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Monday, October 25, 2021

Star Snores

CAITLYN SAMPLEY / AGGIE

Plot of “The Last Jedi” resembles Swiss cheese

This article contains spoilers for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

To be fair, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” does stand out as a unique addition to the franchise, yet many of the risks taken only harmed the film. These missteps are seen in Leia’s story arc, Finn’s subplot and the general lack of consequences for the characters. “Star Wars” is an easy franchise to watch, serving its role in cinema as high-budget, flashy entertainment. Unfortunately, such flash is bogged down with the script’s ineptitude to an unsalvageable degree.

Scripts should function a lot like Newton’s third law of motion: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When they don’t function that way, scripts can have hard times making sense. The best example of this in “The Last Jedi” is when Leia is shown to have incredible force abilities. The arising issue is that her acquisition of such skill is never mentioned. Think back to “Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,” when Luke spends much of the film training on Dagobah with Yoda and his powers are found after long scenes of training. Leia’s display of the force has no opposite reaction; all the hard-fought training other characters were put through didn’t apply to her.

This harms “The Last Jedi” in that it reflects onto other characters. Since Leia can perform impressive force feats without even the mention of training, all scenes with Luke, Rey, or Anakin training now come off as useless, since their accomplishments were outshined by Leia’s sudden, practically God-given abilities. The acquisition of force abilities has never been easy, so there is no good explanation for why Leia miraculously finds herself fully force-capable, diminishing the work of other lead characters.

Every main character in this film messes up and not one of them pays the price for it; even heroes cannot be free of consequences. While most film protagonists are invincible, “The Last Jedi” takes this to another level. My biggest gripe with this issue comes near the end of the film, when the protagonists are cornered in a base that is rumored to have no exit, with the First Order knocking on the door. While the specifics elude me, the gist is as follows: one character mentions how they’ve reached the end, they are all going to die and with them dies the rebellion; the next person cracks an awful joke and spurs laughter from all remaining characters. What?

These characters dedicated their lives to the Rebellion, and their lack of fear comes across as them knowing their own invincibility — as if they knew they couldn’t die. The protagonists act so nonchalant that I never feared for them, since they didn’t have the ability to fear for themselves. The whole film provided no sense of suspense since even the characters knew they would win against all odds.

Near the end of the film, Admiral Holdo, played by Laura Dern, sacrifices herself by running a large ship into the First Order at light speed, and this rips apart both the enemy fleet and the plot, exposing countless holes, the biggest plot hole being Finn and Rose’s useless adventure. In hopes of stopping the First Order, Poe sends Finn and Rose on an epic adventure, a classic high-risk, high-reward scenario. The contents of the mission don’t need to be acknowledged because, one, they failed, and two, their mistakes don’t matter since they escape unscathed. In essence, their mission was Disney’s way of pushing the runtime of “The Last Jedi” over 120 minutes; it helped move the main plot in no way whatsoever.

One positive aspect about “The Last Jedi” is that it took risks — it is its own movie. If they had only spent more time reviewing the script and patching the holes, perhaps it would have been a good movie. Much of “The Last Jedi” seemed to exist just to exist; no part of the story wanted to be told, and instead, scenes fell all over each other, making for two and a half confusing and misleading hours.

 

Written by: Nicolas Rago — arts@theaggie.org

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