Star Wars: The Last Jedi | NG Reacts

Star Wars: The Last Jedi | NG Reacts

Star Wars: The Last Jedi | NG Reacts

The Night Gathers crew finally sat down to watch The Last Jedi. And not unsurprisingly we all pretty much walked out of it with a different opinion. Did it live up to the hype? Was it the biggest disappointment of the year? Join us for our individual reactions before reading the one and only @ObiWanKnauer's review.

It’s been a minute since The Force Awakens. What were your expectations going in? And what’s your verdict?

George | Pretty high, I’m a big fan of Rian Johnson’s other films so I really wanted him to nail it and I wasn’t disappointed. Sure it was baggy in the middle, there were too many plot holes and I thought that Finn and Rose’s James Bond Adventure didn’t really fit but…all the characters seemed real. Rey/Ren’s journey was compelling and complex, the real threat that you felt over the fate of the rebellion, and the beating heart at the centre of the film that Rose brought was a great addition to the Star Wars Universe. It was a beautiful, beautiful film that tried to do everything and failed in some bits but when it worked it sang. Also, it finally explained The Force without reducing it to a bunch of technobabble.

Dan | I was expecting a modern day, yet much darker Empire Strikes back. Complete with gasp out loud reveals as characters fates and linage are revealed. Though what I feel we got was something a little different - Maybe more Battlestar Galactica meets Guardians of the Galaxy meets The Force Awakens. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing, it just wasn't what I expected. To be really honest, I don’t think Star Wars movies are ever going to please everyone, we’ve been living and breathing these films for the best part of 40 years, and the stories and fates of characters in our heads are always going to be different. I think if given the choice, I would of preferred that JJ Abrams carried on with the entire trilogy, for better or worse, I think it would of maybe felt a little more coherent. It’s a good film, it’s just different to what I was expecting. Over time I expect to fall more in love with it.

Ethan | I was expecting great things… and there were some truly spectacular moments… but it seems like every movie these days is a setup for more movies to make some more money.

  • Who’s Snoke? Who cares. 
  • Who are Reys Parents? Doesn’t matter. 
  • There’s some darkness calling to me - Big boring mirror. 
  • I’m the last Jedi! - Skypes into a meeting.
  • Captain Phasma looks important - Falls into hole.
  • We’re escaping to this awesome Rebel base - 10 crop dusters/big garage door.
  • Push apprentice to the dark side - Not my problem/Island holiday

Though, the lightsaber fight was the best to date, and light speeding through Snokes ship... Amazeballs.

Damien | I was expecting darkness, tension and answers to several big questions that I and a great many others have been mulling over for the last two years. I was expecting the quality storytelling and tension I had seen in The Force Awakens and Rogue One and instead, I think we went backwards. Reducing key villains to comedy sideshows and the premature killing off one of the most mysterious and talked about villains in the entire franchise puts this episode into almost teeny bopper candy fodder for me. Not since Vader or Palpatine have we had a Star Wars villain that holds the imagination such as Snoke and killing him off after only two scenes and learning absolutely nothing about him has deprived the series of a world class bad guy - something every franchise needs. It was bloated, video game story telling, bereft of the tragedy and drama of Empire Strikes back and Rogue One. The tweens will love it.

Samara | I was expecting Luke to be the baddie. I must admit, I was swayed by all those Reddit conspiracies about the baddie taking the back and centre position on the poster. And I was expecting to find out more about Rey’s history and who her parents were. Other than that, I was trying my hardest to stay expectation free, because there’s so much hype with these movies, I didn’t want to be disappointed. All in all, my expectations were dashed – Luke wasn’t the baddie, although he did have a pansy attitude I didn’t really enjoy, especially after watching three films about his relentless pursuit of fighting the dark side. Overall, I’d classify the film as being similar to putting on a freshly washed pair of jeans. You know they’re your favourite – loved and worn to an inch of their life. But now slightly too tight and a little starchy. Uncomfortable. But you just push through, hoping they’ll get better soon.

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What was your biggest surprise? 

George | The tone of the film. Rather than aping the style set in the first six films *cough* J.J. *cough*, it paid homage and then Johnson made it his own. It showed that we can laugh at more than just droids bumping into stuff. There were shots that were jaw-droppingly gorgeous and reminded you that we were travelling to strange new worlds rather than just another North-African sand plant. We had complex themes about the grey line between the dark and the light. Where Rogue One dropped all the character development in the final third to deliver action without any real tension, The Last Jedi was a film where we can talk about complexity in reference to the character’s emotions rather than McGuffin trade politics.

