Uncle Hyena (unclehyena) wrote,
Uncle Hyena

Molly, Hour, Jedi

Three more movies, and some thoughts on the Star Wars franchise:

"Molly's Game" is GREAT. Well done at every level, AND fascinating. Also occasionally heartbreaking. We enjoyed it a great deal.

"Darkest Hour" is also great. Gary Oldman's Churchill is fabulous, and everything else keeps pace with his performance. Liberties are taken with history for the sake of drama, but the emotional truth comes through strongly. Again, we enjoyed this one a great deal.

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is yet another Star Wars movie. The current offering is of a piece with the other entries of this decade: Not nearly as good as "Hope" or "Empire", but much, much better than "Return" or the prequel trilogy. Or something like that. At its best, this is the third best movie of the franchise. At its worst, it would have made Ed Wood blush. But the good parts are so good that they pay the freight on the rest. Barely, but they pay it.

And now, some thoughts on the "Star Wars" phenomenon.

Let me begin by saying that I used to LOVE Star Wars. I saw "Hope" six times in 1977 (before it was called "Part IV", and when the phrase "A New Hope" was just a line at the top of the main title crawl); I saw "Empire" four times in 1980. And then "Return" broke my heart, and I have been deeply skeptical of the franchise ever since. But I have never given up hope that they will someday figure out what went wrong, and re-kindle the magic. I probably never will give up hope completely, but I know that the odds against me are very, very long.

It so easy to get snarky about this series. The rule of the series has always been to engage the eyes and the ears and the emotions so thoroughly that the logical part of the brain shuts down, which is necessary because, once you get past the character moments and the pretty pictures, the bones of the thing are manipulative and painfully stupid.

And yet... and yet when it works, which it still does occasionally, it is still magical. In spite of the cynical merchandising, in spite of cavalier disregard of any kind of real-world physics, in spite of the willingness to re-write the universe between movies, when it works...

There is a point in "The Last Jedi" when Rey says, "They really hate this ship." And that throwaway line, delivered casually from off screen, simply ripped my heart out. I will keep coming back. I will continue to hope. But the odds remain very, very long.

Uncle Hyena
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