Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) remains the most controversial film in the Star Wars franchise, as well as the most divisive film in the history of contemporary cinema. Many fans displeased with the film criticized the choices made by writer/director Rian Johnson, including the overuse of humor, altering space science and character arcs already established in canon, various plot twists, and a vastly different characterization of Luke Skywalker, which actor Mark Hamill still disagrees with. See more »
George Lucas created something and, even now, people are constantly still trying to figure out, "what was it that he tapped into that resonates still today?" And I think a part of it is the ideas inherent in the storytelling were meaningful to him, and consequently they were to a lot of other people.
See more »
It could have had a different fate
This is an insightful and very well made documentary with great work from director Anthony Wonke. Also it contains great original music by Antony Partos. The positive aspect of it, is that you get a lot of inside in the art of filmmaking, working with actors, set design, animatronic puppets and the process of film shooting in general.
What's interesting about it is that watching the development of this movie you get the feeling that, although this was a huge production, it was made as if it was a low budget personal project by a single person. It is apparent that this project was literally handed almost to its entirety to Rian Johnson, as he wrote the story, the script and was in control of every aspect of the production, even the title! At some point you can't help it but wonder: How is it possible that a major production of the most popular franchise ever existed was handed in its entirety to a single person, a director who had previously made two or three low budged films, and had no connection to Star Wars or LucasFilm prior to this? Additionally it seems that the director had no cooperation or accepted any input by anyone related to LucasFilm previously, like story groups, people from the extended universe, actors, filmmakers, of even the screenwriters and director of the previous film "The Force Awakens", J.J. Abrams.
Kathleen Kennedy tries to explain this at some point by stating the following: "George Lucas created something and even now people are still trying to figure out, what was it that he tapped into that resonates still today? I think, part of it is that the ideas inherent in the story telling were meaningful to him and consequently they were to a lot of other people. So we have to be authentic to that process. Every single person that steps into the Star Wars universe has to ask themselves: Why is this meaningful to me? That's what is interesting about the contribution about that Rian is making. Every single decision is personal to him."
But was Star Wars really such a personal project to Lucas? If you think about it, it was THX 1138 and American Graffiti that were actually Lucas's personal projects. Star Wars was a classic fantasy Sci-Fi adventure with heroes and villains with a very clever story, great characters and special effects, which massively exceeding its scope and became a worldwide cultural phenomenon. And even if Star Wars was personal to Lucas, it is not personal anymore. Today it is a huge franchise with many divisions, with a supermassive following with a single heartbeat and enormous expectations.
However, the new LucasFilm decided to disregard this massive following and the audience expectations and made a conscious choice of turning episode 8 into a personal project by a single guy. Without collaboration, extensive discussion and teamwork by members of the established community of Star Wars, how would they know that this movie would capture the essence of what makes this effective and appealing to the audience? Well I guess they didn't seem to care about this.
It's interesting to note that even in this documentary, which was overseen by the Last Jedi production team, the fact that Mark Hamill strongly disagreed about the treatment of his character could not be concealed, neither be overlooked. Mark Hamill is an actor who has been defined by and carried this character on his shoulders for more than 40 years. He has been interacting with Star Wars creators and fans for all his life. Sure, he is correct to say "It's not my character to decide". But one would think that he is probably one of the most capable persons alive, able to capture the essence of, what the audience value about, what they treasure and expect from this character.
Instead, by the choice of LucasFilm, the fate of Luke, a character cherished and beloved by millions all over the world, was exclusively determined by a 43 year old guy from Maryland. Whether this was a good choice or not, the future will show.
Finally, anybody can see that throughout this documentary there is a sense of gloominess, as if this is covering something really sad that happened. Is it the music which sometimes is melancholic? Is the passing of Carrie Fisher? Is it the evident frustration and wretchedness of Mark Hamill during this production? Whatever it is, it doesn't help but make you wonder. What if LucasFilm had taken a different approach? What if other people were involved with this production, people who could genuinely capture the pulse of the Star Wars fans. This trilogy and these characters could have had a different fate.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this