Dan | I surprisingly loved the Porgs way more than expected. I expected them to be another cringey Star Wars animal that was about to become the new binks of the universe, but alas, the cuteness got to me. Maybe it’s the similarities to pugs. It’s the eyes, they carry all the emotion!

Ethan | I was surprised at how fast... or slow spaceships go… you can warp to light speed easy enough, but can't do a fraction of that speed to catch a dinky little ship. And apparently cannons aren’t effective past what seems like an insignificant distance…   

Damien | The reveal of Rey’s parents being nothing more than junk rats who sold her off for drinking money. I swore that there would be some sort of familial connection between Rey and…. someone! But I was pleasantly surprised that the big twist was that she was just some orphan from Jakku. I’m totally on board with this development, even if I hold out some hope that there is yet some twist in the offing. 

Samara | I was surprised at the number of pointless scenes in the movie. In my mind, great storytelling comes from seamless surprises, coming together and revealing themselves in a way where every single scene has purpose and ties into the future of the story. This didn’t happen with the sparkly Vegas-like city, or the discord and mutiny between the Rebels. What was the point of it all, except to kill time. What good did it add to the movie? The codebreaker didn’t come through. They didn’t even find the right one – who was that guy even? And especially when the acting leader sacrificed herself for the good of the cause. It did nothing expect portray Po as the new Han Solo – reckless, but for what cause. All kind of just pointless. 

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Who is your favourite character in The Last Jedi?

George | Luke. He wasn’t the Jedi Master that we expected but then neither was Yoda when we first encountered him. I thought Hamill gave a gritty, nuanced performance, that showed us the weight that he was carrying. It was a real, rather than heroic path for the character that carried emotional heft. 

Dan | Kylo Ren. I think I’m becoming an Adam Driver super fan. The emotion and depth that Adam Driver brings to the role is incredible. I want to know more about this character, I want to buy his merchandise. I want him to rule the galaxy with Rey!

Ethan | Poe. He seemed like the only person in the film that was good at their job - and he’s a great troll.

Damien | It’s Rey and Ren. Whenever they were interacting with each other and onscreen together, there was a sort of chemistry that was really compelling. I hope Episode 9 plays on this and tries to breathe some tension into the final episode by teasing out this chemistry through this compelling connection they seem to have even as they represent opposing sides of the force. 

Samara | Definitely that adorable creature from the casino – the one that was obsessed with the gold. #adorbs. 

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If you were a Jedi or a Sith what type of lightsaber would you have and what colour would it be? Why?

George | Shiny green like Luke’s in RotJ. I always liked the shot of him on Jabba’s Skiff facing down the laser howitzer. As a seven year-old I thought it was just the coolest.

Dan | I’d definitely be dual-wielding lightsabers. One blade is slightly longer than the second, much like Ahsoka Tano in the Clone Wars (animated series). In terms of colour, let’s go purple and orange. Eventually I would become a grey Jedi, but that’s another story. 

Ethan | Orange saber, matte black hilt. Maybe a guard to stop my hands from getting chopped off. And a little more reach than your standard lightsaber

Damien It’d be a nice blue lightsaber. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon, for a more civilised age. But I’d also like to add a prediction here: In episode 9, Rey will build her own lightsaber and it will be a dual bladed lightsaber ala Darth Maul. Mark my words.

Samara | definitely dual wielding katana type lightsabers – allowing me to be nimble, like an assassin. Dark purple would be my colour.

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Rank the Star Wars movies from best to worst (from the core 8 so far)

George

  • Empire Strikes Back
  • The Last Jedi
  • A New Hope
  • The Force Awakens
  • Return of the Jedi
  • The Phantom Menace
  • Attack of the Clones
  • Revenge of the Sith

Dan | For me, the order is probably something like:

  • Empire Strikes Back
  • A New Hope
  • The Force Awakens
  • Return of the Jedi
  • Revenge of the Sith
  • The Phantom Menace
  • The Last Jedi
  • Attack of the Clones

I know this is going to be a controversial order, though it’s my list, so whatever. If you really want some epic Star Wars, I would add The Clone Wars Animated Series to the top of that list. Probably followed by Star Wars Rebels.

