The board's server will undergo upgrade maintenance tonight, Nov 5, 2014, beginning approximately around 10 PM ET. Prepare for some possible down time during this process.
FAQ    Search

Board index » Word on the Street » Arts & Entertainment » Star Wars




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 123 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi (revised version on p.6)
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 1:41 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
I'm going to do a walk through thread of The Last Jedi for those interested. For those who aren't, just don't look. As always, please respond/react/argue/agree/disagree/challenge/offer your own insights. these threads are only worth the discussion they create.


There is a revised and cleaned up version of the walkthrough that starts on page 6. So youre best off starting there (though you'd miss a small bit of discussion)

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 1:49 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Before I start I want to spend a little time discussing the frame of mind of our major characters going into TLJ.

Luke: Based on the groundwork laid out in The Force Awakens we know a fair bit about what has happened to Luke in the last 30 years. He has become a legend – whether it is for turning Vader (I suspect few people know and/or care about that), restoring the Jedi, killing the Emperor, or standing up to the Empire. Even on backwater planets like Jakku people have heard about him, and he is clearly still looms large over The First Order as even Finn knows who he is. We know that Snoke fears him, since he considered the death of Luke Skywalker a more essential step to First Order dominance than the obliteration of the Republic. Whether that is due to the power of Skywalker as an individual who could challenge him, or the idea of Luke Skywalker as a symbol of hope and resistance we don’t know. Probably both.

More importantly, we know that he tried to refound the order of Jedi, and that this effort failed when his student and nephew,( one with Skywalker blood and the dark side susceptibility that comes with it) slaughtered most of the students and destroyed the academy.

We know from the prequels that Anakin Skywalker is ultimately turned, not out of a desire for power, but out of a desire to do whatever is necessary to protect the people he loves. It is worth reminding ourselves that Luke was tested by the dark side three times(four times, arguably, once we get into TLJ). He fails the test in the cave on Dagobah. Insofar as he rushes off before his training is complete, and the dark side is the home of rash, impetuous wish fulfillment he fails there as well. He gives in to his hate and duels Vader in the Emperor’s throne room, and it is pretty clear that the dark side is what powers that victory over Vader. It is only in the end, when he refuses to strike down his father, that he finally wins out, and even there it isn’t clear if he would have made that call if the Emperor hadn’t overplayed his hand (since Luke was never motivated by power, and the chance to rule the galaxy would not have been that compelling). This will be important later as it grounds Luke's response to Ben Solo's embrace of the dark side.

Something that Luke's experiences tell us as well is that the dark side is not intrinsically evil. It is seductive, dangerous, and since it gives people what they want without restraint it is highly prone to abuse and likely to be sought after by people with evil intent, but it seems more a means to an end rather than an end itself.

We know that Luke failed in his mission to create a new order. We also know that he is at least partially responsible for the turning (or failing to prevent the turning) of his nephew to the dark side, after being entrusted with him by Leia and Han. So he runs away to a hidden part of the galaxy in search of the first jedi temple. We don’t know why, but we do know he has been missing for a number of years and that he is staying out of the larger conflict in the galaxy.

Since Rian Johnson’s take on how Luke would respond to that situation is controversial with some, it’s worth unpacking some of what we know about Luke (this is drawing exclusively from the movies). For starters, Luke has never confronted real failure before, and his actions have never had long lasting negative consequences. Things always worked out for him. Even moments where he suffers setbacks in the short term (Empire) he lands on his feet. He is rescued. He walks out on his training, and when he returns Yoda tells him he doesn’t need anymore. He ultimately redeems his father. But the kids he was training are dead. His nephew is lost to the dark side, and Luke drove him there. His attempt to found a new order is in ashes. Luke has never had to process this before.

Similarly, Luke was never at a loss as to his next steps. He was always looking to the future. As soon as his Aunt and Uncle are killed he immediately knows he wants to go rescue the princess, fight the Empire, and become a Jedi. He had mentors (Ben and Yoda) to affirm his next steps (get trained by Yoda, fight Vader to become a Jedi). He must go rescue his friends. He must turn his father. He must found the next Jedi order. It was this certainty, and his success, that fueled the legend of Luke Skywalker, both in the Star Wars universe and among the way fans remembered him. But what happens when, for the first time in your life you confront failure, your actions have tremendous consequences, you’ve profoundly let down the people you care the most about, and there is no clear step forward.

That’s the headspace Luke is in when we first see him again in The Last Jedi.

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 2:06 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Leia: The character work done for Leia prior to TLJ isn't great. We know that she couldn't let the rebellion go, which is why at the first rumblings of the Empire's return as The First Order she throws herself back into that role. This must have played some role in both her distance from her son (or his perception that she let him down), and possibly from her estrangement with Han. She is concerned with training the next generation of leadership, and has taken Poe on as her main project. But she hasn't had nearly the same dynamic arc as Han in TFA or what we can anticipate from Luke going into TLJ. They had both fallen and had to recover their former greatness (and both do, in the end). If Leia had a similar arc it would have likely revolved around Kylo. We all know Episode IX was supposed to be the movie where she was highlighted (each of the OT characters having one movie where they serve as the primary mentor figure) so it's a shame we'll never see how her story was supposed to end.

Poe: While Poe does not have the same depth as some of the other new principles he, in many ways, represent the strongest challenge to the traditional masculine, invincible, hard charging, suspicious of authority, always fight, always follow your instincts, the hero always wins archetype. We learn why in The Force Awakens. Poe’s working assumption is that every problem can be solved through his own competence, his own straight ahead approach. When you know you'll always win it is easy to equate fighting to survive, rather than fighting to win, with cowardice. When he is given the map to Skywalker and given the VERY sensible advice to run, he gives the map to BB8 and sends him off into the desert, alone and with no way to get back to the resistance, so he can stay and fight the First Order. This is a phenomenally stupid decision to make. He should have run with BB8 and followed the directions of the older, wiser, character.

He is captured and somehow manages to escape. He is shot down in the attempt and somehow manages to survive. He is unbeatable in the cockpit of an X-wing and seemingly turns the tide in the battle at Maz’s bar, and destroys StarKiller base. His droid even managed to get back to the resistance. He is your typical male (these characters are almost always male) action hero. He hasn't had to learn a lesson because he's never failed (similar to Luke in the OT in that regard). Prior to TLJ he is easily the least interesting new character, and he is carried through by the fact that Oscar Issac is a charming motherfucker.

