Hello all, Mad Dashiell here. let's talk about STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI! Heavyweight spoilers ahead everyone so please get out of here at light speed if you do not want to hear any and I'll repeat SPOILERS! Ok, I am assuming they have gone now, cue music and BOOM, The Classic Star Wars lettering starts to crawl up the screen and-
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI-
Though they suffered a heavy loss during the last chapter, the Empire reigns as they continue spreading their clutches throughout the known galaxy. All remaining outposts are under attack. Meanwhile, the rebels numbers continue to diminish while Admiral Leia (Carrie Fisher) out for Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) return as a final hope. The classic camera scroll from the flowing text leads us to the Empire deploying forces to the location of the Rebel's base and once again we find the hero Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) beginning this Star Wars chapter. Right out of the gates In a likeably insane stunt, against Admiral Leia's better judgment, he alone trolls the Empire's General Armitage Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) while clearing 24 cannons for the Rebel bombers to be able to destroy a First Order Dreadnaught.
This is a new vehicle, In STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI the First Order’s military might continues to the next level. It has two enormous orbital autocannons used for planetary-scale bombardments. Measuring 25,162.8 feet it is really big in comparison to the classic Imperial-class Star Destroyer that first to came into the frame in Episode IV back in 1977. The bigger the Empires vessels come, the harder they fall it seems. Though this feels like a victory in some peoples eyes, this does not appear to have been worth the risk that was taken or lives lost to Admiral Leia. The destruction of the Empire's Dreadnaught came at a heavy cost of Rebel fighters and all the Rebel's bomber's they had in their fleet. This loss happened against Admiral Leia's direct orders ignored by Poe in the heat of the battle by not retreating when ordered. He returns in time to leave with the remaining fleet after having bought precious time in their escape. After Poe is demoted, he and BB-8 bump into Finn (John Boyega) who has just now awakened determined and with only one thing on his mind, where is Rey?
At that we find Rey (Daisy Ridley) exactly where we left off, arms stretched out, lightsaber in hand to Luke Skywalker. This moment is comically offset as after having waited two years, Luke annoyedly tosses the lightsabre over his shoulder in a complete lack of enthusiasm. This reminded me of Yoda's lack of wanting to train young Luke. Rey stubbornly just follows Luke about his day as he gathers what he needs to get by. He keeps telling her she needs to leave, Rey ignores him, while persistently reminding Luke the urgency of his need to return and aid sister in what looks like the final throes of the rebellion. Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), even joins in on the argument but Luke does now sway in his decision to let the line of the Jedi order die out in the galaxy.
The island itself is alive with a life it's own that keeps up the balance of a Jedi temple thousands of years old. Rey begin's to know about the island after trailing Luke and learning about the habitats therein, some don't even like Rey. Chewbacca even starts to feel bad for eating some of the local inhabitants. His guilt leads to the Millenium Falcon becoming a nesting ground for a new branch of Ewoks known as the Porgs that will no doubt haunt us throughout the series. Now I say that as an adult that once was enthralled by the teddy bears known as Ewoks, so I get why Disney and the writers tossed that nugget in for the kiddies to be able to keep up with such a dark chapter, overall.
Eventually, the island itself begins to call to Rey. There is a place she finds that holds the history and teachings of the Jedi throughout the ages. Luke finally taking notice of her now begins to take on a sort of Lewis Carroll-ian character by asking her "Who are you?" Repeatedly like the caterpillar Absolem, also similar to the way a Zen teacher repeats driving home a Zen kōan to their students until they realize it's deeper meaning. As Rey resist's what Luke is saying casually, during this process, he is getting to know her while reiterating his Jedi essence that touches at times on great teachings. For instance when he says "Nobody goes nowhere." to Rey it is the symbol of her meaningless roots, this also reflects Ayya Khema's Buddhist wisdom reflected on, even a book brandishing the same title.
The Empire continues tracking the fleet, wreaking havoc to the point we even see the beloved Princess Leia get sucked out into space after the bridge explodes from behind her. In an amazing moment we see the flow of the force surge throughout her and anew sight to behold is on full display- Jedi Leia! She pulls herself from the ship's wreckage in drifting cold deeps space, to safety in one of the most dazzling displays of Skywalker Jedi power we as an audience have yet seen! During this battle, we also saw Kylo hesitating as his confliction within grows.
Thus begins the Jedi teachings. On day one we see Rey, though goaded, immediately begin to start to grasp an understanding of the force. On day two she finds the rabbit hole of darkness. She doesn't even hesitate to tumble downwards into the darkness, this frightens Luke very much. During this, she is balancing a growing rapport with Kylo Ren. For some reason, they have become connected and have a channel every now and then. This division of self further clouds Rey's mind as she journies through her journey of self-discovery. Once again the Lewis Caroll-ian twist takes us further through Rey's version of the Cave of Reflection that Luke faced on the planet Dagobah, the same planet Yoda lived in Episode V. Just as Alice's vision in Wonderland Rey sees a dark tunnel calling for her to tumble down. After Rey works up the nerve to venture down its depths she finds a vision of her in eternity. All her motions set a chain of events echoing into eternity, or is it an eternity? The sounds she creates echo back and ebb and flow in waves from her action. She feel's she is on a quest to understand herself, her identity, who she is but when she finally faces the looking glass of self-reflection, as we all know from the old tales, this archetypal symbol show's us our deepest desire. Rey only see's a reflection of herself while trying to plunge deeper into the understanding of who she is by way of seeing who her parents are. Very reminiscent again of Luke facing his darkness within the cave of reflection, staring into his shadow and it looking back after he battles himself. (This cave represents the chamber of reflection throughout many initiatic paths in history)
So faster and faster the pace of the film jumps around brilliantly in a dazzling display of events going wrong in a seamless Hitchcockian fashion. During Rey's training, she reflects Luke in the way he left his training early. It is all surrounded by the mystery of her parents and what really happened with Luke when he was Kylo's Jedi Master in training. She decides after a growing bond and having connected with Ben Solo/Kylo Ren that Luke may be equally at fault in Kylo's descent into to the Darkside from what she felt from their growing connection. In all this, Rey keeps hope that she may return Ben Solo to the light side. She goes to Ben against Luke's will.
