The Force Awakens was why you got the shit fest of The Last Jedi

millenium-falcon-1627322_960_720Everyone blasted Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi and I was no different—Read: Star Wars is dead! However very few people seem to realize that the problem was not The Last Jedi, but its predecessor Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens. That was the movie where everything went wrong and from then on the entire Star Wars franchise was doomed.

We got a really bad movie in the form of The Force Awakens and yet curiously everyone decided to cheer it as if it was one of the greatest things ever. It made more than US$2 billion at the global box office and into the Top 100 Rotten Tomatoes all-time great movies.

Never had such a downright mediocre movie got such a massively positive feedback from the fans, critics and box office.

Let me explain…

1. It wasn’t really Episode 7, but Episode 8.

8The original trilogy flowed seamlessly in terms of storyline as did the prequel trilogy. In fact you can watch Episodes 1 to 6 back to back and feel you are watching a continuous mini-series. However there is a huge jump from Episode 6 to 7.

At the end of Episode 6: Return of the Jedi, both the Emperor and Darth Vader were completely defeated and Princess Leia was in charge. Luke was the greatest Jedi in the galaxy and Han Solo was a genuine hero.

So at the beginning of Episode 7, this troika should be in charge of a government that is a replacement of the Empire or the defeated Empire should have struck back. So either Leia is leading the galaxy or an equal battle is brewing with a new potential Empire.

However we know absolutely nothing about all this as things have simply been fast forwarded. Snope is supreme. (How?) Leia-Han romanced, Kylo Ren was born, grew up and went to the Dark Side and nothing is explained properly. We know absolutely nothing of this and are expected to follow it seamlessly nevertheless.

George Lucas had always hinted that Episode 7 would go straight to the point where Luke-Leia-Solo were old but this is not at all what any of us expected. This seemed like a Star Wars from a parallel universe and not the original one.

2. The entire new cast was terrible.

rey-1449242_960_720Adam Driver—Kylo Ren. Daisy Ridley—Rey. John Boyega—Finn. Oscar Isaac—Poe Dameron. Absolutely no-one leaves a lasting impression. This is quite a lacklustre cast indeed. They are all weak and it is surprising how they were cast especially considering that Netflix and the TV universe together have such a vast and talented pool of excellent actors who give great performances.

When I came out of the cinema hall, I had forgotten the screen names of all of them. I struggled to discuss the movie with people after that with phrases like “That woman Jedi”, “That Darth Vader knockoff”, “That Stormtrooper” and “That other guy”. Such a thing was unthinkable when the original Star Wars was released in 1977.

Decades back when fans came out: Darth Vader, Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, R2D2 and C3PO were firmly etched in everyone’s minds. They immediately became cultish and their action figures sold like hot cakes.

Even though the prequel trilogy was boring and wooden at times, it had excellent performances: Liam Neeson—Qui-Gon Jinn. Ewan McGregor—Obi-Wan Kenobi. Christopher Lee—Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus. Samuel L. Jackson—Mace Windu. Ray Park—Darth Maul.

3. Leia-Solo were both terrible.

In terms of acting both Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher gave terrible performances. There was zero on screen chemistry between them even in the—what should have been an iconic scene when they meet. Both of them looked contrived and somewhat like props and I was left wondering what the hell they were doing there. Both of them could have well been left out of the movie and nobody would have noticed.

4. It broke away from the Star Wars canon.

While the prequel trilogy diluted the force with its use of Midi-chlorians, that was about it. Stars Wars 1 through 6 can be considered canon. Episode 7 first broke away, not Episode 8.

In the original trilogy, Luke was a perfect Bildungsroman character who grows slowly and steadily throughout the three movies. He is a total non-entity at the beginning, but you accept him as a great Jedi master at the end.

Darth VaderEven in the prequel trilogy, Darth Vader requires three movies to become Darth Vader. Not so with Rey. She receives no formal training of any kind and knows nothing about the Force and yet masters it. Her defeating of Kylo Ren (a trained Jedi dark apprentice with the Emperor as his master) looked downright ridiculous and gimmicky.

The whole concept of the Force was reduced to a joke.