Finn: Finn simultaneously wants out and wants in. As a First Order defector he is fearful of their strength and reach, and sick of conflict. They are an overpowering presence in his life, and the idea of them is something of a trigger - a reminder of a lost and stolen life, and horrible things done in its name. To that end, what he wants more than anything else is to escape. But Finn's desire to escape is caused in part by the awakening of his humanity, shocked out of its dormant state witnessing the massacre on Jakku. That humanity needs an identity, a family, and to a lesser extent a cause to give it shape and purpose. He is a void and he needs something to fill it. He is loyal to Poe (who freed and named him). He is fiercely loyal to Rey (who he is probably at least a bit in love with but more likely just feels a strong brotherly bond with, confusing that with attraction). And it is that loyalty to a single person that has thus far animated all of his actions. Although he wants to escape with her he is willing to leave without her. Until he sees that she is in danger, at which point he risks everything (including the Resistance and his own life) to try and rescue her. He returns to the Starkiller Base, and he is even willing to face down Kylo Ren to protect Rey. But there’s nothing he is prepared to believe in yet, beyond the protection of his inner circle.

Rey: We know right away that Rey is special (which, in Star Wars, is shorthand for powerful in the force). She is a prodigy with mechanical things, speaks many languages, and is a talented pilot (like other powerful force users we have met - her skillset is basically Anakin's and, to a lesser extent, Luke's). She has an exceptionally strong moral center. We know that she is poor and hungry (look at how she gobbles down her meal in TFA, and how hard she has to work for it) but she refuses to sell a droid she just met in exchange for a wealth of food resources. She is certainly smart enough to get off of Jakku, but she is haunted by the fact that she was abandoned by her parents, and is desperate for a meaningful family. Rey, like Finn, is looking for a place to belong. Unlike Finn, her awakened force sensitivity changes that trajectory as she has to navigate the way she fits into the fabric of the world itself (as a powerful force users do). Han is a way forward, at least in terms of finding a way to belong, which is why she took his death so hard. Finn is another way forward, and her reaction to his risking his life to come back for her after he walked away is so powerful to her. And it is the hope that Luke can serve as a mentor/father figure that, as much as a desire to learn about the force, that motivates her to bring him the lightsaber. It’s not just that Rey wants to belong. She wants to be welcomed, and to be part of a larger story. This is the need that drives her.

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 2:12 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Kylo Ren: Arguably the most complex of all of the characters, we know that Kylo grapples with his unique legacy. He is the child to two of the great heroes of the rebellion, nephew of Luke Skywalker. Powerful in the force. Clearly great things are expected of him. But the Skywalker corruption is also present within him. He feels abandoned by his parents, who were busy running the galaxy and shipped him away. He is struggling to prove himself, to remove himself from under the shadow of his family, and of course the easiest way to do that is to embrace what they aren’t - especially given the other side of his legacy he can draw upon. Plus Vader, as an idea and a legend, rather than a flesh and blood person, is something of a safe space as he is whatever Kylo wants and needs him to be. The idea of something can never let you down. And so more than any other Jedi character we’ve seen, Kylo is in a state of constant conflict. Wanting to rebel, and feeling betrayed by what he is rebelling against (his parents, the light side), without ever openly hating it. Like Rey and Luke he wants direction and purpose. Unlike Rey and Luke he isn’t quite sure what that purpose is. He is pulled in one direction by Snoke, and the dark side preys on confusion and indecision. The pull is evidently stronger than Luke's counter balance (though we don't yet know why). But he also knows that this direction isn’t fully, authentically him, which is a major reason he roleplays the part in his Darth Vader knock off mask. We are left with a character who is extraordinarily powerful, deeply insecure and uncertain of who he is and what is expected of him (unlike Luke and Rey, but very much like Anakin). This leaves him highly susceptible to the manipulations of Snoke, who understands precisely how to manipulate him. While Vader needed to be turned, Ren is in a place where it’s more likely that he needs to be reprogrammed, to have someone remind him that there are alternative paths before him, and places where he can fit in, belong, be a part of something.

Snoke, Hux, and Phasma: Although named, these are secondary antagonists. They aren't intended to be fully fleshed out characters in their own right, but obstacles for our main characters to bounce off of and overcome. They don’t have arcs, and that isn’t their role in the story (and to try and give that to them will further crowd and already crowded field). Like Boba Fett, Jaba, the Emperor, Tarkin, even Vader in the first film their motivations are straightforward - cause problems for the main characters. Phasma serves as an embodiment of the First Order for Finn, Hux as a rival for Snoke’s affections for the insecure Ren, Snoke as an external corrupting influence for Han/Luke/Leia, and an abusive parental figure for Ren. No doubt secondary literature will flesh out these characters, and make their on screen presence richer, but that will be an act of retroactive world building (as it was in both the OT and prequel trilogy(

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 2:14 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
okay - on to a shitty bootleg copy of the movie. I'm going to be focused primarily on character arcs, themes, narrative choices etc. I don't have the technical vocabulary to describe the cinematography, sound design, and other processes involved in the movie. Plus the picture quality sucks. My memory of seeing it in the theaters a few times is doing some heavy lifting.

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 2:23 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Opening Crawl:

The crawl serves to remind us that the First Order is much larger than Starkiller Base (which makes sense, as Snoke wasn’t there), that the Republic fleet and its governing structures were destroyed, and that the First Order is in ascendance. All that’s left of the resistance (which was never large – they were basically a small militia, not the military arm of the Republic) is fleeing the first order. We have the introduction of one of our major themes – that it isn’t the job of the resistance to defeat the First Order. Instead, it is their job to be a symbol of hope that will inspire the galaxy to rise up against the First Order. That’s why they need Luke so badly. As the crawl makes clear, it’s not that Luke will single handedly turn the tide of the war by destroying the First Order. The idea of Luke Skywalker, Skywalker as a living symbol of resistance to tyranny and triumph against impossible odds, si needed to galvanize the rest of the galaxy so they can fight the first order on equal footing.

There’s something subtle in the final paragraph in the crawl – the first sentence is “But the Resistance has been exposed.” I believe they are fleeing the base they occupied in TFA, so we know how the First Order found them. But the language also implies something a bit more nefarious – that they were betrayed, possibly by someone internal. Using the word exposed instead of discovered imparts an extra feeling of weakness and vulnerability, and this is going to inform some of the secrecy we see in the Resistance leadership later in the film. So does the final adjective in the crawl, desperate...

