It is said that “The Last Jedi” would be of the caliber of “Empire Strikes Back”. Episode V, King of Frankness, didn’t actually lose its crown. Meticulous, visual, but overwhelmed by its legend, “The Last Jedi” is an anniversary film, a tribute… but not a new star.
Ever since the release ofRogue One, there’s been a strange rumor in the Hollywood air: Rian Johnson would be the new Irvin Kershner. The empire has found the perfect craftsman: one who would be as adulterous as he would be heretical, one who would respect while desecrating.
The comparison did not stop there, since from Adam Driver’s mouth, we drew some parallels with the untouchable episode V directed by Kershner: darker, more powerful and more metaphysical,The Last Jediwould be toAwakening of the Forcewhat the counterattack to the new hope had been.
©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd.
It was all cruel. How to present this new episode, which suffers in essence from its status as a borrowing from the past, alongsideevergreen, the timeless masterpiece of genre cinema? There is, in this tension between two works belonging to worlds that everything opposes, a deceit and an affront.
It is not, however, a creative necessity to redoStar Wars unless one considers that the era is disrupting the so-called timelessness. However, in this, comparing The Last JediandThe Empire Strikes Backis an affront that denies the role of each of these works in their own time. Episode VIII does not have the task of pursuing a success and a revelation, it must dig a furrow already too deep.
Obviously, this reality weighs on the two-hour film served by Rian Johnson. It has that of very modern that it twists and turns to the sound of the time. Indeed,The Last Jedimeets the requirements of elegy.
Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) / John Wilson
Helpful and gallant in the face of his legacy, the feature film bends before its own legend: it makes the eulogy and the quotation a culmination of its relationship to the past. UnlikeAwakening of Force, which gave the impression of elegantly hailing the artistic canon that isA New Hope,The Last Jedibows without sobriety. He prefers the pathos of oration to the canon, or even the gruelling homage in which we replay, at the frontiers of fiction, a song of gesture of past characters.
Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Finn (John Boyega) / David James
Luke Skywalker, but above all Mark Hamill Leia Organa, and first of all Carrie Fisher, are thus an attraction that one throws into a religious procession. One offers a breathtaking acting performance, but seems to be summoned by the weight of the past. When the other crushes her character from her own reality as a deceased and regretted actress – to the point of nausea in a truly ugly scene in which Leia (or perhaps Carrie) is subjected to a ridiculous twist that is reminiscent of the elegy quoted above. Untouchable, Leia is no longer a character that we develop but a star that we light up for the time of a shoot.
Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) / David James
Undeniably,The Last Jediis more of a specification than a necessity. Task after task, tribute after tribute, citation after citation, Johnson performs without finding room for his own program.
The result is a secondary presence of his own creations: the cleaversporgsare perfectly dispensable, his planets offer nothing better than a few very beautiful shots, etc. All the novelties that he calls for are relegated to a precarious, second-rate status that only makes the spectacle of the tribute even heavier. Driven by duty, the director crashes to let the legend walk all over him. Even if it means delegating the work on the new secondary characters to the director of the next episode: Poe and Finn are as if crystallized in their roles.
Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) / Jonathan Olley
On the other hand, whileLe Réveiloffered a canonical script architecture and an enjoyable editing,Les Derniers Jediproves to be less gifted in its space-opera craft.
Its exceptional length is not justified by a perfect structure, its secondary characters find no space in a cathedral teeming with narrative arcs, and finally the sometimes brilliant, sometimes modest editing gives the feature film different speeds, braking, starting again, and stopping again without keeping a unified breath.
And yet, the qualities of this episode are many. Especially in terms of direction and direction: as we said, Hamill delivers a great performance and the Driver/Ridley duo has never been so powerful; hand-to-hand combat and naval battles are the benchmark meters for the last decade.
Daisy Ridley (Rey)
Visually, the face has an exciting place in Johnson’s work and demands a new effort from the actors. In the look and play of his casting, Johson inscribes his desire for conflict: as much in the rebellion as for the owners of theForce.
But there again, this conflictuality which makes the brilliance ofThe Empire Strikes Backtends to drift, shaking its characters from one extreme to the other, to the rhythm of a television soap. We can even talk about the permanentcliffhangerthat keeps postponing the development of a film that prefers to go where thefan servicecarries it.
Are we being too hard on a quality feature film? Certainly then he will be enjoyed by a large number of fans who expect this kind of work from Johnson. Although fans will have to be content to watch the stars of yesteryear take a glitz and glamour lap, rather than have the opportunity to confront the answers expected from the episode, particularly on the new economy of the Abrams-brushed universe.
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Let’s also add that at a time when genre cinema seems to be continuing its crisis of repetition,The Last Jediplaces the cursor much higher than many regenerations of the last few years. Fulfilling its weighty specifications, Episode VIII attempts, with varying degrees of success, to give meaning, definition and a new religious framework to a world that Disney is eager to bring out of the murky waters of creation with a unanimous aim.
For all these reasons, it is a remarkable work of the Hollywood of 2017, a remarkableStar Warsfor the next generations, but above all, a summary of the impossible feat of an episode V in today’s world.
Indicative note : 3/5
As if paralyzed by legacy, Rian Johnson attempts, with varying degrees of success, to combine a tribute to the universe and its actors — Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill — with an epic sequel toAwakening of the Force.
If the objective is noble, the result is less a sequel than a nostalgic spectacle. Despite a busy script, the feature film misses many opportunities to develop its characters, especially secondary characters.
Accumulating turnarounds and narrative arcs,The Last Jedileaves the next episode free to finally invest in the new universe that Disney promises us. It remains a good film that succeeds in making the central relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey a success.
- Mark Hamill gives one of his best performances
- Carefully crafted, visually stunning
- Generous, prolific and satisfying
- Lack of work on secondary characters
- The overwhelming presence of the iconic universe
- It’s episode nine that has to do the job…
- The World: “There is no guarantee that this way, however talented, of making something new out of something old is a bet on the future. »
- Le Point Pop: “‘s most embarrassing is the impression of a transition film with Episode IX, without any real plot twists and with unexciting sub-plots.»
- The Hollywood Reporter “Most of the new characters could use more heft, purpose and edge to their personalities, and they have a tendency to turn up hither and yon without much of a clue how they got there