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Star Wars Episode VIII|
The Last Jedi
dir-scr Rian Johnson
prd Kathleen Kennedy, Ram Bergman
with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Andy Serkis, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Gwendoline Christie, Billie Lourd, Lupita Nyong'o
release US/UK 15.Dec.17
17/UK Lucasfilm 2h32
Show of Force: Ridley and Hamill
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
With a story that pumps at full pelt for two and a half hours, this film almost wears the audience out with twisty drama, surprising characters and elaborate action. Writer-director Rian Johnson has manages to deepen and complicate the story, pushing the characters in intriguing directions while driving the entire saga forward. This is a robust, hugely entertaining adventure that gives us plenty to think about.
The First Order, run by Supreme Leader Snoke (Serkis) with apprentice Kylo (Driver) and General Hux (Gleeson), is determined to obliterate the rebellion for good, raiding the latest outpost of General Leia (Fisher) and her scrappy mob of freedom fighters. Rey (Ridley) has located former Jedi master Luke (Hamill) and is learning some hard truths about the Force. Poe (Isaac) is trying to protect the rebels. And Finn (Boyega) and mechanic expert Rose (Tran) are on a mission to find a hacker (Del Toro) who can help turn the tide of battle.
As the plot plays out on four planes, each character finds unexpected connections with the others. Rey and Kylo have an odd Force-based link that makes each wonder which side they should be on. Hux wishes he, not Kylo, was Snoke's sidekick. Poe is straining under a new commander (Dern). Luke just wants to ignore the world. Everyone is unsettled and doubting their place in this struggle, which over decades has claimed the lives of friends and family.
Each actor is able to add layers to his or her character's motivations, shifting and twisting as the journey progresses. Hamill and Fisher bring gravitas and emotion that infuse the entire film. Boyega, Isaac and Tran offer some heroic youthful spark. And Ridley and Driver bring tortured soul-searching. All of them also get the chance to add plenty of jagged wit that makes these people easy to identify with. So the moral dilemmas have a real bite.
Deploying eye-catching, mainly seamless effects, Johnson has a great time harking back to the vintage films, most notably The Empire Strikes Back, with both themes and imagery. But there are also plenty of original touches that bring this story to life, both in exhilaratingly large-scale action and clever asides. The driving theme centres on the desire to find your place and purpose and stick with it, even when things take an unexpected turn. And its great to see characters this vivid and this sharply well-played in what is essentially a big sci-fi war epic.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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