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 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 9:27 AM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

Other than a few remarks alleging TLJ's present and future greatness, no one around here is exactly discussing the film and defending TLJ....

This quote from JimP is from another thread, but I’ve seen variations posted on three different threads. Since no one has much answered the call, and I hate to see someone ignored, here is one response.

Speaking just for myself, I don’t usually engage in these discussions for a couple reasons. These movie-bashing threads seem to me mostly an echo chamber where a handful of people like to go round and round, sometimes justifying their opinions by disparaging those who might disagree. Not much of an inducement to participate. Even though I've done it a few times, I’m not in favor of online debates - I prefer discussions in person.

More important, the movie doesn’t need me to defend it. It stands on its own. If it doesn’t work for you that’s fine, but it did for me and apparently lots of people who are simply not generating the same level of noise on the internet. It’s just possible that we see it differently.

But here are a few examples of a counter view just to show that there are other ways to look at this movie.

1) Some folks seem awfully worked up that Rey is such an amazing force user (and pilot and fixer) with so little training. What we know about Rey is that she has been a self-sufficient scavenger, very possibly since she was a young girl, knows her way around all kinds of technical equipment like the inner workings of a star destroyer, and is pretty damn handy with the staff she carries with her on Jakku. And she is a mighty strong user of the Force, even though her awareness came late and she’s a neophyte.

So let’s compare Luke - exactly how much lightsaber training did we see him get before he dueled Darth Vader? He spent three minutes with a remote that shot lasers at him, and later on he fought himself in the magic tree. And he hacked at some ice and lopped off a Wampa arm. We certainly never saw or had any information that either Ben Kenobi or Yoda gave him any lightsaber training. And he was a farmer, so I’m guessing that hoeing sand wasn’t an especially useful protocol to develop his skills. Maybe for both of them it’s what was meant all the way back in Episode IV, “So (the Force) controls your actions?” “Yes, but it also obeys your commands.”

My point here is that massive force skills despite lack of training has been a hallmark of Star Wars since the beginning - come on, Luke used the Force to destroy the whole Death Star a couple of days after he first heard about it?! The point is you go with it or you don’t. I go with it, because it’s a fairy tale - always has been, that’s the point of the opener “A long time ago….” And in fairy tales you believe the unbelievable or maybe it’s best to stop reading.

2) Who was Snoke? The guy in charge, like the Emperor, whom we knew nothing at all about until the prequels came along. So given where we are in the current trilogy, we know as much about Snoke as was apparently necessary for the Emperor. (This is a better answer than “Who cares?”, but that is also acceptable.) Ok, then, why kill Snoke? Because that was the only way Kylo Ren was going to free himself to meet the destiny his grandfather failed to achieve, control of the galaxy (Anakin/Vader asked his wife and his son to join him so he could do just that). In Force Awakens, Ben killed his real father meaninglessly to commit an act that would demonstrate once and for all he had embraced the dark side. And in Last Jedi, he fulfills his destiny by killing his second, spiritual father, Snoke. “The Supreme Leader is dead - Long Llve the Supreme Leader.” That’s a pretty clear through line.

3) Why did Last Jedi show a defeated Luke? Because that’s what he was set up to be in the Force Awakens. He exiled himself to an island after the failure of his Jedi academy and Ben’s betrayal. For me, my wife and my daughter, we all saw this as a very plausible a direction for Luke. He was quite a complainer and almost-defeatist in both A New Hope and Empire, and he often made rash decisions - facing Vader on Bespin against the strong advice of Yoda and Obi-Wan, endangering the mission by accompanying the team to Endor, going up solo against the Emperor and Vader. Given the inconsistency of his prior actions, we found the failure as massive as what we are told about seems a quite natural motivator for his withdrawal. This is part of what has made Luke such a human hero, even though he has tremendous power, and is part of his appeal.

The point is he redeems himself with perhaps the most bravura moment of heroism in the entire saga - single-handed against the First Order itself, all through a Force illusion that demonstrates a mastery we’ve never seen before. My family found that exhilarating and a terrific send-off to our favorite character.

