Community Post #172 - I Stand With The Last Jedi

Discussion in 'Community Posts' started by Tyro D. Fox, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. Tyro D. Fox

    Tyro D. Fox Ho, hog, heg! I can does Game Dev thing, yes!
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    Oct 18, 2011
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    Earth, Milky Way, A few thousand dots to the right
    This has become something of an opinion piece type thing and I have taken a while to think of something that can be expressed best in written form. Something decent and worth putting down. I want to do videos one a few topics I think would be best as videos but for now, let's discuss this:

    I really enjoyed Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.

    Community Post #172
    I Stand With The Last Jedi

    Now, I know I shouldn't care about what people think but I do keep running into quite common issues people have with the movie. They don't like the bit in the casino. They don't like Leia flying through space. They don't like Luke's pessimistic story. They don't like the interpretation they took from the film of the past. They don't like Kylo Ren. They don't like Snoke dying. They just bounce off the movie where I didn't. And I find it odd that this would be so polarising. I think it's a good movie. Heck! I liked Solo. Not for the new Han Solo himself but I liked a smaller story about skullduggery in space. And I'm always happy to see Donald Glover, especially as the most swave man in the galaxy.

    But after the Red Letter Media Mr Pinkett review crapped all over what they see as nothing but subversion for subversions sake, seemingly tripping over a few parts of the film that don't immediately click till you think about them. I went to see a fun space movie with people I recognise and I got that. I'm not sure what they in Milwaukee were expecting.

    So, let's break this down in a few points about the film to show why I liked it and why I don't think it's the bantha dung it gets bashed as.

    - Poe Dameron was demoted and in the doghouse for most of the movie!

    I keep coming across this detail in the movie being forgotten about, even from Mr Plinkett. Poe is our flying ace and squadron leader of the main dream team because the new movies want to focus on the Resistance a little more than previously, which is fine. As such, we have our established characters play out their story as the main A story. This is the slow chase through space towards the next hideout where both Resistance and First Order ships are locked in a stalemate, with the Resistance trying to figure out how to get out of this before they run out of fuel and are left as sitting ducks. All right. I'm on board. You have a ticking clock and a problem. Cool.

    Now, this started with Poe leading an attack against an Imperial dreadnaught with the only bombers they had which ended in the costly loss of both life and ships; both of which were established to be in short supply for the Resistance, right? This is something General Leia was weighing up and decided against. She ordered Poe to retreat but he insists on the attack in order to destroy the dreadnaught, a ship of considerable power.

    Despite his superior ordering him not to, Poe shuts off his communications and uses his superior rank to pull in all forces under his command to attack the dreadnaught anyway. Agree with Poe or General Leia all you like, Poe disobeyed a direct order. In Leia's mind, he just threw away lives so he could be a showboating flyboy and smash the First Order in their faces. He made her take a risk she didn't want to take and so he pays the price.

    "That little punk! I'll tapdance on his esophagus first then kick him in the asteroids and see if there's anything left to make a tauntaun sleeping bag out of him!"

    Poe is demoted and Leia, rightfully, is pissed at him for what he did. As such, when she talks to the other commanding officers, they apparently take her side on his wreckless antics. He's just proven that he's arrogant enough to think that he knows better than the chain of command, which does exist in the Resistance. General Leia, folks! Not 'Chief of Helpful Suggestions', General!

    When Leia is taken to recover in the medbay, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo takes over. Surprise surprise, Holdo doesn't think the guy that Leia recently demoted is all that trustworthy or deserves to know the plan. Now, you can talk about Holdo's decision to keep Poe in the dark as being needless all you like but there is reason behind it. Poe is that one kid that pushed someone into the pool and it turns out it's freezing cold. Holdo certainly doesn't trust him not to do what he did all over again. Besides, we don't know what he was demoted to but considering that she's treating him like any other pilot, I'm willing to bet she's operating on a strict 'need to know basis'. Poe isn't need to know anymore. He's not in command and Holdo doesn't know him that well.

    I think the reason why no one seems to cotton on to this and gets frustrated is because Poe is our POV character for this part of the story. It's him that we experience everything through so when Holdo doesn't tell Poe what's going on, we're also not told what's going on. That seems unfair to us as normally, as the audience, we get to see everything. We see what the villains are doing, we see secret plots, we see visions character can see but no one else. This seems like a weird exclusion for something so seemingly trivial. It's that which drives Poe towards his eventual plan to save the Resistance ships when he learns about the hyperspace tracker. He's desperate to do something in a situation that looks like they're stuck without a plan. Naturally, we agree with him. We, the audience, aren't privy to any extra information except this new thing with Fin and Rose so clearly Holdo is doing this for no reason right?

