This post has taken me a little over a week to make. To be honest I have not read the entire 70 plus pages before my post. I want to post my thoughts with as little influence as possible. As I do use logic and reasoning for some aspects of my life, my opinion is subject to change with presented reasoning.
I wish to take you on a journey. To experience this journey I will present certain very real facts about my life. This journey is shared by me from my perspective. I will hit subjects that some may find controversial or offensive. If you only value your view of the universe, then I advise you to skip my post in its entirety.
I am almost 40 years old IRL. I was born in 1978. For those of you who didn’t get to experience growing up in the 80’s I would like to reference the character Mike from Stranger Things. That happens to be my name and I was very much that kid. There was not a media saturation like there is today. Choosing fictional role models for pretend play was limited to Star Wars and a few cartoons such as GI Joe and Transformers. Almost every kid I knew was either into one of these things, or sports. That was it. I still have my original green lightsaber from ROTJ. Shooting at the TV from behind the couch was still a fun game. Pretending to use the force was still a fun game.
Last week I went to the first showing of The Last Jedi. Like I have been to the first showing of every SW movie since The Phantom Menace. Things have changed drastically. In 1999 the theatre was like a comic con convention (mind you those weren’t real big yet in 99 either). Fans like myself erupted into thunder when the movie started. Yes Jar Jar was horrible. Anakin acted like a kid, and Maul left us way too early. But it wasn’t terrible. It had its good points that I will save for another time.
I cosplayed a Chiss Sith Lord for EP II.
Now I can’t carry a lightsaber into a theatre. Toy lightsabers have been banned by all major movie chains.......
take a moment to process what real danger a toy replica presents. NOT perceived danger, but a real one.
The theatre that I seen TLJ in was as tame as a bunch of brain washed clones awaiting instructions. I alone ignighted a lightsaber on my phone. It hurts to experience something as joyful as celebrating a Star Wars movie, to going to its funeral with a whimper.
To give you further perspective I want to drag you back with me to 1995. Star Wars was almost 20 years old. New action figures and toys were being made for the first time in 11 years. As a late teenager Star Wars still hadn’t died with me. In fact new novels were coming out. That road would continue for about another 10 years. Heir to the Empire trilogy brought new and great characters to Star Wars and expanded the universe. Here is a fun fact about that. Coruscant as the imperial home world was written about in those books. George Lucas approved and wrote it into the revised ROTJ ending, and later TPM. A lot of EU things came through in the prequels as reference. Luke’s Journey from Jedi Knight to Jedi master took years of dedication and hardship through these times.
Video games started expanding the universe even more. The Jedi Knight series, Shadows of the Empire, Rogue Squadron and Knights of the Old Republic.
I started playing the West End Games RPG with friends around 2000. For those of you who have never experienced a tabletop RPG game please allow me to illustrate a brief explanation. It’s basically improv theatre with skill and dice to define a characters outline. Touching on philosophy and psychology here, your conscience mind can be argued as the sum of every person you meet. Real...or fictional. Though your sense of reason defines the difference between fiction and non, your sub conscience that truly drives your process has no idea. The short answer is called influence. Those who study the Christian bible lean towards becoming Christ like. Those who keep pace with thugs, tend to become a thug etc. I picked up roles in the Star Wars universe.
I explained my perspective of the past to outline my perspective of the present. As we start I do understand that this is just a movie. But certain truths are universal through fiction and non. To ignore those fundamentals insults the intelligence of the viewer. Where good consumption of media can raise your ideas of any subject, bad media consumption can do just the opposite. I may not have all the discussed scenes in the correct order. I did only see the movie once.
The opening scenes showed Poe exchanging some comedic banter with General Hux. While I enjoyed the scene, any halfway respectable naval officer would have simply shot him. But this is a PG movie, so let’s ignore that and move on.
The dreadnought. Ahh what a mighty ship. Real Dreadnoughts go by another name. Battleships. They are heavily armored and used as battle ready command ships in both fiction and real world. But seeing this thing taken out by a lone X-Wing and a single cluster bomb was heart breaking. It served no purpose to the story to do this, other than making Rose’s sister look like a hero which could have been done a hundred different ways if it were so important. But let’s focus on the ship for a moment. as a 3rd grader I would have designed it to withstand more. Am I supposed to believe that 60 years of wartime data has led the First Order to grossly negligent engineering oversite. But hey, these are the same people who made a 3rd Death Star thing that was blown up like the previous two.
Moving on. Poe is self justified and acting immature. This character is supposed to be the hot shot pilot of the resistance. He is also supposed to be a grown man. As a viewer I would expect that this character portrayed as the best pilot in the resistance has been in more than a few battles. He had obtained a leadership role in the form of commander I believe. With military advancement (even in a disorganized group of gurreilla fighters) he should have learned to respect his chain of command by now. Even if not, he should have learned to read a battlefield better than he did. I have witnessed Boy Scouts show more discipline than him as a commander and the best resistance pilot. His actions did not reflect his experience. And if the resistance had any form of actual discipline, Poe would have been detained and court marshaled, not demoted. The rebels in the original trilogy showed discipline and respect. They were much better quality fighters than the resistance is showing to be.
