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Star Wars Disenchantment

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The Last Jedi is a masterpiece, quite possibly the best film ever made. The way it subverted the apes' expectations was particularly clever on tRIANmphent Johnson's part, making everyone hate it and then, when J.J. returns for the final installment, people will herald it as a masterstroke, realizing once and for all The Last Jedi was not a failure, but one piece of a larger picture!

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I'm sure many of you have dreamed of my return to this topic. It will come as a surprise to none that I have some more thoughts to share. I'll start with this:

 

Rian Johnson's "pure instinct" explanation/excuse for Luke's actions in TLJ does not make sense. After Luke Skywalker saved his father from the Dark Side, he started a Jedi Academy. Roughly 20 years later, Luke had the "pure instinct" to KILL one of his students - his own sleeping nephew, Ben - because he had sensed the Dark Side in him, as well as some dark deeds that Ben hadn't yet committed.

 

Unfortunately for the audience, Rian Johnson failed to show...

 

... how Jedi Academy Instructor Luke Skywalker fell from grace to arrive at that "moment of pure instinct".

... how (and why) Snoke turned Ben's heart to the Dark Side
... how (and why) didn't Luke prevent - or attempt to sway - Ben from turning to the Dark Side, even though he had "sensed [the Dark Side within Ben] in moments in his training"
... why Ben didn't come to Luke, his instructor and uncle, for help.
... why, after one major mistake, Luke completely gave up on his friends and family.
 
Some will say that there is a difference between conscious (realization) and unconscious ("pure instinct") actions. But that concept does not apply here since Luke CONSCIOUSLY allowed Ben to succumb to the Dark Side during his training, CONSCIOUSLY avoided talking to Ben about it, CONSCIOUSLY sneaked into Ben's abode in the middle of the night, CONSCIOUSLY Force read Ben's heart, and CONSCIOUSLY determined that he had turned to the Dark Side... and that Ben would be responsible for terrible deeds in the future... 'death and destruction of everything he knew'. Luke then CONSCIOUSLY unlatched his lightsaber from his belt and ignited it, CONSCIOUSLY thinking that he could get away with assassinating Ben... and then CONSCIOUSLY regretted his thoughts and actions. Though by then, is was too late since Ben had awoken.
 
ALL of these actions by Luke Skywalker fall under the banner of 'conscious sneaking' - rather than confrontation - to resolve an issue. This alone could be its own topic of discussion. Regardless, the "pure instinct" excuse is complete nonsense.

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Don't worry.  I'm sure Abrams will retcon everything in TLJ. 

 

Luke knows what someone who falls to Dark Side is capable of so it doesn't surprise me he would try to snuff it out before Ben commits atrocity. 

He admits he was wrong for doing what he did. As far as abandoning his family, Obi Wan and Yoda went into hiding too, so it's not that much of a stretch that Luke would go into isolation. 

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@Mattris I think you mean 'succumb', not 'cecum'?

 

Who gives a shit either way if Luke consciously acted on murdering Ben? From Luke's own perspective he was:

A) Emotionally compromised and 

B) Acted on pure impulse and instinct because he believed in that moment that Ben was a threat.

 

Either way, that was the point of Luke's failure, and as a flawed individual who then went into exile. He realized in the moment he went to strike Ben that it was a mistake, and then shit hit the fan when Ben realized and thought he was being betrayed by his uncle.

 

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11 hours ago, Demodex said:

Don't worry.  I'm sure Abrams will retcon everything in TLJ. 

 

If there's still an interesting discussion to be gleaned from this topic, its this one.

 

Personally, I don't think so. Abrams was an executive producer on the film, so he must have approved of what Rian Johnson was doing. Just because Abrams made a formulaic film in The Force Awakens, doesn't mean that he's a formulaic storyteller: that's just what was needed for The Force Awakens.