    Not convinced of that anymore.

    - The Force's limits aren't ever explained but there's nothing in here that doesn't seem too over the top

    This might be quite subjective but it's time to talk about the use of the Force in this film. There's three big parts but two seem like sticking points so he's my take.

    First, I will agree that Leia flying around, heck! Using the force in general does come out of nowhere without enough hat tips or examples to show us that Leia has since learned how to use the force to some degree. We know she's force sensitive but hasn't gone through any formal training. It's possible she might know a bit about her abilities? Maybe? It's a flaw in the film.

    However, I'm willing to accept that in a moment of panic, Leia summoned up the will to punt herself forwards through zero-G to save her own life. Why not? We've seen Jedi jump at impossible heights. We know they can move things. Why not themselves in an environment where all they'd need is a push?

    Now, whether this looks goofy or not to you is an argument for another day.

    Another aspect of the film is Luke's use of the Force at the end of the film. I don't have a problem with this either. Firstly, the Jedi's abilities are supposed to be inspired by the mythical powers of wise men and spiritual teachers. Moving things with the life energy of the universe, sensing the future, noticing things no one else can. It's all inspired by that idea of using natural gifts in a manner that's sprung up as it's own religion.

    As such, Luke pretty much performs astral projection, or some form of it, in order to transport an illusion of himself to the final battle in order to act as the legend everyone thinks he is. And pays the price for it.

    That much awesome in one go is too beautiful for this world.
    Do you think he looks like Chuck Norris with his beard like that?

    Remember, this is a universe where it's possible to come back as a ghost. You can leave force imprints on things. You can even learn how to launch lightning from your fingers. The Force is a strange thing.

    So, why not an illusionary version of yourself that's projected light years away that takes so much effort he passes on in the same way the other Jedi masters we've seen did?

    - I liked Luke in this

    The part that will stick with me about Luke Skywalker's time in this movie is his threat to Kylo Ren. Cut him down and he will haunt him forever. Pretty true as far as I can imagine because its within the realms of known force abilities that visiting the living isn't hard. So, I think it would be fantastic to see Luke come back and haunt the already frankly unstable Kylo Ren. Just sit in the background, taunting his every move. That could be some fantastic movie right there.

    But I also enjoyed what they did with his character. In my opinion, one of the most solid 'wise teacher' tropes is that of the teacher that learns just as much as the student. I like the idea of Luke having lost faith in the Jedi after studying all he can, being full of hope for the future then stuffing it up in the most 'Skywalker' way possible. One moment of weakness and it buggers up everything from that point on. How is that not a Skywalker kind of thing to do? But it also still felt like Luke, in all of his slightly whiny, melodramatic glory but now with years of stumbling through the Jedi teachings without other Jedi to confide or discuss with. Luke wasn't like Anakin or Obi Wan Kenobi who were brought up among other Jedi. Doing that does clearly foster a greater reverence for that doctrine as you have other believers to reinforce the ideology they uphold.

    Luke did not. Luke is pretty quick to harsh judgements and a little bit over the top with his decisions. He decided that just because he was a Jedi now, he could take on the whole of Jabba's men. He was right but rash enough to try it, with him being captured and planning around it. He spent A New Hope complaining about the broken droids, about whether he'd get to go to the academy. He argued a lot with Han. He was just a kid that had a lot put on his shoulders but nothing much more than 'the protagonist'. Idealistic and naive but brave, ready for anything.

    And this probably shows my personal detachment to the original films but I like them! Even so, I'm 25. I never saw them in the cinema and never had the reverence for them that others seem to. They're good but other things took hold of my heart and mind. The original trilogy wasn't one of them, even if I was happy to see them. I've gained more appreciation over time but I'm not overtly rabid or anything.

    So, seeing them try to change Luke's character to give him a new story to roll through that benefited from letting Mark Hamill be Mark Hamill was fantastic. Luke is now an old man that's lost his way in the ways of the Force, believing that his pursuit of the thing that gave him strength and direction as a young man was based on flawed superstition that was always doomed to failure. Luke is in a crisis of faith in the Force and it's going very badly. He's resolute to die and let the knowledge, and legend he'd become from his days as a freedom fighter, die with him.


