to me only largely because it was so out of place in a Star Wars movie; not because it was comically written.   I gave it more of a nervous “WTF?” chuckle than a genuine laugh.  And I agree with Robin that it’ll seriously date the movie in a few years.

I don’t quite think Rian Johnson did a Tarantino on Star Wars, but there were a few too many moments and choices that reeked of 'wannabe-auteur’ rather than making the best possible choices with the material.   And frankly, as a person who had many issues with his overly-lauded “Looper” I really don’t think the credibility was earned.

Personally I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard that Abrams was coming back for IX....

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1 hour ago, Sehlat Vie said:

Addressing one of the points made above: the moment where Luke casually tosses the lightsaber over his shoulder.

Okay, I get the impulse to go for a quick laugh, but IMO it was at the expense of the moment.   That scene was the last scene of the previous movie and was obviously done with planned payoff that was basically subverted and arguably ridiculed.

Imagine if Vader’s flying off at the end of “New Hope” were continued in “Empire...” with a shot of him crashing through a chicken farmer’s roof?   Or if “Empire...” began in the Throne Room with Chewie complaining to Han that he didn’t get a medal?   Sure, it’d get a cheap laugh but it’d destroy the setup.   There’s a fine line between an earned laugh and simply mockery.  IMO, Luke’s casual dismissal of his father’s lightsaber fell into the latter.    I just didn’t like it.

Same with the phone call to Hux gag. 

It was funny to me only largely because it was so out of place in a Star Wars movie; not because it was comically written.   I gave it more of a nervous “WTF?” chuckle than a genuine laugh.  And I agree with Robin that it’ll seriously date the movie in a few years.

I don’t quite think Rian Johnson did a Tarantino on Star Wars, but there were a few too many moments and choices that reeked of 'wannabe-auteur’ rather than making the best possible choices with the material.   And frankly, as a person who had many issues with his overly-lauded “Looper” I really don’t think the credibility was earned.

Personally I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard that Abrams was coming back for IX....

I get what you’re saying. There’s a certain amount of decorum regarding respect for the characters in Star Wars up until his film, and Johnson’s take flouted that to a degree. I hated the Hux “phone” joke - it did seem so throwaway. And while I did snigger at the Luke and lightsaber moment, it heralded a series of scenes between he and Rey that I struggled with. I wonder if this is what Mark Hamill was talking about when he mentioned that he imagined a very different outcome for Luke in this film. It’s been widely reported he didn’t like Johnson’s doirection at first and had to be talked round. 

 

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16 minutes ago, Robin Bland said:

I get what you’re saying. There’s a certain amount of decorum regarding respect for the characters in Star Wars up until his film, and Johnson’s take flouted that to a degree. I hated the Hux “phone” joke - it did seem so throwaway. And while I did snigger at the Luke and lightsaber moment, it heralded a series of scenes between he and Rey that I struggled with. I wonder if this is what Mark Hamill was talking about when he mentioned that he imagined a very different outcome for Luke in this film. It’s been widely reported he didn’t like Johnson’s doirection at first and had to be talked round. 

I could see that.

Hamill gives a great performance, but as Founder noted above, I just wish he were playing Luke Skywalker instead of Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino”, “Get off my island!"

And I’m not saying that a SW movie should be void of humor, but it’s the kind of humor.  It’s similar to the problem I’m having with “Orville”; the humor is almost immediately carbon-dated, and the jokes don’t build from the characters/situations organically.   Luckily TLJ didn’t have too much of that, but there were other impulses that reeked ‘of the moment’ rather than ‘will this fit well into the overall tapestry?’  

It’d be like the asteroid belt chase in “Empire...” done with the “Yakkity Sax” theme from “The Benny Hill Show.”   Sure it might get a laugh, but does it fit?

The way Luke looked upon Rey and his old saber in TFA; in that moment, Hamill’s eyes said a million things unspoken.  In TLJ, it was like he was suddenly playing a different version of Luke than the one hinted at the end of TFA.    The character was played so differently that I have a hard time reconciling it with what we even briefly saw in TFA. 

Wouldn’t Luke even be the least bit curious about how his old lightsaber was recovered?   Last he saw of it, his hand was still attached and it was falling south of Cloud City.   He should have SOME curiosity about its recovery, I think (?).

