Star Wars VIII: An Unconventional Review
Star Wars VII was a good movie, but not so good that I had to rush out and see the 8th one on December 15, 2017. So I waited for it to come out on Netflix.
On Independence Day I sat down and watched #8 (not counting the other side projects and cash grabs) and I have to say The Last Jedi was a really good movie. Really good, but I have a lot of comments/questions.
#7 was good, but not on its own merits, the film was good because it reeked of deja vu. #8 had some feeling of originality. Some.
The last few Blog Posts, I've focused on how old I am, and this one is no different. Nothing ever recaptured the magic of the original for me. Not V, not VI, not I, not II, not III, not VII, not VIII. But 8 had the right blend of humor, action, drama, and romance that should have been the movie that the kids fell in love with. My kids? Not interested in Star Wars. Their friends? Their parents took them to see it. There is nothing special about the Star Wars Franchise anymore. For this generation, Star Wars is just another Superhero Movie. Some professional reviewers said the film was great, I say really good, we're splitting hairs here. What I'm saying is, there weren't kids out there shelling out $10 a pop and watching the film 100 times. Star Wars is not a cultural phenomenon. None of my kids' friends have seen it twice. How many times have I seen the original Star Wars? I think...at least 15 times. Am I going to watch 8 again? Eh, maybe?
Why maybe? The original Star Wars was 2 hours long and felt like 45 minutes. 8 was 2 1/2 hours and I checked the clock because I SWORE that the movie was over 3 hours long. In a great movie, you forget about time.
There's an ominous scene in 8 where Supreme Leader Snoke was sitting in a red room. It was spectacular cinematography. The director created the feel of darkness without the screen being dark. The reason I bring this up is because during the film, maybe 20 minutes worth of time, I thought I was watching the Blair Witch Project. Horrible lighting. I know the director wanted to convey darkness, but there's other ways to do it.
Like the ancient Jedi scrolls, 8 needed to be alive. They needed to pass the torch from the old fans to the new fans. Will Kylo Ren and Rey win the next generation of fans? (I don't know, my kids don't do sci-fi.)
When I was a kid, Luke Skywalker in Star Wars was just fighting evil. Very, very simple. Today Luke Skywalker is fighting his nephew, and his demons, and the balance of history for all of the Jedi Masters before him. Are young fans vested in that backstory?
Adjusted for inflation, the original Star Wars is still the #4 movie of all time. Don't look now, but Avengers: Infinity War passed 8 in the historic box office numbers and is about to pass 7 to edge its way into the Top 10 movies ($$$) of all-time.
#9 comes out in time for Christmas of 2019. Meaning I'll probably watch it long after all of the spoilers have leaked out. The number 1 spoiler has already occurred. With the death of Carrie Fisher, what do you do about General Leia? If you can't kill her by blasting her into the cold vacuum of space, you can't kill her in 9 by saying "oh yeah, and Leia's dead." They're going to have to CGI her character in, and then kill her in an even MORE spectacular way.
Love or hate the films, it doesn't really matter. When Disney paid George Lucas $4 billion for the rights, they will make that money back in merchandising alone. How many years will it take, you ask? According to Forbes, Disney already made all that money back before 8 even came out.
Let's pretend it does matter. The better the movies, the more money Disney makes. According to the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer. 91% of the critics approved.
But also according to the Tomatometer, only 46% of the fans liked it. Uh, oh. Thousands of angry fans mobbed the site saying that 8 was the WORST Star Wars movie (well, except for the Phantom Menace.)
I still want to know, what was George Lucas' full outline for VII, VIII, & IX? I wonder what would have happened to the iconic characters under his vision? (I can't imagine Disney would let him tell anyone. They own the rights now.)
(This is a 4-minute screen shot from the movie.)