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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sat January 06, 2018 9:59 pm 
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Crait: Ren is shocked to see Luke, deeply disturbed, unsettled. He gives the order to stop and the First Order war machine grinds to a half. With a deathly calm he “orders every gun he has to fire on that man”. Luke stands tall, awaiting his fate, and we wait to see what our legendary hero is going to do. One enormous gun fires on him, and seconds later the entire line of walkers commences their bombardment. The destructive force unleashed is immense, but Ren is a man obsessed, seething, fists clenched, begging that do even more, as if in this explosion he can finally cleanse the last remaining open wound of his past – as if he is going to come out of this exchange somehow healed.

The visuals are striking, the red tower of red dust on white salt creating a hellish landscape. The Resistance watches, unsure what they can do, and Hux calls off the barrage so they can finally finish the Resistance. Ren sits down, shuddering, emotionally drained, not feeling the healing he keeps expecting at each of these moments, the healing that never comes.

The red haze clears, and emerging from it is the unbowed figure of Luke, casually knocking some dust of his robe as if taunting the First Order. This should be impossible, and Ren knows it, but he’s too emotionally invested in this moment to think clearly. Ren, with a calm coming from the edge of sanity, decides to go down to confront Luke, and orderst he First Order to cover the door but not otherwise intervene. Hux, wisely, questions the wisdom of this move, and Ren violently force shoves him against the wall.

(I wonder if Ren would have had the same reckless hate for Luke in this moment if he hadn’t also felt that Rey betrayed him, especially given the way Rey and Luke are linked).
The Resistance sees that Luke is going to face Ren, alone. Finn’s instinct is to help, but Poe understands the larger play here. Luke is buying time for the Resistance to escape, for this story to spread, to launch the Rebellion. Poe gives us the great line from the trailer, a play on Holdo’s words to the Resistance upon taking command.

“We are the spark that will light the fire that will burn the First Order down. Skywalker is doing this so we can survive” They are the spark, but they are not the fire. Not yet. They need to live long enough to become it. It’s not even that this is a fight Poe and the Resistance can’t win. It’s a fight that serves no purpose, because fighting is not their mission.

With greater clarity Poe doubles his focus on finding a way out. Skywalker got in, after all. They notice that the crystal foxes have left, and they find one to follow, hopefully leading them to a way out. Poe takes command, but the groups looks to Leia. She responds “What are you looking at me for. Follow him.” It’s a passing of the torch moment, Leia acknowledging that Poe has completed his arc, that he is ready not just to be a warrior, but a leader.

Cut to outside, and we see the Falcon scanning for life, looking for the beacon Leia wears. They see the Crystal Foxes and set the Falcon down. But the pass out is blocked by a landslide. The foxes can squeeze out, but the Resistance can’t. They’re trapped. Rey finds the rockslide on the other side. One woman facing down a cliffside.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sat January 06, 2018 10:31 pm 
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Crait: Ren and Luke face each other down.

“Did you come back to say you forgive me. To save my soul” (ren sneers as he says that, leaning into the monster he thinks the world wants him to be, that he no doubt thinks Rey believes he is)

“No” Again, while I think it is important to note that Luke isn’t necessarily saying Ren is beyond saving –just that he can’t do it. For an astute audience member it is also quite clear now that Luke looks much younger. I know the first time I saw this I had just assumed he had cleaned himself up, that it was a physical manifestation of renewed vigor and purpose.

Ren ignites his saber (crackling, reflecting his inner turmoil), and Luke his as the two face each other down preparing for the epic showdown we’ve waited the whole movie for. Ren, typically, is seething. Luke is determined, wary, but a picture of stillness (except for one wry smile) We see Ren dig his feet in for traction, kicking up the red dirt, reminding the audience of what happens when you step on this ground).

Ren charges, attacks savagely. Luke ducks the attacks, but does not engage – seemingly letting Ren’s rage guide him, perhaps hoping for a mistake. They face each other down again, positons reversed, the white desolation of Crait framing them. Luke slides his foot, and this time there is no dust (a trigger that something is up, and something I completely missed the first time. I didn’t understand how Luke survived the AT blast, but I assumed it was some new force power. Honestly I thought they were making him too powerful. One of the reasons why this confrontation plays out so well the second time is that you’re not distracted by how it works). Ren attacks again, Luke agilely ducking out of the way, moving in a way we’ve never seen him move before. He continues their conversation.

