Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Choosing which image to use was a hard choice because this film is not about one thing, but many things. There isn't a simple narrative arc that holds the film together as it proceeds on multiple fronts simultaneously as each main character battles their inner demons. There is much that is familiar here from the Star Wars universe but the character evolution during the film adds a depth and complexity that has perhaps until now been lacking. I particularly enjoyed the many moments of humour that peppered the film.

At the end of the day this is a Sci-Fi action movie that has plenty of fight sequences and battles, space ship fighter engagements and deployment of destructive mega-technology. All the things you would hope for an expect in a Star Wars film. What I didn't expect was the nuanced way the script dealt with the classic battle of dualism - good versus evil. This film explores the many shades of grey that exist between black and white (and no sex scenes in sight).

For the many who were expecting a continuation of the flow that pulsed through VII and are disappointed, this film was never going to deliver that - the clue is in the title. This film is not about the legacy of Luke Skywalker continuing as it did previously - or as we would wish it to in our own fantasies, but about a pivot in the history of the challenge of good versus evil where the battle moves on to continue in a different way. The film, as all of them do, invites us to reflect on how we engage with evil and what we do about exerting a good influence to counter it.

The acting is strong throughout the 2.5 plus hours of the film. The visuals are stunning and the CGI seamlessly integrated with the actors - a welcome development over four decades! I'm attempting not to give anything away here. The way the story develops has twists and turns and as you would expect in a Star Wars film some people die - and some don't - but who ends up in which category is perhaps where the film delivers its greatest surprises.

This film is well worth seeing - but be realistic in your expectations. It is not an episode in a TV box set series but a movie developing and advancing a story that many of us had the privilege of  experiencing forty years ago in the cinema for the first time. If it does conform to all your hopes and expectations what's the point of paying to see it on the big screen? We go to engage with the unexpected, the visually stunning and the communal experience that cinema provides. We look to see where our story intersects with the film's story and God's story. Go with an open mind and heart and you will not be disappointed. The bonus is, you will get to meet the Porgs - who wouldn't want one (Star Wars version of Star Trek's Tribbles)? I'll give it 8/10.

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