Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Review 

Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi isn’t a great movie, though it is an entertaining one that seems to grasp it’s characters well.

Though it’s not without its problems, some of which I go into in the following video.

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Is Star Wars Too Massive To Fail?

No franchise is too big to fail, though typically a decline–the same logic applies to whether we’re discussing movie franchises or nations– comes before a fall.

And that’s important because if you pay attention to the signs you may be able to delay or even avert a worse-case scenario.

The Last Jedi is taking a bit of a bashing among a large amount of moviegoers–some have gone as far as starting petitions to have it removed from canon–yet despite this apparent animus the movie has earned almost $400 million domestically ($395,627,411) and a similar figure overseas (&396,061,433).

And that former figure is pretty amaxing when you take into account it has only been out eleven days domestically.

Part of its wellspring of profits has to do with–despite the anger it is generating in some quarters–that the same people who are doing the complaining are actually seeing the movie (and in some instances more than once).

Another important detail is that The Last Jedi may be angering some people but it’s doing so for all the right reasons, namely characters that many fans have literally grown up with have begun to change in ways that they don’t necessarily agree with.

But it is change, and proof Lucasfilm isn’t resting on their laurels (which likely had a lot to do with Transformers: The Last Knight underwhelming at the US box office.  After all, there is only so many times you can blow something up before it gets not only boring, but tedious).

Though change is a double-edged sword in that if it’s done too quickly or perceived as too radical–like how Warner Bros treated Superman in Man of Steel (and Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice–you’re going to start with underwhelming box office receipts, which if not addressed have the potential to ruin a franchise.

And as critical as I tend to be of Sony Pictures, they at least saw the writing was on the wall as far as their Spider-Man franchise was concerned, and let Marvel Studios shepherd the character on it’s third reboot, resulting in the most profitable outing for the character yet  (an arguable assertion since Spider-Man 3 came out in 2007 while Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017 and the value of the American Dollar was likely higher; though the budget of the former was $285 million versus $175 million for Homecoming; on top of It earning just over $10 million less than Spider-Man 3).

So perhaps The Last Jedi isn’t necessarily a good metric to determine if people are growing tired of the Star Wars universe, which is the path to the Dark Side.

That responsibility will likely be carried by the next film in the series–as well as the new trilogy Rian Johnson is working on–because while The Last Jedi has clearly divided audiences, if J.J. Abrams can’t unite them, Johnson may have done more damage than the Sith every could.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Official Trailer #2

Screenshot 2017-10-10 13.54.53I have to admit that this trailer brought a smile to my face; which I honestly didn’t expect because as of late Star Wars movies have become known for the drama behind the scenes than on the screen since becoming a part of Disney.

And dissatisfaction with a director or the way a story seems to be progressing is by no means uncommon, though with Lucasfilm it seem to occur on a regular basis, such as with Rogue One, and the upcoming Han Solo prequel.

Which is why Rian Johnson’s (Brick, Looper) upcoming The Last Jedi is so refreshing.  It appears that he got the job, and shot the movie.  (Seemingly) No fuss, no muss and thankfully no drama.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Teaser Trailer

Screenshot 2017-04-14 12.35.54.pngRian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released a few hours ago, and looks… like a Star Wars movie.

Which is stating the obvious, though it also reveals a problem.  The last Star Wars movie, Rogue One, was what you get when you take Star Wars and remove the wonder, heart and engaging characters that made that made the series so well-loved by so many (even George Lucas’ much maligned–and deservedly so–prequel trilogy).

And sure, Rogue One made a gazillion dollars but it could easily be a case of diminishing returns, like in the case of Sony’s Spider-Man franchise.

Though to be fair it appears that The Last Jedi looks like it’s at least attempting to bring some of the aforementioned wonder and mystery central to prior entries, and that’s a good thing.

Will it work?  I have no idea, but it’s worth trying.

 

Latest ‘Looper’ Trailer

Not quite sure how I feel about Rian Johnson’s “Looper.”

Time travel in movies, like great power, must be used responsibly.  In most films that is often not the case, since they tend to bend or break rules they have already established as soon as the plot finds them inconvenient.

That being said, I am not a scientist, so unless a films does something blatantly obvious in the name of story, I don’t tend to pick up on it.

Of the many films that deal the concept, here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order: “The Terminator,” “Time After Time,” “Time Crimes, “Planet Of The Apes (the original), “Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes,” “Time Cop (though I am somewhat bothered by the fact that characters would time travel in a vehicle, yet not be in it when they emerged) and “Hot Tub Time Machine” (for the audacity of taking a remarkably stupid idea, and running with it).

A time travel film that I didn’t enjoy was “Primer,” mainly because it seemed to get so hung up on the science that it forgot that its primary job should have been to entertain.

Another thing is that I am not sure how Joseph Gordon-Levitt ‘grows up’ to be Bruce Willis because I suspect that it will take more than a bit of hard living and Demi Moore to make that happen.

‘Looper’ Trailer

Rian Johnson‘s followup to”The Brothers Bloom” has arrived, and it appears–for a movie that revolves around time travel–to be surprisingly light on special effects. Time travel movies, those that attempt to be faithful to the possibility, are oftentimes too mired in the science to be very entertaining.

A fate suffered by 2004’s Primer; though when they work, they can be move beyond being merely entertaining into the surreal.

This was the case with Timecrimes, which was one of the better time travel-based movies (though I don’t know how scientifically accurate it actually is), despite having a relatively small budget and virtually no FX.