TLJ: Finn & Rose

This is Part IV and the finale of an ongoing series where I review The Last Jedi.

 

Finn and Rose were the heroes that had me the least enthused. I’ve never really loved Finn, even in TFA, but he propelled the storyline forward and got a few laughs out of me. In this movie, they amplified Finn’s bad qualities and then paired him with a forever-hopeful sidekick so that she could reform him in a subliminal sort of way.

I’ve read a lot of complaints about the character Rose and how useless she was. I admit, I found her to a be a little bland and when paired with Finn (whom I also find bland), their storyline was the slowest. But if you think that Rose was useless, then you are missing the point of her character. Sure, she may not have been the most interesting but her character was there to bring Finn wholeheartedly into the Resistance. Finn’s allegiance to the Resistance was only because of Rey, and when in by himself, he wants to run.

Finn is a constant deserter. He deserted the First Order. He deserted Rey on Takodana. He tried to desert the Resistance at the opening of this movie.

What the directors needed to do was to create a character that motivates Finn to have a change of heart and stay with the Resistance DESPITE everything he knows about the First Order and how they obliterate everything in their path. It’s a fine line to walk because on one hand, Finn knows how ruthless the First Order is. The characters should logically jump ship as soon as he can (he tries). On the other hand, Finn needs to stay with the Resistance.

Enter Rose. Poe is too busy being a flyboy and causing trouble on the ship with his own story line. Rey is off training with Luke. So when creating the story of the Last Jedi, they needed to create someone new and that someone was Rose.

But unfortunately for Rose, her naïve optimism comes off as boring. Yet Finn needs to be around someone who has blind faith in the Resistance, is not jaded despite the fact that her sister died, but has a slight melancholy back story to give her a bit of depth. When Finn goes to sacrifice himself at the end of the movie and Rose saves him, she shows Finn (and us) that death is not always the most beneficial way to help a cause. Sometimes you need to save people as well.

Did I love Rose? No. Was I appreciative of her character? Yes.

Canto Bight

Okay, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – namely the city of Canto Bight. After a lot of hype, it fell a little flat. The problem with these scenes is that I think it could have been expanded and some of the Resistance scenes cut shorter. It had the potential to be a refreshing break from the slow, dark Resistance vs. First Order scenes, but it instead became too much, too fast.

The only purpose I can think of for this scene is that it gets them in touch with DJ (whom I loved, but that’s a post for another time). By getting in touch with DJ, it gets Finn into the First Order, where he has his final battle against Phasma, and Finn & Rose realize literally that “loose lips sink ships”. Not everyone can be trusted, and DJ is the perfect example of this as he sells them out to the First Order.

But was there another way to get DJ into the picture? Did they have to go to Canto Bight, get locked in jail, and escape on fathiers? It was a very twisted way to get Finn and Rose into the First Order and have a betrayal. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just meet DJ at some random place and not race fathiers and get locked in jail?

What is, is. No use saying I would have done it differently, but I do believe Canto Bight could have been a missed chance on something a lot more interesting had they played with the timing of the movie a bit more.

 

Did you enjoy Canto Bight? Do you think it should have been cut from the movie?

And what about Rose? Did you like her character?

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This is Not Going to Go How You Think: My review on The Last Jedi

I wanted different.  I craved different. When they announced Disney would be buying Lucasfilm, I wrote about how I wanted them to pass the baton to a new set of characters and give me something fresh in the Star Wars universe.

Oh, they did. The Last Jedi is different. It’s similar, yes, to Star Wars, but they shook up the universe.

I felt that the first ½ of the movie was confusing, slightly forced, and didn’t really find it’s groove well. There were too many plot lines to follow (I counted four major ones) and it jumped around too much. The latter half more than made up for it. Once the main characters wrapped up their smaller plot lines and convened together (mostly), the movie got a lot better. Better, but very different than what I expected.

1.5 hours later…

I wrote a whole 5 page review  on a word doc that had such in depth feels and whatnot…but I’ve decided that instead, I will save them for separate posts for the next few months. That is much more easily digestible. No one would read 5 pages of my thoughts in this day and age.

Instead, I’ll highlight quick thoughts/feels/disappointments.

