This movie was one of the most anticipated films in history. I think the only film that was more anticipated than this was 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And where that film had an insane amount of pressure to please the world as it welcomed you back into the galaxy far, far away. But, let’s be real here. Who was the one person everybody wanted to see from a sequel to 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Luke Skywalker. So, a movie that had to give us the return of Luke, while telling the story of Rey as she discovers the Force, and had to live up to all the hype surrounding this movie was an enormous task.
But then our Princess passed away.
Carrie Fisher’s untimely passing was another aspect that his film needed to pay tribute to, giving Princess Leia a finale that Fisher would have been proud of.
So with all that in mind, is the Force with Episode VIII?
I am so happy to report as a huge fan that I could not be more pleased with director/writer Rian Johnson’s middle chapter in the Sequel Trilogy. Johnson delivers an emotional, perfect opus, that feels fresh and new while still honoring the original films that George Lucas masterfully created back in the 70s. This film captures why everyone loves Star Wars, and that may also be thanks to producer extraordinar Kathleen Kennedy, who as the recent President of Lucasfilm, seems to be guiding the Skywalker clan in the right direction.
As I watched this film, something became very clear to me. The people in front and behind the camera not only love Star Wars, but want more and more to discover the same affection for these films. My favorite scenes were those where the filmmakers created scenes of such importance with a modern flare that the Original Trilogy could not accomplish, but still remembers those films that made people want to watch this current picture. Everyone told their stories perfectly, from Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver as Rey and Kylo Ren, to the cute little Porgs on Luke’s island.
And as for Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, I can not begin to explain how much joy they bring me in this installment. If this is the last I see of them in these films, godspeed. They continue to amaze and shape generations and here, they have never been better.
To explain why I appreciate this film so much, I have to spoil two scenes, so enter at your own risk. The first is the return of Yoda, but as a puppet. Upon watching the Prequel Trilogy, Yoda was not the same being created with CGI, so to see puppet Yoda was a pleasure and I gasped in the theater. To see Yoda and Luke talk of what it means to be a hero really struck me, and by making him a puppet showed Johnson and company really take the Original Trilogy seriously and love it so much, as I and so many fans do.
The other scene is when Luke is reunited with R2-D2 in the Millennium Falcon, and after Luke says he can not return to help the Rebels, R2-D2 plays the original message by Leia in the original movie. When Leia says, “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope”, I realize that everything that I love about Star Wars in one, perfect scene. Luke is there with R2, the character that started this whole story back in 1977. Luke is listening to a message from Leia, in Han Solo’s ship, talking about what it means to be a hero and Obi-Wan Kenobi, who I think is related to Rey. In one scene, the original trio of characters in a special way plus callbacks to past films help shape the future of Star Wars, in a way that only the Skywalker clan could.
Overall, I had a blast with Star Wars: The Last Jedi is as perfect as I wanted it to be. If there were flaws, they were minute and did not affect my experience with this film. And as JJ Abrams starts working on Episode IX, I hope he can finish this trilogy in a way that’s as perfect as The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Of course, I give this film an A+. So, I hope you see this extraordinary film, and until next time, May the Force Be With You!