peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2017 12 21 StarWars TheLastJedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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At The Ritz, Cinema 1, 4pm, $16.00, after lunch, coffee and much chat about concurrency with Peter H. and Rob vG. on a cloudy, hot and humid day. I'd forgotten that the main draw was that this is Rian Johnson's first feature in about five years. Unsurprisingly he does not serve up another Brick or Looper; but even allowing for the mouse this was far too stifled.

The cast is solid but ill-used. Laura Dern is a poor fit to the Star Wars universe; I can hardly square what she's supposed to be here with her salad days of Wild at Heart or the Twin Peaks reheat. Oscar Isaac is really starting to miss that cat. I enjoyed Benicio del Toro's performance the most, right up to where he waltzes off the Imperial (oops, First Order) ship, never to be seen again. The leads are generally in the classic Star Wars wooden mould. Mark Hamill is tasked with complexifying Luke Skywalker and leaves a gaping hole every time the movie cuts away from his story line. Snoke is boring; what a waste of Serkis.

As usual the Star Wars teleology and manifest destiny and bloodlines and stuff is tedious beyond belief. That Rey (the winsome but excessively-earnest Daisy Ridley) is really the sprog of nobodies will not survive the next installment. The rest was marketing, and meeting expectations; fun if you were born to it I guess. In many ways Johnson is a captive of formula in the same way Malick was with Song to Song: both can see the limits but neither has a chance of transcending them. I wish they'd tried a bit harder.

Manohla Dargis is right, Adam Driver does deliver a raw performance; at times it's almost real. Richard Brody is briefly down on it. The IMDB rating is low (7.8) and there is no danger of this making the top-250.