Storm TrooperAlso a storm trooper rebelling made no sense. There have been 9 Star Wars movies (including Rogue One) and only one storm trooper rebelled in one of them? What sense does that make? Either all of them were brainwashed or a storm trooper rebellion should have broken out in Episode 8.

The concept of the Force is trivialized in Episode 7 and pulverized in Episode 8.

On their first attempt, Rey commandeering the Millennium Falcon was a travesty in Episode 7 but Rose commandeering the speeder was a total farce in Episode 8.

Rey beating Kylo Ren in Episode 7 was Mary Sue-ish, but Rey beating the Emperor was Super Mary Sue-ish in Episode 8.

Luke looked stoned at the end of Episode 7 and super stoned in the first half of Episode 8.

It all began in Episode 7. Episode 8 merely took the garbage forward.

5. It was a remake of Star Wars 4.

BB8 R2D2While this was mentioned by everyone, it wasn’t rubbished enough because it kindled the nostalgia in all the fans. But the truth cannot be denied. Kylo Ren was discount Darth Vader. Emperor Snope was discount Emperor Palpatine. Rey was a discount Luke-Solo hybrid. General Leia was discount Princess Leia. Old Solo was discount Young Solo. Finn was discount storm trooper. Poe was another discount Solo.

The story line was more or less the same. A message had to be carried across the galaxy. BB-8 replaced R2D2. Starkiller Base replaced the Death Star. It was extremely lazy story writing. They then randomly got Kylo Ren to kill his father Han Solo to break the mould somewhat, but the entire story line was incoherent.

What if they had shown a Queen Leia, a supreme Jedi Master Luke and an ageing General Solo being attacked by a mysterious Sith Lord from another galaxy? They would have actually had to use their brains then!

star-wars-Feminism6. Feminism will defeat Patriarchy!

In Episode 7 Luke came only at the end of the movie and threw away his Lightsaber. Solo was clueless, jobless and finally killed unceremoniously. Kylo Ren looked like a scared pansy throughout the movie. Finn and Poe were subservient to Rey. Episode 7 was merely the platform for the Episode 8 Social Justice Warrior shit fest.

Oh God! Does anyone have sequel fatigue yet? The 2018 list…

Marvel20th Marvel Cinematic Universe film—Ant-Man and the Wasp

19th MCU film—Avengers (3) Infinity War

18th MCU film—Black Panther

11th X-men universe film—Deadpool 2

11th in the series: Halloween

millenium-falcon-1627322_192010th Star Wars film—Solo: A Star Wars Story

10th JK Rowling universe film—Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

6th Transformers film—Bumblebee

6th Mission: Impossible–Fallout

6th extended DC Universe film—Aquaman

dinosaur-3149580_960_7205th Jurassic film—Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

5th Ocean’s film—Ocean’s 8

4th Purge film—The First Purge

Insidious 4—The Last Key

The Predator (4)

Rowan atkinsonJohnny English (3) Strikes Again

Maze Runner 3—The Death Cure

Fifty Shades (3) Freed

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

The Cloverfield (3) Paradox

Incredibles 2

Pacific Rim (2) Uprising

The Equalizer 2

Creed II

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

Goosebumps: Haunted Halloween

Super Troopers 2

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Unfriended (2): Dark Web

Unbroken: Path to Redemption

Remakes/Reboots

spiderman-3309033_960_720Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Holmes and Watson

Robin Hood

Mowgli

Papillon

grinch-1038238_960_720The Grinch

Mary Poppins Returns

Death Wish

A Wrinkle in Time

Tomb Raider

Sherlock Gnomes

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

A Star Is Born

Star Wars is dead!

LightsaberStar Wars is officially dead. They may make dozens of more movies and make billions of more dollars, but the “galaxy far, far away” created by George Lucas is kaput. The Last Jedi is something out of a parallel universe where all the rules of the game have changed.

Where does one even begin to cover the new Star Wars instalment? (Spoilers!!!)

1. Most colourless characters ever.

daisy-jazz-isobel-ridley-2029555_1280The light side is too light: This is the saddest and least charismatic bunch of rebels ever. Rey is by far the weakest of all the main characters that ever appeared in the Star Wars universe and yet she is presented as a combination of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo. The most powerful person in the galaxy without training of any kind! A true Mary Sue!