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 3:11 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Opening Scene: In the middle of a desperate escape the Resistance isn’t fighting to win. It is fighting to survive. The opening shot shows the Resistance fleeing, a series of transports running to one small cruiser. Our first exchange of dialogue is about abandoning supplies and focusing on the evacuation of the people (the idea that the power of the resistance is found in the spirit of the people fighting it, rather than their military might, will be a recurring theme). We see the Star Destroyers (or whatever these new ships are called) come out of light speed and we know, immediately, that the resistance is hopelessly outgunned. And this is before the arrival of the truly massive Dreadnought (and the next time you watch this movie listen for the air raid sound design when it teleports in. Massive, foreboding, it sounds like a natural disaster in space, as if simply moving something that large through hyperspace is tearing apart the fabric of the world.

Hux immediately begins pontificating – name dropping that his orders come from Snoke, talking about the historic importance of his actions. He is supremely confident, and utterly certain, but it is a certainty that comes from entitlement (which is why he is such a fun foil for Kylo Ren. Ren has real power and no confidence. Hux is a fraud (as we are consistently reminded throughout the movie) but he doesn’t know it, doesn’t care that his power is unearned, and revels in his privilege. In fact, his only tactical contribution to the battle is to tell the commander of the Dreadnought to do all the work. He is a real 1% villain. It’s also why he doesn’t seem to understand that Poe is fucking with him. He simply can’t grasp that he would be treated this way.

Poe is in full on action hero mode here. One man against impossible odds, facing down a Dreadnought. It’s an act so audacious the First Order isn’t even remotely prepared for it, and of course Poe succeeds, wisecracking all the way. That’s what heroes do.

This is also pretty familiar Star Wars visual language – the smaller ships engaging the larger siege craft that can’t fight back as effectively is how the first Death Star is destroyed. It’s how the Millennium Falcon survives its engagement with the Star Destroyers fleeing Hoth. It is ramped up here as we have one ship attacking a fleet (several squads of fighters assaulted the Death Star and the Falcon was only trying to run), but it is important that the audience is reminded just how good Poe is, since his arc is about learning that there are problems you can’t fight your way out of. That’s a much harder (and more valuable) lesson to learn when you are as talented as Poe is.

I love that general on the Dreadnought. I wish we got more of him. He’s the sort of person who probably should be leading The First Order military, but as we later see from Snoke, he isn’t trusting of independent competence – people he cannot control and manipulate.

The Resistance is able to evacuate prior to the base being destroyed. Leia calls the mission a success. The people are safe. The Resistance can flee. The idea of rebellion lives on. Poe refuses, hanging up on Leia in the middle of her order to evacuate. There is a fight to be had, and he can win it. Poe takes out the last cannon, the music swells, Poe cheers, and orders the bombers in. Cowards flee. Heroes fight on. This is exactly the kind of move we are hardwired to applaud, and as we discover, sometimes (and almost always in real life) we shouldn’t.

The massive cannons on the Dreadnought (which obliterate the base in several shots) are a striking reminder of just how vastly outgunned the resistance is. They also show why Poe is so anxious to destroy one (he refers to them as fleet killers and it is easy to see why). Leia orders him back, knowing that the presence of one less Dreadnought is not, in itself, going to change the struggle against the First Order. The Resistance is just too outgunned at this moment. In fact it is entirely possible the First Order has more Dreadnoughts than the Resistance has bombers. But Poe is only able to think in terms of short term engagements, and he wants the win. He just single handedly took out the small ship to ship defenses on a Dreadnought. He is riding his own success and pushes the bombers forward, against the order of his commander – the far more experienced Leia. Being an amazing pilot does not make you an effective tactician, or a great leader, and as we learn he makes the wrong call.

The bombing fleet is decimated by the Tie Fighters, though one does make it through. I love the design on these ships – the rows of bombs, the way they descend. The fact that they are something tactile rather than the energy bombs from the Y-Wings. The size of the payload is staggering compared to what we’ve seen, and it would need to be given the size of the target.

We have a few moments with various pilots. We need to see the Resistance as a character in itself, something we can believe and invest in, and we do that by spending these small moments with these dedicated soldiers (this is something Rogue One does very well in the third act) sacrificing their lives for a cause they believe in. And we see half of the necklace that becomes a minor plot/character point later in the film

There is a subtle callback to the Jedi moment when an out of control A-Wing destroys the shield on Vader’s Star Destroyer, enabling the rebel fleet to destroy it. In this case it is a destroyed Tie Fighter that crashes into one bomber and sets off the chain reaction that wipes out the entire bombing fleet, save the one ship that makes it.

We have the classic Star Wars moment where the Dreadnought is destroyed seconds before it is about to destroy the Resistance cruiser and end our story. Rogue One subverted this trope by having the Death Star fire and kill the good guys anyway (It’s a narrative choice they could make as none of these characters needed to survive. Their story was ended) ,and it’s a powerful moment. That doesn’t happen here, but what we still get the undermining of that trope. Rather than cheer, Leia looks over at her display and sees all the ships lost in the stunt, the lives lost that she was responsible for, and knows that if Poe had just ended his mission when Leia ordered him to they could have retreated prior to the autocannons threatening the cruiser, and everyone would have survived. Leia’s sober response is a nice juxtaposition to the shot we get of Poe in his cockpit, face lit by the exploding Dreadnought, in awe of what he just accomplished.

There is a lot of excellent use of silence in these scenes, as the music cuts out at some of the most dramatic moments. We just hear the remote control for the bombs clanging against the side of the ship. We hear the breathing. We don’t hear the order to fire on the Resistance cruiser but we see the Dreadnought captain yelling so hard he is about to give himself an aneurism.

Also BB8 is now half Chopper/half prequel R2. There are worse places to be

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 3:49 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Back on the Star Destroyer we see Snoke humiliate Hux (that humiliation is an important element of how he controls his chief subordinates, and why he uses commanders that are so insecure (in the case of Ren) or so prideful (in the case of Hux). We have our first nod to hyperspace tracking . There is also a subtle nod to Snoke’s power, where we see him using force powers to abuse Hux across a larger distance than we have previously seen (I believe) Vader or the Emperor use them.

On the resistance cruiser Finn wakes in an understandable panic, and we have his reunion with Poe. It’s a small character moment for Poe, but an important one. Poe does feel deeply (his responses to being reunited with BB8 and Finn in both TFA and TLJ speaks to this) but he hasn’t made the leadership connection between his concern for people as individuals and the larger responsibility he has for the lives of the people in the resistance.
Finn, whose last memory was falling to Kylo Ren on Starkiller Base, uses his first moment of dialogue to ask, in a state of mind dancing between anger, panic, and concern, to ask about Rey, which gives us our lovely transition to the end of TFA…

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 4:15 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Ach To: We open with some beautiful aerial shots of the island. The serenity of the island speaks to the ‘zen master at peace with his surroundings vibe’ we are primed to expect. Luke may have wanted to be left alone, but that’s part of the familiar story. Master isolates himself. Worthy student undertakes the arduous pilgrimage to find him, and the master rewards the student by training them. Another trope the film inverts.

