SPOILERS AHEAD! Stop now if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want it spoiled.
Sunday afternoon, I drove my family an hour to see the new Star Wars movie in an Imax theater. We’d planned the event for a while. I bought the tickets in advance and we anxiously waited for the day to come. I’ll just start by saying we loved it. It was an awesome movie experience.
Imagine my surprise when the next morning I woke up to find several reviews thoroughly trashing the latest installment in the Star Wars Saga, The Last Jedi.
I must admit I was angry at first. I read the reasoning behind it, and I don’t argue with most of it, but c’mon, this is a fantasy story. I think they are missing the point. Did I miss something? Was it supposed to be realistic?
Most of the criticism is focused around plot holes and inconsistencies in the laws of space and matter. Read Ben Shapiro’s critique here. It is very thorough in typical Shapiro style with nineteen points of things that are wrong with the movie and three points of things that are right with it. I love Ben’s work and the man is a true genius. That is not in dispute, but I look at the Star Wars movies with a little more age on me than Ben, and it gives me a different perspective.
I will grant him all his negatives to a degree. The plot holes you could drive a truck through do exist. The whole issue of gravity in space for the bomb dropping scene to work is true. All true. I thought it was weird having a WWII style bombing run on an Imperial ship too, but I was happy to see the massive ship explode.
I agree Po is annoying with his recklessness. I agree going off to another planet to get the code breaker was silly. I agree that Luke is weird and annoying in all that he does. I agree Leia’s character is pretty flat. I agree that Kylo Ren has been set up as not very intimidating and a whiny little failure. I agree that Luke wouldn’t have killed Kilo. I agree that I was stunned that Snoke was killed like the way he was. I agree to much discussion about Rey’s parentage and it being annoying that we still don’t know the truth…and on and on.
Buuuuut……have you seen all the other Star Wars? None of this should be a surprise.
Luke has always been annoying and reckless. It’s not weird that he turned into a recluse. So did Yoda, and Obi Wan. Luke and Anakin were both painful to watch in their youth. So is Kylo. So is Rey. This is normal for immature Jedis. Luke and Anakin and all Skywalkers are a little mentally unstable. Kylo seems to be carrying that on just fine. As conflicted as he is, he is growing in his evil and believability as the head bad guy.
Then there is Snoke. I thought he was a fantastic evil guy. Crushing the spirits of everyone around him, even his apprentice. He was obviously the most powerful force wielder in the room, but as with the dark side, the leader must die for a new leader to be born. I wouldn’t count old Snoke out for good, either. His body was severed, but in the books, people have come back from that. I think we will learn more about who he was if we don’t actually see him again in subsequent films.
And finally, Rey’s parents. I know not knowing who they are completely drives her to do dumb things. And it is annoying to a bunch of fans, but c’mon people, hang in there. Her parents could well be a bunch of nobodies, but I doubt it. I would be fine if they were, but I suspect she will eventually hail from one of the big names. Skywalker/Solo, or Kenobi, or maybe some other Jedi who has perished. How about Palpatine? Either way, give the complaining a rest. We didn’t know Luke and Leia were Bro and Sis for three movies. Luke didn’t find out his Daddy was Vader for two movies.
Again…this is normal for Star Wars.
Here’ why I really loved this movie and it has nothing to do with Mark Hamill’s acting or Finn and Rose or Rey and Kilo or Luke or Leia or any of it.
I saw the first Star Wars (#4) in 1977 when I was 7 years old with my parents. We had a blast. My folks drove my sister and I an hour to see it and we loved it. Our family talked about it all the way home and anxiously waited for the next installment three years later and again three years after that. It was a phenomenon in American culture. Years went by and we grew older and raised our own kids. We watched the old movies on VHS until suddenly episodes number one, two, and three were born.
My kids were just barely old enough to get into it and we loved them together. Those three episodes were critically panned as well. Bad acting, bad plot lines, blah, blah, blah. But my kids and I enjoyed them anyway. They read Star Wars books and watched the cartoon, The Clone Wars, learning more about the back stories of the whole thing. They now know much more than I do about the entire fantasy world and it’s great.
So, when this movie was set to come out we all looked forward to it. My children currently range from age nine to nineteen. Two boys and two girls. I am forty-seven years old. My wife, who is not a fantasy fan, has even gotten involved enough to genuinely look forward to the next installment of the interstellar fantasy.
Here’s why this movie is great.
Do you know how impossible it is for us to find a movie that can entice all six members of our family? Have you noticed how much Hollywood sucks at producing movies a family can actually want to go to? How rare is a movie the kids desperately want to go to and that the parents want to take them to?
It’s nearly impossible for us to go to a movie that we all WANT to see with our age differences. Star Wars does that. Also, how many movies make the entire audience cheer out loud with the opening sequence as the whole room is full anticipation. None. Absolutely none. Other than Star Wars. Our audience cheered again at the end.
What movie allows us to talk over each other in giddy excitement the entire hour car ride home as we laugh and retell our favorite parts? None. We laughed at the disgusting milk scene, we argued about Rey’s parentage. We talked about how we thought Leia would have actually died…since she did in real life. We smiled and enjoyed the nods to the past with Yoda and all the inner turmoil of the dark side. We shared our thoughts about how we thought Rey would turn to the dark side, but how glad we were she didn’t and on and on.
No movie going experience can do what the Star Wars franchise does. Bring together families from age 7 to 77 and let them enjoy a complete escape from reality. This is what movies were supposed to be like.
Star Wars provides sheer entertainment for one and all. So, for a night of laughter and fun with my family I will forgive plot holes and pretty much anything.
I don’t care if it’s Disney or George Lucas. I don’t care if they voted for Hillary or Trump. I don’t care if bombs can’t drop in space because there is no gravity. I care about a sweet time and a memory with my kids that no one can take away from us, because quicker than a force-choke, my kids will be gone from me. They’ll be off chasing their own galaxies and I will wish there was a new Star Wars we could all go to and enjoy together, and I won’t care that they didn’t tell me who Snoke really is.
Go see the movie. Take your entire family. Have a blast. We sure did.
Image: By Rakruithof – Own work, http://www.starwars.com/news/the-official-title-for-star-wars-episode-viii-revealed, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Star_Wars_Logo.svg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55283602