Starring Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley Considering his past work, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to learn that director Rian Johnson uses the “Empire Strikes Back” template for The Last Jedi. The nice thing that comes with using The Empire as a starting point is that a movie can basically do anything. This isn’t like The Force Awakens, which uses a lot of the same plot points from the original Star Wars. Instead, it puts our heroes in jeopardy the whole movie offering a relentless two and a half hours of tension – separates them, and explores who they are and what they’re fighting for. Like Empire, our big three now Rey, Finn and Poe do not spend a lot of time together on screen, which of course just makes us want to see them all somehow reunite. Rey (Daisy Ridley) finds Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and hopes that he will join the Resistance, led by General Leia (Carrie Fisher). Finn (John Boyega), the former storm trooper, tries to find a way out of an imperial blockade, aided by engineer Rose (Kelly Marie Tran). Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), servant of Supreme Leader Snoke (voiced by Andy Serkis), is still a follower of the Dark Side of the Force. The movie begins with a giant space battle, and except for a small portion in the middle of the film where we are taken to where Luke Skywalker lives, the action never stops. There is also a jaw-dropping lightsaber battle without a doubt the best yet.
In this film it’s the ensemble cast who star, no single story dominates with each member of the Resistance given a specific job to do on a different planet. The late, great Carrie Fisher brings a grace and warmth to every scene she’s in. Her final few moments in the film pack a weight, even without factoring in her passing, and Mark Hamill, finally gets some lines to speak as he trades the boyish charms of his first Star Wars run for a bugeyed paranoia that belies a tremendous amount of guilt. Add plenty of lowkey humour especially involving the cute Porg creatures and “The Last Jedi” is truly a spectacular achievement and easily the best Star Wars since The Empire Strikes Back in the 80’s. It is difficult to say much more without spoiling the enjoyment of the film. Just don’t miss it if you have ever loved scifi and magical fantasy.
Rated M 9 out of 10 Merry Christmas to all Miner readers and a prosperous new year.