Speaking of journey self-discovery, let's get back to the story of the Rebels. Since then, Poe has to lead a bloodless coup against Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern) because her choices seem to leave the Rebels open strategically and end the entire resistance. Finn bumbles into a new friend by chance that joins him, Rose Tico (Kelly Marie). Together with Rose and Poe, they begin to orchestrate this crazy suicide mission to board Snoke's destroyer. In their quest, they continue on through the domain of the vilest servants of the Empire we have ever witnessed- The War Mongers that wallow on the casino planet.- (Kantobyte- now that is the word I thought I heard in theaters. There is no other source to find a reference on because it is an unknown planet introducing this new demiurge of loathsome detestable beings, the politicians, the rich, and the war profiteers.) Everything goes wrong pretty fast but their darkest moment, in an imperial prison, they meet DJ (Benicio Del Toro). Rose, DJ, and Finn their new code breaker savior go to the place they are supposed to be. Again a symphony of tension is balanced between multiple storylines mounting with rising suspense.
After Rey meets Kylo aboard Snokes Destroyer, he seems to betray her, or does he? He brings Rey before Snoke and betrays his in an impressive manner of Jedi mind tricks. After that, we finally see the red minions of the Emperor's Royal Guard in full display of power with an array of unseen weaponry. After the carnage, Rey asks Kylo to to help her stop the destruction of the remaining rebel fleet. He tells her to stop holding to her past, to stop making people her missing father figures like Han and Luke. Really, she just want's to help the surviving rebels from being annihilated. Kylo just wants everything to end, plunged into chaos with them the new leaders of a new Empire. Rey has had a showdown with Kylo leaving him unconscious only after he reveals the truth of who and what her parent were in the grand scheme of the Galaxy. Snoke is dead and Kylo fills the role of the leader, this is obviously against Hux's will. There was even a moment Hux almost fired his blaster on Kylo as he was regaining consciousness. I am sure that is only a prelude to the tension next episode. Very similar to Vader and Grand Moff. These two are due for a showdown like Finn and Phasma- (Gwendoline Christie, the living Phantasm salute in the Star Wars Galaxy) Vice Admiral Amilyn even surprises the whole fleet and audiences alike when she alone adrift on the remaining Rebel Battlecruiser sets it to go light speed directly through a Star Destroyer.
Luke again feeling jaded, goes to burn the sacred tree that houses the Jedi relics and as he is doing so begins to have a conversation with his mentor's spirit Yoda (To me thankfully, Yoda looked more like the Frank Oz vision rather than the CG looking Episodes 1-3 Yoda we have seen.) As someone who was burnet out on event's surrounding Tatooine... I am very happy Rian created new planets for us to venture to within the Star Wars Galaxy. Kantobyte If I am correct this is one of the two new planets introduced by Rian Johnson. The planet Crait is the second. It is an interesting planet with a red salty layer under the dust. Here's how director Rian Johnson described it:
"It's way out there. It's very remote. It's uncharted. It's a mineral planet and so there are mines on it. [There are some] beautiful design elements and I hope some really unique ones that we're able to bring into it"
So steadily tension continues building as we are to believe this is the last moment possible for the Rebels to hold out, and just when there is no hope Luke Skywalker shows up and talks to Admiral Leia. Ok, we have seen some amazing Jedi battles in our time but nothing prepared us for what we are about to see on Crait in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, well except what Yoda might have mentioned briefly in STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. You know, the entire mythos that the Star Wars galaxy was built upon before Midichlorians contaminated it in episodes years later. Luke blows our minds in the final battle showing Kylo he knows nothing about the true power of the Force, as a new Jedi, Rey is awakening to the full potential of the Force. By her sheer will and oneness with the force, she and Luke save the remaining spark of the Rebel resistance so that they and all others that carry that spark of rebellion may live to one day fight another day.
In closing, I have to say as an EMPIRE STRIKES BACK puritanical fan I have never really felt a Star Wars film has used the power of sith and Jedi mind tricks. For many reasons, I believe Rian Johnson did a fabulous job and I am happy to hear there will be a new Trilogy in his hands. I Loved STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI! It was also a real treat to see Carrie Fisher carrying the Jedi torch that lit the way through my favorite mythos and lore of childhood fantasy one last time. This film to me feels like a reawakening of the true beating heart and soul of the Jedi Mythology. I loved It and want to go see it a few more times before it leaves the theatres! Thank you all for joining me- Mad Dashiell signing off!