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Entries in Empire Strikes Back (2)

Tuesday
Dec262017

A Slightly Queer Take on "The Last Jedi"

This was originally published in Nathaniel's intermittent column at Towleroad.

There’s a bit of a macro and micro thing happening at the movies. I’m not talking about Disney’s new merchandising bonanza pairing those miniature “porgs” (think CGI puffins) with towering furry Chewbacca. No we speak of the wide release and limited release divide. Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been filling houses at over 4000 theaters and is obliterating the competition (already number #3 of the year in just 10 days) while a bunch of Oscar contenders are playing, not so quietly, in limited release gigs in their pursuit of golden statues. We’ll talk about more of those again soon but first [cue yellow text crawl over space] Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

We now return to The Resistance (aka the proudly defiant “Rebel Scum”) who are even easier to relate to know in December 2017 when it feels like the world will be ending any day with each new disastrous move from our own evil empire. (Sigh) If they can just harness the light side of the force, break through that one gerrymandered code, save that one cornered group of people, fetch Luke Skywalker, they might live to see another day...

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Monday
Dec182017

Review: The Last Jedi

Lynn Lee looks at the new Star Wars film. Warning: Minor SPOILERS ahead...

It’s hard to put my finger on why I remain resistant to the recent Star Wars resurgence despite being a lifelong fan of the original trilogy.  So far the new movies have been solid pieces of entertainment, meticulously crafted to capture the scrappy, underdog-hero ethos that made Episodes IV-VI so appealing and the prequels feel so stilted and airless by comparison.  Maybe a bit too meticulously – and therein lies my ambivalence.  There’s a fine line between homage and recycling, and The Force Awakens, in particular, was a skillful exercise in the latter.  (Rogue One was superior in this regard, perhaps by virtue of being a spin-off that had to be able to stand on its own.)  On the other hand, TFA also introduced new protagonists who were so engaging you could almost overlook the fact that they were moving through the same beats as A New Hope.  I hoped that Episode VIII would give them a bit freer rein to move in new directions.

Does The Last Jedi do that?  Yes and no.  It makes a point of subverting certain narrative expectations, although this has the unfortunate side effect of making some of the subplots feel like unnecessary detours and/or dead ends.  But the overall arc remains a highly familiar one, albeit with some tweaks...

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