Archives for posts with tag: Adam Driver

Grade C+

 

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was a huge disappointment to a long time “Star Wars” fan such as myself.  Okay, here we go.

The rebel Resistance are on the run, hunted down by the evil First Order ruled by the Dark Side.  Daisy Ridley, who plays a young woman strong with The Force, seeks a Jedi master (Mark Hamill) who is in hiding; and begs him to help with the fight against the First Order and maybe train her to be a Jedi — sounds a bit like “The Empire Strikes Back” right?  Why not, as “The Force Awakens” was similar to “A New Hope.”

Then there is the puzzling and badly written (which fits right in with the rest of the movie which revels in its mediocrity and goofball jokes) subplot involving two Resistance fighters going to a casino to find a person who excels in hacking stuff so they can bring him back to the bad guys’ main ship to sneak in unnoticed and destroy some gizmo that allows the bad dudes to track the Resistance fleet — what’s left of it — even in hyperspace.  Destroy the gizmo, and the Resistance can zoom away and escape to fight another day.  But that may not be necessary because the leader of the rebel fleet intends to abandon the main ship and use escape transports to sneak into a planet that has been abandoned but has an old rebel base there.  Oh, the escape transports have a cloaking device to keep the bad guys from seeing them on their monitors…but…you can still see the escape ships!  Yes, the rebel fleet are miles from the bad guys’ ships, but are you telling me there is no one on the bad guys’ bridge with a super duper binocular to get an up close and personal view of what the good guys are doing?  At this point I may as well continue with my beef with this movie.

The opening sequence, which was very good in a menacing way, was completely ruined by jokes.

John Boyega, playing a Resistance fighter and the only black guy with a significant role in this movie, is still a damn clown.

Hamill’s character was handled badly.  The movie tried to make him look like a tragic character, something out of a Shakespeare story; but the writer, who is also the director, mangled the job so badly that Hamill came off as a blubbering fool.  In his first appearance of “The Last Jedi,” Hamill casually tosses his lightsaber behind him like a half eaten apple.  What a great way to start destroying a character that could have added sorely needed darkness and depth to this movie.  I understand that this movie is supposed to demystify the Jedis; but by doing that the writer/director/producers/studios are destroying the essence of “Star Wars.”  On top of that, demystifying the Jedis was done in a half-assed way, so the result is a double whammy.

There was no interesting lightsaber fight.  None.  The one with Ridley inside the Supreme Leader’s throne room looked like something out of a second day rehearsal.  As for the last lightsaber duel, it doesn’t even count — I can’t say why or else I’d spoil a big surprise.  A great lightsaber fight sequence could have saved this movie, but there was none.

There were too many elements stolen from “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Return Of The Jedi.”

Ridley’s character is hinted as someone who already knows the way to being a Jedi, and she can continue without Hamill training her and be fine.  Huh? What?  It is established that it takes many years to fully train a Jedi Knight.  As strong as Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) was with The Force, he still needed over a decade of training by Jedi masters.  So…Ridley will be okay and be a Jedi Knight one day because of three lessons Hamill taught her, plus reading the sacred Jedi books that she managed to take from Hamill’s island?

Captain Phasma was next to Boyega when the ship was damaged badly.  Everyone around Boyega was hurt badly or killed, and yet we see Phasma entering the cargo bay hundreds of feet away, unblemished and marching through smoke.  Yes, dramatic, but made no damn sense.

Hamill apparently has a newfound power that wasn’t established in any of the 7 previous “Star Wars” movies (including “Rogue One”).  So, Disney is just going to make s@#t up as they see fit, damn the “Star Wars” bible (the original three movies)?

There are more problems I noticed with this movie, but I don’t want to write a novella here, so…my most memorable, movie moment of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was the scene when Chewbacca was about to eat a cooked and tasty looking Porg as living Porgs gave him the sad eye/horror-stricken look.  This scene was genuinely funny, and it says a lot about this movie that this is my most memorable, movie moment.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” are movies that shouldn’t have been made if they were going to be this disappointing.  I understand Disney sees this franchise as a cash cow.  Fine, but Disney needs to put competent writers to work on this series.  Imagine how much more money can be made if the movie is actually good!

To Hollywood writers/directors/producers/studio executives: please refrain from using alcohol and drugs when making movies.

— M

 

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Grade A

Feudal Japan: Christianity has been outlawed; priests have been expelled from the country but a few remain in hiding to keep teaching the converts.  Those who are caught are given a chance to renounce their faith; and if they don’t, torture and execution will follow.  Martin Scorsese directs and co-writes “Silence,” an emotionally powerful movie about two Jesuit priests (played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who volunteer to go to Japan and risk a horrible death in order to find a missing, high-ranking Jesuit (played by Liam Neeson) who was reported as captured and tortured by the Japanese until he apostatized.

“Silence” is a complex movie because of the multiple themes running through it: what are people willing to sacrifice to hold on to their faith and religion; is it okay to renounce one’s faith, without truly meaning it in one’s heart and mind, in order to avoid torture and death; if God exists, why does God allow the suffering and deaths of those who are faithful and loyal to God; which religion is the true religion; does one religion have a right to call other religions heresy, and by doing so is it a form of self-importance and ethnocentrism; etc.  The numerous, elongated scenes of torture will also be hard to watch for most people — yes, this is a movie, but the depictions of torture and executions of the Christian Japanese and European priests are based on what happened to this group hundreds of years ago.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Silence” is the scene when **SPOILER ALERT** Neeson is brought to Garfield so Neeson can explain to Garfield why Christianity doesn’t work for most Japanese, and why Neeson renounced his religion.  While Neeson does give some valid points, the audience is left to wonder if Neeson is just playing along to protect his own life, or does he really believe in what he is saying?

“Silence” is a great piece of art that burdens the heart with sadness and horror at what people can do to others; and it also uplifts the spirit by showing the courage and sacrifice of those who will take death over renouncing their religious beliefs.  This movie is not for everyone, but for those of the Christian faith and those who love well-crafted movies, “Silence” will speak loudly to your soul.

— M

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