Thursday, January 04, 2018
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Short review: I loved it)...
It is funny when you go and see a film that you really think you are going to love and then you just do not. Or you go and see a film that you think will be dreadful and you simply love it and wonder why everyone else doesn’t. Even when those two films can be very similar. So why the disparity?
I can’t help but think that a large part of the whole experience of ‘liking’ or ‘not liking’ a film is not only whether it is objectively ‘any good’ or not (although that is pretty damned important!) but also what your expectation is when you enter the auditorium.
Some films are described as critic-proof i.e. no one cares what the critics say - people will go and see them anyway. And indeed Star Wars films are generally in that category. People will go and see them regardless of the reviews.
So, it was interesting that pretty much all the paper reviews for The Last Jedi across the board were 5 star ones. Were we being set up for a big disappointment?
And then the initial fans got to watch it. Those people who booked ahead. Long before any reviews had come out. And I think it’s fair to say it divided opinion. Some said they hated it. Well, many did in fact. Either hated it or found it boring. It currently has one of the lowest fan ratings of any Star Wars film including (yes, including) The Phantom Menace! So is that the disappointment talking? Were their expectations too high?
I went to go and see it today. And my expectations were pretty low. I’d seen what the fans were saying. I was ‘expecting’ a dog of a film.
And surprise, surprise… I loved it.
First the bad points: We spent a bit too much time in Casino City, and a bit too much time and angst on the Island. And there were quite a few plot holes (just how did Rey get on the MF at the end?)
But these bad points were completely overwhelmed by the good points.
I loved almost everything else about the film. It was funny, had great new characters, and there was lots of strong character development of existing favourites. Actually, the whole narrative direction of the film was driven by said character development (a good thing).
There was lots and lots of action, some cool special effects, and I especially loved the scene on the salt flats (filmed in the Bolivian Desert near where we were last week) and all that red dust.
I loved the episodic nature of the piece, there were some great twists, Laura Dern was amazing, and there was genuine tension as to whether characters would die or not. We have Rogue to thank for that I guess.
I loved the new comedy creatures (Porgs?), Daisy and Adam were simply brilliant, and I simply wanted it to go on and on.
So have you seen it? If not, have I modified your expectation? Will you now hate it? Or just find it boring? Let me know.