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Non-Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I’ve been struggling with this one for a couple of weeks. I wanted to write a review of The Last Jedi and get it posted during the opening week, when interest was at its highest. That’s how you get clicks, you know. Nobody clicks on yesterday’s news.

But, I just couldn’t do it. Nothing I wrote worked. The straight review read like a synopsis of the plot, which isn’t interesting. I thought of the idea of writing about the relationships between the characters, and while that could prove interesting, and I might tackle it in the future, none of it felt like, “This is what I want to say.” And yet, I still want to do a piece on this film.

Over the Christmas break, I listened to a lot of podcast reviews. They were almost all negative. The funny thing is, the ones that got recorded right after the release were much less critical than those done in the ensuing weeks. I found this interesting, so let’s talk about that today.

It may not come as a surprise to my long-time readers that I’m not a particularly good reviewer. I have a natural inclination to be easily amused. Hell, I even like the prequels. I like to think that I have the ability to look past the warts and see the beauty within. It’s equally likely that I’m just not all that picky. Give me space wizards and spaceships and laser beams and I’m a happy popcorn-muncher.

Let’s just cut to the chase: I loved this movie.

I also recognize that it’s not a good movie.

I don’t believe that the Star Wars franchise was ever meant to produce “good” movies. They’re supposed to be fun. George Lucas drew his inspiration from the old serials, like Flash Gordon. For those who never saw them, the central plot of the original Flash Gordon was that the planets Mongo and Earth were on a collision course, and the Emperor Ming the Merciless planned to destroy the Earth in order to save his own world. Doctor Zarkoff, playing for time, convinces him to conquer Earth instead.

Yes. That’s the setup. Rather than destroy the Earth to prevent the destruction of both worlds, Ming got talked into conquering it instead. It makes absolutely no sense.

But, it was a hell of a lot of fun.

That’s my take on the negativity that surrounds TLJ. Those who did their reviews right after seeing it were positive because they just had a really fun experience. Those who waited and let the inconsistencies, plot holes and bad decisions sink in came down a lot harder. There’s plenty of things to criticize about this flick, and reviewers are right to point them out.

I have a little rule. When I get to the end of something, if I want more of it, it was worth my time. Would I read another chapter? Watch another episode? Sit through another twenty minutes of a movie with a full bladder? If the answer is, “Yes,” then guess what? The movie/show/book did its job. I’m having a good time, and that’s what I came for.

Well, I had a good time with TLJ. So did my wife and kid.

I think that’s the best review I can offer.


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