Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Luke (Mark Hamill) try to work out their differences in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. (Disney/Lucasfilm image)

Reel Reviews: Star Wars – A Force for all

We say, “You don’t have to be a Jedi to use the Force.”

This week Okanagan movie reviewers Brian Taylor and Peter Howe take a closer look at Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The rebel Alliance, lead by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is still on the run from the First Order, led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and their numbers are dwindling. Rey (Daisy Ridley) a young Rebel who recently discovered she can use the force, has found Master Jedi Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and is trying to convince him to teach her to control her powers. Rey believes Kylo Ren can be turned to from the dark side to the light, Skywalker does not. Only together can they discover the truth.

I say, “You don’t have to be a Jedi to use the Force.”

Howe was unable to attend Star Wars: The Last Jedi in time for this review. It’s the morning after opening night and I’m just going to say, The Last Jedi is the best Star Wars film so far. It was surprising, exciting, entertaining, philosophical and moving, all without being too cute. It was still a bit cute, probably my least favourite thing about the film, but I don’t mind because I want kids to see this film for its social engineering, which is probably my most favourite thing about The Last Jedi. The film also has a deeper style, something I think created by the director, Rian Johnson (Looper). Where in previous Star Wars films we were all impressed by the scenes created, in The Last Jedi we’re impressed by the way Luke stands, or the way Kylo Ren moves or Rey’s dark hallucinations.

As Luke says in the trailer, “This is not going to go the way you think.” Every main character in the film has a surprise in store for audiences. A lot of people die in this film, including beloved main characters, but this is appropriate for the middle film of a Star Wars trilogy. The good guys have their backs against the wall like never before, there’s a palpable desperation in The Last Jedi that makes the film more emotionally engaging. The audience was often quiet, not cheering battles, but rather wondering what was going to happen next.

The Last Jedi also liberates the Force from certain characters’ bloodlines. At one point, as Luke is attempting to grapple with his place as caretaker of the Jedi, he is visited by the ghost of Yoda who explains that destroying some ancient texts or demolishing a temple does not end the Force. The Force just is, anyone can use it, regardless of training or title. By doing this, Disney has removed the story from George Lucas’ ideas about midichlorians (the biological “reason” Jedi can control the Force) and opens the religion back up to the mystical, the Universe, everyone, everywhere. Simultaneously, it nearly completes the passing of the torch to the next generation. Books, temples and the Jedi will end, but the Force between the dark and the light will go on. Little boys and girls everywhere will continue to look up at the stars and wonder where their adventures will take them, until there are no more wars, no more stars.

Taylor gives The Last Jedi 5 crystal foxes out of 5.

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