The Pioneer

Enough with the “The Last Jedi” hate

Photo courtesy of StarWars.com

Photo courtesy of StarWars.com

Kestutis Rushing,
Contributor

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In 1977, George Lucas, a director with only two feature-length films under his belt, created something that nobody had faith in. Not even the studio. But to everyone’s surprise, the movie exploded into a worldwide phenomenon.

Now we sit in 2018, a little over 40 years later, as the eighth movie in the Skywalker Saga, “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi,” released on Dec. 15.

According to critics, the movie was great. According to most fans, the movie was great. According to others, it was worse than “The Room.” The problem is, these people are upset for all the wrong reasons.

Why do so many people hate “The Last Jedi” then? For starters, they say it’s too different from the originals, which is exactly what people said about the prequel trilogy. People have argued that the movie is too politically correct, and that Disney has destroyed their beloved Luke and ruined their childhoods.

Even Mark Hamill admitted he initially had his doubts about the movie and his character during an interview while promoting the movie. Unfortunately, some have seized that opportunity to twist his words, and try to prove that he, too, hated this movie and franchise. He has since clarified his words and tried to show his love for the movie. But to no avail, haters claimed that Disney and Lucasfilm forced him to praise the movie.

The hate for this movie has been so severe that there now exists a multitude of petitions on Change.org demanding “The Last Jedi” be removed from canon, for director Rian Johnson to apologize for creating the movie and even demanding George Lucas to come back and redirect the new movies. One person has gone so far to cut all the scenes that feature women from their personal cut. All power to them, but they are all dead wrong.

“The Last Jedi” is not a perfect movie, but the movie is a great piece by Johnson. It has been 40 years since the first “Star Wars,” and each generation has its own trilogy to love.

There is nothing wrong with criticizing a movie or disliking a movie and its franchise. But to make petitions and to say that Disney has ruined Star Wars does nothing constructive and is frankly childish.

“The Last Jedi” succeeds because it first teaches a lesson of failure. Each character fails in some sort of way, and grows from that lesson. Without a doubt, it excels in the score and visual effects.

The movie ends up with unexpected twists, but all for the right reasons. Luke’s arc completes, and he ends up being the hero we remember from “Return of the Jedi.” Rey is a strong, confident hero, Kylo is a conflicted villain and Rose is not a pointless character, which is what some critics have argued.

Star Wars is not the same as it was a long time ago. In fact, in 2012, Lucas sold the beloved franchise to Disney for a whopping $4 billion dollars. At that point, other directors would take the mantle, like JJ Abrams, Gareth Edwards, Johnson, and recently Ron Howard for the upcoming “Solo.”

One could only imagine the reason behind Lucas selling Star Wars was money. But Lucas has said he was fed up with the franchise, especially after the debacle that was the prequel trilogy.

When the first of the prequels, “The Phantom Menace” was released in 1991, fans of the original trilogy were outraged, claiming that it had bad writing, questionable acting and too much CGI.

When “The Force Awakens” released in December 2015, some people could not believe that a woman was the main character, a black character had a large role in the movie and that Luke had no lines.

These same people were quick to say that “The Force Awakens “was a “literal remake” of the original, and thus started the common phrase that “Disney killed Star Wars.” But that cannot be true. In fact, it is impossible.

Again, “The Last Jedi” is not the phenomenon that “Star Wars” had created 40 years ago, but it is wonderful film that proves that Star Wars can survive without the Skywalkers, new ideas can be expressed, and that anyone can be a hero without having a famous lineage.

In order for Star Wars to survive, Kylo Ren, who was played by Adam Driver, said it best, “Let the past die, kill it if you have to.” Star Wars has such a huge universe, with so many characters and possibilities. For Star Wars to truly have an expanded universe, we need to move past Han, Luke and Leia, and start focusing on Rey, Finn and Poe.

It is tough to speculate if Star Wars can become bigger than it already is, but there will always be people who like it and dislike it. I guess it is true, nobody hates Star Wars more than Star Wars fans.

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