Oh but wait. I can hear the haters seething that I’m taking it too serious. But stay on this ride with me. I will address that also.
Luke tosses the lightsaber. TFA set up one of the best cliff hangers in modern cinema. Almost everyone agreed on that. Let’s pause for a moment and discuss this in detail. Luke knows how rare a lightsaber is in the galaxy. The emotion portrayed in his face in TFA conveyed his understanding of the magnitude of what was being handed to him. This lightsaber that was built by his father, giving to him by his master, used for years of training and lost when his hand was dismembered...somehow shows up in the hands of a force sensitive girl who finds him in seclusion on an island he purposely took great lengths to hide on. To have him toss it away like garbage is an expression of having no sentiment, and no empathy. No understanding of a larger picture that was probably orchestrated through the force. In other words Luke has turned away from that which he had dedicated his life to.
That is profound. And that has been a major source of argument for this movie. The portrayal of Luke Skywalker. One side of the argument says that this is not how Luke should be (including Mark Hamill). The other side of the argument says so what, that’s how it was written. I’ll play devils advocate here for a moment. This is not how I would have written the character. IRL I have been a martial artist. I am a warrior poet. I still train myself with my body and weapons. I have known plenty of warriors. And a person never stops being that warrior. My uncle had his own dojo. 3rd degree Blackbelt. He is 70 years old and I have no doubt that he could still lay down smack. To see this in Luke is to say that the writer has no understanding of a warrior, or perhaps Luke really is severely crippling depressed and lost. For argument sake, let’s assume the latter and that this is the darkest place the writer could take Luke.
Walrus space boob milk. This seemed like veganism propaganda shoved into a pop culture film more than anything. Really just unnecessary.
I liked the Porgs. Loved the scene of Chewie roasting one. More vegan propaganda, but tasteful and well done.
Oh BTW full disclosure, I belong to a few animal rights groups. Not the SJW kind, but the save an abused animal, stop useless destruction of eco systems for profit kind. Responsible conservation includes and is funded by hunting. So I have plenty of vegan friends who try to convert me. That’s why I can spot vegan arguments a mile away.
Carrie Fisher. It’s sad that she passed. But it happens to all of us. Even you devoted reader. It’s obvious that she won’t be coming back for IX. The scene of her floating in space should have been the end of it. Leia had no other impact on the rest of the film. It would have been a fitting send off for her and her character. Getting that kind of opportunity is so rare. And it was squandered. We are all made of stars and dust, and to them we shall return.
Side quest with a coward and useless character. Terrible. All around. But I’m going there anyway. This is what I took from it. The rich could care less who’s life’s are ruined so long as they are making money to squander on frivolous things. Oh and animals get mistreated for entertainment. To some degree this is an accurate portrayal of a group of rich people. It only takes 10 seconds in a corporate culture, Vegas, or by watching the Real Housewife’s of who gives a..... to see this. But the flip side is there are more people doing well with money than not. Capitalist countries have lower starvation rates, better health care, better quality of living. Does it meet everyone’s expectation of fair? No. But it’s better than other systems that have come before it. Like anything, responsible people are the difference.
Another relevant point from my perspective is my job. I’m President and part owner of a multimillion dollar corporation in Texas. I built this company from a two man operation to having 18 full time employees. Paid vacation days, paid holidays and a sad health care plan. But not everything is perfect and I build upon what I have to make it better.
On the mistreatment of animals though. Our company sponsors one of our employees grandsons. One of them is a bareback bronco rider, the other is a calf roper. My wife is a real cowgirl who was a barrel racer and Star 4H member. The animals get treated with so much respect and care that could not be understood by an outsider. This portrayal was not accurate for an American culture. But Star Wars is not just American. Maybe this is how it’s done in other countries, or galaxies far far away. I just hate to see inaccurate film portrayals.
Rey’s darkside vision was okay. The facing of ones self through a vision has happened across all known times and cultures. The term is called inner reflection. It’s something I do regularly, and something I can tell that some don’t do at all. Chief Sitting Bull wrote a proverb about the two wolves living inside him. I suggest reading it. This vision is needed for any who walk a path of the warrior, the philosopher, or the teacher (or all three).
The slow chase scene. I liked it. Logistics win wars. It’s why America built an interstate system after WWII. If supplies run out, the effort is done. Look at the panic and poor decisions made by Poe during this time. Alfred H Lewis said we are 9 meals from Anarchy. The unprepared mind always reacts this way. It’s human nature.
The scene between R2 and Luke was very moving. When Luke said there was nothing R2 could say or do and he plays the hologram. I was like “ Well F”. I questioned if my feelings toward this scene were purely nostalgic. But I don’t believe so. Seeing old photos, talking with old friends, listening to music we cared for when going through transformative stages in our lives has an effect of reminding our conscience self of who we were in a different time. This realization comes from age and experience. But I think the younger viewers only counted this as fan service due to not having the age or experience for themselves.
Deltoro. He is scum. He acted like scum. No more. No less.