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12 hours ago, The Founder said:

Thank you. I enjoyed reading your measured review. :)

What is your opinion on Luke's arc? I'm not asking to argue, but I am curious. I know you're from my generation of Star Wars. You grew up with Luke. Not Anakin or Rey.

 

The problem with "subvert expectations" is multi-fold for me:

Number 1 - subverting expectations is often used as a mask for poor story telling. It's code language for "We wanted to do our own thing and were too lazy to bother to see where the characters had left off." Star Trek: Voyager "subverted expectations" when we thought we were going to get BSG in the Delta Quadrant. Instead we got TNG-Lite. TLJ "subverted expectations" in the most obnoxious of ways. There were different avenues that they could have gone with Luke since RotJ. This was the best these writers could come up with? I think the worst part of it is - Luke's integrity and growth was snuffed out solely to give Rey/Kylo something to do.

Number 2 - almost no fan had waited 34 years (since we last saw Luke on the big screen) to watch his character assassination. I did not wait to see him return to be wasted as a cowardly, elderly hermit that had to be guilted into fighting the good fight again. I understand the whole "it's pure fan fiction trash for Luke to be some Jedi God". "It would be too hard to write a threat for the rebels if Luke can swoop in like a Deus Ex Machina and eradicate the enemy with ease." I didn't want Luke to be a living God - but to give us the exact opposite with a slap in the face? I waited DECADES for this?

Number 3 - subverting expectations doesn't have to come at the cost of character growth. This is not a zero sum game. You can take Luke in a direction different from being a Jedi God that has perfectly restored the Jedi Order (the fanboy wish since RotJ) without doing the exact opposite. Instead of being a powerful Force user and on the way to "returning the Jedi" - he is instead some bitter old man with a last hurrah at the end.

I'm sorry but that's note subverting expectations. That's bad story telling.

Because of poor writing. This was well within the control of the writers. There was nothing forcing them to write the characters in this desperate rush. They could have had the second movie take place over time which allowed us to breath since TFA. To allow for more development. To understand motivations. Not this rushed mess.

I understand these movies are about Rey/Finn/Poe and it is their story. But that doesn't mean they have to crap on the originals to make the new people look good.

I feel like ... I suddenly understand why some TOS fans hated Kirk's death. I never really minded it because Kirk was before my time. While I understood his importance in the Trek mythos - I didn't directly hero worship the character. But I suddenly understand how it must've felt to watch a legend of Trek die in an unceremonious way and done mostly so that Picard can defeat the villain. That is essentially what was done to Luke. One final hurrah so that Rey/The Resistance can defeat this enemy.

His nephew, no less.

It seemed odd that Luke, of all people, would be the one to push for the death of someone because they saw darkness within them or whatever nonsense they wrote. It would have made more sense that Kylo became infatuated with the legacy of Darth Vader and that led him to Snoke. Who in turn completed his transformation into Kylo Ren from Ben Solo. Then Ren would have returned to the temple to wipe out the new Jedi/Luke with an imperial army at his back.

As the story would have you believe - Ben was sleeping peacefully and Luke tried to murder him in his sleep. Then ... Kylo Ren ... alone went and brought down the entire Jedi Order (all one building of it). WTF!? How powerful is his character .... that's ridiculous.

And - yes, I hated that Luke's legacy is essentially pointless. And I don't care if its "true to life". Victory and success are also true to life too. Why couldn't Luke have that?

We're not dealing with classic Luke, though. The implication here is Luke has not changed in 20 plus years ... I didn't expect him to necessarily be as wise as 900 year old Yoda, but he's still brash and runs off to do stupid things?

Well, he doesn’t. [Devil’s advocate.] He’s learned that fools rush in where angels fear to tread, which is why he refuses to help Rey. 

But [sigh] I agree with you. For the first part of the movie, I didn’t like how Luke was handled. This was a childhood hero of mine acting... childishly. I get that it was a redemptive arc, but even to have Yoda appear to tell him that he’s still not getting it rubbed a bit of salt into that wound. Pleased as I was to see Yoda again (as a muppet, no less, not that lifelessly grotesque CGI thing that haunted the prequels) and to hear the swell of his theme on the soundtrack, that scene hit me the wrong way. 