We linger on the shot of Luke being handed the lightsaber, and after 30 years expectations are incredibly high for this moment. It’s a chance to see Luke as the wise jedi master we always imagined he would be – his chance to welcome Rey the way Obi-Wan welcomed him, and indoctrinate her into the mysteries of the force. Luke seems conflicted when she hands him the lightsaber – no doubt due to the many memories it holds. An understandably powerful moment. The camera holds on Rey for a moment, a faint anticipatory smile on her face. And then Luke scowls, chucks the lightsaber over his shoulder, and walks away.

It’s a stunning moment, a complete inversion of decades of expectations, and speaks powerfully to the state of Luke’s mind without him having to utter a single word. Rey, as the audience surrogate, is shocked. It takes her a few moments to process what just happened and her initial reaction is to assume this is some sort of misunderstanding. She chases after Luke, addressing him as Master Skywalker, imposing on him the title of jedi, the role of mentor/teacher, and reminding him of all the baggage he left behind. She says she is from the resistance. Leia sent her. They need help. Any one of these has been, and should be, enough of a trigger for Luke to rush out to save the day, to reengage. Of course no one asks the question ‘why is Luke in hiding in the first place? Why wasn’t he already a part of this struggle.’ It is striking that Luke’s first words after thirty years of silence are ‘go away.’ Something is very wrong

This is a really important moment in the film, as it’s our first major introduction into the dichotomy between the idea of a mythic hero (stalwart, certain, engaged, all knowing, transformative, comforting, inspirational), and the reality of that person’s life (messy, complicated, flawed, imperfect, scared – there are notes of fear in luke’s evasion, and Hamil’s performance). With both Han and Luke (Leia never got her chance) these movies are asking us to see these mythic heroes as people who have to work hard, and sometimes fail, at being the mythic ideal we attribute to them. In Luke’s case he doesn’t want that burden anymore. Not after his failure.

There is also some foreshadowing here about how Luke has closed himself off from the Force. He should have sensed Chewie. He should have known that Leia needed his help. He should have sensed the destruction of the Hosnian system (or whatever system the Republic leadership was in). He shouldn’t need to be told any of these things. But again, because everyone is swept up in the idea of who the myth of Luke Skywalker is no one is asking about the condition of Luke Skywalker the man.

Rey picks up the lightsaber which isitself a quiet but symbolic gesture, especially knowing that Luke never takes it back. This is the first moment where Rey can really claim it as her own. We have that shot of the X-wing under the waves, which is another great moment where the movie shows a lot without having to tell. We know that Luke has been here for a long time, with no plans to leave. It tells the audience how Luke arrives at Crait, before we know the truth. We also all envision in our minds a scene where Luke uses the force to lift the X-wing out of the water a la Yoda in Empire – a sign that he has come into his own as a jedi master capable, perhaps, of replacing Yoda. Of course that doesn’t happen, but this film is playing off of decades of anticipation, head canon, the deification of the character. Of course this makes what actually happened to Luke more difficult to swallow (and, in the long term, more powerful)

I love Chewie knocking in the door and yelling at Luke to get his shit together. It’s a nice reminder of how Chewie is the silent, reliable backbone of this group. Luke has the creeping realization that something happened to Han (Why would Chewie and the Falcon be here without him). It’s Luke’s first visceral reminder of the price he’s paid for leaving the world behind (and with each of these reminders his resolve and his confidence in his decision to exile himself starts to erode just a little bit)

Also the porgs are adorable, and even though the rational part of me knows that the porg stepping on the lightsaber isn’t going to turn it on and cut himself in two, I was still kind of nervous that it would happen. I am one of those people who actually likes the Ewoks, but in terms of Star Wars cuteness they’ve outdone themselves here

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 4:42 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Snoke's Throne Room:


We have our first shot of Kylo, back in his mask after his failure. This is a really important prop for Kylo. The mask is interposed between himself and the world around him. It’s a costume he can hide behind, and enables him to embrace a character he doesn’t yet fully believe in. When the mask is off his vulnerable, open, raw.

We have some more insight into Snoke’s style – the way he withholds and rewards his love and affection for his chief subordinates. He is an abusive father in all the ways Han wasn’t, which is one of the things that is keeping Kylo off balance. In the same scene he feigns concern about his wound (and if you watch Snoke’s face when he asks he looks genuinely concerned – you know he isn’t, but he plays the part well enough that Kylo (and Hux) will continue to hold out for the possibility of father's approval, if not affection.

The mind games start immediately. After asking about his wound he speaks about Ren’s potential, his power, the strength of the bloodline – both flattering Ren and playing into his image of himself, while also reminding him of the external measure he is failing to live up to (the new Vader). And then he immediately withdraws that praise. Ren is lost, devastated. Voice practically cracking (the almost gentle quality of the way he delivers the lines, even with/because of the voice modulation is striking) he reminds/pleads with Snoke that he has given everything he has to Snoke and the dark side (and he has). Where is his reward? Where is his support. What does he have to do?

Snoke has him take the mask off, because he knows Ren is even weaker without it, and Snoke leads by exploiting weakness (something he literally tells Ren moments ago, but Ren either doesn't make the connection or, as is often the case in abusive relationships, to trapped to act on that understanding). There is the reference to his father’s heart, and we are primed to assume he is talking about the Skywalker side of his blood, until Snoke mentions solo (Young Solo instead of Young Skywalker). The adjective young is used here dismissively – implying that he is a boy, inexperienced, not yet a man. Ren whispers that he killed Han Solo, the boy killing his father, laying to rest the part of the past that is holding him back. Snoke responds by pointing out that the act has destroyed him, made him unbalanced, allowed him to lose his fight to Rey (this was all there in TFA but not spelled out explicitly). Ren rises in anger and is immediately put down by Snoke, whose power is made immediately manifest, and is impressive in the casual way he wields it. He tells Kylo “Alas, you’re no Vader. You’re just a child in a mask.” And we have here the first seeds of Ren’s major arc in this film – the need to fully destroy the past to become your own person, his own man. Whereas for Rey the past is a legacy to preserve and embrace, for Kylo it is something that has failed and needs to be abandoned.

