Review: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Delivers With Twists, Turns, and Carrie Fisher
Movies| | By Robin Milling
If you could measure the electric anticipation of Star Wars‘ eighth installment, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it would amount to the feeling of 1,000 lightsabers striking you at once. You can feel it before the signature music of John Williams swells throughout the theater, and before the prologue text — ”A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” — scrolls down the screen.
It’s almost impossible to talk about the film without spoiling all of its twists and turns, but here goes. In episode No. 8, Supreme Leader Snoke of the First Order — who we first met in Star Wars: The Force Awakens – is out to obliterate the Republic and its fleet. The seven-foot tall emaciated villain is played supremely by Andy Serkis underneath a garb of wrinkly prosthetics. Domhnall Gleeson plays it straight as his bumbling henchman, General Hux.
Princess Leia has now been promoted to general. When Carrie Fisher makes her entrance on screen as General Organa, there was a palpable hush in the theater. Fans were left in limbo as to the character’s fate when the late actress — who has been part of the Star Wars universe since the original 1977 movie — passed away suddenly at the age of 60 on Dec. 27, 2016, from cardiac arrest.
It’s almost as if director Rian Johnson had a sixth sense, as there is a moment in the film where Organa serenely floats in space, bathed amongst the stars. In another scene, Organa is dressed all in white, like an angel.
Perhaps these are just wanted projections. Even Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) felt the unintended eeriness pervading the film.
“(Watching Carrie on screen brings) a resonance to the movie which wasn’t the intent when we were shooting; it’s surreal to see her again. What Rian does with her character is very satisfying as a fan of the movie, and for someone who knew her. It’s a great homage to her as a person,” Driver revealed to Deadline at the premiere in Hollywood.
Though producer Kathleen Kennedy has revealed that Fisher won’t appear in Episode IX, we’ll say no more to Leia’s fate in this film.
The saga must go on as Rey – played with power by Daisy Ridley — finds a scraggly and bearded Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) living on the “most unfindable place in the galaxy.” It’s a remote island inhabited by walking fish, who are his caretakers.
He survives on green milk from gigantic sea cows and fishes for his dinner with a spear that reaches the ocean from the top of a mountain.
Rey and the beloved Wookiee, Chewbacca, are there to convince Skywalker to come out of Jedi retirement and help the Resistance.
There is a new character, Porg, whose toy is sure to be on every kid’s Christmas list. A cross between an owl and a pint-sized penguin with big, round, sad puppy-dog eyes, he befriends Chewie.
While Rey is learning the Jedi ways, she is being telepathically seduced by Ren. With his Solo bloodline, Ren is torn between using the Force for good or the dark side.
Rebel stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega), newbie Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Poe Dameron’s droid — the adorable BB-8 — make a strong heroic trio as they set their course to save the Republic.
Their mission takes them to Las Vegas-style planet Canto Blight, where we meet an eclectic array of kooky, signature otherworldly Star Wars characters created by Industrial Light & Magic senior animator Chris Buckley.
Laura Dern joins the fleet as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo and she butts heads with Dameron (played dashingly by Oscar Isaac). Like so many Star Wars characters before her, Holdo at one point tells General Organa, “May the Force be with you, always.”
As the film credits roll, “In loving memory of our princess Carrie Fisher” flashes across the screen, and we know exactly what Holdo meant.
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