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The Force remains strong – if a tad long – in The Last Jedi

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Vicky Sparks

There’s something magical about sitting in a dark theatre and seeing the words “In a galaxy far, far away” appear on screen.

Star Wars is a movie franchise in a league of its own – it is for the most part, universally loved (even with some missteps over the years).

The latest addition to the franchise is Star Wars: The Last Jedi, directed by Rian Johnson (best known for Looper and Brick) and it’s full of favourites old and new.

The film picks up almost exactly where Star Wars: The Force Awakens left off – opening with a sky filled with First Order ships ready for a fight. But instead of the opposing fleet of Resistance ships, there is but one, lone fighter, pilot extraordinaire, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).

General Hux, third in command of the First Order and played with a special kind of unhinged madness by Domnhall Gleeson, does his best to instill terror in the Resistance. But when Poe pretends to have issues with his communicator the scene devolves into a familiar “Can you hear me now?” situation that will have you laughing out loud.

The madcap scene sets the tone for the whole movie, which alternates beautifully between serious issues of good and evil and hilarity.

To say more about the plot would give away all the fun, so I’ll say only this – our three new heroes Poe, Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) spend most of the film apart on separate adventures and the film builds to their reunion.

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) returns as the heir apparent to Darth Vader, and Andy Serkis delivers another stunning motion capture performance as General Snoke. General Organa (aka. Princess Leia played by the inimitable Carrie Fisher) is the same strong, badass, hilarious force that we’ve always known her to be.

The film zigs when you think it will zag, heroes die and villains thrive, and then in the blink of an eye villains die and heroes thrive – the film is impossibly unpredictable in the best way.  The performances from the entire cast are stellar – Driver’s Kylo Ren has never seemed more conflicted, Kelly Marie Tran is a breath of fresh air as the lowly mechanic/Resistance fan girl Rose, and Benicio Del Toro is a delightfully creepy addition to the cast.

This is, of course, Carrie Fisher’s last film as she passed away after filming was completed – and that adds a certain sombre sadness to the performance.

The film isn’t perfect – the plot drags in the middle and at 2 hours and 36 minutes it is entirely too long.  But the good so outweighs the bad these minor hiccups are barely worth mentioning.

If you love Star Wars you won’t be disappointed, and if you don’t love Star Wars, you will after you’ve seen The Last Jedi.  It is the perfect family movie to enjoy this holiday season. As our good friend Yoda would say, “Fast theatre go you” – you won’t be disappointed.

Vicky Sparks is a Bright’s Grove native and movie critic for Global TV’s The Morning Show, which airs nationally on Fridays. Her Journal Reviews cover movies playing at Galaxy Cinemas Sarnia

 

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