Ok, even I think that’s more than enough. But one more point. I try to come to films with no particular expectations - I am more interested in seeing where the story goes rather than thinking it should go somewhere particular. If it works for me I'm glad, if not, I just go on to the next one, I don't worry much about it. This one worked for me.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 9:45 AM   
 By:   henry   (Member)

Sean, I love your post and the movie!

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 9:54 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

I gave this one a shot, but I find myself agreeing with the predominate Star Wars fan reaction, and against the critics.
This movie is about as fun as a 3 hour thesis on the Jedi philosophy, I found myself cheering for the First Order to snuff these rebels out forever, good gosh they are pathetic. This movie is a real slog, and way too long.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 10:09 AM   
 By:   blue15   (Member)

I've seen all the Star Wars movies 1st run since 1977. Saw Last Jedi yesterday and completely forgot about it on my drive from the theater to Costco.

 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 10:10 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

A few fast rebuttals regarding Luke.

(1) Yeah he was a whinny kid, but he was a go-getter, NEVER a defeatist. I want to train to be a pilot and join the Rebellion. I want to rescue the Princess, I want Han to come with me so we can blow up the Death Star, I want to save my Father and defeat the Emperor. So no, it's not in his character to give up.

(2) Many years passed between Star Wars and Empire and Empire and Jedi. Plenty of time to fine tune his training. TFA and TLJ all happens within weeks (or months at most) Hardly enough time for Rey to reach the skill level of a Jedi.

 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 11:51 AM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

A couple of Luke response responses, mostly to get at one more point.

We have no idea how much time passes between A New Hope, Empire and RotJ. (I'm just going by what's in the movies.) So to imagine that he had time to do adequate training is just a rationalization, which is fine, but proves nothing. Going by the movies, he had practically none, except of the acrobatic/balancing rock variety.

And yes, he's very much a go-getter and is a real hero no question. But even in the original trilogy he does give up - "It's impossible!" he says about lifting the X-wing, and "I don't believe it" he says when Yoda brings it out of the water. "That is why you fail," is the response. He gets better, but his tendency to defeatism is there. And of course he keeps winning, which helps. He only turns to defeat when he irrevocably fails.

I think what is so hard for folks seeing Luke go down this road is that he has failed and lost hope. I have no problem at all with a hero failing. He's in good company: Achilles, Oedipus, Othello, Hamlet just to name a few. And I think given the circumstances, it is a natural turn in his character to give up - but only for a while.

Last Jedi is about failure: Poe destroys all of the Resistance bombers to destroy the First Order ship, and is condemned for it. Finn and Rose fail in their attempt to get the code. Snoke fails to control Kylo. Kylo fails to turn Rey. Holdo can only succeed at all through suicide, and ultimately her sacrifice is a failure because the resisters are decimated once again on Crait. The only truly successful characters are indeed Rey and Luke - and Luke spectacularly so.

I completely understand if anyone thinks this isn't the right territory for a Star Wars film. But it's happened before - the prequels are fundamentally about the failures of everyone except Palpatine. And I think it was high time it happened again.

Ok, I'm gonna try not to keep going on and on. But at least there's some variety here now, eh? wink

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 12:34 PM   
 By:   michael469   (Member)

Other than a few remarks alleging TLJ's present and future greatness, no one around here is exactly discussing the film and defending TLJ....

This quote from JimP is from another thread, but I’ve seen variations posted on three different threads. Since no one has much answered the call, and I hate to see someone ignored, here is one response.

Speaking just for myself, I don’t usually engage in these discussions for a couple reasons. These movie-bashing threads seem to me mostly an echo chamber where a handful of people like to go round and round, sometimes justifying their opinions by disparaging those who might disagree. Not much of an inducement to participate. Even though I've done it a few times, I’m not in favor of online debates - I prefer discussions in person.

