Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (12A)

I'm old enough to remember a time when we had to wait a few years for a sequel we didn't even know we were getting.

Years, my friend. Years.

No Rogue One-style filler films to keep us ticking over, keep the franchise warm. Just three cold years to find out You Know Who was You Know What.

Then another three long years before the Ewoks arrived. As for the 16 years we had to wait to discover Ja Ja Binks existed...

I mention this because, in between going to watch The Last Jedi and finding a spare moment to actually commit thoughts to screen, a few angry fanboys have appeared on the ol' radar.

Fanboys angry that things happen to certain characters that they're not happy about. Angry that other stories in a completely different medium (books to you, squish) have been ignored in pursuit of the story that follows on from The Force Awakens.

Oh, and they weren't happy with The Force Awakens, either. Too derivative. Not original enough.

The Last Jedi, however, is too dark, not like TFA. Too different.

I realise the irony of saying this in an online review, but if you have nothing better to do with your life than moan about a film over which you have no control I suggest you get out more.

You see, and this is important so you might want to write this down, The Last Jedi is just a film.

Just frippery. Entertainment. You could never see it and your life wouldn't change one iota. Not a singular jot.

And this is, I think, something that a certain section of fans have forgotten.

You think Disney have mucked about with the franchise? You think the story has been warped, or not respected?

That ship sailed when George Lucas discovered he'd always meant to tell the first three films second and the second three films first.

Once you've watched all the previous films come and go, or watched how the sands of time have ebbed and flowed around Star Trek or Doctor Who, you realise that if you don't like something, you can walk away.

No one is making you sit there, hating your life because *cough* goes and *cough cough cough* while *cough* helps.

You see, if THAT bit of THIS film has upset you so much, you weren't paying enough attention to Empire Strikes Back.

It happened then too.

What also happened back then was the second film was a lot darker in tone than the first, there were complicated relationship issues and a somewhat cold planet.

In all honesty, The Last Jedi hasn't fallen very far from the tree.

And, much like The Force Awakens, this is not a bad thing.

Where Episode VII followed Episode IV (as it got called much later on), so VIII follows V.

It's more different (Christ that's bad English), but it's also a bit the same.

There are good things here, and there are bad.

The good includes some great one liners, amazing battle scenes that have you holding your breath and some genuine character development and depth for Kylo Ren.

On the downside, it's a smidge too long, and the different story strands are more thrown together than seamlessly entwined.

But - and this really is key here - it's fun.

It's dark, there are fatalities galore and there are Porgs.

The spirit of the franchise is maintained, the goodwill reclaimed by Force is extended and Finn, Ray and Poe all grow as characters, becoming more fully-rounded and great to spend time with.

I get that having a close emotional attachment to something can shape your view of things - and I say that as someone who saw Empire on the big screen first time around.

But with age should some a level of wisdom, and the realisation that these films are just entertainment. They're there to amuse for a couple of hours.

And despite the running time, entertain it does. You'll laugh, you'll well up, you'll hold your breath, you'll wonder how much a Lego Dreadnought would cost.*

All as long as you remember it's meant to be fun...

*OK, that last one might just be us.

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