I think Rian Johnson would make the kind of Bond film that is needed right now.
But due to the embargo until tomorrow I cannot explain why I think that
I think Rian Johnson would make the kind of Bond film that is needed right now.
But due to the embargo until tomorrow I cannot explain why I think that
Well, I think he’s going to be rather busy with that new Star Wars trilogy to take on a Bond film.
I’d be open to it, though. This new Star Wars film actually has me excited to see it. Can’t say that’s ever happened with that franchise before, aside from the general curiosity surrounding the hype around the first prequel.
I’ve avoided all spoilers for The Last Jedi and have my tickets for the midnight screening. I’m really excited.
Well-made as expected. But still it left me cold. Doesn´t really say anything new about war. At times it feels almost like Nolan amusing himself with some of his old tricks going from one time span to another - which does not really add anything besides the idea of confusion in war times and how people experience time differently.
Again, all very fine points made with total directorial confidence.
But I have seen all that before in films which drew me in much more and actually told stories that engaged me emotionally.
I loved Dunkirk when I saw it, but it is very much a Nolan film, so I’m not overly surprised it didn’t connect with you as much as it did me, you having mentioned before that you don’t care for Nolan’s style.
Though onto a director who doesn’t have a signature style, I’ve got tickets to see The Last Jedi on Saturday so am REALLY excited for it. Thing is, Johnson, whose entire CV is fantastic, has an incredible range as a director with Brick, Brothers Bloom and Looper being very different films with little to no similarities (apart from Joseph Gordon Levitt and Noah Sean appearing in all 3) so I don’t think The Last Jedi is any indication of what he’d do if he ever made a Bond film.
That´s what I like about Johnson - he does not impose a rigid style on a film but adapts to what the story needs.
And in the case of THE LAST JEDI (which I absolutely enjoyed) he managed to please me as a fan and also surprise me with the unexpected while at the same time juggling seriousness and wonderful humour.
Of course, Johnson will be busy with STAR WARS and not be able to do BOND 25.
But someone like him, IMO, would be severely needed. Not another auteur who just wants to use his bag of tricks.
THE LAST JEDI (no spoilers)
It´s absolutely filled with spectacular moments, telling a story that is interesting and manages to satisfy expectations while also completely subverting them again and again. It´s extremely funny but also seriously sad. There was a time in the finale when I was absolutely scared that Johnson would end it on a cliffhanger before an important confrontation - and I was relieved that this confrontation played out in full (and again with a pulling-the-rug-under-you twist).
Some reviewers already made it clear that the film offers too much and could be shortened in the middle.
Yes, that is true. And at the same time it isn´t. Because for me, those scenes are also necessary for the story (can´t get into that here as long as the majority hasn´t seen the film yet) and also, as a fan, I really love that THE LAST JEDI is like an overstocked Christmas stocking. It is what I would have loved as a child: indulging me with its playfulness and giving me more than I thought it would. Also, it´s two years before the next episode comes along. So, I´m not complaining.
Imagine reviewers complaing about OHMSS, saying it could be shortened by half an hour. Yeah, it could be. But it would not be the same and lose necessary texture.
Did I like it better than THE FORCE AWAKENS? Yes and no (dammit, again this ambivalence?). The nostalgic impact of a continuation of the STAR WARS movies with Han Solo (and that moment on the bridge) cannot be replicated here, of course. (Although there are some surprises in store for you that wonderfully tickled my nostalgia again.) So TFA has the edge here. But as a film TLJ works better, is much more original and funny - so in that regard I liked it better.
Is it better than the first trilogy? For me, yes.
Is it better than the middle trilogy? No. Although I was never a huge fan of RETURN OF THE JEDI (ranking it as my second-least favourite SW film), THE LAST JEDI simply cannot beat the sheer fascination I felt with A NEW HOPE and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. But it does follow those two films in my ranking now.
Im frothing at the mouth, @secretagentfan . I am seeing it on Monday, and have read so many positive reviews about it, all mentioning crazy twists and amazing moments.
