Definite spoilers for The Last Jedi ahead…
Let’s cut to the chase, I think the folks at Huffington Post have done everyone who watched The Last Jedi a service with their latest story. I’ve teed-up that post and have added some other excellent stops along the information superhighway to round out today’s trip around the Saga’s universe. Punch it!
The Last Jedi: The explanation you’re looking for….
HuffPost Reporter Bill Bradley has done it. We now have some definitive thoughts from the creators regarding the ending of The Last Jedi. Seriously, if you haven’t watched the film (?) turn back now.
Bradley quoted Johnson as saying:
I think definitely the act of what he does at the end literally just takes everything out of him. That’s a huge thing. Also … he’s having his final act be something of myth-making in a way.
Okay, so there’s your answer about why exactly Luke disappears (for the second time) after he falls on the rock-altar on Ahch-to.
‘What do you think one guy walking out there with a lightsaber [can do]?’… Create a legend that will spread hope. And once he’s done that, combined with the physical toll it’s taken on him, you can make the case that then there’s nothing more powerful that he could accomplish.
The piece includes other essential notes from Johnson, Editor Bob Ducsay, and VFX Supervisor Ben Morris and ranks as the most comprehensive explanation from the filmmakers.
I am hoping that we get as complete a discussion via commentary on an upcoming Blu-ray.
How not to watch a movie
Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post’s film critic, recently addressed the vocal fan backlash regarding Episode VIII in a commentary entitled, “The Last Jedi backlash provides a useful primer in how not to watch a movie.”
She wrote: Granted, many of “The Last Jedi’s” detractors have valid points… But much of the backlash echoes Hamill’s own candid admission: This isn’t my Star Wars. Subtext: Because Star Wars is all about the fans, and because it doesn’t adhere to this fan’s deeply personal expectations, sense memories and demands, it can be rejected with extreme prejudice.
Here is where Hornaday, who gave The Last Jedi a three-star out of four review, departs from the critics. She explains that critiquing film is not an exercise in saying whether a film “sucks” or not, but is slightly more complex, and requires some difficult mental exercises to be done correctly.
The challenge of critical thinking is to take pure subjectivity out of the equation so that your own idiosyncratic biases, blind spots, fetishistic likes and dislikes are, if not erased, at least put to the side, to better allow the movie be what it set out to be… But the most crucial starting point for viewers should be going into the theater as a tabula rasa, as blank a slate as possible, the better for a film to leave them surprised, delighted and perhaps permanently changed.
A blank slate, and sound advice that seemed to be ignored by many who brought their own headcanon with them into the theater. And, truth be told, I left my first viewing of The Last Jedi visually perplexed; enough so that my wife, frustrated, finally asked, “Well did you like it or not?”
I did like it. However, my second viewing provided my definitive answer (4.5 of 5 stars), but I think a tweet from Forbes Scott is the best short-form rebuttal to the backlash:
Upon my second viewing of #StarWars #TheLastJedi, I've gone from "Art is subjective and smart/thoughtful moviegoers can disagree." to "What the hell is wrong with you people!?! This everything we say we want!"
— Scott Mendelson (@ScottMendelson) January 6, 2018
The Last Jedi: Still Kicking Butt
Speaking of Scott, Mendelson gives another brief capsulization of the business side of The Last Jedi in his latest “#BoxOffice” blog for Forbes:
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is essentially performing like Rogue One on steroids despite the insane overperformance of Jumanji. The Rian Johnson sci-fi actioner earned another $6.584 million to bring its domestic cume to $555.4m domestic… So it’s still kicking butt by any standard other than maybe The Force Awakens, and, even with just $19m in two days in China, it should be over $1.2 billion by tomorrow. If it continues to play like Rogue One, then it is 89% finished and will end its run with $639 million in North America. That’ll be enough to be the fifth-biggest grosser ever…
So much for a box office flop…
Into the VOID
After visiting the opening ceremony, interviewing the creators, and experiencing the attraction at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, Mike wrote:
The simplest way I can put it is to think of advanced virtual reality, but moving through real, physical space. You’ll walk through hallways, ride shuttles and lifts, and face off against the Empire with you and group of three other participants. If you see a wall, or lever, or even a droid in front of you, reach out and touch it. It will be there.
Be sure to visit Inside the Magic for more. Celestino has enough pictures, prose, and video (I’ve posted one below) to bring you as close as you can to experiencing the “Secrets of the Empire” before heading to a Disney Park in Florida or California.