Luke was always a bit earnest. He’d always try to do the right thing, even if Yoda or Ben was telling him it was the wrong thing. He’d act as the conscience of his friends (particularly Han) and was intensely loyal to them. He was loyal to them above all else, to the cost of himself. I can forgive a bit of early cragginess in his disposition when Rey first turns up, but once Chewie appeared, he should’ve done an about-face and swung into action. Chewie IS one of his old friends! This was the first really major disappointment on the character front for me. That’s what I’m going to be looking closer at on a rewatch. 

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I too am wondering if watching it again will make me feel a bit differently.

I don’t know. I hope so. 

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Am I the only one that liked TFA more than TLJ?

Answered this already, but in the cold morning light, my instaneous reaction is still to say I prefer TFA over TLJ. But I also know how my perceptions aren’t always true first time around. Sometimes they are (hi, AotC), but more often than not, they change over time. I’m guessing that will be true with this film once I’ve got used to the sharp left of Johnson’s directorial / storytelling style. 

Unlike others here, I’ve not seen any of his other movies, so he was all new to me. I might go and check out some of his other movies now. 

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Again - this isn't a zero sum game. You can have a more "mature", conflicting Star Wars that make you think AND that doesn't undo the achievements of the classic characters or turn them into background noise (Chewie/R2).

I agree. 

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I have no problem with the "themes" they are trying to convey but their execution of it.

In regards to the OT - I don't feel the ST renders it moot. I think the two movies rendered the trio to be a superflous road bump in the plots since Episode 1 - Episode 8. Luke/Han/Leia literally die where they left off in the OT. Leia isn't restoring the Old Republic. She's an underground military general. Han was a smuggler running from bounty hunters. Luke was the only Jedi and alone. Their progression thrown into the trash bin of novels taking place between Episode 6 and 7. To see their progress I have to play Battlefront 2 and read novels. To see their regression back to where they left off - I just have to watch the ST.

Like I say, each to their own.  I thought TFA was an exercise in honoring the past as far as possible (all those familiar plot beats) without necessarily taking the most expected path.  

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I am genuinely curious about the "nostalgia-fest" comment. This is something I've never understood in the fantasy realm or sci-fi realm. I see that comment a lot here about Star Trek and a lot on other forums about different types of franchises. This concept that actually progressing the story in a structured way is just making a film for the fans. This is why Abrams Trek and DSC have to be as different from the original Trek as possible. Why? Because anything accurate is just BS that will only attract hardcore fans. "Go watch the fan made films if you want that!!!!" is what I see. What is this hatred (not saying you have it) of appealing to fans? Would it have really been that off-putting to the average movie goer if we saw Leia as Chancellor of the New Republic? If we saw Luke as a Jedi Master training students? Really?

It’s a really interesting question, with a multitude of answers. My experience is this. I sometimes teach creative writing and I hear this complaint a lot. What many people who make it then do, is go off and create their own fictional worlds, with its own set of rules. Or they write fanfic, and in a few (rare) cases, some of my ex-students have gone on to write their own tie-in fiction for big SF franchises. They’re the people who create the character progression in that media trash bin you mention of novels, comics,  games etc. It’s a vast industry, which employs millions of people - writers, all kinds of artists, FX techs, and so on, a heirarchy all the way up to the top execs. I always say, if you want to play in the big sandboxes, you play by the rules you’re given or you don’t last long. But you can looks elsewhere to create your own thing, too. 

And you’re correct in saying I don’t have a hatred of appealing to fans. I think that’s the right thing to do. What I’m trying to achieve, in my own head, is work out a positive course for me to appreciate the item that’s on offer - TLJ, right here and now. Sometimes I take a story as is, sometimes I try to understand the artistic intent behind it. Whatever works on any given day. But I truly don’t think any writer or director, whomever and whatever they are in these big franchises, wants to piss off fans. They want their work to be liked. They want it to be appreciated, and all ancillary work by others related to what they do, too. Most storytellers do (I can think of a few who genuinely don’t care, but not in the mainstream. That’s simply not how it works). They have to strike a balance between being original and satisfying fan expectations. That’s an extremely difficult thing to do. I can’t emphasise how much. Because, in the mind of every fan, they have a way of doing it better. And I agree, those pros don’t always get it right. That’s why I come here to this board, to sound off when they don’t (because, first and foremost, I’m a fan too, not a teacher). 