I’m not much of a Star Wars fan (the prequels were awful) but loved Rogue One and liked TFA. The originals are serviceable, yet corny. Empire being the best, obvs.
The Last Jedi (spoiler free)
If other Star Wars movies bring out one’s inner child, Episode VIII acknowledges the adult within. Its meta commentary from the wisdom that comes with age is seen in all the familiar characters from the original trilogy, while the new characters are faced with choices of not repeating fate or destiny. After opening in typical Star Wars fashion, and then picking up where Episode VII’s cliffhanger left off, The Last Jedi becomes a different movie about an hour in. It is both satisfying and uncomfortable as we are in new ground. But then Johnson brings it all back in one of the most rewarding endings since A New Hope. And then a denouement addendum that hints at what the future may hold for the series.
It’s the first Star Wars movie that leaves you with no idea what could happen next. Ever since 1980, we knew what had to happen in the next installment, whether the pre-determined story of the prequels, including Rogue One as outlined in the first opening crawl, to obvious conclusions wrapped up in Return of the Jedi. Even The Force Awakens is predictable in terms of its fan service and remixing beats of the SW canon. But after The Last Jedi, the field is wide open now.
Whether that is controversial or not (Rotten Tomatoes has divergent critic and audience reviews as of this post), The Last Jedi still delivers jaw dropping, suck-the-breath-out-of-you moments that only a Star Wars movie can, but strangely hasn’t in 37 years. From hear-a-pin-drop silence to audience cheers and applause, the sum of its parts may be greater than the whole. But those parts are well worth the price of admission alone. As are the fantastic visuals and cinematography, and great music as always from composer John Williams. The film’s twists and turns may leave you exiting the theater more excited about Johnson’s next trilogy opening up the Star Wars universe than the conclusion bounded by canon to come in Episode IX.
I think the difference between the reaction of the critics and some of those audience members on message boards proves how difficult it is for these franchises - and I conclude our BOND as well - to deliver something new and still remain what people want and expect.
I believe that these stories have to renew themselves and risk to alienate people - otherwise they will become exstinct.
Yeah, thanks for addressing that. I mean, I don’t really want to see Kylo be Vader 2.0, or Luke be Kenobi 2.0, etc. I’m glad for characters that act differently when given similar choices. It shows arc and growth. We don’t need one dimensional villains like General Grievous or Darth Maul again. One review I saw commented that the Kylo Ren of this sequel trilogy is the Anakin we should have had in Episodes I-III. All the allegedly non-canon controversies of TLJ actually reminded me of similar scenes from earlier episodes, as well as some Expanded Universe novels. So they felt not only appropriate, but fitting if not telegraphed.
Also, it’s 2017, not 1977. These movies acknowledge that to us, or at least we can’t help but bring that into the theater. It’s not only been 30 years for us, but 30 years in the Star Wars universe too. The characters reflect that in their actions, choices, feelings and changing beliefs. (Evidence would involve spoilers.) They’re not like static 30 year old ships or 60 year old droids.
Not that these latest films are without flaws, but it seems they’re overly criticized by some fans for either being too much the same thing (TFA) or too different from what was expected. I enjoyed it and am going to see it again to analyze and savor the differences.
Bond had to change with the times, and so do galaxies a long time ago far, far away.
Just the other day I remarked to my wife that the Star Wars franchise is finally becoming like the Bond series by diversifying. What I mean is that the Bond films have a lot of variety in terms of tone, style, cast, generation (i.e. 80s vs. 60s), and even plot to a point. So there is basically always a Bond movie that could fit my mood.
Until recently, Star Wars really only had two or three styles (Originals or Prequels, with the caveat that I’m slightly oversimplifying things). But with Rogue One and TLJ added to the mix, there is a lot more variety while still working within the same established universe. I could see in the near future there being a Star Wars movie for basically any mood.
Big difference between Bond and Star Wars, at least EON haven’t as of yet disrespected their characters the way The Last Jedi has. Thanks to this film I no longer care what will come in Episode IX; I can hope JJ Abrams will ‘Kelvinize’ Star Wars, and nor do I ever care to see a Rian Johnson film ever again…Including his upcoming trilogy.
