A Lonely Path

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Stars: Mark Hamil, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie and Kelly Marie Tran
Director/Scriptwriter: Rian Johnson
Composer: John Williams
Cinematography: Steve Yedlin
Lucas Films
Rating: PG-13 for violence and themed material
Running Length: 150 minutes

“Star Wars” fans can rest easy for this holiday season. They have a film to comfort them through shopping and traffic and know that there will always be a “Star Wars” waiting for them at a local theater and later on DVD. Yes, the last film in a succession of “Star Wars” movies is a success and the pathway within the storyline is not what you would expect. The past blends with the present and guides toward the future. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is here to stay. “Rogue One” was a prequel that stands by itself. An appetite-whetter for things to come.

The cast includes Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and the story here picks up at the end of the last film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens  (2015).”  Luke is in hiding on a remote island, is grizzled looking and doesn’t seem happy to see Rey (Daisy Ridley) who has tracked him down with a Jedi sword. Of course, she wants him to be a Jedi Knight again, and of course, she needs a teacher to hone her skills (which, by the way, come so natural to her, one wonders...).  In the meantime, Snoke, the evil villain (played by Andy Serkis) is pitting his two younger henchmen, General Hux (red-haired Domhnall Gleeson) against the late Han Solo’s son, Kylo Ren (long dark-haired Adam Driver) Both make mistakes and both are taken back into the evil fold, but there comes a time when patience is at an end.  On the positive side is the daredevil pilot of the Rebels, Poe (Oscar Isaac) and there  isn’t anything he can’t fly,  Finn (John Boyega), the trooper who left the evil side  and newcomer Rose, a technician (Kelly Marie Tran) are there to help. Princess Leia (the late Carrie Fisher) is there and every time she comes on the screen, the theater audience hushes. Anthony Daniels is there as C-3PO and Jimmy Vee comes in as the new R2D2. Passing through for the audience to glance at are Laura Dern as Holdo, Princess Leia’s assistant and commandant-at-arms, plus someone who is like a mist, you can’t quite put your finger one him, Benicia del Toro as DJ. Future film, perhaps? Sometimes a script  needs a Sgt. Bilko.

There are escapes, captures, battles both large and singular (swords). When you hear that humming of a saber, you know a duel will begin shortly. Another bar scene, too, with a multitude of unusual characters. Double-crosses, intrigue, strategy and keep your eyes open during this 150 minute film, because action happens all around the screen, not just in the center. Oh, yes, and each film has a sidekick for laughs. Here, are small animals called “porgs” that resemble puffins. They are cute, alert, and remind us of  the“Star Trek” episode, “The Trouble With Tribbles.”  Special effects are wonderful and the Millennium Falcon flies again.

The acting is fairly good in this film. Mark Hamill looks tired,  as though he has the entire world on his shoulders, and actually, he does. Even though there is a beard hiding his face, his eyes tell it all. Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia has a softer touch, almost gentle, in contrast to her other leaders and is the center of her scenes. Daisy Ridley is always in motion. Her role of a young warrior is intense, but her moments with Adam Driver, comparing good and evil, are good, indeed. Future films will be interesting. Oscar Isaac and John Boyega are always in action, too, and their roles are not as prominent in this film. There is just so much flying that can be done in a storyline. All in all, when the side effects are not there, and two people are talking, whether it be Rey and Ren or Leia and Holdo or Rey and Hamill or Ren and Snoke, you get to the meat of the film, which is...what way to we go?  Evil or good?

“Episode IX” of “Star Wars” is due on the big screen in December 2019. No official name yet, but J. J. Abrams is to direct.

Copyright 2017 Marie Asner