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Star Wars Episode 8: A Revolution or Nah?

by Sam Kulp

Sam’s a little undecided about the new “Star Wars”.

Star Wars Episode 8: Too Many Risks?

Disclaimer: I also did NOT hate the new “Star Wars”. I seem to be one of the few who was still undecided about the film, but I wanted to examine it’s downsides. Do not send Boba Fett after me or freeze me in carbonite. If you liked episode 8, then that’s okay. It’s equally okay if you didn’t.

I wouldn’t call myself a purist, and I have tried to refrain from using the fallback of “it didn’t feel like a Star Wars movie.” That’s sort of remark can be applied easily to the prequels if you compare them to the original trilogy. Yet, even they had many redeeming qualities in my mind. I’m sure the same lame-duck review was used even when episode 5 was showing back in 1980.

That being said, I’m also aware that a good movie or series holds an atmosphere that makes it special, Star Wars arguably more than some other series. The universe of “Star Wars” is vast, yet follows many rules. This is where Rian Johnson’s risk-taking is potentially damaging to this movie as it has to hold up with the rest of the franchise. Some strange scenes involving characters such as Leia, Luke, and the enigmatic Supreme Emperor Snoke, broke the feeling of a Star Wars movie for me as a fan. But take that as you will; film series have broken from their traditions before and survived.

Taking the more purist view out of the question, the movie had many problems simply as a movie. A sub plot involving Finn and a new character, Rose, feels too long and drawn out, with only small effects on the main plot of the story. The backstory involving Luke and Kylo still has me confused over which characters were morally in the right. And Snoke, with as much power as he was said to have in the last movie… well those of you who saw it know what I mean.

Of course, none of these faults impact the success of “Star Wars Episode 8.” A “Star Wars” movie is still a Star Wars movie, and it will continue to be the main attraction for an audience of all ages.

Star Wars Episode 8: Johnson Jumps the Franchise into Hyperspace

Disclaimer: What follows is the ramblings of a very dedicated and confused fan. This movie stood out to me so much that it may have given me multiple personality disorder. Getting my thoughts on paper often helps one make sense of something easier, but beware. Self-contradictions await, and you may make of these reviews what you will. I have a bad feeling about this.

Rian Johnson’s take on a “Star Wars” movie was a bold step for the franchise. When I was told that there were a lot of risks taken in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” I was happy. I always like when artists take risks, it pushes the boundaries of tradition and explores new worlds and atmospheres within, in this case, a franchise. What Rian Johnson decided to do with the movie was better than creating just another “Star Wars” movie… from a certain point of view.

The movie proved to be very polarizing with it’s fans. In this particular review, however, I will go over some things that I believe that “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” did well, not only for itself as a movie, but for the franchise as a whole.

The characters in this new trilogy have always been a wonder to me. Characters like Rey, Finn  in another movie of their own, where introductions aren’t needed as in “the Force Awakens,” gave Johnson the opportunity to flesh out these heroes. Not only does he deliver on that end, but the antagonists such as Snoke, Hux, and my personal favorite, Kylo Ren, are all built upon very well. Now with the reintroduction of Luke Skywalker, I am pleased to say that Johnson in equally good at breathing life into the characters of the old movies that we knew and loved. Even if that one scene with Leia caught me off guard…

But most importantly, Johnson knows how to tell a story, just as all the other “Star Wars” movies have done so well in the past (yes even the prequels did, and if you want to whine about the dialogue some more then just write your own). New people and places brimming with character and atmosphere only serve to add the wonderful universe of adventure that is “Star Wars.”

Although, the question does come to mind as to whether Johnson went too far too fast on the expansion of the universe we’re used to…

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