Sunday, December 17, 2017

Star Wars 8 The Last Jedi Review - Some improvement but needs to do better.

Spoiler alert - may act as a indirect spoiler for readers who know Shakespeare well.

In my review of Star Wars 7 I wrote:

The standout impression for me is the flirting with elements of the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s by using some elements that then go nowhere. IMO this is a lost opportunity to make a far better film as in depth and drama than what I see here.

So is Star Wars 8 better? Has it grown from melodrama to drama? Partly, with some good elements, but they are built on the poor quality foundation of an implausible plot point.

The lead characters are more complex and internally conflicted than in previous Star Wars movies.  Through "Kylo Ren" we get an insight into the mentality of a fascist leader. Heroine "Rey" survives experimenting with the "dark side of the force". "Luke Skywalker" channels "Hamlet".

The ideal Star Wars movie would be the one written by William Shakespeare - if only! I do however see some Shakespeare influence here. The opening scene has "Poe Dameron" comically insulting "General Hux". There is however a major lost opportunity for colourful Shakespearian insult in the showdown between "Rey" and "Snoke". The Force may give "Rey" powers but the power to be witty and articulate is apparently not among them.

In "Hamlet" there is a plot turning point which turns Hamlet from Prince to outcast. "Star Wars 8" has a comparable plot turning point to turn "Luke Skywalker" from hero to reclusive hermit. IMO the original "Hamlet" plot point is a marginal pass in terms of plausibility. But the "Star Wars 8" equivalent "loses the plot" in being based on unbelievable character behaviour. Which for me leaves some good elements including Adam Driver's excellent performance as "Kylo Ren", undermined by a "big reveal" that needed to be better than this.