I liked:

  • The new twist on Star Wars. They gave us more to explore and more to think about. They opened more of the Force with the visions and the ability to be in more than one place – it almost had a TCW/Rebels feel that way. TCW and Rebels were always exploring new aspects of the Force and this just gave us more to chew on.
  • I’m glad her character didn’t fall to any kind of petty stupidity or need any man to rely on. That said – her chemistry with Kylo Ren! Oh man, they’ve got some good chemistry. When he asked her to go with him, the sensible part of me was saying she should not but the emotional part of me was saying GO GO GO! Her showdown against Snoke showed how untrained she is, but when she battled with Kylo Ren, it was one of the best scenes in the movie.
  • Do you think it’s true that her parents were nobodies? At first, I didn’t want to believe it, but now I’m becoming okay with it. They are trying to move away from the Skywalker legend (which they banged over our head a million times) so perhaps this is a way to show that the new hero can be a nobody (possibly a nod to Anakin who was also a nobdy).
  • Speaking of Snoke – he is no more and no explanation on who he is either. Great death though. I liked how he kept manipulating Kylo Ren. In the beginning he mocked him for his mask and said he felt the conflict, but when he needed something from him, he immediately turned the tables and said he was completely turned to the dark side. Butttt he didn’t see Kylo Ren killing him. Alas.
  • I loved how this movie explored that the Jedi Order was a horrible institution. I like how Rey was unafraid to confront the dark side, but still stay true to the light side of the Force. The fact that Ren’s conflict continues to grow is an interesting aspect to explore. With the Jedi order ending, we can now observe how the Force interacts with people, as could have been shown with that little kid at the end of the movie.
  • The little boy – how important of a role do you think he is going to play? Or do you think he’s only to show that a nobody can be strong in the Force?
  • I loved DJ. I loved seeing a smuggler, who was out for himself and went with the money. I must admit that I kept waiting for him to turn good or help them, but he didn’t, and I liked that he didn’t. We had that with Han and seeing someone only wanting to save their own skin for once was, strangely, refreshing.
  • The emphasis on animals. Anyone else notice that and find it interesting?

I didn’t like:

  • Leia’s floating scene. I think this went up there with the Rathtars for me. A few of my friends liked it because they said it spoke to the mysticism of the Force. I thought it was laughable. It also was a very appropriate place to kill her character. We all know at this point that Leia is not going to be in IX unfortunately. It was said that VII was for Han, VIII was for Luke, and IX was going to be for Leia. But now it’s turned on its head and IX will be … none of the three original heroes. So instead of ending her character in an appropriate place, they instead had her Force float back to the ship and live through the entire movie. Agh.
  • Maz. Why was she needed in this movie? Just because she was in TFA doesn’t mean she had to also be in TLJ. And being on the run while trying to talk to the Poe, Finn, and Rose? What? The whole sequence was bizarre.
  • The multiple storylines. Four storylines was a lot for the first half! I think Canto Bight could have been very interesting, but instead it felt forced due to the fact that the movie was constrained by time. If they had expanded it, made it more of a nod to Ocean’s 11 or a James Bond movie, it could have been fascinating. Instead, I think we lingered far too long with Poe and Vice Admiral Holdo and the Finn/Rose storyline was crammed into the movie.
  • I am not completely sold on Luke’s reason for becoming a hermit. I understood Luke’s shame and his reason for ending the Jedi Order. What I don’t understand is why he deserted his friends and family because of this. I could not match that up with the Luke from the OT. Even in ROTJ, where he is much more serious than the previous movies, he still has that optimism about himself. And for someone who spent 20 years of his life yearning to know his real family, I doubt he would have given up on Leia and disappeared on her.
  • Why didn’t Holdo tell Poe of her plan? Everyone is dying and no one has hope and she keeps this a secret? It doesn’t make sense. Can anyone shed some light?
  • The Force hologram/being in 2 places at once? I liked it and didn’t like it. I liked it because, like I mentioned, it gave us more things to explore and understand about the Force. What I didn’t like (and I might be in the minority here) is that I think it kind of cheapened the ending. It would have been so much cooler if Luke was actually there in person with all the blaster bolts trying to destroy him and facing Kylo Ren. Instead when I realized he was not there, it made me feel a little cheated.

Now that I have those brief thoughts out of the way, get ready for my super long post that I just wrote to be broken down into segments over the next few weeks.

 

Let’s discuss! Can’t wait to see what everyone else thought.

Breaking Bread in Star Wars

In Game of Thrones, the significance of meals, soups, and stews cannot be overlooked. I love that important events happen around the table and eating: Joffrey gets murdered/poisoned during feast, the Red Wedding takes place during another feast, many of Olenna Tyrell’s witty and strong speeches are given over food, and some of the secret meetings often involve wine and tea cakes.