Luke, with regret, and ownership, voice cracking. “I failed you Ben. I’m sorry.”

Kylo, petulantly “I’m sure you are!” Misunderstanding why Luke is sorry, and the nature of his failure. Kylo can’t fathom that Luke is sorry for what he did to Kylo. He assumes he is sorry that he lost.

Kylo continues, spitting mad. “The Resistance is dead. The war is over. And when I kill you I will have killed the last jedi.” Kylo is desperately attempting to purge something from himself here – as if by killing Luke he will have finally freed himself from his past, and from the pain that comes from not confronting it (as Rey and Luke were eventually forced to do, in both cases, interestingly enough, triggered by confrontations with Kylo).
Luke, adopting what is no doubt his teacher voice, illuminating with just the slightest hint of disappointed condescension, responds with what his seemingly his favorite teacher phrase (having used it on Rey earlier)

“Amazing. Every word of what you just said is wrong. The Rebellion is reborn today”

We cut to a shot of Leia and Poe, light illuminating their face, awestruck.

“The war is just beginning.”

Poe, with the same illumination and look.

“And I will not be the last jedi.”

We see Rey gasp, and then dumbfounded by her own power, as she lifts the entire rock wall, the Resistance fighters fleeing the cave to see Rey framed by light and the rock slide she moved through the force. It’s an exceptional feat of power, one she achieved because her friends needed her help, and because she couldn’t imagine letting them down. Rey is fundamentally a modest person, but from the way the shot is constructed, and the reaction of the survivors, they understand that today the jedi are reborn in a meaningful way – both through the legend of Luke Skywalker and the reality of Rey. It is not that Rey (or Luke) can in themselves destroy the first order. But the hope, the awe, they inspire, will be precisely what lights the spark that will turn Leia's private army into a galactic rebellion.

Rey and Finn have a tearful reunion, overjoyed to see each other. It is deeply affectionate, but not romantic as they are each now linked to other people (and their relationship wasn’t particularly romantic in TFA either). They don’t say anything. Finn is fighting back tears of relief, and Rey has a blissful, peaceful smile on her face as neither wants the embrace to end. In the end it is moments like this that they are fighting for.

Ren is infuriated by Luke’s response, and his response is as a child lashing out. “ I’ll destroy her, and you, and all of it.”

In response luke closes his lightsaber and makes, if not his final attempt to save Rey, at least to warn him about the path he is venturing down.

“No. Strike me down in anger and I’ll always be with you. Just like your father.”

There are echoes of Obi Wan here, but whereas Obi-Wan’s warning to Vader was about how killing Obi Wan would not defeat him, Luke is pointing out the fundamental flaw in Kylo’s attempts to heal himself. He is trapped in a cycle of stacked grievances and open wounds, and every time he tries to purge himself of one he simply exacerbates it further. Again, Ren, through his link to Rey, ultimatley shook Luke from his cycle of doubt, shame, and self-recrimination by forcing him to confront his biggest failure and learn from it. Ren forced Rey to confront the truth about her parents, and by doing so letting go of them. But Ren can’t see that. Instead of dealing with his pain he kills it, or tries to, and then the guilt of it simply makes the wound worse.

Ren strike and this time luke stands there and lets him cleave him straight through. The audience expects, a la Obi Wan (Ben’s namesake) for this to be the moment Luke lets go and reunites with the force. But after Ren’s attack Luke turns around, and is seemingly fine. This is now two impossible attacks we’ve seen Luke survive, and the audience realizes (if it hasn’t already) that something is not as we expected. Kylo realizes it to, and he runs Luke through again. Luke stands there, unaffected, and we cut back to Ach To, seeing Luke hovering above the mediation rock, a look of intense concentration on his face.

Ren, furious, realizes what Luke has done. He mutters no as Luke bids him farewell with “see you around, kid, a Han reference that, even if Kylo didn’t get Luke would have found satisfying. He disappears and Ren is confronted by his failure, realizing that he was bested by his former teacher, that the resistance escaped. In a family tradition he lets out a soul crushing nooooo. On the day when Kylo Ren assumed command of the First Order he stands utterly defeated, betrayed by Rey and still haunted by the ghosts of his past.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sat January 06, 2018 10:55 pm 
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Ach To/Crait/Falcon/Canto Bight: Luke abandons the image and falls, exhausted by the immense strain. This is one of the most straining and difficult uses of the force we’ve seen in Star Wars. As Ren acknowledged earlier, even attempting to bridge their minds from a great distance could have killed Rey from the strain, and what Luke did was far more impressive.

