Star Wars: The Last Jedi is Beautiful but 40 Minutes Too Long (Review)

by | Dec 18, 2017

My goodness it was not easy to get in to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  Long line-ups just for seating, sold out shows, no parking – there probably isn’t any need to review this because you’ve probably already seen it, whoever you are.  For those sane few who were not competing for the same seats as I was this weekend, this review is for you.  I’m not a rabid fan, I don’t really think Star Wars is any better than some of the other movies this year.  Still, there’s something wonderful about Star Wars, isn’t there?  The droids, the aliens the Jedi, the Force, the Spaceships, I love all of it and I couldn’t tell you exactly why.  

Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order.

Man, this movie was gorgeous.  So many beautiful, beautiful shots.  You could watch it with the sound off and still be entertained.  I want to get some of those and put them as my wallpaper.  And the character design, also top notch.  Snoke (Andy Serkis) the most amazing voice and was so omnipotently evil.  Also I really liked Domhnall Gleeson as the magnificently loathsome General Hux.  On the rebel side, I was a little disappointed that they didn’t focus much on the relationship between Finn and Poe Dameron.  Did those boys break up?  Or are they just doing so well that it’s not interesting and therefore not worthy of screen time?  I suppose if they’d spent more time on it, The Last Jedi would have been a very different film.  Even so, there was a bit of fan service, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

One thing I have to wonder is whether Star Wars: The Last Jedi would hold up independently, as a movie, only on its own merits?  Like if all the other Star Wars movies were gone, would this one make any sense?  Probably not.  The Last Jedi doesn’t waste time with character introductions or motivations, it just (correctly) assumes you already know.  That might actually be a good thing.  The movie was 40 minutes too long anyway; if we had to lengthen the film any more, we’d be into Lord of the Rings territory.  But if The Last Jedi had to be a film in a vacuum, it would have had tighter editing.  As it was, the plot wandered, it didn’t always make sense and parts of it could definitely be cut for expediency and ‘flow’.  Yes there were spectacular moments but I found there were lags too, where I was just waiting for the action to make sense again.

There were logical holes.  I’m going to try to explain without spoiling anything here, but one of the plot points involved a character taking an action…man this is hard. Let’s just give that action an imaginary verb:  Splinching.  A character splinched and it definitively turned the tide of a particular space battle.  It was a shock because it had never been shown that splinching was an option.  Then I had to wonder, splinched the whole time?  Why isn’t there more splinching?  Maybe with vehicles piloted with droids made just to splinch?  Those of you who have seen this may know what I’m talking about.  Splinching is such an effective force multiplier and should have been used liberally by a small band of outlaws facing overwhelming resistance from the very beginning.

So is Star Wars: The Last Jedi worth seeing?   Not in the theater, no.  Yes it’s a very good film but wait, at least, until the crowds die down.  Nobody deserves line-ups like that.  Despite my moaning, there is good writing – they set you up to expect something and then deliver something you couldn’t have possibly expected.  And I liked Luke Skywalker’s character arc.   I’m going to see it again, at least when things quiet down, there’s a level of detail that I think I will have missed the first time.

Rating: [star rating=”3.5″]