Food, in general, plays an important role in literature. Think about Alice in Wonderland with the Mad Hatter’s tea party or Chocolat where chocolate drives village folk to break their Lenten vows. How about Macbeth when he comes newly to the crown and has a feast (complete with scary visions)? And let’s not forget how Harry Potter was denied the ability to sit with his family to eat; often food was shoved into his broom cupboard, or later, his upstairs room, representing a denial of familial blood/bonds.

This of course got me thinking…what about Star Wars? Does Lucas put the same emphasis on meals as our literary friends? I’m going to take a look at the most important scenes involving food.

Let’s analyze!

 

Episode I – The Phantom Menace

The most important meal scene here would be when Qui-Gon, Padmé, and Jar Jar take refuge with Anakin and Shmi on Tatooine due to the sandstorm. This scene is very essential as it ties together some speculations, as we see Qui-Gon revealing to Anakin that he is a Jedi and Qui-Gon’s speculation that Anaking has Jedi reflexes due to the fact that he can drive (fly?) a podracer.

In one sense, it’s a meeting of the past and future. We see the old way of life and the Jedi Order with Qui-Gon Jinn. We see the future and the change in the galaxy with the meeting of this boy.

It’s also a moment where rich and poor come together. We see this clearly with Padmé who doesn’t understand slavery still exists, juxtaposed against Shmi who probably views her as a little naïve for not understanding the Outer Rim.

 

Episode II – Attack of the Clones

There are two specific meal scenes I want to focus on (sadly, I’d like to focus on when Anakin meets Padmé’s family, but since that was a deleted scene, I will keep it out of the picture (pun!)).

Meal 1: Anakin and Padmé on the Coruscant Freighter to Naboo

This is the first time we see Anakin and Padmé have a real, adult conversation that digs a little deeper into the Jedi life. Padmé teases the surface to see if Anakin’s flirtation could ever turn into something more substantial. We see them connect more as adults on an even playing field, versus what was happening earlier when Padmé was still trying to distance herself as the older and “wiser” of the two.

Here, too, there’s a connection of two different worlds and lifestyles meeting each other. There is the secular, political world which Padmé is a part of and the reclusive, temperate world that Anakin has sworn his life to.

Meal 2: Anakin and Padmé on Naboo

This meal is almost as if our characters were leveling up in a video game. They’ve approached each other with caution in Meal 1 and now they’re sparring flirtatiously (or should I say they’re having aggressive negotiations?) in Meal 2. The walls separating their worlds between them both have melted away a bit. Anakin now teases the Jedi and his master, Obi-Wan, slowly pushing aside their world. We see Padmé begin to pull Anakin into her world: not only are they literally on Naboo, her home planet, but also figuratively as he begins to grow more in love with her as a person.

Instead of two worlds meeting, we have two lives overlapping. This scene reminds me of a Venn diagram: Padmé, politics, wealth on one side with Anakin, Jedi, and isolation on another.

 

Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

Nothing to note.

 

Rogue One

Nothing to note.

 

Episode IV – A New Hope

The only scene in this movie with a meal involves Luke conversing with Uncle Owen while Aunt Beru silently watches the exchange. It’s here where we find out that Luke has a father, who for some reason, is mysterious and not much is known about him. Luke also vents frustration about staying on Tatooine for another harvest.

The meal itself seems normal enough if you’ve ever had a meal with a teenager, but the difference with this meal is the emphasis on Luke’s father. Luke is clearly interested in knowing more and is intrigued by the detail that Old Ben knew him, but Uncle Owen squashes that conversation quickly.

The main difference in this meal is that while the meals in the Prequels are pulling people together, this meal seems to be pushing people apart.

 

Episode V – Empire Strikes Back

Meal 1 – Luke eats a meal in Yoda’s hut

Again, similar to ANH, this meal is one of discord and tension as opposed to harmony. Luke is impatient and wants to find a Jedi Master. This little green being has invited Luke into his home and is trying to be hospitable, to bring warmth and friendliness to the meal, but all Luke wants to do is leave. How horrible! It reflects so poorly on him. Yoda also seems to be gauging Luke to see if he will open up to becoming more patient and is testing him.

Instead, the meal falls apart to the point that when Yoda is revealed to Luke, Yoda almost refuses to train him. The two Force-sensitive beings are pushing apart at this meal instead of coming together as they should be to save the galaxy.

