Reel Reviews: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

By on December 20, 2017


I was working as a manager/projectionist at a small independent theater when “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” opened in 1999. I watched the trailer literally hundreds of times. I read every piece of conjecture and sought out every nugget of info prior to its release. I couldn’t get enough … and I was eventually underwhelmed.

Ever since then, I’ve been a bit apprehensive about getting caught up in the hype of another new Star Wars movie. I look forward to release dates just as much as any intergalactic junkie, but the magic, for me, just isn’t the same. I held fast to the belief “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” was the best film in the franchise. My mind may just have changed.

Without going into too much detail, but without avoiding spoilers (you’ve been warned) here is a list of my highlights from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

A compassionate Wookie. Seeing Chewbacca getting ready to mow down on a fire-roasted, puffin-like Porg only to be shamed by a handful of the creatures (called a murder) was hilarious.

Fun stuff. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” puts the fun back in the franchise. Where episodes one through three gave us sap, romance, and a bit of stupidity, episode eight rekindles the smiles once brought on by Ewoks smashing scout walkers with logs or the witty banter between Chewie and Han (but not Han and Leia). Even Skywalker is back poking some fun. Also, can you spot Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Probably not as he is just a voice actor in this film, but he is in there! The only reason I noticed was because I stuck around to read the credits.

Luke’s not dead. C’mon! The biggest spoiler circulating surrounds the death of Luke Skywalker. Any real Star Wars fan knows he lives on through The Force. We’ll see him again in the next episode — he’ll just have a certain glow about him.

Hyperspace kamikaze. Vice Admiral Holdo’s (Laura Dern) attempt to save the Rebels from certain demise by hyperdrive-piloting her vessel into an Empire command ship may be one of the best scenes in movie history. Truly jaw-dropping, I rank this scene up there with Robert Downey Jr.’s fight scene in “Sherlock Holmes,” or with Kurt Russel’s “You tell ‘em I’m comin’” in “Tombstone.” I want to see this movie again in the theaters just to see this clip once more on a big screen.

The epic returns. There is little downtime in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” The action starts right away and continues at a dizzying pace, which leads into one epic scene after another. Whether it is a visually stunning landscape or a simple character cameo, the force is strong with this tale.

“The new Star Wars is very well-made, as movies go, but what the hell is wrong with screenwriters these days? Have they forgotten how to write? Not since Damon Lindelof’s now-infamous work in ‘Prometheus’ has such an easy slam-dunk been so painfully bungled through messy contrivances and lazy disregard for the source material,” wrote my friend Ed from Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

That’s a heady statement, but he is a an IT guy with a degree in English literature. I guess I can best be described as a Star Wars apologist. Essentially, anything Star Wars is okay with me.

“It’s not a perfect movie by any means,” writes Jesse S. of Lancaster. “Though some people are clamoring about some of the unanswered questions, remember that we didn’t get all the answers even with the completed original trilogy. ‘Last Jedi’ had me invested just about the whole way through. Really enjoyed it — even the Porgs.”

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at

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