Killing Snoke. About two weeks before TLJ came out I was talking to an author friend of mine about her next book. I explained that not every character had to have a story arc. Use a character to fill a need and leave it at that. Try to not to make it obvious that’s what your doing, but not every question your reader has needs to be answered. I even explained to her that this is rarely done in movies with main characters because all three acts are crammed into 2 hours. Snoke proved me wrong. I’m not sure if it was bad writing or good writing. Like all art it’s personal interpretation that matters.
Liked Laura Dern’s character. But killed uselessly. She could have been Leia’s replacement had she been left to stars. We can argue about feminism here, but sometimes you need to shut up and listen to your mom, wife or other female leader. We are build differently and should respect our differences.
I didn’t like the spelling of Krayt being changed to Crait. I was listening for a Dragon the whole time. I wondered if they are two different planets. I did read a theory that’s it’s a Babylonian effect of different spellings of the same word from two different races. Not a bad theory.
I did like the force connection between Rey and Kylo. I didn’t mind the shirtless scene. I’m surprised it’s come up in conversation as much as it has. Plenty of Star Wars women showed skin on film. I personally enjoyed it being a man. I think it’s great that a woman might enjoy the same guilty pleasure from seeing a man who sculpts himself to be more physically desirable.
I liked Kylo and Rey’s team up.
I thought killing Phasma or at the very least being beat by weak sauce borderline pacifist Finn was useless (tbh I like John Boyega more than I like Finn). And yes he should have died to save every one. It can be argued that his willingness to self sacrifice is just as redeeming (of cowardice) as actually sacrificing himself.
The line of dialog that Rose delivered to Finn. I’m paraphrasing here, “We win by doing what we love, not by destroying what we hate”. This was great. However I thought this dialog would have been more profound coming from Luke to Kylo. Though I do agree that sometimes you have to destroy the things that try to destroy you, and it’s easy to hate those things that try to destroy you, but let’s go back to one of my earlier points. You are dying. Do what you love today. Tomorrow may not come. If hating others because of a different perspective or opinion is what you love, then perhaps you should reflect on your own principles.
I was fine with Luke’s passing. Though I don’t think they told Mark Hamill. I think he is getting the David Prowse treatment because he disagrees with the writing. I believe they CGI’d his death.
At the end of it all here is my summary. It is not the movie I would have written. It had large useless plot holes. Even if it was meant for kids I believe it missed that mark also. Not much was kid or even teen friendly in my opinion. It also insulted the intelligence of adults. I feel as if it tried to be so different that it ended up being empty. I fully expected the first order to have the upper hand. This is Achto (act 2). Im not upset that things didn’t go how I imagined. I’m glad that it was unexpected. But I think it was unexpected in a bad way. I’m still undecided if I hate this movie or not. And like all good art it is meant to be provocative. So maybe it got it completely right through the 4th wall of the audience. It has been provocative.
All art is story telling. Every painting, song, film and sculpture tells a story. Star Wars is art. Whether we pass stories to each other through fiction or non is irrelevant. The impact it has on you is what you allow it to be. Bad story telling is like eating a bad apple. It is unpleasant.
What I don’t like is how bad it has divided the fans. I gave a lot of my personal story here to offer perspective. Star Wars has been a major part of my life. And I am unapologetic about being a fan boy. But there is more to me, and other fan boys. I have been through trials of manhood. I’m a successful leader in my business and community. I give others a hand up when I can. I am a warrior. To be trolled by another fan saddens me a little. Not for personal reasons. I know who I am, and I’m confident and secure in knowing that I’m not the person I’m being portrayed as. When someone lashes out and calls me, or someone who shares my opinion a butt hurt fan boy, cry baby, or other derogatory term. It contrasts the unwillingness to learn from each other with respect. We each have a universe inside of us. We are each so much more than the labels thrown at us. But if you act like a troll, you will be treated like one. Maybe take a moment and realize that the fanboy has experienced a personal loss. Maybe that person hasn’t dealt with it yet. You never know what another person is experiencing. And so long as you throw insults, you never will. The dedicated fanboys are why we have comic cons, a golden age of good super hero movies, and a Star Wars revival. Maybe show a little common respect to those who came before you. And understand that most views and hurt come from a place of love and passion. Learn from those who came before you. Go see your parents or grand parents without an agenda. You may find that there is wisdom in learning from their mistakes, and guarding that which they pass to you.
The fanboys should accept that things change, for better or worse. No one is stopping you from watching ESB, re reading Shadows of the Empire, or inviting a few friends over for a rebellion era RPG. Or perhaps change your perspective. I have started to see some great concepts come from this movie. And as always, it’s from fans...new and old.
But...Star Wars has passed on. The generation who has come after me has a different view of the world than I do. It seems as if they want to fix everything by destroying everything and point to how great it is. But it’s ok. It is their turn to take the driver seat. Experience consequences of actions. Learn a little self reflection and decide which wolf to feed.
Thank you for sitting through this. There are many points I skipped over as I took enough digital space for this. Keep the discussion open with honor and a willingness to listen instead of respond.