Meal 2 – Lando’s betrayal

There’s not much to this meal time, but damn is it memorable. This is the Star Wars version of the Red Wedding. Han and Leia think they are going to a friendly meal with Lando, only to find that he betrayed them all.

Interestingly though, this is the first and only time we really see formal dining in the Star Wars movies. If anyone is wondering how the meal turned out, you should watch this version.

Out of all the meals in the Star Wars movies, this has to be the biggest antithesis of what meal times should be. Meals should be about coming together, letting bygones be bygones (temporarily) and as we saw in the Prequels, worlds meeting in a friendly manner.

We definitely have different worlds meeting together in this meal, but it is the opposite of opening your mind, sharing warm conversations, and attempting to be friendly.

The Empire and the Rebellion stirred together with some betrayal left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. (That was the greatest line I’ve ever typed)

 

Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

Though not necessarily a meal, I wanted to include the scene of Leia handing Wicket the rice cake because it speaks back to my theme of bringing different worlds together. In this instance, which is different from the Prequels, Leia’s act of sharing a meal with someone completely different is what saves her life and topples the Empire.

It is often mentioned that food is a great way to bring together different cultures, even if they cannot speak the same language. We see this with Wicket and Leia on Endor. Despite their differences, the food helps Wicket overcome his hesitation to befriend Leia. In turn, he helps her take down a scout trooper and she goes with Wicket to his village. This helps her save her friends (who were also going to actually become the meal), disable the shield around the Death Star and bring down the Empire. And this all became possible because of a rice cake, imagine that.

 

Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Meal 1 – Rey’s solitary meal

For obvious reasons, this meal was shown to emphasize that Rey was alone. She was a girl on a lonely, desolate planet. I think this meal, though it could have been cut from the movie, was important to show us how isolated she was on Jakku.

In some ways, eating meals by ourselves is sometimes viewed by others with pity. Not many people go to restaurants alone, and even eating at your desk sometimes feels a little shameful. As human beings, we were meant to eat as part of a community. Though, in some ways, I think the American culture has forgotten (or ignored this as we prefer to place an emphasis on being busy), we still put an importance on eating together on holidays.  At our root, our cultures like to take coffee breaks, tea breaks, water cooler breaks,  so that we have a chance to connect with other beings.

Rey’s act of eating alone in a desert (another place that often symbolizes lack of life) forces us to acknowledge how secluded she is.

Meal 2 – Maz Kanata’s castle

This meal mirrors the meal from TPM slightly. We have four people from greatly different worlds, pulled together around a table for a meal. Whereas TPM was a happen chance, this meal was forced by Han Solo. Finn is an ex-First Order Stormtrooper, Rey is a loner from Jakku, Han is a smuggler, and Maz is…a Force-sensitive being (and totally also a hoarder – say what you want, but if you read any description of her, she belongs on TLC).

This meal is a meeting of the worlds, but not an overlap. Everyone still has their boundaries firmly in place once they leave. Yet here at this meal, they learn a little bit more about themselves. Instead of learning about others as we saw in most of the meals in Star Wars, they each understand a bit more about who they are and what they may have to do.

 

I was hoping to come away from this analysis feeling like there was a deliberate reason for each meal scene in Star Wars. I think that’s the case for some, but not all.

What I enjoyed observing the most was that the meals in the Prequels were focused on bringing together people from very different ways of life, into an open discussion and understanding of each other.

With the Original Trilogy, meal times were focused more on strife, discord, and a sense of unbalance. The meals highlighted tension for our characters and the larger political scene at large. Leia’s sharing of the rice cake with Wicket is the only instance in the OT where we see something closer to what we saw in the PT.

With TFA, I think the meal scenes were much more deliberate and placed within the movie for a reason: to help us understand the characters better.

 

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season approaching, food plays an important part in our lives. Though we love to gather around our tables and eat during the holiday season, do we also keep an open mind and realize that at any meal, we have a meeting of the worlds? Do we try to keep ourselves from discord and tension (and hopefully betrayal)?

 

Did I miss any meals that you think should be part of this list?

 

Haiku Me Friday! I can’t relate to Obi-Wan

The pain sears through me
I’m filled with horror and shock
I thought I knew him

I can’t imagine what Obi-Wan went through when he realized that Anakin was the one who killed the Jedi in the Temple. There are times, even though this is in a galaxy far away, where I can somewhat relate to the characters.

I relate to Luke staring out at the sunset and yearning for something more. I relate to Padmé’s drive to believe the good in her husband. I relate to Leia’s decisive personality. I relate to Rey’s loyalty to her friends. I relate to Finn’s lies to cover up who he really is.