If they used someone like Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), they might have pulled it off, but definitely not Daisy Ridley! Finn is at best above average. Poe is just about OK. Rose is in competition with Jar Jar Binks for the most irrelevant character of the entire Star Wars saga.

The dark side isn’t dark enough: Even Ben Solo looks like a pansy maybe just like Anakin Skywalker in the prequel trilogy. But when Anakin puts the mask on, Darth Vader is God. Kylo Ren in comparison is still a pansy. A poor imitation! What about the replacement of the Emperor? Supreme Leader Snoke looks totally moth eaten without any back story and dies just like that. Even other characters like Captain Phasma look quite forced.

darth-maul-1555343_1280Prequel characters far better: You just can’t match the wonderful star cast of the original trilogy. No point in even discussing that. But no matter how much you criticize the prequel trilogy for its documentary-wooden feel and the problem with some of its characters like an anaemic Padme, jarring Jar Jar Binks and geriatric General Grievous, it nonetheless had many other excellent characters… a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, a rejuvenated Yoda, Darth Sidious, Darth Maul, Darth Tyranus, Qui-Gon Jinn and Mace Windu.

2. They keep leading you to something and then dupe you.

alfred-hitchcock-393745_1920I was once watching an Alfred Hitchcock documentary where the great director said something to the effect of: If you’re leading the audience to something and they expect it and it doesn’t happen, then they’ll hate you for it. Well that happens here all the time.

Rey: Despite being totally colourless, Rey’s redemption came when she almost joined hands with Kylo Ren to go to the dark side. The whole film was leading up to that point. Even Luke tells her on Ahch-To that she couldn’t even resist the dark side during training.

Rey seemed to be a long lost Skywalker or Solo or related to some other well-known Star Wars character the way they kept bringing up her origin and her parentage throughout The Force Awakens and the first half of The Last Jedi. But we are suddenly told out of the blue told that she is a total nobody.

kylo-rens-lightsaber-1193161_1280Kylo Ren and Rey team up brilliantly to beat all of Snoke’s guards. But she doesn’t want to join hands with Kylo and won’t go to the dark side. The redemption came and went. The director and story writer just snatched it away from her and she became totally colourless again.

Kylo Ren looked like a whining cry baby in front of Snoke in The Force Awakens. But in The Last Jedi he stands up and kills Snoke and his character becomes far more complex with his psychic link with Rey. Going forward this would have saved both the characters, but the link was brutally broken.

bb8-droid-1141513_1920Finn: Finn seemed to have no role in this entire movie except being bullied by maintenance worker Rose for no rhyme or reason. Then his redemption also came. On Crait the cannon is the only thing that can get through to the Resistance fortress.

When all speeders fail to foil the cannon, Finn goes on a suicide mission and that seems the only option left. It’s a great scene where he’s heading straight into the beam and getting closer and closer. It’s getting hotter and hotter and the scene is getting blurred.

There’s great tension in the air and just when he’s about to hit the cannon and save the day, Rose comes out of nowhere and bangs her speeder with his. (A maintenance worker who happens to be a better pilot than both Poe and Finn. No training of any kind is required in this trilogy!) So the save vanishes. The redemption vanishes.

It’s ridiculous. When an incredulous Finn asked Rose why she would do that, she moronically replies, “We’re going to win this war not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love!”

That’s utter crap and makes no sense at all. Why would you do that?

Luke: OK, they were making way for Luke after the above scene. So Luke pops out of nowhere on Crait. (How did he get there?) He has a tender moment with Leia and gives her some random golden dice which make no sense at that particular moment.

Then he comes out and takes all the rebel fire and comes out of it totally unscathed. That’s cool. He even can let a light sabre go through him. That’s cooler. Then a let-down! He’s actually a hologram or astral projection or whatever. When it all happens it looks cool but later you feel totally let down.

Then we have the following dialogue…

Kylo Ren: I’ll destroy her. And you. And all of it.
Luke Skywalker: No. Strike me down in anger and I’ll always be with you. Just like your father.