    How is that not a powerful, interesting direction for him? An tragic note for the character, a last hurrah for the actor to charm us once more and to finally hand over the torch to the future. I know Mark Hamill himself didn't approve. I know that in the Legends continuity Luke does completely different things. But that's mostly books and video games where Luke can live for as long as you like. But for the movies, that might not be the case. And if we must consider that the characters and actors of the old movies are going to leave us, I'm happy to let them tell one last story to leave us on. And I think we got a really good, possibly important one.

    Which is why I love Luke in this. I like the idea of him questioning the teachings of the Jedi, because it's a reasonable thing to do in his situation (we do it all the time in real life) and it sounds like something Luke Skywalker would do to me. The idealistic pipsqueak from before that left his life behind to save a princess might examine what others expected of him closer and determine it to be all crap because it ended in destruction. So it can't be all that great.

    Until another idealistic young hero comes to seek him out, looking for a teacher. I really enjoy his pessimism, I enjoy the self-loathing he feels for his mistakes while attempting to emulate the Jedi of old. That feels like a person I'd want to listen to the story of.

    And then the cherry on the cake is the scene with Yoda where he can't help but revert right back to that hopeful teenager that was buried in there somewhere. It's a fantastic bit where Yoda drops a big thesis of the film. It's a wonderful scene, not just to see him intact in every way but that he still holds some serious wisdom. He sets Luke straight about his mistakes, his grievances and inspires him to his final act of the film. It's a powerful scene.

    Oh! And you do remember that Star Wars is not only gritty and a bit weird but also Sci-fi. Is milking a weird alien and drinking it really that weird from what we've seen of this work? Is it that weird compared to people drinking unpasteurized milk? I suppose surprise udders in Star Wars does catch you off guard more than a creature with an arse for a face or something.

    That is an unfortunate and confusing physiology right there.

    - I would have been disappointed if Rae was just another Skywalker

    Does the ability to use the Force need to be hereditary? What about the monk from Rogue One? He's not a Jedi but he's clearly skilled with it. What about the other Jedi we've seen? Qui Gon have a long lineage of Force users? Again, probably due to my moderate appreciation of the original trilogy, but I don't get the big deal about Rae's big reveal that her family are just some rando that dropped her there. Unnecessarily cruel? Maybe, but we don't know who they are.

    But we also don't need to know. If you can spin a good yarn about them, then fine but right now, they don't matter because it's not what Rae is about. It's not what this twist reveals about Rae's character because everything is about The Last Jedi seems to be about decoupling or messing around with the established ideas of the original. I get that this messes with the theorycrafting but just because your wrong doesn't mean you can't write your own version or get invalidated exactly. It's not canon but it's a possibility. Do it yourself! Fan Fiction away, my dear! Fan Fiction like crazy!

    So, the Resistance in-fight where the Rebels were pretty harmonious. Our Jedi master is miserable and is disenchanted. The princess is a general. Our other protagonists are trying to fight to get out of a stalemate they don't think they can survive or prolong for much longer. They're trying to find new opportunities for new stories.

    Decloupling Rae from the expectation of being a Jedi's daughter might have been just an attempt to swing the original twist with Luke and Vader the other way, but it's clear it's meant to be more focused on Rae's character and motivation. Namely, why in the flaming hell is she still here doing things? Why is she a protagonist? Originally, she's here because it's better than home where she's a slave in a desert planet not worth spitting on. With the Resistance, she gets to discover more about herself, running around and getting to have excitement in her life. She gains the chance at agency in her life. It's clear from her dialogue and the AT-AT she slept in that she has a good history of the battles that were fort in this place. She seems to have a reverence for them, especially when discovering her sensitivity to the Force. A junker rat finds that she might have a place worth seeking out somewhere else.

    I've heard interpretations of her being like a young fan brought up in the world Star Wars made. Likes all this stuff but doesn't have any direct ties to the original events that helmet she wears for fun comes from.
    Like me in many ways...

    That conversation with Kylo Ren was to punch home that Rae has no inherited legitimacy to any claim that she matters in this story or within the Resistance. Unlike Luke, the son of a disgraced Jedi, with a powerful talent for the Force and mentors from the past that took him in, teaching him what he needs to fight the Sith, Rae is just some rando here. She has no inherent stake in the bigger minutia of the fight. She's not a Skywalker or a Kenobi or an Organa or a Solo so hasn't any family tie. The First Order didn't bother her planet that much. She's a tag along. The only notable thing is her abilities with the force, which appear to just have happened, and she was in the right place at the right time.