But I cannot relate to Obi-Wan when he finds out that Anakin has turned to the dark side. Not only turned to the dark side, but killed numerous in Jedi in the temple. In fact, when I think about it, there are very few moments that I do relate to Obi-Wan throughout the saga. I can understand why he is some people’s favorite character, but he’s not mine. The only moment I have ever been able to relate to Obi-Wan is when he is arguing with Qui-Gon about training Anakin. I’m a stickler for rules, so I understand his pushback to Qui-Gon’s stubbornness.

Yet, this betrayal of Anakin to Obi-Wan goes deeper than many of us have ever experienced or will experience. When thinking about the feelings he must feel, the only thing that may come close is if I found out my husband was cheating on me with multiple women and then murdered them all. Gruesome, right? I don’t even like thinking about it but it was the closest train of thought I could go down that might possibly provide the same feelings.

Not only is Anakin’s betrayal a betrayal of the Jedi and a way of life, he was also his best friend. He was someone whom he trusted and loved. And this trust is different from a trust that you or I might have with a friend – they were in situations where they constantly trusted each other with their lives.

I always watch their last exchange before Anakin turned with a pang of sadness. Watch it one more time:

When Obi-Wan says, “Goodbye, old friend,” is the Force that speaks through him that gives him a touch of foreshadowing?

And what about Anakin’s looks? He apologizes for his behavior but as Obi-Wan leaves, is that … defiance? Anger simmering below? Resentment? Conflict? There’s something there and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Obi-Wan leaves with kind, wise words of encouragement in their last conversation. This is his last impression of Anakin before Order 66. It’s so painful. He truly, really believes in Anakin, which is what makes this scene of realization hard to watch. Yoda understands right away, but Obi-Wan does not want to. The denial is there. “Who could have done this?” he asks Yoda as they walk through the temple. Yet, as they continue their walk through and recalibrate the code, he knows. How he knows, I’m not entirely sure. The Force, most likely.

And I can’t imagine how he feels when it’s confirmed. I know there are people in this world who have suffered atrocities at the hands of loved ones, and perhaps they can watch this scene with greater understanding. I am lucky enough that I hope to never, ever relate to Obi-Wan in this scene.

 

How have you processed this scene? Can you relate to Obi-Wan (no need to share)? Have you ever had a good friend betray you in an irrevocable way?

 

The Last Jedi Teaser Trailer and Speculations

We FINALLY got our first trailer for Episode VIII today and I have to say, I’m a little disappointed.  With only around 8 months left to go until the movie is released, I expected a little bit more.  It didn’t really give me much to chew on.  Most of us knew that Rey would train with Luke for a good portion of the movie so seeing those scenes didn’t rivet me in any way.

Don’t get me wrong – my favorite types of movies have some kind of intense training period in them when the trainee becomes a hero.  I’m actually MOST excited about the training of Rey in TLJ.  I just think the trailer was little light on content for being pretty close to the release of the movie and was hoping for a lot more.

Poe and Finn were barely in the trailer and seemed like an afterthought (Finn especially), so I do hope that they get more screen time than the trailer suggests.  I loved seeing BB-8 again, my favorite droid, and was super sad to see Poe’s x-wing blow up!  I hope he makes it out okay.

Where was Kylo Ren?  We only got a very brief shot.  (Also, how did he get his mask back? Is this going to be one of those weird unexplained things like how Maz got Luke’s lightsaber?)

I liked seeing the Jedi Order symbol…really excited to see where that goes.

The most important and puzzling line is Luke’s declaration that “I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to end.”  NO LUKE NO WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?  I think that scene is from him being on the mountain top too long.  He’s turned into a curmudgeon and the line is probably in the beginning of the movie.  Right after it, Rey will say, “Are you nuts? I didn’t come all this way to hear you say that,” and he’ll go, “Oh yeah, you’re right, what was I thinking? Let’s begin this training.”  Hahahaha, but seriously, I have a strong feeling the line is in the beginning of the movie and it’s following a similar format to Yoda/Luke in ESB – where Yoda did not want to train Luke, but in the end gives in.

The Midi-Chlorian Center did a nice round up of the new poster and photos from the movie, so head to their page to check it out.  I can’t wait to see who Rose is and what her story will bring us.  I hope she’s a good addition.

Here’s the trailer for those of you who don’t know how to search on YouTube. 😉

 

Thoughts guys?  I feel like there really isn’t much to discuss, unfortunately.