You think Kylo Ren will “kill” Luke the way Darth Vader “killed” Obi Wan Kenobi. However nothing of the sort happens and back on the island Luke vanishes into the sunset. If he had to die, why not die at the hand of Kylo Ren?

spaceship-2841276_1280Vice admiral Holdo: She is presented as a selfish incompetent character, but then made a martyr in the end. She looks to hate Poe. But when he’s unconscious and stunned she tells Leia that she likes him. Star Wars keeps trying for twists and turns to surprise you but they are not really that. They are a character’s 180 degrees which absolutely make no sense at all.

Finn Rey Poe Rose: In the original trilogy there was a potential love triangle between Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo before they quickly resolved it because the former two were siblings. Here we are shown the potential of Finn and Rey getting together. Then there’s a potential Finn Poe bromance with Poe taking Finn’s jacket and awkward hugs and all.

Finally out of the blue Rose comes, commandeers Finn and decides his destiny and they kiss. Again this is not a twist but a nonsensical 180 degree turn.

3. They made a conscious decision to kill off the old Star Wars.

millenium-falcon-1627322_1920They have killed the old universe and tried to make a new one, but is it any better?

Usage of the Force: The Force used to be a mystical fantastic concept which you could master only with great training and meditation and mentored by a great Jedi master. The prequel trilogy diluted this by bringing in midi-chlorians.

But The Last Jedi puts everything into the dustbin. Now anyone like Rey can master the Force by clicking her fingers and all Jedi masters can simply go to hell. Also the Force can be anything you want it to be. Use your imagination and keep expanding it, it seems.

Even Leia using the Force to get out of the vacuum of space was like nothing she’s done in the entire series till now.

darth-vader-1207142_1920The Rule of Two: The Emperor Darth Sidious first had Darth Maul then Darth Tyranus and finally Darth Vader. Each master-apprentice was a masterpiece combo, especially the last. The Emperor even tries to take Luke as his next apprentice.

That way Snoke keeps insulting Kylo Ren and the relationship is uncertain and totally unlike the above. When Kylo Ren kills Snoke, he is shown as taking no apprentice. He tries to join hands with Rey but she can’t be his apprentice for she’s apparently more powerful than him.

star-wars-1181724_1280A Stormtrooper rebels: For six movies Stormtroopers are obedient dumb weapons of war who all just keep shooting and shooting. But out of all those hundreds of thousands of Stormtroopers Finn rebels. Why? Why only one? Why after such a long time? Why not many more after him? Why not any more rebellions in The Last Jedi now that the trend has been started?

Light speed into another ship: This is the gravest error ever made in the Star Wars universe. It throws all the rules of galactic warfare out of the window. Any ship capable of light speed suddenly becomes the most powerful weapon in the universe. The ultimate galactic Suicide Bomber.

I am referring to the incident where Holdo rams Snoke’s fleet at light speed. So now you can just ram any vehicle at light speed into a Death Star or Death Planet or Empire/First Order base or Emperor/Snoke residence and kill anyone or anything you want.

This is a recipe for disaster. This is like having potentially thousands of suicide nuclear bombers. The civilization in the entire galaxy can end due to this flaw. It would lead to total chaos in the galaxy.

Kill the Jedi: This should be the actual name of the movie. Burn all the Jedi books as Yoda chuckles. Finish off the Jedi order as if it’s a joke. Kill off Han Solo just like that. Kill off Snoke just like that. Kill off the lovable Admiral Ackbar just like that. Kill off the entire legacy without having anything concrete replace it!

Luke: This was the worst of all. If you watched the original trilogy, then Luke’s future should have been grand. He should have either become President of the Republic or Grand Master of the Jedi Council or simply gone to the Dark Side out of sheer boredom.

Absolutely nothing of the sort happened. He opened a Jedi school which went wrong and then became a coward and a hermit in some obscure corner of the galaxy collecting the milk of strange sea creatures directly out of their teats.

Is this how you treat the greatest hope at the end of the original trilogy?

Han is dead. Luke is dead. Leia may not return. Rey-Kylo Ren didn’t get together. One really wonders how they are going to redeem Episode IX.