He looks up, gazing into the Ach To sunrise. Rey and Leia pause on Crait, sensing something. Luke sits up, and looking out into the sunrise he imagines the twin suns of Tatooine. The force theme plays he and understands that this is his moment. He has redeemed himself. He has saved Rey and the Resistance. He has reconciled with Leia. He has restored hope to the galaxy. His labor completed, his journey is now, finally at end. He lets go and joins with Obi Wan, Yoda, and his father, the last of his generation, but not the last of the Jedi.

It is a beautiful moment, and is about as fitting an end as you could write for Luke. It was the heroes end we wanted as he faces down the First Order, saves the resistance, saves the Jedi, and restores a hope that had gone out. And while he did not do it through a direct physical confrontation in the end it was his mastery of the force that did it. Any other confrontation likely could not have worked out as well. If he beats Kylo he undercuts your primary villain. If Kylo beats him then Luke goes out having lost. Here he wins in a way that is true to the journey the character was on, and one that was true to both the OT and here. Luke is impulsive. He is emotional. He will make mistakes. But in the end he does what needs to be done, and he does it the right way.

Rey senses his death, but she also understands that her teacher (such as he was) died on his own terms, and at peace. A good death, and a far cry from where he was when she left him.

Ren stalks into the base, confronting their escape (Hux desperately wants to say I told you so but knows if he does he’ll be killed). He sense Rey, as the two of them, now under their own power, have connected again. Their story is not over. But this time Rey closes the door and turns her back on him, and Ren is left alone with his failure, his past, and his guilt, holding the golden dice of Han Solo until they too, fade away.

On board the Millennium Falcon there are tearful reunions and people reveling in the fact of their survival. Chewie and Leia get the hug they should have gotten at the end of TFA. Rey is reunited with BB8, admiring his new antenna (the first thing she ever did for him was fix his old one). R2 and 3PO are together. Poe meets Rey, and Poe’s reaction to Rey speaks to her soon to be growing legend.

“I’m Poe”
“I’m Rey”
Poe, kind of awestruck “Yeah, I know”
Rey is still the unassuming girl from Jakku in her own eyes, but it’ll be a while until she fully grows comfortable about her own legend.

Opening a door to get a blanket for Rose we have a brief glance at the Jedi texts that Rey took from the temple before leaving (that Yoda knew she had), undermining the need for higher education. What’s the point if people can just get what they need from books without teachers. More subversive right wing propaganda in a movie full of it.

Rey looks at Finn tenderly taking care of Rose, happy for Finn but it is a bittersweet happiness, tinged with longing – probably less for what she could have had with Finn and more about whatever conflict she feels about Ren. Leia sits down next to her. The two share a moment about Luke’s passing. Rey, a symbol of hope but needing some herself, looks to Leia, slightly lost.

“How do we build the Rebellion from this?”
Leia smiles, taking Rey’s hand holding Luke’s shattered lightsaber.
“We have everything we need.”

And we cut to the Falcon flying through hyperspace.

This would have been a perfectly acceptable way to end the movie. The core players are alive on the Falcon. They have a Jedi, and the hope that they bring. They have the story of Luke’s final stand. They have a dream and a story, and if they tell it enough people will listen, and believe, and hope, and from there anything is possible.

Instead we arrive back on Canto Bight, and are reunited with the slave kids. One is telling the story of Luke’s showdown against the First Order (we see a toy luke and toy walkers), his legend renewed and more powerful than ever – a story of resistance against impossible odds through the heroism of a mighty jedi. Their owner chases them off, and one boy rushes outside.