It’s honestly not too hard to follow a formula Admittedly there were some aspects I didn’t mind but this new movie will probably be the lowest since The Phantom Menace, and I wholeheartedly agree with Mark Hamil’s opinions on the matter.
What a waste.
It would seem Star Wars is having its ‘CraigNotBond’ moment.
I’ve never identified with Luke as much as in The Last Jedi. It’s the first time he really resonated with me. And he’s not all that different from Yoda in Empire Strikes Back. Yoda went into exile after failing to kill Palpatine, and Luke’s in a similar situation, although self-imposed. His flashback also recalls that of Mace Windu attempting to take out Palpatine before Anakin stops him (who himself may have regrets over killing Count DooKu, and hence shows restraint insisting Palpatine stand trial.)
The movie does have flaws and discussion of that has merit. Its weaknesses aren’t any worse than those of RotJ, and its heights are greater. But burning Star Wars shirts, starting a petition to remove TLJ from canon to have it remade, all seem like petulant responses. TLJ wrapped up some story lines I wasn’t expecting to see resolved until Episode IX (you could say it’s Episode 8.5). And thank goodness for that. I’d rather see something new in two years than Remix of the Jedi.
Very much agree with the section I bolded.
Sometimes I feel like fans conveniently overlook the major flaws in ROTJ simply because it’s part of the Original Trilogy. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the movie, but it had its fair share of issues:
The Jabba’s palace scenes took 40 minutes when it should have taken 15. The droids were phase one, then disguised Leia and Chewie were phase two, then Luke was phase three. Nothing important happened during this time, especially as they all wound up at the same place anyway. Seemed like mostly just a filler. (In fact, look at any one of the other 8 Star Wars films, and you’ll see that 40 minutes into the plot significantly more plot happened than did 40 minutes into ROTJ.)
Luke doesn’t seem to know how to handle a lightsaber. It’s cringeworthy.
Boba Fett’s death.
All the basically wasted time spent at Ewok village (C3PO telling stories and whatnot). Again, it mostly feels like filler. When you add these sequences with those at Jabba’s palace, you realize that the movie has about 45 minutes worth of actual plot.
The Ewoks being able to defeat stormtroopers.
The characters of Han and Leia do not have even remotely the same personalities they did in the prior two entries. Leia used to be a tough, smart, resourceful, feisty princess. Now she cries and puts on sad face for most of the movie. Han used to be bad*ss smuggler, a scoundrel who was blunt and edgy. Now he is basically an ordinary guy. It’s as if the writers forgot the whom they were writing about. (I think TFA and TLJ rectified this.)
That being said, I really liked ROTJ, but if the fans applied the same scrutiny to ROTJ that they apply to Attack of the Clones, the movie would not look so good.
In short: I strongly prefer TLJ to ROTJ.
It took me a while to digest TLJ, but ultimately I’m a fan. People called TFA a rehash and jumped up and down when the script was flipped with the sequel. I think it’s a really interesting film because it’s probably the funniest, but also one of the darkest in terms of what actually transpires.
The scene with Snoke, Ben and Rey truly differentiates the sequel trilogy from the classic trilogy, and separates Ben from Vader. When you watch the film a second time you also pick up on the foreshadowing going on.
The core themes are definitely about learning from failure and letting the past die. Nearly all the characters have a failure they learn from. I’m reluctant to list them all here due to spoilers, but it’s a true statement. The middle part of a trilogy is meant to be darker and have consequences.
Nothing in TLJ contradicts TFA from what I have assessed. I could write an essay on Luke’s characterisation, but to keep things short, I’ll just say I like it. Bravo for the bravery of this portrayal.
The sequence with Rose and Finn is the weakest stretch for me, but considering the other fan complaints levelled at the film, that seems rather minor. I’m still a fan of the Disney saga and look forward to IX.
RETURN OF THE JEDI (Special Edition #2.1?)
