Thursday, 14 December 2017
#98, #99 STAR WARS - EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI
Starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isacc, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, laura Dern, Ade Edmondson, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran and Benicio del Toro. Written and directed by Rian Johnson. Budget $??? Running time 152 minutes.
The war rages on among the stars. The First Order continues its purge of the old Empire and resistance alike under the rule of the Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is tying to lead what's left of the Resistance's fleet to safety ahead of a battle fleet lead by General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), while trying to buy time while Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Chewbacca try to convince Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to give up his life of a hermit on Ahch-To – a planet that was the birthplace of the Jedi religion – and join the resistance as a beacon of hope. And onboard the Resistance's flag ship, Finn (John Boyega) just wants to get away from it all that is until he meets Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) a young grief stricken Resistance officer and sets off on a mini quest that might just save her fleet. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is struggling with the duality of his feelings and the guilt he's still feeling for murdering his father, Han Solo in the last film. AND Poe Dameron (Oscar Isacc) just wants to jump into a ship and blow stuff up.
And that, apart from the stuff involving Laura Dern, Gwendoline Christie, Benicio del Toro, Lupita Nyong'o, BB8, R2 D2, C3PO, some odd fish-faced nuns, a group of slave kids, and of course the Porgs is that! No wonder this film is over two and a half hours long!
What an utter, utter delight! What a thrill! What a glorious ride! What the ruddy what?
I simply wasn't expecting to love this film as much as I did, in fact I'm simply staggered by just how entertaining and thrilling this film was. It's packed to the literal gills with incident, plot and story, often for expense for character development. All too often just as we're getting used to watching these characters we cut to what the others are up to, although what this does is give us a sense that this war touches the lives of everyone in this galaxy and it does give the film a sense of urgency. I saw this just 9 hours ago and I'm still reeling from it, there was so much to take in, so many great scenes and incident that I'm still giddy with excitement. Among the stories told those that stand out for me were the treads involving Kylo Ren, Rey and Luke Skywalker.
The direction is very good, the effects, model work and cgi is, in a word, superb. The action and battle scenes, which starts with the very first scene are just glorious, exhilarating and most surprisingly not too jarring, you're actually able to work what's going on which is rather rare these days. Written and directed by Rian Johnson the film, despite it's vastness, feels like the vision of one man rather than a committee demanding a checklist of tropes to tick off to satisfy focus groups.
It's not perfect, it stumbles in the middle, losing momentum as one group of our characters become prisoners to another and the back and forth can, at times, be a little jarring, but the thing is I forgot I was sat in the cinema!
This is a great addition to the canon of Star Wars and one that ranks alongside Empire Strikes Back as one of the best. After a glut of some bloated action flicks based on long running franchises this year, I'm looking at you Transformers, Pirates, Fasters and Leaguers this was a superb and utterly delightful romp!