Mar 262018
 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi was a rather big disappointment for me since I did really enjoy The Force Awakens and the things J.J. Abrams setup, writer/director Rian Johnson tore right down, and this coming from a casual fan. But there are some things to like such as the production designs, visual effects and some of the performances.

 

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
(2017)

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Disney | PG13 – 130 min. – $0.00 | March 27, 2018

Date Published: 03/26/2018 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Writer(s): Rian Johnson (written by)
Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie
DISC INFO:
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.39
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 43.9 GB
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C

 


THE MOVIE — 3.0/5


Note: This review contains a ton of PLOT SPOILERS, so readers beware!

“This is not going to go the way you think.”

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the seventh chapter in the vaunted and popular franchise, followed up the successful The Force Awakens with new writer-director Rian Johnson basically tearing down everything previous helmer J.J. Abrams had built to the point you might as well have called this Star Wars: Subversion of the Jedi. This was none more evident from one of the early scenes and carry-over of the cliffhanger at the end of TFA where Johnson literally tossed it over the edge as a joke. Lulz.

Having had already seen TLJ in theaters and leaving bewildered more than anything and with time began to pretty much dislike the movie, I did go in this time on home video wanting to keep an open mind and perhaps the poor elements I could overlook. Nope. Instead, while I did admire certain aspects, there were others that I truly got annoyed by, and nothing to do with anything actually Star Wars related and its mythos, but critical storytelling that didn’t make much sense.

The film opens on a space battle as the Empire, I mean First Order, are advancing on the Rebels, I mean Resistance, and we are re-introduced to ace pilot Poe Dameron (OSCAR ISAAC) is leading a squadron for a counterattack to the First Order’s fleet when he goes beyond the mission leading the charge to take out its guns so the B/SF-17 heavy bombers could go in and bomb the massive dreadnought. All but one bomber is destroyed and though they were successful, an already depleted Resistance has been further decimated, which led Admiral Leia Organa (CARRIE FISHER) to demote Poe.

And to wrap another storyline leftover from TFA, Finn (JOHN BOYEGA) awakens from his coma but his only thought is to locate Rey and even goes so far as to steal an escape pod, though is stopped by a woman named Rose (KELLIE MARIE TRAN), in charge of zapping anyone attempting to bail.

Meanwhile, on Skywalker’s Island, when we last left, we get a pivotal moment as Rey (DAISY RIDLEY) is handing over Luke’s (MARK HAMILL) lightsaber clearly in the hopes he will train her. Of course, jokes need to be had and subversion needs to be done and Luke merely tosses it over the side of a cliff and walks away, wanting nothing to do with Rey. It’s never really explained why he even left a map to where he could found in the first place if he cut himself off from the Force, but alright. Here, she does get Force projection where she communicates with Kylo Ren (ADAM DRIVER) and sees conflict in him where she hopes she may persuade him to her side. Sure.

And there is even a third plot thread. When the First Order blows out the command post, Leia is taken into the icy cold space where, I guess, she used her own Force powers and Mary Poppins’ her way to safety where she is saved but is in a coma. Taking command is one Vice Admiral Holdo (LAURA DERN), a character we only just met, and she assumes immediate control as the First Order advances on their remaining fleet but with them being able to track the Resistance through hyperspace (nifty tech all of the sudden), they don’t want to use up what resources they have left. So, they slowly advance as does the First Order, picking apart other Resistance vessels as they run out of fuel.

Understandably Poe is concerned as they continue to lose more and more of their personnel. He, albeit forcibly, asks Holdo what the plan is. She refuses to answer and basically tells him to f-off. So, with only hours left before the main cruiser loses fuel, receives information from Finn that, conveniently, knows where the tracker is on the First Order’s ship but need a master code breaker in order to get inside. So Poe, seeing no other option, gets the two off the ship and set to Canto Bight, also known to some as Casino Planet, where they are to get the code breaker. But things don’t go according to plan and we get some political commentary on animal and human abuse; and where they eventually receive help, for a price, from DJ (BENECIO DEL TORO).

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has so many things going for it and some smart minds behind the camera, and that includes writer-director Rian Johnson, whose indie suspense/drama Brick was a breath of fresh air. But here he seemed more interested in tearing apart anything J.J. Abrams built up, even if The Force Awakens did have many of the same beats of A New Hope, and if Johnson is to believed, there was no blueprint for this trilogy.

Before I get into the negatives and perhaps even a rant, there are plenty of positives. The visual effects are, of course, top notch and were deserving of the Academy Award nomination, and the sets, particularly Snoke’s red throne room was simple yet still beautiful. The fight choreography between Rey/Ren/Praetorian guards was well done and for the material given, no real poor performances either. And the actual look of the film was amazing with some well framed angles (like Phasma’s close-up of her helmet).

For the bad, and this is my biggest gripe, it was about Holdo and Finn/Rose’s side adventure. Even though this second time around I was anticipating this, Holdo still got on my nerves as to why she would not divulge her plan. Sure, Leia would later say Holdo didn’t want to be a hero (or something along those lines), but her refusal to say anything resulted in the Canto Bight side story which would later result in Finn and Rose getting captured, which then revealed Holdo’s plan of sending cloaked ships to hide on an outpost. Nice going.

