This morning I am getting a little bit of a late start to doing the whole morning thing, because I am in full vacation mode starting today. Sometimes I just skip blogging altogether, but given how many days in a row I will be on vacation I figured I probably needed to at least make an effort. Sometimes in the course of this blog I have to post something more for my own sake rather than actually informing or entertaining. This is one of those mornings. Last week the Last Jedi was released and it signaled the next chapter in the Star Wars storyline. You have to understand I have a very special bond with this franchise. I was roughly two years old when I saw the first one and left the theater talking about “Darfa Bader” and wanting everything in my life to be Star Wars themed.
The Kenner action figures only served to cement this franchise even harder in my brain and at this point I find it very difficult to unravel the movies, the comics, the expanded universe novels, and eventual animated shows and the video games. They all combine together in my head into this amalgam I know as Star Wars. So it was a completely foregone conclusion that I would see Last Jedi. The prequels taxed my love of the franchise but my devotion was rewarded as Force Awakens and Rogue One brought back that passion with a burning fury. I felt extremely confident that Star Wars was in good hands as we entered this new era and new set of characters. The legacy of Star Wars seemed safe and good… so when I stumbled out of the theater at midnight on opening Thursday I was somewhat shocked and confused that I wasn’t feeling the same rush of elation that I did with the first two “modern” movies.
As time passed little frustrations started to worm their way into my brain, and when I watched it again last Saturday with my wife… those frustrations reached a crescendo. She turned to me as we were walking out of the theater and asked if it was just her… or if I also didn’t think it was as good as Force Awakens or Rogue One. I remember feeling like the movie dragged a bit on opening night, but I mostly equated that to the fact that I was up past my normal bed time. However watching it as a Saturday afternoon matinee, it seemed even longer. Basically the frustrations had settled into distaste… which only became compounded as I realized… I was not feeling the same love and passion that a lot of my friends seemed to be. I’ve had two kinds of conversations over the last several days, the first is real life friends coming to me with a concerned look on their face and asking if I took didn’t think the movie was that good. The second are mostly online friends trying to somehow make me understand just how precious and magical the movie is by constantly linking me articles that they thought were a “good read”.
The thing is… I get why the people that love this movie think that it is such a liberating and “brave” experiment. The problem is I just simply disagree with all of the points that these friends and articles and youtube videos and thought pieces seem to think are so perfect. What they watched was a life changing experience, and what I watched was a movie that squandered everything that could have been for the sake of being purposefully contrarian. What I watched was a movie that nuked everything from orbit to create a blank slate, and in doing so washed away everything that kept me going from movie to movie. Star Wars for me has always been this rich tapestry of mythology and religion and fable. The thing that always kept me engaged was trying to solve the puzzles left in the universe and figure out how they would ultimately change the future of the franchise. This movie grabbed a bullhorn and screamed at me that those puzzles and bits of lore that I had been hanging onto no longer matter.
This morning’s post took a very different turn than I had intended. I originally had planned on doing a full on spoilery discussion about each and every thing that bugs the hell out of me about this movie, and instead this ended up as a fairly non-spoiler narrative about my feelings. Tomorrow more than likely I will do the Festivus style airing of grievances… this is hilarious considering Saturday actually is Festivus. I’ve spent the week listening to folks as they tried desperately to explain to me why I should love this movie, and quite frankly each time someone sets off on another well intentioned attempt to educate me… it just makes me dislike the movie even more. In truth I don’t hate the Last Jedi, I just don’t think it is anywhere near as good of a movie as it could have been. There are moments I love in that movie that I would never trade for the world, but there are so many little details that just overwhelm that good will. Tomorrow I will get into it, but for today I just needed to do a little blog therapy and get this post out of my brain.