More important, the movie doesn’t need me to defend it. It stands on its own. If it doesn’t work for you that’s fine, but it did for me and apparently lots of people who are simply not generating the same level of noise on the internet. It’s just possible that we see it differently.


Thanks for your interesting views. I won't comment on the specific points you raise here below and in your other message as I think there are good in-depth discussions of them elsewhere, such as youtube for example.

But I am interested in your characterisation of "these movie-bashing threads" that are mostly an "echo chamber". I think that anyone is capable to post their views and, more importantly, arguments or reasons for their views whether positive or negative for TLJ. If there are more negative then that does not necessarily indicate an "echo chamber" per se, only that there are more comments representing that perspective, and where posters tend to agree with others views, as they are entitled to do, IMO, in this type of discussion forum. Also, the perception that these are "movie-bashing threads" is therefore, in my view, an emergent property of the volume of negative views and, importantly, the lack of positive views (whether in general due to fear of being abused we have no way of knowing IMO), not the nature of the views themselves, since they seem to me to be mostly courteous and valid, for the most part.

I know there have been some remarks of disparaging nature but, by and large, I have found the discussions to be, as I said, mostly courteous and insightful. I am assuming that by disparaging you do not mean that comments are such just because they disagree in a non abusive way with another point of view. If they are abusive then, yes, of course they are disparaging.

You did say above "If it doesn’t work for you that’s fine, but it did for me and apparently lots of people who are simply not generating the same level of noise on the internet." I just wondered how you would know it worked for "lots of people who are simply not generating the same level of noise on the internet."?

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 12:37 PM   
 By:   Matt S.   (Member)

I think a large part of the problem when it comes to Luke is that we don't have much context for WHY he gave up and retreated to Ahch-To, beyond the broadest strokes. Was he really SO devastated by Ben's turning that he just gave up? Didn't he consider that possibility when he started training new Jedi? Or was he so humiliated by the briefest urge he had to kill him that it just wrecked him psychologically? That's what we're led to believe by what Rian Johnson gave us, but there has GOT to be more to the story. (And here is where Disney's multimedia empire comes into play, in that they probably think they can get fans to buy novels and comic books that flesh out the backstory.)

I can't believe that Luke just gave up the minute Ben left and burned down the temple. Did he go after him? Was Luke somehow held back, or defeated by Snoke and his army? Or the Knights of Ren, whoever they are? (We still don't know what that scene was in Rey's TFA vision, where Kylo Ren was leading others in a driving rainstorm...could that have been a battle between them and Luke, a battle Luke lost?)

I totally understand why many people are frustrated with Luke's character in The Last Jedi; we simply don't have enough answers to understand, so we take the facts we're given: Luke quit on his friends and allowed the First Order to rise and subsequently slaughter billions of people. At least in Revenge of the Sith, we see that Yoda and Kenobi went into hiding because they knew they were overmatched and needed to await Luke and Leia's adulthood so they could challenge Vader and the Emperor. And of course if Luke said he did the same thing, went to Ahch-To to await the arrival of a new worthy successor, people would be screaming "REHASH OF EMPIRE STRIKES BACK" until they were blue in the face.

So I'm going to hold off on final judgment until we learn a little bit more about what happened to Luke after Ben turned. Maybe it will be in Episode IX, maybe in a novel or two in between (or maybe never?). Either way, the story isn't complete yet.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 2:20 PM   
 By:   jenkwombat   (Member)

Sean, I love your post and the movie!

Me too. The only thing I have some reservations about is Rey pulling things like mind tricks without any training whatsoever. And I don't buy into that "your reservations must be based on sexism" theory either. (Not said here, but elsewhere.) At least Luke had some Force training before he began doing things like mind tricks. And Anakin was supposed to be "the chosen one", the whole point of the plot of The Phantom Menace (although sometimes that gets lost among the spectacle). They haven't mentioned anything about Rey being a "new chosen one" or anything like that, although we're already two films in....!!