Though I’d seen this movie many times before in its earlier incarnations (original release, VHS, Remaster, Special Edition theatrical release), I hadn’t seen this latest version all the way through. I revisited it because I wanted to reevaluate my rankings of TFA and TLJ in relation to RotJ. I still think it’s the weakest of the Original Trilogy, and Lucas’ edits and additions actually downgrade it a bit. They also create new consistency problems in addition to those Tin007 mentions above.
For starters, you can no longer watch the Lucas Star Wars films in the order in which they were released. This is ruined by Hayden Christensen’s version of Anakin Skywalker appearing as a Force ghost. The audience has never seen this guy, Luke has never seen him, and he doesn’t go with the Alec Guinness version of Obi-Wan either. Secondly, if the Force ghost is the young version of the Jedi, why isn’t Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan there? And what happened to old man Anakin that Luke unmasks on the Death Star? Sure, you can figure out it’s him by the process of elimination, but it’s unnecessarily confusing, especially for kids who watch the trilogy without the prequels. Also, Vader now screams “Nooo!” in the climactic scene with the Emperor. It’s the first time he whines in the original trilogy.
Secondly, one of the original Special Edition’s added scenes were the celebrations in previous Star Wars cities–Bespin, Tatooine, and Coruscant (which we hadn’t seen in 1997 but could figure out if you read Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy.) There’s still no Yavin, site of the original battle, but now there’s Naboo added. If you hadn’t seen Eps I-II, you have no idea what place this is. The other additions involve extra alien singers in Jabba’s palace, new explosions for the Death Star, and the new Ewok song at the end (say goodbye to “Nub nub.”) In 1997 these were harmless additions that had us anticipating the prequels. Now they serve as unwanted reminders of them.
There’s an argument to be made that if you watch Star Wars in episodic order, the movies get better and better (some prefer Jedi to Empire.) But one of the reasons The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie is because its special edition has the least amount of changes and edits from the original. Indeed, there isn’t even a deleted scene added. And viewing it in this order robs you of one of the greatest cinematic twists of all time.
Episode VI does bring to a conclusion many of the loose ends and story threads set out before it. That lends a predictability to it that some find satisfying but others boring. Death Star 2.0 is a recycled conclusion from Episode IV: A New Hope. Boba Fett turns out to be a nothing burger, slowly digested over a thousand years. Yoda completes his character arc by training Luke. The Ewok home world is a stand in for the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyk Lucas originally intended to use, but was cost prohibitive at the time. The Ewoks don’t bother me as much as other fans, but it does make RotJ seem much like a kiddie film and merch grab in its second half. The reveal of Luke’s sibling seems anti-climactic compared to the epic reveal in the earlier film, and a rewatch of Empire Strikes Back pretty much foreshadows it at the end when Luke can’t use the Force to contact Ben and instead reaches out to Leia.
The battle scenes are much more impressive. How I wish the 3D release of this wasn’t scrapped (the Tie fighters swarming the Falcon’s cockpit window alone would have been worth the price of admission.) At the end of this film, we still have no idea where the Emperor came from or who he was. Luke’s confrontation with him is philosophical. He can’t let him live because he’s evil, but he can’t kill him because that cements Luke’s journey to the Dark Side. I particularly wanted to revisit this scene in light of Luke’s character arc in The Last Jedi, whether to fight or not. Also, his new lightsaber here is green, whereas the one he lost in Empire (and found in TFA and TLJ) is blue. Was Maz Kanata salvaging in Bespin and that’s how she came to possess the blue one (this lightsaber is seen in a TLJ flashback too if you’ve got sharp eyes.)
One L.A. Times review from 1983 about this concluding chapter pondered why we should be happy that the rebels win. What sort of government do they have? At the time, it seemed a ridiculous question but given how things turned out in The Force Awakens it’s now a valid point. The Empire is clearly evil, but it seems the good guys have governance issues.