 

Besides, even if he wanted to retcon the film, how would he do that? Flashbacks would be the obvious choice, but the issue than becomes that Star Wars just doesn't do nonlinear. In the original sextet, there are no flashbacks, and no flash-forwards with the exception of a brief dream sequence in Revenge of the Sith. In the sequel trilogy, we had one flashback sequence (which also included a flashforward) in The Force Awakens, and another (that we returned to three times) in The Last Jedi. Even in the spinoffs, I seem to recall no more than one or two flashbacks in Rogue One, and that's it.

 

Added to that, third entries are usually less nonlinear than their predecessors. The filmmakers have more than enough on their plates with offering a decent conclusion to their film and the entire trilogy, and so they can't be bothered by jumping back-and-forth across the timeline too much. That couldn't be more true than of this film, with the swapping of the director, and the need to provide a resolution to two previous films which are so different, as well as (in theory) an entire previous sextet, itself very heterogenic, as well as so removed from the sequel trilogy.

 

5 hours ago, crumbs said:

How fucking great is The Last Jedi? Easily the best Star Wars film since Empire. 

 

The Force Awakens is still better in my book, but its a fine film any way you spin it.

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2 hours ago, Chen G. said:

 Just because Abrams made a formulaic film in The Force Awakens, doesn't mean that he's a formulaic storyteller: that's just what was needed for The Force Awakens.

This is madness.

Imagine what would happen if John Williams interpreted the "familiar music in an unfamiliar universe" that way, and did a note for note selection of Korngold, Rózsa, Holst, Stravinsky and others and put it together randomly with stiches all over. The film would be laughed at!

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9 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

And Williams didnt kinda do that for Star Wars (1977) anyway?

He completely reworked them and matched in a very careful manner. The bridges he made between the loan-fragments are just genius! The only other composers that I know were able to do it to such an effect were Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Holst and Shostakovich, and all of them had hard time doing it.

 

And the script was not that far from doing it too, anyway (in 1977)

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13 minutes ago, Fabulin said:

This is madness.

 

I meant from a commercial standpoint, rather than an artistic one.

 

The familiarity of The Force Awakens is certainly its biggest detractor. But I think films are meant to be, first and foremost, entertaining, which The Force Awakens is.

 

The Last Jedi, while I agree its a fine picture, came up on TV two days ago, and I actually switched the channel. That's proof enough for me as to which is the superior picture.

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1 minute ago, Chen G. said:

The familiarity of The Force Awakens is certainly its biggest detractor. But I think films are meant to be, first and foremost, entertaining, which The Force Awakens is.

 

The Force Awakens is Disney showing the world that Star Wars can be fun again. It was very carefully created to do this.

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38 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

The Force Awakens is Disney showing the world that Star Wars can be fun again. It was very carefully created to do this.

 

And it did achieve that goal. Part of why it was succesful is that JJ Abrams took a formula from the seventies, and managed to repackage it for the audiences of the 2010's quite succesfully.

 

For instance, there's nothing too remarkable about the camerawork in the original Star Wars. The compositions are often striking, but the camera itself is very static, the lighting is predominantly high-key, the close-ups don't pop, there's no use of slow-motion, there are no long takes to speak of.

 

That kind of understated directing will have worked for 70s audiences, but quite simply was not going to fly in 2015. So JJ Abrams took that formula but updated the cinematography - the use of long-takes is particularly noteworthy - without ever drawing the audience's attention too much to how the film was directed. Its a seamless experience in that regard, and that's no small feat.

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56 minutes ago, dougie said:

The prequels weren't fun?

They are trash. Bad films bad acting directing surprisingly bad effects that do not hold up and with the exception of TPM mediocre Williams scores

Chen you have never seen the original Star Wars. Few herr have. 

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39 minutes ago, JoeinAR said:

Chen you have never seen the original Star Wars. Few here have. 

 

True. But it still feels wrong to call it "A New Hope".

 

Anyway, my point still stands.

 

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