Overall though, I think people are coming down way too hard on this film; acting like it's the worst film of 2017, etc. Sheesh. roll eyes

 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 3:08 PM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

Michael, I appreciate your thoughtful response about my "echo chamber" remark and my sense of disparagement of opposing views. I'm allergic to angry (or seemingly angry) negative arguments about a flipping fantasy movie series, so it turns me off and makes me not want to engage, even if there are only a few scattered remarks. It's not about disagreeing, it's about what I think of as being disagreeable. That's something I'm not too tolerant about, so I usually stay away.

How do I know that The Last Jedi works for a lot of people? It's the top movie of 2017, it's already at a billion dollars, it is going strong still, it has an A in CinemaScore and a 7.6 rating on IMDB, and critical consensus is extremely positive but also thoughtful and not without criticisms of the film.

It's also clearly an extremely polarizing movie, and many people absolutely don't like it or were disappointed by it. And it's proving once again that negative voices are always the loudest on the internet. This is true in every category of internet response of which I'm aware, and I have to be aware of this kind of thing because I work in digital and broadcast media.

The funny thing after all my fulminating is that I'm actually enjoying these exchanges today, so maybe I'll stop being such a scaredycat about dipping my toes in these "hostile" waters wink

 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 3:17 PM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

Thanks to Henry and Jenk for your kind words. And for Jenk and Matt, I think you do a good job of explaining what feels problematic about all this. Things happen very quickly and simply in these new movies - Rey suddenly has Force command that we wouldn't expect, Luke's fall from grace is under-explained, etc.

It's as if the streamlined nature of the original trilogy (again, who the hell was the Emperor? Who cares? says the original trilogy) has been even more streamlined now. And because the original trilogy is almost over-explained by the prequels, I think it feels odd for some that everything is so quick and easy now - Rey is super-powered, Luke fall down and go boom, etc.

It feels to me like part of the goal in this sequel trilogy is to return to the simplicity of the original trilogy but also grant that the overall audience will be quite receptive to Force users, quick-turn laser sword battles, etc. And frankly doesn't care as much about yesterday's heroes, so they can be dealt with in broad strokes. So there is more shorthand here and I think that's troubling some.

I don't think more answers will come in this trilogy than what we already know, even if the next installment does play it safe. I think we know everything we're going to know about Luke and Rey, and one is either satisfied by that or not.

(And yes, I'm thinking of just the movies here, because the expanded universe has a much smaller audience than the films.)

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 4:35 PM   
 By:   henry   (Member)

Hi Sean! I totally agree with your posts. But you articulate it much better than I ever could.smile

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 7:55 PM   
 By:   Rick15   (Member)

Last Jedi is about failure: Poe destroys all of the Resistance bombers to destroy the First Order ship, and is condemned for it. Finn and Rose fail in their attempt to get the code. Snoke fails to control Kylo. Kylo fails to turn Rey. Holdo can only succeed at all through suicide, and ultimately her sacrifice is a failure because the resisters are decimated once again on Crait. The only truly successful characters are indeed Rey and Luke - and Luke spectacularly so.

You forgot to mention the failure of the attempts at humour....

 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 9:42 PM   
 By:   Michael Scorefan   (Member)

ISIS destroy ancient landmarks and tomes of significance.

Yoda destroys the Jedi Tree and ancient Jedi scrolls (Luke's pornographic art scroll collection).

Yoda = ISIS

Fact!!!!


I would argue that Yoda represents Mao's Red Guards, who desecrated Ming Dynasty artifacts in the 1960s. This would reflect the types of actions taken by SJW Millennials, who seek to banish all opposing viewpoints other than their own.


Except Yoda didn't destroy the ancient Jedi texts. Rey had already put them in the Falcon, something Yoda clearly knew, so all he destroyed was a tree, which he did to get Luke to "wake up".

 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 10:15 PM   
 By:   Michael Scorefan   (Member)

Considering how Star Wars is an obsession for all of us around here, it's surprising that more haven't commented on the film yet.

For those who profess to like it, it is to me staggering that anyone could proclaim this, especially with what was done with Luke's character and how Rey's character isn't fleshed out at all.


