Issue 134: 2017 12 21: Jedi Worship

21 December 2017

Jedi Worship

by J.R. Thomas 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is currently occupying most every screen in your local multiplex, and whilst Shaw Sheet readers no doubt prefer serious Italian art-house films or indeed their weekly journeys to the Wigmore Hall or Covent Garden, at Christmas they may search for something a little more light-hearted.  Well, this isn’t it.  Star Wars is, as Bill Shankley said of football, not a matter of life or death; it is much more serious than that.

This latest rush around space has attracted strange dichotomies in those huge numbers who have turned up to watch it.  The professional reviewers have raved over the production, saying it is one of the greatest in the canon so far (seven series films and a couple of diversions), but many die hard Wars fans have criticised it for betrayal of the core storey line, for failing to underwrite key characters, and for, in essence, being made by Disney (George Lucas sold out his sci-fi child a few years ago).  Your reviewer notes without comment that this divergence represents the realities of modern politics, with the liberal commentariat praising continuity and familiarity, but the hordes in the street all for rejection and revolt.

Your correspondent must remain, as in all things, dispassionate and thoughtful.  In the interests of readers he points out that this movie is very loud; and very long; and has a couple of rather glaring discontinuity errors.  But whilst not a slavish devotee of the genre, and is prepared to admit he finds that golden robot C-3PO exceptionally irritating, he was hooked on the first Star Wars film a long time ago in a movie house actually not so far away, from the very beginning, literally from the beginning, as the SurroundSound system in the Dominion Tottenham Court signalled from behind the approach of the opening subtitles.  Lucas created a world that seemed, subject to one off weird creatures, completely believable, with superb camera work and subtly developed characters (not that damned robot, who was in those far off days surely silver?).  The series has never lost the magic of space being an entirely natural place to be, the characters have aged and developed – RIP Carrie Fisher, and most of all, the politic developments may be found utterly  convincing, as the Empire grows stronger and more repressive but the rebels continue to fight for freedom and independence and a trade deal.  (The editor’s blue pencil can be felt hovering over this filing like the Death Star over a rebel colony.)

If you don’t like the series, this will not convert you, but if you are an admirer this is a return to form, an enjoyable and well-made opportunity to wallow in that far off galaxy whilst you recover from too much prosecco and Christmas pud.  Best of all, many many story lines are left hanging, with the certainty that the rebels’ fight will continue for many aeons to come.





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