As an aside, I generally don’t like to trash the work of thousands of artists. Culturally, we tend to think of a film as the work of one person, the director. That’s horses#it, and a perception Hollywood and its media outlets enforce. It’s the work of many, not of one, but the system tends to reinforce the idea of some visionary over a huge team who bring these massive entertainments to life. It was partially true in George Lucas’ case, certainly it is in the likes of Spielberg’s, but that time is past. Johnson and even Abrams have had to earn their stripes. The power here is of course Kathleen Kennedy, and film is not a democracy. The best you can hope for is a kind of benign dictatorship, but you can bet your bottom dollar that if Kennedy didn’t like something Johnson created, it won’t have made it into TLJ. (See also Trevorrow, Lord & Miller.) Ultimately she and her story group execs passed his script and intentions, so perhaps save your ire for the force behind the visible throne. Modern big franchise storytelling is an industry, a huge machine of thousands of different people, many of them fans, all pulling in different directions, all subtly influencing the overall shape of the eventual story. 

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Let me put it to you this way ..... when most people think of the best bit of Rogue One - one of the top scenes if Darth Vader in the corridor killing rebels. Why? Because it's what fans wanted to see of Darth Vader. Seeing him at his absolute height of power. A pure "fan" gushing moment. Yet - highly successful. When the prequels came out and we got hints we were going to see Yoda in his prime - fans were excited. Why? Because of his power in the OT. Personally I hated Yoda flipping around but it was cool to see him take on the Emperor. Rogue One was basically a giant love letter to SW fans. From cameos to OT characters, to painstaking details of ships/clothing matching the gritty OT, to even the "feel". Is Rogue One bad because of it?

What is this .... idea that appealing to fans first or progressing the story in a way that does not subvert pathways built by the OT is bad? Why is it bad to appeal to the people that like these movies? If these writers and directors wanted to create a sci-fi movie (or any genre) that subverts tropes, etc. Why pick Star Wars? Hardcore fans and even casual fans weren't excited about the return of the original trio because they were hoping to see their progress subverted to derail expectations.

I'm not even asking this to argue with you or anyone - but I am curious as to why exactly there is this utter dislike for "nostalgia" or trying to match the expectations of the story laid out in the OT while simultaneously giving i the unique twist each director wanted?

Johnson gave me neither what I wanted, nor what I didn't know what I wanted.

I’m sorry to hear that. I hope you can find peace with the way SW has gone. May I recommend Rebels again? It worked for Vie. 

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I'm fine with "taking risks" but intelligently. A "risk" was killing off Snoke. One that I thought was interesting but it rendered Han Solo's death pointless. This was a risk that was done for shock value, but no consideration for events that came before.

On that I quite agree. It was a shock tactic, but it didn’t seem to ring true to the way Snoke had been established in TFA. Or, indeed, how LF seemed to fan the flames of fan theory in between films (but that’s their marketing departments doing their thing, too). I did enjoy the surprise though, and the dramatic dividends it paid. I think Rey and Ren’s team-up and then face-off was one of the most powerful points of this new movie, and I got totally caught up in it. 

I really wonder how much of a plan LF had in planning these three new films of the ST. But then, Lucas didn’t have a plan either with the OT, which is why we had all that quasi-romantic stuff between Luke and Leia, and the fact they turned out to be siblings. 

On the other hand, LF knew what they were entering into. But maybe they’re making it up as they go along. Like all writers do. 

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I don't know what Rebels is. Some EU material I imagine?

I ask - why? What exactly is the pay off by cheapening the legacy of the original three? By turning the original side characters into cutesy props to say "Hey remember me?"

Uncomfortable places/themes/stories are good in a well written story. Nothing about Luke's self-imposed exile was particularly hard-hitting. Seemed like a copy of Yoda/Obi-Wan. At least Obi-Wan had a mission to watch over Luke. Versus Luke just sulking in a corner while people die in the galaxy over his uncharacteristic idea of murdering Ben in his sleep. Meanwhile, the rest of the galaxy has to clean up his mess.

The issue with not going where we want is - then what is the point of laying down victories? Luke's entire character existence is that he holds the legacy of the Jedi. Leia's entire existence is to restore the Old Republic. Both of them succeeded in the end, only to ... just randomly fail so that Rey/Poe/Finn have something to do.