4. No real storyline.

writing-1209121_1920The Force Awakens was nothing but a rehash of A New Hope and The Last Jedi is a mish-mash of many things masquerading as goodness knows what. And as mentioned above, they keep leading to a story path and then totally diverting from it. Even the prequel trilogy also had a clear story which went forward.

The initial Resistance attack with the Dreadnaught and its alleged weaknesses and bombs falling down on it in the absence of gravity made no sense. The whole gambling den codebreaker diversion could have been avoided altogether. Holdo’s holding back information of Crait made no sense. The tracking itself is contrived.

Finn’s aborted suicide mission makes way for Luke’s hologram. Luke’s hologram cannot die, but he still dies at the end of it. The whole story is riddled with one contradiction after another.

Obi-Wan Kenobi trying to kill Anakin Skywalker made sense.
Darth Vader killing Kenobi made sense.
Darth Vader and Luke trying to kill each other made sense.

Ben Solo killing Han Solo made no sense.
Luke trying to kill Ben made no sense.
The way Snoke was killed made no sense.

5. Everything reminded you of…

alan-rick-man-1915292_1920For some reason everything in the movie reminded me of the Harry Potter Universe, especially the gambling outpost imagery. Rey’s mirror scene reminded me of the mirror scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. When Rey meditates into a blackish well kind of thingy I almost imagined Voldemort saying in his raspy voice, “Harry Potter!”

The scene in which Snoke is killed is very remeniscient of Harry Potter too. Voldemort practices Legilimency to pry into Severus Snape’s mind and he successfully uses Occlumency to thwart him. Here too: Snoke practices a Legilimency type technique to pry into Kylo Ren’s mind, who successfully uses an Occlumency type technique to thwart him.

Both Voldemort and Snoke look like withered dark lords. Both Kylo Ren and Snape look the same with their pale troubled faces and hairstyle to boot. The Force is also metamorphiszing into the Magic of the Harry Potter universe and can now be used to do everything. They might as well replace the lightsaber with the magic wand in Episode IX.

Even Luke disappearing into the sunset is something like the way Oogway goes in Kung Fu Panda.

6. Politically Correct Star Wars for Social Justice Warriors?

communism-17143_640Is this a PC SJW Star Wars? Sadly that is what it appears to be. The cast looks to be filling diversity quotas instead of being picked on raw talent and there’s a lot of forced feminism throughout the movie.

Luke and Han abdicate everything to make way for Leia to gain total control.

Kylo Ren defeats Snoke but is totally subordinate to Rey.

Poe is at the mercy of Holdo.

Finn is henpecked by Rose.

All the males have been emasculated.

At the gambling outpost on Canto Bight it’s all about capitalism, arms dealers and animal rights.

The First Order is modelled on the Nazis.

Everyone knows that Hollywood leans Left, but they are bordering on outright Communist propaganda nowadays and will go bust one day at this rate.

In summation a great watch, but…

red-1556342_640Of course all Star Wars movies will continue to make billions. Why? Visually they’re all awesome. Among the three trilogies, The Last Jedi one by far has the best special effects (naturally, the budget is bigger and it’s the latest instalment) and that’s what keeps it going forward.

It’s also one great scene after another (even though the scenes may not have a real connect and make no sense when you analyse them critically). Superficially brilliant. I never thought I’d say this, but it’s a Bollywood movie. Why? Because in a Bollywood movie you are supposed to leave your brains at home to enjoy it thoroughly and forget about it afterwards!

So the Star Wars franchise may be dead, but hey, even zombies can make billions in Hollywood!

