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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi 2017 * * * Stars

Star Wars: The Last JediDirector: Rian Johnson
Year: 2017
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher

An enraged Luke Skywalker, a ritzy Cantina revision, a few out of place comic bits, an occasional whipping camera movement from the guy who made Looper. That's some of the things you'll experience if you take in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (my latest review).

Earlier this year, director Denis Villeneuve attempted to expand on the world of the original Blade Runner circa 1982. Now, we have Rian Johnson undertaking the role of expanding the Star Wars universe. Guess what, Johnson does it better and with more consistency via Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

"Jedi", with its showcasing of returning stars Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher (from the early installments) and its standout performance from Adam Driver (he's incredibly charismatic as Kylo Ren), closely resembles 1980's The Empire Strikes Back. Hold up though, that's where the slight comparisons end.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is unlike any film I've seen in the Star Wars canon. It doesn't adhere to the swashbuckling residue of Episodes "IV", "V", and "VI" nor does it lolly in the CGI overkill possessed by the prequels from 10-15 years ago. "Jedi" shows that Johnson doesn't want to be George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, or even the late Richard Marquand (Marquand shot Return of the Jedi). He gives the Star Wars charter a blooming makeover and yeah, he's all the better for it.

Image result for star wars the last jedi 2017 movie scenesYou can tell early on, that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the in-between movie or better yet, the 2nd act of a symphony. It plays just like what unfurled in "Empire". It has been rumored that Rian Johnson won't be directing "Episode IX". That's a shame because I wanted to know what the man had in store next. In 2019, I guess it's back to J.J. Abrams and the meat and potatoes movie making he rallied for in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

All in all, "Jedi" is happily rooted in complexities, cerebral nooks, sumptuous visuals, and some neat, kooky creatures (I loved the crystalline foxes and the Porgs). Johnson is a visionary filmmaker but he doesn't quite go over the top (that's a good thing). His flick lags a little bit in the middle until it goes full throttle in the last half. Watch for a mesmerizing, intergalactic battle in the Bolivian Salt Flats. Also, look out for some obligatory yet dazzling lightsaber battles that every Star Wars endeavor is contracted to have.

Related imageBottom line: Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, might be the first actual art film associated with the Star Wars franchise. It may seriously appeal more to adults than to the fanboys and kiddies. I could care less because I dug Johnson's solidified groove anyway. Rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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