The angry destruction of the mask in the elevator ride down from Snoke’s audience chamber is the second act of destroying the past. A signal that he won’t be bound to the image of Vader. He is going to be his own person. The furious demand to prep his shuttle (so he can go out and destroy the last vestiges of the Resistance, including his mother) is yet another step.

There is an emphasis on action as an end in the way Ren operates. He will conquer his inner turmoil, not by confronting it, or making peace with it (as Luke does), but by systematically murdering every connection to his own history. If he can cut enough ties the conflict will just disappear, as there will be nothing left to feel conflicted about.

I didn’t like the hologram of Snoke in TFA but I am a fan of his design here. The ruined face speaks to a deeper history and shows without telling. The robes are almost casual. They remind me a bit of something Hugh Hefner might wear, and speak to a self absorbed (but casual) ostentatious that the Emperor never had. They both were defined in part by their hubris, but Snoke revels in it in a way the Emperor doesn't (perhaps because his rise to power was accomplished by masking his power and intent, perhaps because he was more confident than Snoke in his power and position).

Snoke also reminds us, in this exchange, that the power of the Jedi is less in what they can bring to bear in terms of the war, but the power of the Jedi as a symbol, a mythic alternative, the embodiment of hope. We know from the prequels (and Luke knows from his own experience) that this isn’t what the jedi were, but this isn’t about what the jedi actually were. It is about what the galaxy (and the audience) thinks they are and expects them to be.

Driver is magnificent in this movie. In the prior film he murders his own father, one of the most beloved characters in movie history, and yet we leave this scene seeing him as a victim, hoping for his redemption. We exit this sequence with the linger shot of his shattered and smoldering mask on the floor of the elevator. He has left Darth Vader behind.

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 5:20 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Ach To: The transition back to Ach To is nicely done , as Rey’s dialogue (which is about how there is no light left in Ren) begins before the mask shot fades. Luke is pained to hear this, and the comment about Ren being lost is probably the least helpful thing she could have said. Rey continues to browbeat Luke, trying to bludgeon him into returning by pointing out how dire things are (again, misunderstanding that she’s dealing with Luke the wounded man, not Luke Skywalker the legendary Jedi Master), and how they need the Jedi Order to return. Not simply Luke, but the Order, the expectation being that Luke should get right to work training more Jedi, not understanding the impact the prior catastrophe had on Luke – a reminder of a profound failure he simply does not understand how to deal with.

She concludes her appeal with a demand (heartfelt but still a demand) that they need Luke Skywalker. She is talking about Luke Skywalker the myth, but Luke doesn’t believe in that myth anymore. Not after the failures she just reminded him of.

“You don’t need Luke Skywalker”
“Did you hear a word I just said?”
“You think what? I’m going to walk out with a laser sword and face down the whole First Order. What did you think was going to happen here. Do you think I came to the most unfindable place in the galaxy for no reason at all. Go away. ”

Luke’s response makes perfect sense , since he’s responding as a man, not the legend. Not believing in the legend he can’t imagine what good he can do, since one man can’t take down the whole first order. The use of the laser sword language is calculated. It’s not a laugh line. It’s meant to be dismissive of the jedi and to demystify them. And Rey is not in a place where she can effectively respond to this. Not knowing exactly what the Jedi are or aren’t (and there haven’t been jedi, really other than Luke) for two generations at this point, she probably did assume that what Luke just said is precisely what would happen. His jedi powers would somehow turn the tide of the war. Snoke understands the power of the Jedi as a symbol that is capable of tipping the balance of power. Leia probably understands. But since Luke doesn’t believe in himself (and can’t until he is able to reconcile his failure with his sense of self), and because he is the symbol, he cannot make that connection.

This is also a nice bit of foreshadowing since, for all his dismissive scorn right now, in the end Luke does face down the First Order with his laser sword, and in that act restore hope to the galaxy. That moment is far more powerful given the depths from which Luke had to climb to get there.

Rey refuses to leave. Luke could probably make her leave, but doesn’t. There’s some small part of him that is still holding on. He chooses instead to try and wait her out, by deglamorizing the myth of Luke Skywalker, and in the process provides insight into how mundane his life is. How far he has fallen. The milk scene speaks to a voluntary loss of dignity. The fish spearing scene is dangerous (Rey fears for his life) but the mundanity of it (the conventional ways in which he spears his catch) also provides us some important insight into Luke’s state of mind. He could have caught his food in a far less dangerous way by using the force rather than cliff jumping and spear fishing from a wet, windy ledge. His grim satisfaction in pride in his catch as he returns in the rain, his refusal to use the force. It isn’t spelled out to the audience explicitly until later in the movie, but the seeds are there for a careful observer (and to be clear I missed all this on my first few viewings).

Rey senses the force tree for the first time, and Luke is intrigued. For the first time he is interested in who she is, the fact that she has seen this place in dreams (and there is an ethereal quality to Daisy Ridley’s performance in this scene that captures the mystic, otherworldly feel of this moment). The fact that Leia sent her is not lost on Luke. There were surely better messengers if you simply wanted to remind Luke of his past. Rey is a stranger, but perhaps one capable of rekindling something within Luke. And as Luke pushes Rey to give a real answer beyond the ‘The Resistance sent me’ name/rank/serial number response we see him become somewhat responsive.

The old Luke is still in there. He is just trapped, crushed by his failure, by his inability to live up to his own mythic deification of his old masters (Obi Wan and Yoda failed more spectacularly than Luke ever did, but Obi Wan and Yoda are symbols for him, not imperfect people). Luke lovingly handles the Jedi texts. He refers to himself as a jedi for the first time (like me, they’re the last of the Jedi religion). Rey gives her plaintive “Something inside me has always been there, but now its awake, and I’m afraid. I don’t know what it is, or what to do with it, but I need help.” It’s a very vulnerable moment, and Luke simultaneously sympathizes with it and retreats back into his own failings. She needs a teacher, but Obi-wan has gone. Yoda has gone. Luke has failed. There is no one left, and so the Jedi will end. Luke can’t save it.

“I will never train another generation of Jedi. I came to this island to die. It’s time for the Jedi to end.” Those three lines, and this scene, capture the heart of Luke’s internal conflict. His failure as a teacher means there can’t be more Jedi, which means he has failed his order, failed his religion, failed the galaxy, and failed himself. What is left for him, measured against that?