I enjoyed The Last Jedi. Not my favorite Star Wars film (Empire Strikes Back), nor is it even my favorite Disney made Star Wars film (Rogue One), but I certainly enjoyed the film.

So my questions to those who liked The Last Jedi: Was Luke written consistently and satisfactorily to you? If so, which scenes show this? Did his motivations make sense?

Big picture, I was not particularly fond of the direction Luke was taken, but, for many of the reasons Sean ably points out, I don't think it was entirely out of character either. Just not the direction I would have liked to see him go. Truth be told, the same could be said of Han's character in TFA. Although to be fair, pre-Disney or post-Disney, nobody really has known what to do with Han post ROTJ. There were plenty of scenes where Luke was written satisfactorily to me, most of them involve his interactions with classic characters like Chewie, R2, Yoda, Leia, and C3PO. I also loved his confrontation with Kylo Ren. In that confrontation he demonstrates what he already learned in ROTJ, which is that sometimes the way to win is to put your sword down. As for his motivations, they made sense to the extent that it is consistent with what was set up in TFA. As Han said, Luke blamed himself for what happened to Ben Solo and went into exile. So, the damage had already been done before Rian Johnson even began the Last Jedi. Who knows what he would have done if TFA established Luke in a more "acceptable" role, such as the head of a new Jedi order?

What is it about Rey that makes her such an important character? Did you find the suddenness of her development consistent with how Luke developed in TESB and ROTJ?

Rey is strong in the Force and the main character of this trilogy. She will presumably be the one to take down and/or save Kylo Ren and be instrumental at defeating the First Order. Rey's development is much different from Luke's as she was already further ahead with the Force at the end of TFA than Luke was at the end of SW thanks to being able to turn the tables on Kylo Ren when he did his mind meld thing trying to read her mind. She read his mind at the same time and developed some rudimentary skills. Hence, the Force awakening. I don't know that her progression is any more or less believable than Luke's, as the only training we saw Luke get during Star Wars was Obi-Wan telling him to stretch out with his feelings when he was trying to deflect blasts while blindfolded, and to "use the Force" when Luke needed to make a near impossible shot. In ESB we see Yoda have Luke run through an obstacle course, enter a magic cave, lift rocks with the Force while in a handstand, and being told that size matters not. Although being told not to leave before his training was complete, Luke leaves anyway, and when he finally returns in ROTJ, he is told he doesn't need any more training. So, it isn't as though we really saw much of Luke's training either.

 
 Posted:   Jan 4, 2018 - 10:21 PM   
 By:   Michael Scorefan   (Member)

A few fast rebuttals regarding Luke.

(2) Many years passed between Star Wars and Empire and Empire and Jedi. Plenty of time to fine tune his training. TFA and TLJ all happens within weeks (or months at most) Hardly enough time for Rey to reach the skill level of a Jedi.


Passage of time is a bit unclear both during, and in between movies. How long did Luke spend on Dagobah? Days? Weeks? Months? Pre-Disney it was clear there was a three year gap between Star Wars and Empire, and I believe a 6 month gap between Empire and Jedi. I don't know whether that has been changed. Regardless, I doubt Luke did much, if any, training between the films. Between Star Wars and Empire, I have no idea where he would have gotten that training. Obi-Wan's first Force ghost appearance was in Empire when he tells Luke to go to Dagobah. Between Empire and Jedi, Luke was focused on rescuing Han, although he did take the time to build himself a new lightsaber. What he didn't do was go back to Dagobah to finish his training with his master.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 5, 2018 - 1:53 AM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)

A couple of Luke response responses, mostly to get at one more point.

We have no idea how much time passes between A New Hope, Empire and RotJ. (I'm just going by what's in the movies.) So to imagine that he had time to do adequate training is just a rationalization, which is fine, but proves nothing. Going by the movies, he had practically none, except of the acrobatic/balancing rock variety.