My other big gripe: Finn and Rose. I really don’t know what the purpose of Rose was and Finn didn’t seem to get to do a whole lot, especially compared to how integral he was in TFA. Yeah, he gets that much anticipated fight with Captain Phasma (GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE) after we thought she was victim to a trash compactor, and the filmmakers certainly did build her up to be one of the bad ass female characters… only to vastly underutilize her again; but she has a cool outfit! She did endure a trash compactor so I suppose an inferno survival isn’t out of the question.

Now for the characters. Although I do really like the original Star Wars trilogy, I’m not some die-hard fan. Never have read any extended universe material like the novels so my knowledge of any character is only from these movies and maybe an animated episode or two, but even then. So, with that said, the treatment of Luke just seemed really off not so much because he cut himself off from the Force, though the reason behind it was disturbing, but he was such a downer character that I honestly dreaded just about every time I saw him on screen. Add to that, the whole Kylo Ren/Luke Skywalker “fight” was underwhelming when it was Force-projection and his death just felt… empty and emotionless. I could not say the same when Han died in TFA, even though I knew he was likely going to.

Carrie Fisher, the last remaining legacy actress, now departed in real life, did leave a poignant feeling seeing her final performance, not really sure what they will do with the character in Episode 9. The newer actors Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver have a few fine scenes, but as in TFA, Driver is the standout even if the character had little, if any growth, course Ridley’s Rey didn’t grow very much either and didn’t really receive any training from Luke, yet somehow she’ll manage to survive any battle. Yeah, I went there. Doesn’t mean I don’t like the character, hell she was one of the highlights in TFA, but I would’ve liked to see some growth in the power than starting off as some sort of master right off.

In the end, I will say one thing about this Star Wars trilogy, it’s likely going to be odd watching them back-to-back-to-back with J.J. Abrams rebooting (basically) the franchise, Rian Johnson tearing anything Abrams built and then Abrams coming back into the fold likely to try and undo what Johnson did. Sheesh. Still perplexing why Disney didn’t have a framework instead of flying on the seat of their pants.

With all of that said, and kudos if you got through this review/rant, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is hardly terrible, just incredibly flawed but still had some enjoyably entertaining moments.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 5.0/5


This release comes with a glossy and embossed slip cover. Inside is a code for the Digital HD copy.

Disc 1:
Audio Commentary – Writer/Director Rian Johnson takes viewers behind the scenes with his words on his process of this next chapter. As much as I fervently dislike what he did, there is no doubt he is a charismatic guy and could carry his own on a solo commentary track.

Disc 2:
The Director and the Jedi (1:35:23; HD) is a full-length documentary chronicling Rian Johnson’s journey throughout the production of the movie. This was a rather in-depth behind-the-scenes featurette (and initially includes clips from various online shows), if only more of these kinds of features were on more home releases.

Balance of the Force (10:17; HD) – The featurette examines what the Force means in this entry and as Johnson put it, a “reset” on what it is for newer viewers.

Scene Breakdowns (33:01; HD):

  • Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle
  • Snoke and Mirrors
  • Showdown on Crait

These goes behind the scenes on how the scenes were composed and ultimately filmed.

Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) (5:49; HD) is a fun little uncut scene with Serkis in mo-cop and pre-visual effects.

Deleted Scenes (23:02; HD) – There were 14 scenes cut down or altered. Also included is an introduction by Johnson as well as a commentary where he explains why these were removed.

  • Alternate Opening
  • Paige’s Gun James
  • Luke Has a Moment
  • Poe: Not Much of a Sewer
  • It’s Kind of Weird That You Recorded That
  • The Caretaker Sizes Up Rey
  • Caretaker Village Sequence
  • Extended Fathier Chase
  • Mega Destroyer Incursion – Extended Version
  • Rose Bites the Hand That Taunts Her
  • Phasma Squealed Like a Whoop Hog
  • Rose & Finn Got to Where They Belong
  • Rey & Chewie In the Falcon
  • The Costumes and Creatures of Canto Bight

 


VIDEO –5.0/5


Disney launches Star Wars: The Last Jedi presented in its original theatrical 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec). No real surprise, this did look incredible in HD whether it was the CGI effects or real actors, detail is sharp and well defined throughout. Colors popped off the screen as well be it the reds during the Snoke throne room fight as well as the reds during the salt lined ground in the finale. Just an all around visually pleasant experience.

AUDIO – 4.75/5


Not to be completely outdone, the disc received a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 and although like Fox, for whatever reason Disney gives the UHD an Atmos track and Blu-rays this, but even so, it still sounds great from the clear dialogue levels to the action-centric sequences which encompass every available speaker while the LFE channel does kick in to give this some great depth.

 


OVERALL – 3.5/5


Overall, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was a rather big disappointment for me since I did really enjoy The Force Awakens and the things J.J. Abrams setup, writer/director Rian Johnson tore right down, and this coming from a casual fan. But there are some things to like such as the production designs, visual effects and some of the performances. This Blu-ray release comes with fantastic video and audio transfers and a great array of bonus material to peruse and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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