And once again Rey responds to this moment in the wrong way – engaging Skywalker the myth rather than Skywalker the man. “Leia sent me here with hope. If she was wrong she deserves to know why. We all do.” More unasked for obligations. Luke is too fragile to owe anyone anything right now. He needs to heal himself before he can heal the galaxy. He wants to, but he doesn’t know how.

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 5:22 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
god damn it, that's just 26 minutes of movie. This probably isn't getting finished today.

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 7:01 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Resistance Cruiser/Space:


We are back in hyperspace. Leia is at a table, pensive and broken up about both the deaths of her troops, and what she sees as Poe’s failure. The next scene is her slapping Poe and demoting him. Poe is stunned, as this is not how these exchanges are supposed to go. He took down the Dreadnought. He won. You start an attack, you follow it through, he tells her. But there’s no medal ceremony, and Leia reminds him that some problems can’t be solved by jumping in an X-wing and blowing stuff up. “I need you to learn that”

This scene is doubly challenging because not only is the hero not rewarded for doing traditional hero things, the stodgy commanding officer who is holding the hero back is, herself, one of the great heroes of Star Wars. This plays closer to our expectations when Holdo takes on this role later. But Leia is someone whose judgement we are primed to trust. Especially because this exchange is filtered not through Leia’s anger, but through her powerful disappointment.

“There were heroes on that mission”
“Dead heroes. No leaders”

Finn is on the bridge, and even though their lives are in danger his thoughts are again with Rey. How, in the middle of nowhere, will Rey find them. Leia reveals the beacon with the phrase “to light her way home.” The Resistance is the home and family she was searching for. But for Finn this is still something more personal. The family are the small circle of people in his life, not the cause.

We have a brief description of the Resistance throughline for the rest of the movie. Find a base and get a message to allies in the Outer Rim. Turn the Resistance into a Rebellion. Again, it is worth remembering that the Resistance was basically a splinter militia. The Republic had an armada, but after decades of war didn’t want to engage the First Order. They were holding out for peace and not appreciating the magnitude of the threat of the First Order (the World War II parallels should be obvious). Leia did, and that’s what the Resistance was - an attempt to stymie the First Order in the absence of a full commitment from the Republic. But the Republic is gone, and Leia is hoping that people sympathetic to what she was doing are now prepared to fully join her. Right now this isn’t about fighting the First Order. It is about laying the foundation for a future struggle. From Resistance to Rebellion.

The First Order appears from hyperspace and we learn that First Order can track them. Sadly, Admiral Ackbar’s final words are ‘Proximity Alert” rather than “It’s a trap”. The initial visual is striking in that we see just how vastly outgunned the Resistance is, especially with the arrival of Snoke’s Dreadnaught (with the same wonderful sound design).

Poe immediately takes command and orders the jump to lightspeed, acting on instinct. It is again Leia who is the voice of reason, pointing out that they are somehow being tracked.

Finn, thinking the First Order is unbeatable, assumes they’ve lost. Poe on the other hand, figures that if he just gets into his X-wing he can somehow turn the tide of the fight. Note that he doesn’t have an actual plan, just a conviction that he can solve the problem himself.

They do scramble the fighters (the cruiser still needs to defend itself as they think of next steps. There is a time and a place for Poe's approach and this was that time and place). We also get the nice shield bombardment sound effects - the hollow metallic thump. There is also another ‘Resistance as character’ moment as we see some of the pilots (including Poe’s second from the earlier assault) acknowledge each other (one even winks) before going into combat. Likeable people you want to root for.

We see that Ren is in the lead tie fighter, and we would expect to see a dogfight between two ace pilots (Ren, using his force abiltiies, and Poe). But, in another move that subverts expectations, Ren is able to get to the hanger and destroy it before the X-wings scramble and before Poe can get to his ship. The resistance fighters are now totally gone. They have no way to actively engage the enemy. It’s a devastating blow to the Resistance, and one of the real low points for the good guys in Star Wars space battles (it reminds me of the moment the Death Star first fires at Endor) This is a character defining moment for Poe. He is now fully steeped in crisis, and his usual solution is no longer open to him. It’s a further emasculation of the character (being stripped of his weapon, being dressed down by a female superior – though that will be much worse with Holdo, as he respects Leia). This is followed by a moment where both Leia and Poe, at different points on the ship, give the same order to move away from the Star Destroyers, which is intended to show that they’re often in synch with each other in terms of tactics. It is the when it comes to strategic objectives that they differ

The music cuts out and the sound dims as Leia and Kylo sense each other. Leia resigns herself to her fate (this is the likely origin of her ‘I know there is no good left in him’ confession to Luke later in the movie. But she may be wrong. Kylo hesitates perhaps due to sensing Leia. He is tense and tearful, trying unsuccessfully to steel himself to take the shot , bridge in his scope. It is actually one of his wingmen who fires the shot moments after he takes his finger off the trigger.

The missiles streak towards the bridge, the sound kicks back in, Leia briefly prepares herself before being sucked out into the vacuum. And this is a blink if you’ll miss it moment that I had to pause to see, but Ren actually shoots down the tie fighter that took the shot on the bridge.

Hux, frustrated, asks what the point of the First Order’s fleet is if they can’t destroy some tiny cruiser. Again his general unfitness for command (beyond Snoke’s ability to manipulate him) as well as his entitlement is on display, though he’s pleased when he realizes that their defeat is inevitable. He also orders the First Order to keep shooting, even though it is ineffective, for the psychological impact it will have – the Resistance knowing their time is running out, listening to the steady impacts of the cannons that will eventually destroy them.

In keeping with Hux’s character, however, he seems to order this more to be a dick than because he is concerned about them hatching a scheme to escape. As we see later in the movie, Hux is blinded by his own sense of superiority and his desire to lash out at those he deems inferior.

We cut to Leia in space, surviving through the force and reaching out to drag herself back to the cruiser. Visually the scene doesn’t fit well with me, and I’m not convinced by this ability (though that's arbitrary preference), but it does speak to Leia’s power with the force. She hasn’t been idle these thirty years (and this may have been building to something in Episode IX). There’s another moment where there is silent dialogue among the cast (Poe yells something to Finn and the other Resistance people in the hallway with him when he sees Leia),as Johnson realizes the musical cue will be more powerful than any obvious thing a character has to say.

Leia is alive, but in her state she drops the tracker and Finn picks it up. Rey’s safety is now his responsibility, and to reinforce their bond we cut to Rey sleeping on Ach To, clutching the other beacon in her hand.