And yes, he's very much a go-getter and is a real hero no question. But even in the original trilogy he does give up - "It's impossible!" he says about lifting the X-wing, and "I don't believe it" he says when Yoda brings it out of the water. "That is why you fail," is the response. He gets better, but his tendency to defeatism is there. And of course he keeps winning, which helps. He only turns to defeat when he irrevocably fails.

I think what is so hard for folks seeing Luke go down this road is that he has failed and lost hope. I have no problem at all with a hero failing. He's in good company: Achilles, Oedipus, Othello, Hamlet just to name a few. And I think given the circumstances, it is a natural turn in his character to give up - but only for a while.

Last Jedi is about failure: Poe destroys all of the Resistance bombers to destroy the First Order ship, and is condemned for it. Finn and Rose fail in their attempt to get the code. Snoke fails to control Kylo. Kylo fails to turn Rey. Holdo can only succeed at all through suicide, and ultimately her sacrifice is a failure because the resisters are decimated once again on Crait. The only truly successful characters are indeed Rey and Luke - and Luke spectacularly so.

I completely understand if anyone thinks this isn't the right territory for a Star Wars film. But it's happened before - the prequels are fundamentally about the failures of everyone except Palpatine. And I think it was high time it happened again.

Ok, I'm gonna try not to keep going on and on. But at least there's some variety here now, eh? wink


I totally agree with your take on Luke in TLJ. In fact, one visual aspect of Luke's failure and retreat to the island was Rey seeing Luke's X-Wing submerged under the water, like on Dagobah. smile

Greg Espinoza

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 5, 2018 - 1:53 AM   
 By:   Xebec   (Member)

ISIS destroy ancient landmarks and tomes of significance.

Yoda destroys the Jedi Tree and ancient Jedi scrolls (Luke's pornographic art scroll collection).

Yoda = ISIS

Fact!!!!


I would argue that Yoda represents Mao's Red Guards, who desecrated Ming Dynasty artifacts in the 1960s. This would reflect the types of actions taken by SJW Millennials, who seek to banish all opposing viewpoints other than their own.


Except Yoda didn't destroy the ancient Jedi texts. Rey had already put them in the Falcon, something Yoda clearly knew, so all he destroyed was a tree, which he did to get Luke to "wake up".


I had absolutely no recollection of that. Yoda's a tricky dude. Must have been a special tree, though, so he still hates history! wink

 
 Posted:   Jan 5, 2018 - 7:48 AM   
 By:   Michael Scorefan   (Member)

ISIS destroy ancient landmarks and tomes of significance.

Yoda destroys the Jedi Tree and ancient Jedi scrolls (Luke's pornographic art scroll collection).

Yoda = ISIS

Fact!!!!


I would argue that Yoda represents Mao's Red Guards, who desecrated Ming Dynasty artifacts in the 1960s. This would reflect the types of actions taken by SJW Millennials, who seek to banish all opposing viewpoints other than their own.


Except Yoda didn't destroy the ancient Jedi texts. Rey had already put them in the Falcon, something Yoda clearly knew, so all he destroyed was a tree, which he did to get Luke to "wake up".


I had absolutely no recollection of that. Yoda's a tricky dude. Must have been a special tree, though, so he still hates history! wink


At the end of the film there is a scene where Finn opens up a drawer in the Falcon to get a blanket to cover Rose, and the texts are there. I don't think I noticed it until the second time I saw the film.

 
 Posted:   Jan 5, 2018 - 9:08 AM   
 By:   Adventures of Jarre Jarre   (Member)

  • I completely understand if anyone thinks this isn't the right territory for a Star Wars film. But it's happened before - the prequels are fundamentally about the failures of everyone except Palpatine. And I think it was high time it happened again.

    Keep in mind that, technically, the only Saga (I-VI) films to have a happy ending are A New Hope and Return of the Jedi. The others range from subtle to blatant bittersweetness.

    PS: As a side note, did anyone realize that the final battle in Last takes place on Crait, which is mainly a giant grain of salt?

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