This isn't brilliant story telling that makes us think outside the box. This is what all the remakes of late are about - luring us in with nostalgia but then just throwing out any crap that comes to mind. Jurassic World did this. Star Trek (Abrams and Discovery) did this. The Terminator movies. The Alien movies. The DC movies. etc. etc. etc. They know they can lure us by being like "....heeeeeeeey remember this?" and when we're there - it of course doesn't live up to expectation. Than they cover it up by dismissing us as whiny fan boys that can never be pleased.

To an extent, I think you’ve answered your own question. The problem isn’t individual creators, it’s the fact that these things are now all run by committees rather than a visionary dictator. Sorry, director. On the other hand - and referencing my own comments above - look what happened with ALIEN, returned to its original steersman, Ridley Scott. I hate the way that franchise has gone. I think it’s turgid, pointless and defeats all the promise of the original films (the first three, anyway). I completely get how you feel. 

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I largely agree about this. Rian had his "own idea" on how it should all go down, but he didn't care about what came before. Not just the OT, but even TFA.

I think Rose was well acted and a good character, but she came too late in the game to suddenly be so important. If they wanted to go this route - they should have had her in TFA and introduced Finn in this movie.

Oh, and with regard to Rose and Nombre’s observations as to the relative merits of her hotness, I’m gonna shrug here and do something wholly expected and side with Vie. Everyone has their own thing going on. We all hope someone out there sees it. I loved the fact that they cast an Asian American actor who isn’t a model or similar. She looks like some of my friends (and of course that’s surely one of the reasons why they cast her). Nonetheless, she has a lovely earthy quality about her, a bubbly energy that still photos just don’t capture. I think she’s an absolute babe. 

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This largely sums up what I hate about the PT and the ST.

What an absolute waste of potential. So much beautiful set up by the OT in either direction and ... this is the end result? Because people wanted to "surprise" me with a different path? An unexpected one?

I like the unexpected. I prefer to be surprised than not. It seems truer to life - things don’t always work out the way you want them to. And fiction of any kind - whether it’s kitchen sink drama created by one, sole dramatist, whether it’s TV, novels, whatever is your bag, is supposed to take you places you hadn’t thought of. But, y’know, in all honesty, I don’t really look for it anymore in these huge franchises. I look for the parts of it I like. I did see Johnson trying to do this, whether I agreed with the way he did it or not. I wish I’d liked TLJ more too, but I’m glad I didn’t have the experience you had. I thought there was some good stuff too. And, I get why you’re disappointed. I have fun dissing ALIEN, sure, but deep down I’d like it to be good, I’d like it to be the way I see it. Not gonna happen. I go for the spectacle, now. It’s not where the real dramatists are. They’re in TV, in theater, writing original novels, SF and not, comics, elsewhere. But not in big budget movie-making. I look for it elsewhere. We’re never going to get exactly the Star Wars movie we want. The problem with the big franchises steered by a few powerful people, is that they’re always going to disappoint on some level. 

1 hour ago, Sehlat Vie said:

I could see that.

Hamill gives a great performance, but as Founder noted above, I just wish he were playing Luke Skywalker instead of Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino”, “Get off my island!"

And I’m not saying that a SW movie should be void of humor, but it’s the kind of humor.  It’s similar to the problem I’m having with “Orville”; the humor is almost immediately carbon-dated, and the jokes don’t build from the characters/situations organically.   Luckily TLJ didn’t have too much of that, but there were other impulses that reeked ‘of the moment’ rather than ‘will this fit well into the overall tapestry?’  

This, exactly. 

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It’d be like the asteroid belt chase in “Empire...” done with the “Yakkity Sax” theme from “The Benny Hill Show.”   Sure it might get a laugh, but does it fit?

The way Luke looked upon Rey and his old saber in TFA; in that moment, Hamill’s eyes said a million things unspoken.  In TLJ, it was like he was suddenly playing a different version of Luke than the one hinted at the end of TFA.    The character was played so differently that I have a hard time reconciling it with what we even briefly saw in TFA. 

Wouldn’t Luke even be the least bit curious about how his old lightsaber was recovered?   Last he saw of it, his hand was still attached and it was falling south of Cloud City.   He should have SOME curiosity about its recovery, I think (?).