    It sounds deflating but it's also freeing. Why does Rae continue to fight? Why does she seek out Luke? She wants to! She believes she needs to! She confronts Kylo and attempts to reason with him because she thinks she can. She's still here because she wants to save her friends and help the Resistance. It is better than Jakku but she's not here because the glowing people told her to be and she has nowhere else to go. She stumbled on this and now finds she's got more options open to her than just being a junker.

    I think that's pretty cool.

    - Believe it or not, I do find Kylo Ren intimidating

    Darth Vader cut a strong figure. He was cool, scary and able to beat the hell out of anything in his way. He was the Elite SS Officer of the Empire. He put the boot in whoever needed it. He was a cool guy and that's why he was a good bad guy.

    Kylo Ren is a very different beast, especially in The Last Jedi. He's a wannabe, unstable, snot nosed pipsqueak tryhard with the anxiety and maturity of a hormonal teenager. That's why I think he's pretty good as a baddie as well.

    Vader was composed. He was a villain that was in control and efficient. Kylo Ren is a barely contained ball of pent up anger that's been handed greater and greater amounts of power within the universe and he's unstable enough to truly attempt to use it. He could snap in a moment. He's a machine tearing itself apart as it operates. You know it'll self-destruct pretty soon but it'll take way too much of the surrounding area with it when it does.

    He has tantrums like a toddler except with a laser sword with access to a galactic army.
    Holy moley...

    That is why he needs to be stopped. He's bonkers! He's maladjusted and hyped up on vengeance! And now he has the keys to the entire First order. I'm truly looking forward to the awkward backstabbing between him and General Hux, especially if Luke is going to be his shoulder angel explaining why everything he's doing is woefully wrong. Remember, Kylo could have been turned to the goodies side. He could have been redeemed but he's chosen not to be. He is his own worst enemy and that spells trouble because he will do anything to avoid failure of any kind. Even if it means blowing everything up and trying to forget about it.

    Like I said, a machine spinning out of control. It's going to be spectacular to watch as he takes out his aggressions on everything else.

    - I had fun with Fin and Rose's bit, even if it was a weak link

    If there's anything that does slow the movie a bit, it is the side story for Fin and Rose. It was cool! Going to a swanky resort planet and looking around a casino. I appreciate the attempt to throw on shades of grey, trying to think about the bigger picture of the war between the Goodies and Baddies. It does make the movie feel a little flabby but it was kinda neat to see. No terrible thing to fling more Disney money around on alien designs. They have plenty.

    Even so, I don't get the hate against Rose. Much less the public toxicity surrounding it. It is disgusting what has happened to Kelly Marie Tran and if I had the time and resources, I would find everyone that sent her their vile displeasure to her social media and kick them in the shins. Oh yeah! Holiday Special style. The actor has nothing to do with the story they're in except electing to be in it. It should never be a reason for such abuse.

    That said, it's not perfect but I appreciate the idea. The Last Jedi wants to examine and push back against the established wisdom of the older movies, and movies like it. The thief they randomly found, was a scumbag with a price he'll accept to betray people. The audacious and spur of the moment, one in a million plan doesn't always pay off and it can be interesting to explore what happens when that goes horribly wrong. It takes the adventure serial movies the original were based on and tries to examine them.

    Not entirely successfully. As said, Rose and Finn's part of the story feels like too much for the movie but does make sense here. This is what Po does when he's shut out, unfairly in his opinion. He leaps on the first outlandish plan because it's what he does. He thinks desperate raids and heroics save the day, when really winning the battle might cost you the war.

    But hey! We got another Fasma fight that was cut short. We got another cool looking character in that thief. We got to see more of the galaxy. We got a very different hive of scum and villainy. We got more time with Fin. I like Rose. I'll always side towards a tight script over something that has ALL it's cake and tries to eat it but I'm not expecting a masterpiece here.

    I'm expecting my fun space movie. I got a fun space movie.

    "I am interesting, I swear! I have a book about me that's pretty cool. Hopefully I'll get a cool sequence in the next movie...If I'm alive still."
    - I cannot raise one iota of effort to care about Snoke or his death

    A lot of people were annoyed about this because now the new 'Emperor' is dead. Snoke posed a lot of questions initially when he first turns up. Who is he? Why is he in charge? What is his plan?

