Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Some quick thoughts on the current suite of Star Wars movies

I meant to post this last year, but never quite got around to typing it up, so on the eve of the next Star Wars film, here’s a few thoughts about two of the more recent ones.

On my last trans-pacific flight, I watched The Last Jedi and Rouge One back to back. It was an interesting contrast, as it clarified what I do and don’t like about the more recent versions of these films.

Rouge One was a brilliant movie. I can’t recall the last time I saw a Sci-Fi heist movie, but they pulled it off in style. It was also a great war movie- sort of like a futuristic Guns of Navarrone or Bridge over the river Kwai. The stakes were high, the Empire was evil, the heroes lay everything on the line to stop a terrible weapon from being unleashed- while at the same time it was similar enough to our own neverending wars that it felt pertinent and important.

The Last Jedi, on the other hand, I found to be pretty but implausible, with too many emotionally unsupported plot twists and a tiresome moral relativism. The “break with the past” embodied by Ren’s betrayal made the plot choices seem arbitrary. Furthermore, the Empire, for the first Star Wars movie ever, wasn’t particularly evil. They were fighting the rebels, and the rebels were fighting the Empire (or First Order, as the neo-imperials style themselves). But the rebels opened the movie by failing cheaply through petulance, and the Casino scene literally held both sides to be equivalent, so this was very much the Nazi sanitation Star Wars movie, which didn’t sit well with me. I suppose that’s what happens when Imperial merchandising is a billion dollar business, but the battle between good and evil was a big draw of the franchise for me.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I was turned off enough to skip the Solo movie. Dunno if I’ll see this one or not.

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