by Peter Niverth ’18
As the eighth installment in the long line of Star Wars films, which span four decades, “The Last Jedi” aimed to set itself apart from the rest. The film’s storyline allowed it to do just that, while also having a unique mix of old and new traditions.
Throughout the film, the viewer was reminded of the traditional Star Wars which everyone has come to know. The scrolling text which leads to ships in flight in the vastness of space is a scene not uncommon to the franchise.
In an ode to tradition, the lead roles were shared by the protagonists of the new trilogy, Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) alongside those from the original trilogy, Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
The different methods utilized by each actor, new and old, meshed beautifully together to create a new tone not seen in any other Star Wars film to date. From Poe’s arrogance as a rebel pilot to Leia’s confidence as a commander. From Rey’s naive view of the force to Luke’s guilt tormented view.
As it has come to be expected of the Star Wars saga, “The Last Jedi” demonstrated incredible visual effects and action sequences. The final confrontation between the rebellion and First Order, led by the sith Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), on the planet Crait embodies every expectation on its own. As the resistance ships flew over the salt covered planet, plumes of red minerals followed in their wake with an awe-inspiring appearance. The enormous machines that resemble AT-ATs from “The Empire Strikes Back” add to the desperation of the resistance, as they make their final stand.
The lightsaber battle between the unlikely team of Rey and Kylo Ren against Supreme Leader Snoke’s (Andy Serkis) bodyguards similarly stands out as impressive. With flips, flashing lightsabers and an impressive display of strength by Rey, the battle royale keeps the viewer unable to turn away.
Though the film aims to keep certain Star Wars traditions alive, it also seeks to be seen as its own original film. Director Rian Johnson weaves the idea of leaving the past behind into many aspects of the film. In fact, this idea is what drives Kylo Ren in his quest for power.
Since Rey’s origin was made unclear in “The Force Awakens,” many hoped she would be linked to a powerful jedi from the past, such as the Skywalker family. In “The Last Jedi,” Johnson made it clear that the past would not matter and instead elected to have Rey’s parents be meaningless scavenger with no connection to the force.
Despite the effort to forget the past, “The Last Jedi” is central in the plot of Star Wars as a whole and could be seen as one of the best.