    Then he was killed. And it threw all the charts and schematics out of whack. We'd wasted time on a character that turned out to be not that important in the grand scheme of things. It leaves you a little miffed to be told he's not important.

    OK, but what exactly would he have done? It's obvious Snoke is meant to be an Emperor Palpatine analogue. Fine but that's been done to death now. Instead, Snoke is Kylo's devil on his shoulder. This is the swine that's looking to make himself the new Emperor but hasn't the smarts or the skill to pull it off. He can't control Kylo Ren. His army isn't as competent as the Imperial war machine because rather than picking from school graduates that are enthusiastic to serve (or using purpose built clones...partly? I think?), they appear to just be commandeering anyone they can, regardless of ability. This is supposed to be the remains of the Empire. Still strong but no longer the dominant force in the Galaxy as it builds its resources.

    Snoke is the one driving Kylo's hatred, toying with him for his own means because he thinks he's in charge. He thinks he's the big shot. Pure hubris. All Sith. Unsurprisingly, he is killed by that. He's arrogant enough to think of himself as the ultimate operator and it bites him in the arse.

    But why? Well, to raise the stakes. See, there's a different feel between the Empire and The First Order as it stands under Kylo. The Emperor ran a tight ship. He was in charge, he knew what to do. When it wasn't going to plan, he came down and oversaw operations to ensure they were completed on time. He was an experienced leader. A dictator but capable.

    As stated, Kylo is an out of control pipsqueak that's plagued by inadequacy and pent up rage. Putting Kylo in charge means that The First Order is strong but has a rotten core. Kylo clearly going mad, hasn't the chops for command on that scale, and has a possibly traitorous second in command.

    "Sir. Sir! You have to turn it on at the junction...Never mind. I'll wait."

    Meanwhile, there's barely anything left of the Resistance but they're solid and determined. They have no allies and few resources but they have a firm basis of people to work from who'll fight together till the bitter end.

    Baddies are corrupt, Goodies are virtuous. It's still Star Wars just attempting to trim away some of the silly parts that seem wildly outdated or limiting.

    - Wrap Up Type Thing

    I like the movie, in short. I like it trying to challenge the source material. I want to see different stories. I want to sit there with no idea where things are going, surprised and delighted with the choice because I've become too genre savvy to just take what I'm served. I want to be excited for what's coming next. I want to cheer for the Goodies. I want to boo the Baddies. I want to enjoy a movie that tries. The Force Awakens is a crowd pleaser and everyone preyed that the next film wouldn't be a retread. And it tried not to be. It tried to free itself from the idea that the Goodies can always land the impossible plan to victory. That the Baddies are tall, menacing masterminds. That the lone special person can win all the things all the time for ultimate victory of everything.

    This incarnation of Star Wars remembers that this is meant to be a war. People squabble, people are put in tough spots, some people don't come back. Decisions are made and the pieces fall where they may. That might mean someone doesn't get to go home. That might mean that everything goes wrong. But it's done because they believe in defending a better, ideal life free from tyranny the First Order represents. That is why they fight and I want to see more because I enjoyed that story.

    I enjoyed people deciding to fight because they thought they should. I enjoyed the story about someone learning that they're a group, and they can't fight the whole war themselves. And should not. I will stand up for The Last Jedi. I cannot wait for IX.

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  2. Dragonbait

    Dragonbait Do you like bananas?
    Admin egg Old-Timer

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  3. Azeth

    Azeth ☆Demon of Misery☆

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    Yeah. Unfortunately it's been piling up to a point that I really do not see the US Government or the American people digging out of it anytime in the next few years. It maybe makes me a bit of a Anarchist to say this, and I'll not deny I do believe in the Anarchist way of thinking pretty strongly. But the only way I see this fixing itself, is if the US Government collapsed and we live for a while without government rule. I mean there is the chance of a country takeover by a outside country. Though the risks for a better life, outweigh the negatives. I honestly maybe alone on this general thought.

    As for things on your side, Tyro. I have been hearing about some rather questionable things that have been happening over there too. It really makes me no more happy to see it start turning south for the UK either. It feels like the world is changing. If it's for the better or worse is yet to be seen. But right now, it feels like *squee!* is hitting the fan pretty badly.
    Tyro D. Fox bro hoofs this.

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