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 7:02 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
At this point we have also established the basic rules of engagement for the Resistance retreat part of our story
1. First Order Fighters won’t harry the cruiser without Star Destroyer cover (to prevent them from taking return fire)
2. The Resistance ships are faster because they are lighter and slower
3. The shields are sufficient, as long as there is power, to sustain the First Order bombardment at range.
4. The Resistance ships are dangerously low on fuel
5. They cannot jump to light speed to escape the First Order
6. The First Order can use siege tactics to defeat them (basically cause them to waste resources until the run out, then easily pick them off)
7. The Resistance needs to find a base to hunker down and call for help.
8. There are no combat options available to The Resistance

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 7:11 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Ach To:

The Porgs guilt Chewie into not eating them. It’s adorable. Porgs are the best. Chewie is pissed that he feels bad about eating his dinner. He would have eaten an Ewok.

Luke’s curiosity gets the better of him and he boards the Falcon, sneaking past Chewie). He is reaching out to his old life, but afraid to fully engage it. He has a moment of remembrance in the cockpit of the falcon, and takes Han’s dice (lucky dice, I guess?). He has his reunion with R2, who berates him for running out . He insists to R2 that he’s not coming back, and that nothing can change his mind, but you are left with the sense that at this point Luke is trying to convince himself as much as R2. R2 knows it, and plays him Leia’s message from a New Hope – the plea from Leia that ultimately created the legend of Luke Skywalker. And this gets through. Rey wakes to see Luke standing over her (a visual that will mirror his disastrous confrontation with his powerful nephew years ago), and he offers to start training her. It’s a begrudging offer, steeped in his own frustration, and he justifies it by telling himself and Rey that he’s doing it to prove a point about how the world doesn’t need Jedi. But the offer is made nonetheless. Luke will train another Jedi

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 7:29 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Resistance Cruiser: We are briefed on the status of the Resistance. Leia is recovering. The rest of the leadership is gone. A discussion begins about the chain of command and who should take her place. Poe, a protegee, perks up, and assumes that he is about to be asked. He deflates as soon as he learns it isn’t him. That’s not how this story goes. Now is the time when the hero is asked to rise.

Holdo gives a hard speech. The Resistance is down to 400 people on three ships. But like Leia, Holdo knows that the point of the Resistance is not to defeat the First Order, but to plant the seeds of rebellion that will in turn defeat them. “We are the spark that will light the fire that will restore the Republic. That spark, this Resistance, must survive. That is our mission.” (we get a different version of this from Poe at the end). The troops are dismissed with a ‘may the force be with us’ (speaking to the continued symbolic importance of the Jedi).

Poe is pissed. He doesn’t know Holdo. He isn’t in her good graces. He doesn’t know the plan. He feels powerless grounded. There is literally nothing useful for him to do right now, and he can’t deal with it – especially as a fighter. He even has a slightly dismissive moment towards her. She is apparently the hero of some great battle, but not what he expected (the implication here is at least in part that she is a soft spoken woman, rather than a hard charging warrior). However, this is less about a gender bias in Poe than it is the exploration of this particular hero archetype (which is itself steeped in certain gender conceptions).

Poe approaches Holdo, interrupts her work as she takes command, states the obvious about their fuel situation (which she sarcastically thanks him for) and demands to be let in on the plan. And she doesn’t. Again this is infuriating if you assume Poe is the central character in the story. He is, after all, the archetypal hero and should be taken into confidence. But from Holdo’s perspective

1. She just met this person
2. Leia, who she trusts, just demoted him (which she reminds him of in a condescending manner, though not unjustifiably so, since they lost part of their fleet with nothing to show for it, at least in terms of their current situation and mission)
3. It is entirely possible there is a spy or some other way the First Order is tapped into their ship (they don’t know how the hyperspace tracking is happening yet, as it is stated earlier that this should be impossible)
4. As leader, she does have more important things to do than share plans with a grounded pilot
5. Poe is coming across as entitled, demanding to know what is going on, privy to information the other 398 members of the Resistance haven’t yet received.
6. Command structures exist for a reason, and information is usually compartmentalized in this way.

She leaves Poe with a gentle sneering remark. “ I’ve dealt with plenty of trigger happy flyboys like you. You’re impulsive. Dangerous. And the last thing we need right now. So stick to your post, and follow my orders. “ Poe, seething internally, is unceremoniously dismissed. As the audience is primed to sympathize with Poe with think that Holdo is either a withholding bitch, has no plan, or is possibly a traitor. In either case she is standing in the way of Poe saving the Resistance, because that’s what Poe’s job is. That’s what leaders do, Leia’s admonition be damned.

Holdo doesn’t have many scenes in this movie, but she never has a wasted line. All her moments are impactful. I can’t say whether or not she was a great character as she exists to advance Poe’s story, but she does a wonderful job in service to this story.

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 7:45 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Rank This Poster
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 9:08 pm
Posts: 4565
Location: 5th floor, Bay 8, position 5851
Thank Stip; I think I have my weekend reading assignment, one that I will no doubt enjoy.


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 7:55 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Resistance Cruiser (again):

We cut back to Finn, who at this point is terrified about what the Resistance's situation means for Rey. He’s looking for a way to abandon the ship, with the tracker, so he can get somewhere safe and, in turn, keep Rey safe. This does mark a step forward for Finn. He is running once again, but he isn’t doing it out of a fear for his own life. He wants to protect Rey.

He walks past Rose, who is crying over the death of her sister (we see a necklace similar to the one held by the bombardier as she died over the Dreadnought). Rose, in turn, desperately needs to believe that her sister died for something. She is doubling down on the Resistance, and what it means to her. She recognizes Finn as a Resistance hero (and Finn is, quite genuinely, tickled to be thought of that way), and this is a powerful moment for her given how emotionally fragile she is right now – especially since her sister thought highly of Finn. She sours when she realizes he is trying to escape. She won’t tolerate someone abandoning the cause after her sister gave her life for it. It’s all she has now. Not aware of his justification (or, for that matter, caring about it) she stuns him, preventing him from fleeing.

Finn wakes paralyzed on a gurney. He lays bare his motivation – that the fleet is doomed and if the fleet is doomed Rey is doomed. He is truly trying to save himself to save her, a quasi heroic thing to do, but again his vision is somewhat limited by the fact that he is so terrified of the First Order, so overwhelmed by his prior experience. In the process of their conversation they figure out how to stop the hyperspace tracking, and share an initial bond over their knowledge (Rose from the technical side and Finn from his First Order experiences).

