When “Star Wars” first burst onto cinema screens back in 1977, the story took movie fans to a galaxy, far, far away, and most of us have enjoyed the ride leading to the new release “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
The new film is a follow up to the 2015 release “Star Wars:The Force Awakens”, and continues the battle between the First Order and the rebels of the Resistance. The film follows up with Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) attempt to have the MIA Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) rejoin the alliance and help his sister General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) defeat the First Order and Leia’s wayward son Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Other stories carrying over from “Awakens” are those of pilot Poe (Oscar Isaac) and ex-storm trooper Finn (John Boyega). While Poe is fighting the First Order with Leia, Finn has decided to leave the Resistance, but is caught in his escape attempt by mechanic Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran). Finn’s attempted escape leads him to team with Rose to take out a tracking device the New Order is using to find and pursue the Resistance while they are in hyperspace.
Meanwhile back on the planet where Luke has taken up residence, Rey eventually convinces the Jedi to train her in the ways of The Force so she can use her special talents effectively.While Rey is undergoing intense training, Kylo is in hot pursuit of Leia’s ships, but thanks to some unexpected help from Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), Leia and company are able to escape to an old Rebel Alliance base on the planet Crait, until Kylo and his forces are able to find them and a massive battle commences. Speaking of battles, the film features plenty, both with ships and between individuals. The conflict between Kylo and Rey is also front and center, and the two eventually have an emotional show down in front of Supreme Leader Snoke of the New Order. All the new characters from the 2015 film have plenty of moments to shine, along with the classic characters, especially Luke Skywalker. The movie does a really wonderful job in revealing why Skywalker has been missing for so many years, and the character even has a moment with Yoda. As we all know this is Fisher’s last appearance as Leia due to her untimely passing, and Fisher has plenty of marvelous onscreen moments that fans of the series will certainly cherish. So does the new film live up to all the usual hype related to a “Star Wars” film? Well yes and no. The highlights were, as usual, the special effects, and the conflict between the various characters. On the downside I felt as if I were watching “Star Wars” A New Hope”, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” all in one film, as this effort appeared to adapt various aspects of all those films into the story line, thus not really offering anything new.
While that is not completely detrimental to the film, I just felt a bit more originality was needed. However, if you like familiarity in your “Star Wars” films, then “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is for you. The film was fittingly dedicated to the late Fisher, and one could only imagine what further adventures her Leia could have experienced. It’s now the job of the new “Star Wars” generation to carry on, but thankfully they still get to have further adventures with Chewbacca, BB-8, C-3PO and R2-D2.
(Rated PG-13) 3 Light Sabers (out of 4)