Movie Review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi Essay

A Very Long-Running Series, Indeed

If Star Wars were a TV series, it would have long ago bypassed one of the previous longest-running franchises, “Gunsmoke,” which ran first on radio from 1950 to 1961; on TV from 1955 until 1975; and included as well, 5 made-for-TV movies beween 1987 and 1995, spanning a total of 20 years, if you count only the TV shows!

For this comparison, I’m not including soap operas, cartoons or “adult cartoon” shows, but only prime-time shows. Star Wars has been with us for forty years! That’s right: 40 years have elapsed since the very first movie was released back in 1977.

It’s a bit tricky to add up, with all the overlaps, prequels, and subtle title shifts to make this ‘out of order’ sequencing line up correctly, but all the same, It’s been in the public awareness and marketplace for 40 years (as of the release of this most current story, in December of 2017.)

Getting Started

The Last Jedi runs for just shy of 2 hours.

I have to admit, I nodded off a couple of times near the beginning, because the opening scenes seemed to me a bit on the slow-going side, compared to previous story lines, and sci-fi movies in particular.

My husband kept nudging me, so I didn’t actually miss much!

And Now, On With the Review

Many folks have no doubt already seen this movie; and in the theaters, at that. However, theaters are not in our budget, so we wait for the DVD release. I’m sure we are not alone in that, so as is my usual policy, I will not include any spoilers in my review.

The Last Jedi has Mark Hamill and Carrie Fischer reprising their original roles as Luke and Leia. I was at once struck with a profound sadness, wondering how the series will go on, minus such a familiar, powerful, and beloved character.

(Yes, there was plenty of “suspenseful room” left at the end for ever more sequels),

For by now, it is no surprise that Carrie Fischer passed over to the rebel base in the sky back on December 27, 2016. This was her last movie. That’s not a spoiler; millions of fans worldwide shared in the grief over the loss of “Princess Leia.”

Daisy Ridley appears as Rey, a new character, and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. These two, much like Vader and Skywalker, appear on opposite sides of The Force. There must always be that sort of tension and dichotomy for a good story to work. It’s possible that in these two, Lucas Films has found a way to keep the saga going.

A Few Issues

As with many of the sci-fi genre of movies, I tend to get a bit distracted by plot inconsistencies. Most of the time I am engrossed in the story, but every so often, something happens that is just not correct, and it stuns me out of my “willing suspension of disbelief.”

Star Wars is not the only guilty party here; there are plenty of offenders in the genre, but I will point out the usual culprits that always make me say, “Hey, wait a minute, there!”

First of all: Explosions!

There is no atmosphere in space; hence, no sounds; or at least, no continuing noise, once the hull of a ship is breached, and the artificial atmosphere sucked out.

Secondly: Explosions Again, and Falling Down!

There is no gravity in space! Things (and people) do not “fall down”; they’d end up floating in a permanent orbit of sorts, or creating a debris field in the absence of a nearby planet or moon.

Yet, invariably, someone falls or is knocked over an edge, and falls down, down, down, screaming (you wouldn’t hear their screams), to their supposed demise.

Third and finally: Really?? Explosions!

There is an explosion that breaches a large part of a ship’s hull. Obviously, ‘stuff’ (including nearby people) gets sucked out into space. But what about all those people running about away from the big gap in the hull? How are they doing that? Why are they, too, not being sucked out? How are they breathing without a spacesuit? There is no air in space!

Cast of Characters (In No Particular Order)

Mark Hamill
Luke Skywalker/Dobbu Scay
Carrie Fischer
General Leia Organa
Adam Driver
Kylo Ren
Daisy Ridley
John Boyega
Andy Serkis
Domhnall Gleeson
Oscar Isaac
Poe Dameron
Kelly Marie Tran
Rose Tico
Anthony Daniels
Frank Oz
(Voice of) Yoda
Brian Herring & Dave Chapman
Joonas Suotamo

“Chewie!” and Others

Chewbacca returns, and shows a softer side of himself; but I won’t spoil that scene with anything more than that teaser.

The old nemesis characters, the Storm Troopers are still present, as are some of the old battle ‘walkers.’

Ingenuity and counter-intuitive tactics play as big a role as ever.

The End/Not the End:

Watch all the way to the end of the movie for the telltale setup for yet another episode in this ongoing saga of the Rebels against the Empire.

Three child characters appear in the final scene, played by Temirlan Blaev, Josiah Oniha, and Sarah Heller. Keep an eye out for them in upcoming episodes; I have a feeling they’re going to be stars in their own rights.


Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a Lucas Films production, and was released to DVD in December of 2017.

Music is by John Williams. Oh, yes, that familiar tune that tells you to take your seats now, lest you miss anything!

Visual effects and animations by Industrial Light and Magic.

Executive producers are JJ Abrams, Tom Karnowski, and Jason McGatlin.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson.

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