Ethan

  • Revenge of the Sith
  • Attack of the clones
  • The Phantom menace
  • The Last Jedi
  • The Force Awakens
  • Return of the Jedi
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • A New Hope

Damien | This is actually harder to answer than you think…. so to make it easier, I’m going to say that the Original trilogy (as a block of movies) comes first, the final trilogy (Eps 7 and 8 so far) are coming second and we all know where that leaves the prequels…. Whether the final trilogy beats the original trilogy will depend on how the franchise redeems itself after The Last Jedi.

Samara | I liked them all. Yep. I’m that person. Well except for Rogue One. Hated that. No happy ending there. TWSS.

ethan_amundsen_jarjar

Biggest disappointment of The Last Jedi? If anything.

George | Finn and Rose’s Space Vegas adventure. I love both the characters, and I get that they wanted to highlight connection between what the Rebellion was doing and the 99% but it felt unnecessary and never really held any tension. Runners-up: SuperLeia and her Amazing, Anti-freeze Eyeballs; Crystal Critters; woeful underuse of Space Brienne

Dan | That moment where Leia was blasted into space. Started to frost over, twitched and then space wizarded back to the ship. That was just the worst. I don’t doubt that Leia that force abilities but that was pretty ridiculous and a complete cringe fest as a lifelong fan of Star Wars and everything the Force offers. I also think we could've skipped the Space Vegas adventure, unless of course it delivered a Billy Dee Williams aka Lando Calrissian cameo at the casino.

Ethan | Lightsaber fights… there was one, which was amazing!! But maybe another one... Also why didn't Luke do some cool stuff before he assimilated with the force. He could have lifted his X-Wing out of the water, showed up IRL, and used some awesome force powers. Also… how did those bombs fall down towards that ship… It can’t create that much gravity.  

Damien | The storyline in general. A significant amount of the Last Jedi was really quite prosaic. The mission that Finn and Rose went on was just filler - “Oh, they can track us, let's go find a code breaker” - all in response to a problem that was magically presented to them 20 minutes before that had never existed previously. The whole idea of the Rebel fleet flying just out of range of the First Order’s fleet reminded me of Fast and The Furious 7 where they had a scene on a plane that was taking off that lasted 25 minutes - that’s one hell of a long runway! It didn’t generate any high tension, it was kinda average. And as I’ve said before, they killed off the most interesting bad guy in the whole trilogy. 

Samara | My biggest disappointment was that it just felt so ‘middle’. Action-packed, but with no real purpose or conclusions because there’s another whole movie to come.

caretakers

Expectations for the final instalment + final rating 

George | With J.J. back in the director’s seat, I think we’ll get a film big on heart and set pieces with some fun additional characters but low on depth – kind of like an intergalactic happy meal. Rey is definitely not related to anyone of significance. Poe will sacrifice himself for the greater good. Kylo Ren will ultimately be undone by his belief that “Might is Right”. Hux will try to backstab Ren and get the death he deserves. Phasma returns as some kind of cyborg. Finn and Rose will couple up but it won’t work out. R2-D2 will die. The final shot will be of Luke looking on approvingly as Rey finds her own way without destroying everything that came before. 85%

Dan | I feel like The Last Jedi closed off a lot of the groundwork that was laid down in The Force Awakens. For example, Snoke, Rey’s parents, the force etc. And while rewatching The Force Awakens in preparation for The Last Jedi my mind was buzzing with questions and possibilities. Though coming out of The Last Jedi I don’t quite feel the same way. Sure we’ll have a Rey / Kylo showdown at some point where he’ll no doubt almost die and come to regret is decision to follow the path of the Sith. But other than that, where are we going? Does it even matter? Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to be there, I’m still going to be excited. It’s just The Last Jedi wasn’t quite the story I would have told. I enjoyed it overall, but as they say in the business “fix it in post” could probably transform this movie from great to amazing! 80%

Ethan | Cantina music cold open. Setup for the next set of movies and games. No answers. 2 hours of filler. Lando cameo. Disposable cute creature. Reuse all existing IP from previous movies to make you think it was a good film. A few good bits 75%

Damien | Well, after The Force Awakens and Rogue One, I had some pretty high expectations. I was blown away by how well these stories were being told and the feelings they generated within me - now I feel like I’ve seen the weakest of the modern Star Wars movies, so I’m hoping that episode 9 comes back with a vengeance and redeems some of the lack of imagination and video game storytelling of episode 8. Final rating for ep 8: 70% (I’m still a massive fanboy, so 70% is pretty generous).

Samara | Watchable. Not awesome, but not terrible either. I give it 70%.

lastjedi

dan_whiting

Author: @daniel_whiting

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi | Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi | Review

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