Completely agree. It also threw away the mystery of Rey’s vision in TFA. Wonder what JJ thought of that? It defers the question to the third film. JJ’s not great on plot stands himself - it’s absolutely not one of his strong points. He’s a great director for emotion and spectacle, but tying up lose threads ain’t really his bag. I don’t want to read a load of tie-in material to get an answer on that, but I suspect that’s how it’ll be. We should call it the “Phasma effect.” 

...

 

Damn, that was an epic post. 

Edited by Robin Bland

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15 hours ago, The Founder said:

I am genuinely curious about the "nostalgia-fest" comment. This is something I've never understood in the fantasy realm or sci-fi realm. I see that comment a lot here about Star Trek and a lot on other forums about different types of franchises. This concept that actually progressing the story in a structured way is just making a film for the fans. This is why Abrams Trek and DSC have to be as different from the original Trek as possible. Why? Because anything accurate is just BS that will only attract hardcore fans. "Go watch the fan made films if you want that!!!!" is what I see. What is this hatred (not saying you have it) of appealing to fans? Would it have really been that off-putting to the average movie goer if we saw Leia as Chancellor of the New Republic? If we saw Luke as a Jedi Master training students? Really?

Let me put it to you this way ..... when most people think of the best bit of Rogue One - one of the top scenes if Darth Vader in the corridor killing rebels. Why? Because it's what fans wanted to see of Darth Vader. Seeing him at his absolute height of power. A pure "fan" gushing moment. Yet - highly successful. When the prequels came out and we got hints we were going to see Yoda in his prime - fans were excited. Why? Because of his power in the OT. Personally I hated Yoda flipping around but it was cool to see him take on the Emperor. Rogue One was basically a giant love letter to SW fans. From cameos to OT characters, to painstaking details of ships/clothing matching the gritty OT, to even the "feel". Is Rogue One bad because of it?

What is this .... idea that appealing to fans first or progressing the story in a way that does not subvert pathways built by the OT is bad? Why is it bad to appeal to the people that like these movies? If these writers and directors wanted to create a sci-fi movie (or any genre) that subverts tropes, etc. Why pick Star Wars? Hardcore fans and even casual fans weren't excited about the return of the original trio because they were hoping to see their progress subverted to derail expectations.

Very good point. Personally I think these guys(writers, producers, etc... and even Disney) painted themselves into a corner when they said that novels and other materials were no longer canon. Don't get me wrong, that decision was the right one from the sense of freedom(and probably economic) but I also feel that they need/urge to go somewhere totally foreign to be different from what's out there already(maybe to avoid copyright issues?), arguably material that is much better than what Disney has produced in these last couple of years but then feel the need to put some of that material to somehow appease fans. It doesn't really appease fans.

For example, the new Death Star in TFA is called 'Starkiller'. 'Starkiller' is already quite an established name from The Force Unleashed video games starting from 2008(and before if you want to count Soulcaliber). Why throw that in? I'm sure for many, that name didn't mean anything but I'm sure for many others it gave pause, threw us out of the movie for a moment, to wonder what did that have to do with The Apprentice/Starkiller. 

Another example is Rogue One. The basic storyline for that movie comes from video games/novels that have existed now for decades. Jyn Erso is Jan Ors(similar?) from The Dark Forces storyline, first video game culminates with the stealing of the Death Star plans.  Kyle Katarn is the protagonist. They just somewhat flipped the roles in Rogue One. Why not keep it to Kyle and Jan? There are so many stories out of that line that they can develop into movies. 

There is nothing wrong in developing new, younger characters. You have to. The mistake Disney is making is in cheapening the original cast of characters in order to make that happen. Simply put, they don't have someone in charge of this that invests properly in the story. You can develop both sets of characters. I'm starting to think that JJ is basically to movies what Family Guy is to tv in the sense of a cultural references and flashes in the pan. A deep moving experience isn't in his vocabulary. I suppose that makes him the perfect American producer/writer/director. But I'm left wanting more. 

In TFA, Snoke says that he needs to complete Kylo's training. Yet in this new movie Snoke berates him at every moment. That's a sudden change in relationship there. What happened? I guess we're supposed to suffer from short attention span that we didn't remember what just happened? Mind you, the movie is supposed to have picked up right after the last one ended so there wasn't any training or several years in between in which other events could have happened. It doesn't make sense. 

Btw, that scene in Rogue One with Vader at the end is practically the only thing I watch in that movie, not that it was a bad movie. It just doesn't have much replay value. 

 

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