Like Starkiller, Finn is willing to risk his life to save Rey (the Resistance is secondary for Finn, but primary for Rose) by sneaking into a highly fortified imperial base (in this case a Star Destroyer). Perhaps not yet a full fledged hero, but inching ever closer.

Obviously they go to Poe, as he is Finn’s closest contact in the Resistance. Poe is eager to help, to do anything, and there is a nice beat when he assumes that the key to victory is simply blowing up the lead Star Destroyer, rather than infiltrating it and disabling the device long enough for them to escape without the First Order realizing it. Poe is on board, and 3PO points out that Holdo will never agree to it. That’s likely part of the charm for Poe – a way to get back at her “It’s a need to know plan, and she doesn’t”. Again, as the audience we are primed to support Poe, to be grateful he is doing something, and assume that heroes like Finn and Poe, working outside the rules and taking action, will save the day.

This is a spectacularly disastrous decision in the long run, and one that would have been avoidable had Poe trusted Holdo.

There is that brief little interlude (cute enough) as the new trilogy continues to try and make Maz Kanata a thing, this time playing up her bounty hunter adventure side (likely how Solo knew her) rather than as a font of ancient wisdom. But she sends them to Canto Bight to find a hacker who can get them onto the lead Star Destroyer. It’s a reminder that she’s there, but in the interest of narrative tightness, Poe, or Rose (who is worldy enough) could have just known to look for a hacker on Canto Bight. One of the very few scenes in the movie where actions are removed from any character development. It just exists to remind everyone that Maz survived. I think I would enjoy this character if we got to spend sufficient time with her. But that isn't happening here.

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 7:56 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Biff Pocoroba wrote:
Thank Stip; I think I have my weekend reading assignment, one that I will no doubt enjoy.


I'll do my best to finish, but I'm gone Friday to Sunday. So the conclusion may have to wait until next weekend :)

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Fri December 29, 2017 8:30 pm 
Offline
User avatar
The worst
 Profile

Joined: Thu December 13, 2012 6:31 pm
Posts: 31634
Ach To:

Rey awakens for her first training, while Kylo is having his scar tissue repaired. They sense each other. Again the music cuts out so we just hear their breathing. Rey, not certain what is going on, picks up her blaster and shoots. Kylo flinches in his chair, but all she’s done is blow a hole in her room. Both Rey and Kylo run out of their rooms looking for each other. They sense each other and Kylo immediately tries to take over her mind, ordering her to bring him Skywalker (and restoring his status with Snoke). They quickly realize that they’re connected somehow, but they aren’t sure what’s going on. Kylo points out that it can’t be her drawing this connection, as the effort would kill her (which is an important bit of foreshadowing for later).

Kylo is curious, intrigued, calm. He senses a kindred spirit (and did during their duel on Starkiller, offering to teach her then) Rey is seething, sensing within Kylo only the monster who killed his father. Luke appears, inadvertently breaking the connection, though not before Kylo can sense him. The dynamic will change over time, but a key to why Rey ultimately goes to Kylo is this initial reaction. He acts less like the monster she thinks he is, and more like someone who wants to understand the world around him. Rey, searching for answers, is drawn to this.

Rather than tell Luke what happened she blames the destruction on a blaster malfunction. Clearly not the first impression she wants to make on training day one.

Luke takes her to a meditation point, created by the first Jedi as inside the point is a mosaic (allegedly of a being who looks a lot like Snoke).

Rey (in one of the very few expository transitions in this movie) reminds Luke that the Jedi are needed to fight the First Order – that without them the Resistance doesn’t’ stand a chance. Based on her experiences earlier that morning, she couches the ask in terms of needing a counterbalance to Kylo Ren (again, probably the worst tactic she could take, but an understandable one given her recent experience) Luke asks her what she actually knows about the force,and, as it turns out, not much ('It’s a power that Jedi have that allows them to control people and make things float’…she finishes weakly). This again plays into the myth vs. reality theme running through TLJ. We don’t know what Jedi actually are or what they do. But we know they’re powerful, transformative, and that with the Jedi on your side you can do the impossible.

Luke responses with an “Impressive. Every word in that sentence was wrong.” It’s a snotty dismissal now, but it’ll play powerfully in the end when we call back to it.

We get a lot of valuable insight into Luke’s state of mind based on his lesson here with Rey. The Force is not a power that the Jedi own. It is larger than them. It is a power that belongs to all thing that binds the world together (this will be called back in Rose’s great line on Crait – ‘that’s how we’ll win. Not by killing what we hate, but saving what we love’, and gives the desire to belong that is at the heart of Rey, Kylo, and Finn’s stories resonance within the fabric of the Force. They all, in their own way, seek balance. To claim that one group has dominion over this idea is vanity and hubris. The Jedi serve the Force, but the Force does not need the Jedi, and it is this realization that has Luke prepared to see his religion end.

There is a nice playful moment here, reminiscent of Yoda (who was mischievous), when he tickles Rey with the feather when she interprets his call to reach out literally.

When she has her first real moment reaching out with the force the idea of balance is played up far more explicitly than the way it is usually framed. Life/Death. Heat/Cold. Peace/Violence – the idea that all ideas require their opposite to give meaning, definition, purpose, and to make existence possible. One cannot exist without the other. This also helps to reframe her perception of Kylo Ren. He’s less a monster and more someone out of balance – someone who needs helps. And Rey cannot resist reaching out to someone who needs help.

She also suffers the pull of the dark side. Luke is casually dismissive of the experience at first, shrugging his shoulders and noting that with a powerful light on the island there is also a powerful darkness. But he should recall how seductive it is. Rey, who needs answers, who needs power, is drawn to it and, as we discover, there is now counterbalance of light. There is an imbalance on the island, but the imbalance comes from the fact that Luke has closed himself off to the Force (hinted at earlier). She reaches for him, to use him as a beacon, but he isn’t there.

Luke immediately changes the subject when confronted by Rey’s realization. Instead he focuses on his terror at her raw power and her susceptibility to the dark side – reminiscent as it is of Kylo Ren and a stark reminder of his failure there (and possibly the ease of his own temptation within his own biography). And when he says she and Kylo are the two most powerful force users he has ever sensed it is worth remembering that this is a man who knew Obi-Wan, Vader, Yoda, and the Emperor.

As an aside, I love that seaweed encrusted hole that is the access point to the Ach To cave. It’s natural and organic and oddly terrifying.

_________________
So many tournaments, so little time


Top
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 123 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next

Board index » Word on the Street » Arts & Entertainment » Star Wars


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
It is currently Sat June 23, 2018 4:47 am