Finally, there is the saga’s question about the balance of the Force. At the end of Return of the Jedi, there are no more Sith. No master, no apprentice, the Rule of Two now broken. But there is Luke, one last Jedi. Does balance mean no Sith, or equal numbers of Sith and Jedi? If Leia was supposed to join Luke against the Emperor and Vader, with the latter two now gone, did that pave the way for The Force to give rise to Snoke and Kylo? The original release of Jedi didn’t pose these questions, but now that it is no longer the concluding episode, its impact as a film has been lessened, both by the prequel trilogy that came before it and the sequel trilogy that comes after.
Took my kids to see The Last Jedi
For them, there was huge excitement as it was the first Star Wars movie they’d seen in cinemas, and the first not aimed specifically at children.
I found the film great, if a bit long. It was good fun, with spectacular special effects. There were possibly one too many one-on-one confrontations and at least one too many “endings” but overall a very impressive addition to the franchise.
A few days ago I watched “A Ghost Story” on Amazon. Definitely didn’t anticipate it to be scary, in fact the film is pretentious and boring at times. Overall though I liked it. I figured the themes of existentialism, loneliness and the loss of loved ones have always been an interesting subject to dissect. Worth a watch!
Laura Vandervoort, Tobin Bell
dir. Peter & Michael Spierig
The Saw franchise’s return to the big screen after a seven-year hiatus is every bit the mixed bag that the original series was during its initial run.
Jigsaw finds yet another group of people who don’t seem to value their lives being held captive and forced to undergo a series of horrific tests in order to survive and prove that they are truly repentant for the pain they have caused others around them. While this is the tried and true formula of the franchise dating back to its inception, the concept here feels fresh in a way that it hasn’t since Saw II. This can be attributed to a lot of different factors, among them being the film’s cinematography. Where the original films were shot to look as bleak and as grimy as humanly possible, Jigsaw has a sleeker, brighter look that is much more cinematic than anything that we saw out of the original seven films. This can be viewed as a good or bad thing depending on your outlook, as it can be looked at as either the franchise finally growing beyond its roots and doing something different or simply selling itself out to try to reach a broader audience. For me, it’s a welcome change. That and the fact that the “torture porn” element of the films has been dialed back significantly. Yes, it’s still gruesome, but it’s nothing that you wouldn’t find right at home in many other thrillers or horror films released today, save for the film’s final trap, but even then, it’s so CGI-heavy that it in some respects feels more cartoonish than something you would feel the need to go reaching for a sick bag.
Keeping with franchise tradition, the film is heavy on the police procedural angle, where we find Detective Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) and Detective Hunt (Cle Bennett) piecing together the puzzle of what appears to be another round of Jigsaw killings. The film does a pretty good job of toying with the idea that Tobin Bell’s John Kramer might actually be alive after all and out and about continuing to put people through his tests, which was fairly surprising considering that the character died five films ago. This is where the film is at its best, when we’re forced to wonder whether or not Kramer is still alive and, if not, who might be behind this new wave of killings.
The cast is largely what you’d expect from a Saw sequel, with an abundance of lesser-known TV actors running around acting as cannon-fodder for the titular villain. As always, there’s one that you recognize from some hit show in the past, with that role being filled this time around by Laura Vandervoort. Tobin Bell returns once again, to what is easily his smallest amount of screen time in the franchise, but unlike his increasingly unnecessary scenes in the later sequels during the franchise’s original run, here his screentime is very much a highlight of the film as well as extremely important in the overarching story that is being told.
Whether or not Jigsaw leads to a revival of the franchise remains to be seen (supposedly talks are underway for a ninth film, unsurprising since, despite the numbers being disappointing on their face, the film did make roughly ten times its production budget), it’s a surprisingly good return for the franchise and much better than any eighth sequel has any right to be. It’s not without its issues, of course, as the idea behind the film is much better in theory than in its execution and delivery. One also has to wonder whether or not the film could have benefitted from the type of casting we saw in the original Saw film, which featured more seasoned actors like Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Cary Elwes, and Michael Emerson. Regardless, given all of the various directions they could have taken the franchise, Jigsaw has to stand as some kind of triumph just based on the fact that it’s not flat-out terrible like it probably should have been.