© Sunil Rajguru

My Bollywood Columns

cinema-1814606_64010 films that made Akshay Kumar a superstar
August 14, 2017, DailyO.in

Five reasons why SRK looks totally finished
August 9, 2017, Sify.com

The 3 Khan Era is dead. Long live ‘Baahubali’!
May 30, 2017, Sify.com

Move over Aamir, Salman, Shah Rukh Khan and even Rajinikanth – Baahubali is here
May 4, 2017, DailyO.in

In Hollywood, Abhay Deol would have been a superstar
April 18, 2017, Sify.com

Why I’m glad Kangana Ranaut shamed Karan Johar about dynasty politics in Bollywood
March 8, 2017, DailyO.in

Why is Aamir Khan not called a ‘superstar’, but SRK and Salman are?
January 3, 2017, DailyO.in

Does Shah Rukh Khan want Bollywood to boycott him?
October 15, 2016, DailyO.in

Forget SRK and Salman, Bollywood’s biggest superstar will be Akshay Kumar
August 16, 2016, DailyO.in

IMDb’s Top 250 Indian Movies’ list overturns popular beliefs
August 2, 2016, DailyO.in

Why Sultan is the worst ambassador for Rio
July 15, 2016, Sify.com

How Amitabh Bachchan ruined Bollywood for good
July 8, 2016, DailyO.in

5 ways Bollywood promotes misogyny
July 6, 2016, Sify.com

Shirish Kunder vs Aneel Neupane: A David vs Goliath battle
June 30, 2016, Sify.com

Salman Khan is our most pathetic superstar
June 30, 2016, DailyO.in

Why India desperately needs many more Udta Punjabs
June 18, 2016, Sify.com

8 reasons to fall in love with Udta Punjab
June 17, 2016, DailyO.in

7 reasons spat with Kangana was unfair on Hrithik
May 16, 2016, DailyO.in

SRK’s Fan reveals Bollywood’s new king (and it’s not the superstar)
May 3, 2016, DailyO.in

Salman Khan is best choice for India’s Goodwill Ambassador of Olympics
April 25, 2016, DailyO.in

I hate Bollywood for its song and dance sequences
March 10, 2016, DailyO.in

7 Indians with more than 7 international films
February 9, 2016, Sify.com

Why SRK’s Fan and Raees will suffer like Dilwale
January 9, 2016, DailyO.in

Neither Big B nor SRK: Can Incredible India think beyond film stars?
January 8, 2016, DailyO.in

Shah Rukh Khan’s career is now officially over
January 4, 2016, DailyO.in

Sabse Bada Khiladi: Akshay Kumar completes 25 years in Bollywood
December 30, 2015, Sify.com

Bollywood’s “phoren” heroines. Where are the “phoren” heroes?
December 28, 2015, Sify.com

How SRK and Dilwale got punished for Aamir over intolerance
December 23, 2015, DailyO.in

Aamir Khan: Greatest superstar of all time?
January 5, 2015, Sify.com

Bollywood: From 1 Crore Club to the 300 Crore Club
January 5, 2015, Sify.com

Why PK presses all the wrong buttons
December 31, 2014, Sify.com

All hail Aamir, the Emperor Khan!
31 January, 2014, Sify.com

 

Bollywood: Khan, Khaner and Khanest!

converse-1935024_640Box office…
SRK Big. Salman Bigger. Aamir Biggest.

Fan power…
Aamir Big. SRK Bigger. Salman Biggest.

Scope of heroine in the film…
Aamir Small. SRK Smaller. Salman Smallest.

Lack of logic in films…
Aamir Big. SRK Bigger. Salman Biggest.

Hype of the three Khans…
Aamir Big. SRK Bigger. Salman Biggest.

Age of the hero…
SRK Young. Aamir Younger. Salman Youngest.

© Sunil Rajguru

Dangal Baahubali musings…

film-2233656_6402017 beginning, zero Indian movies in Global 1000 box office list.
Now both Baahubali 2 and Dangal in Top 500.

Dangal made Rs 1000 crore in China.
Baahubali 2 is planning a big China launch.
Tubelight heroine is the Chinese Zhu Zhu.
2017 Bollywood’s year of “Hindi Chini” bhai bhai?

All time blockbuster Indian movie.
Hindi: Baahubali 2.
India: Baahubali 2.
US: Baahubali 2.
China: Dangal.
Worldwide: Dangal (Till Baahubali 2 is released in China).

Dangal joins the ¥1 Billion Club in China.
(That’s in the region of Rs 1000 crore)
P.S. Baahubali 2 releasing soon in China.

These versions by Sunil Rajguru