He uses the force to call his broom to him and starts idly sweeping, dreaming that perhaps someday a no one like him could grow up to be a great hero like Luke Skywalker (or Rey). He looks out into the vastness of space full of possibility. The force theme plays he sees a shooting star. He wears the ring of the resistance and slowly turns his broom up, imagining it as a weapon against tyranny, a light-saber. Hope survives in the lowliest of places, and the seeds of a better world are planted. Cultivated, they will bear fruit.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sat January 06, 2018 11:01 pm 
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Since this was really just a detailed walkthrough rather than a thematic essay I don't really have any final observations that weren't already covered in here. But I love the hell out of this movie. It is currently my favorite Star Wars movie, and that's not something I said after TFA or R1. There are several wonderful set pieces (the bombing run, the fight on Crait, the hanger fighter, Luke/Kylo, Rey/Kylo, and of course the light speed ram). But there are great sequences in all Star Wars movie (and I'm not sure any overall sequence is as good as the battle of Scariff, and of course there is the Kylo/Rey/Finn fight in TFA, the space battle at Endor, the trench run, the two fights between Luke and Vader). But where this movie truly excels is with the character and theme work. Rey, Luke, Finn, and Poe all undertake really compelling arcs. Kylo is a phenomenally nuanced villain (can anyone name one, from movies, with this much depth). Holdo, DJ, and Snoke are excellent supporting players that really play into the development of our principles in meaningful ways. And I think there are more genuinely well written and insightful lines here than in any other Star Wars movie. It's really smart. And I'm sure there are lots of connections and ideas that I missed on this viewing, and I don't even want to think about how long this was. Even after the spectacle becomes well worn there will be new things to discover.

It's not a perfect movie, and I wouldn't claim that it is. But it is a stunning achievement.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 11:39 am 
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This was tremendous. I can't begin to express how much you have articulated exactly how I felt about the movie. I think I agree with 100% of your analysis. This movie is a wonderful, and could be my favourite Star Wars.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 12:09 pm 
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thank you :). I learned a lot writing it, and an glad to share it.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 1:32 pm 
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BootsToAsses wrote:
This was tremendous. I can't begin to express how much you have articulated exactly how I felt about the movie. I think I agree with 100% of your analysis. This movie is a wonderful, and could be my favourite Star Wars.

I echo this, Stip. Great write up and thoroughly agree with pretty much everything you've said. I've only seen this once and need to both see it again and ponder this walk through some more.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 2:09 pm 
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I thought 3 viewings had satisfied me until the Blu-ray comes out, but after reading this I'm going to have to go and see it again to let all the subtle details sink in fully.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 2:17 pm 
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I don't remember Rey getting to Chewie and the MF after the throne room battle. Nor Finn and Rose getting to the shuttles. Maybe I was reeling from the triple hits of the throne room, Phasma fight and the Holdo sacrifice.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 2:20 pm 
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LetMeSleep wrote:
I don't remember Rey getting to Chewie and the MF after the throne room battle. Nor Finn and Rose getting to the shuttles. Maybe I was reeling from the triple hits of the throne room, Phasma fight and the Holdo sacrifice.


We don't see Rey escaping to the MF after the throne room, we just hear Kylo say as much to Hux. I think the next time we see Rey is on Crait when the MF swoops in to help the Rssistance.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 3:01 pm 
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Both happen off screen. We do see rose/Finn/bb8 head to a shuttle rose identifies earlier on their busted open at-st Walker. hux tells ren that Rey took off on snoke’s shuttle

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 3:14 pm 
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Thanks guys. That's what I thought happened. And I thought it was quite abrupt when the MF appeared on Crait.

That was probably my only real issue with the film.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 3:47 pm 
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so this was apparently 32,000 words, and my technically qualify as a mid life crisis

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 3:52 pm 
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stip wrote:
so this was apparently 32,000 words, and my technically qualify as a mid life crisis


What a glorious crisis to have.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 5:31 pm 
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if someone hasn't read this and was planning on doing I would recommend waiting. I am revising/editing this and I'll repost the cleaned up copy.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 5:34 pm 
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I’ll read the cleaned up copy after I see the film again. Good work. :thumbsup:


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 7:22 pm 
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Subversive right wing propaganda?

Come again?

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 7:57 pm 
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that's sarcastic

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 8:11 pm 
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stip wrote:
that's sarcastic



Right. It went over my head tbh :)

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of The Last Jedi
PostPosted: Sun January 07, 2018 8:12 pm 
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Ill make it more obvious. I'm on page 36 of the revision, so hopefully finished in a few hours.

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