Best criticism I've seen about the final Star Wars movie

This is by the pundit and occasional film credit James Lileks:

I watched the last Star Wars movie.

How could they have not plotted this out in advance?

Let us imagine sitting down with the people charged with writing the first installment of the new trilogy.

Producer: Okay, what have you got for us?

Writer One: We have a Luke Skywalker except she’s a she.

Great! What’s her backstory?

(writers look at each other) It’s a mystery. We really don’t know anything about her.

Producer: Great! So that’s something we can stretch over three movies. You do know where it goes, though?

(writers all nod)

Producer: Okay, who’s the bad guy?

Writer Two: Get this, it’s Darth Vader’s grandson, the estranged son of Han and Leia.

Producer: That’s awesome.

Writer Three: And he’s a little bit conflicted.

Producer: If there’s a Darth, who’s the emperor?

Uh - (Writer One thinks of how he’d really like a cigarette now) Smoke.

Producer: Smoke?

Writer Three: Snoke. He’s the leader of the Empire.

Producer: There’s an Empire?

Writer Two: Well yes and no, we’re working on that. It’s the remnants of the Empire.

Producer: Oh, so they’re now the Resistance - a small, splintered force attempting to come to power? That’s awesome. You know, everyone wondered what happened after the Empire fell. So you set it up with half an hour of character study, life in the newly peaceable systems, and then bang, a terrorist act that shatters everyone’s assumptions, and reveals a new enemy?

(Writers nod quickly, but don’t write it down)

Producer: I’m kidding you! I want fleets, uniforms, banners, English accents, all that ■■■■. How about another Death Star?

Writer One: Well, we have something along those lines. A Death Star is one thing. How about . . . a Death Planet?

Producer: What do you mean? A planet that just roams around eating other planets?

Writer Two: No, uh, it’s a big, big weapon on this one planet, and it manages to take out other planets. Our heroes have to take it out.

Producer: Great, that rhymes. Okay, so I see the first movie. Second one, yada yada, downbeat ending, all is lost, that stuff. But where does it end?

Writer one thinks: “My script has Luke as the hero, he had left public life when the restored Republic furloughed all that Force stuff, but took the opportunity to train Rey, but she was like him, headstrong, and it gets her killed in the middle of the second movie of the trilogy. She doesn’t come back as a Force Ghost either, what is that stuff? Luke has to destroy the Sith at its source, so he has to turn Kylo, and he does this at the end of the second movie, so we don’t have the third movie about some BS redemption arc, we get that out of the way. The third movie is actually about something no one ever expected, and Sith and Jedi and Republic and Empire forces have to combine to defeat it.”

Writer two thinks: “no one liked my idea about Yoda being the real dark Sith, man, that would have been a reveal.”

Writer three, out loud: We’re not sure. But hey, there’s lot of time to figure this out.

Producer: Okay, just make sure there’s lots of chasing and running and quips and cute robots. Here’s half a billion dollars. Good luck!

It did look nice, though.

Remember how people used to hate the prequels, and now they seem kind of awesome? Yeah, that is how bad the last 3 movies were. Fan service run amok.

And the weirdest part to me in all of this is the movie that got panned by critics was actually a great one - Rogue One is one of the best Star Wars movies, definitely in the top 3.

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Huh? The prequels have always been, and still are, bad.

I agree with you on Rogue One.

The latest three have been disappointing. Like with the prequels, they represent a wasted opportunity. An entire universe of possibilities, and they just retell the same story.

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I only mean that they seem awesome in comparison to the dumpster fire the last 7-9 are (I thought episode 3 was pretty decent actually). The stories of the prequels were much better than 7-9 and at least had a consistent story arc versus the obvious making things up as you go along and then trying to repair it the next episode. Maybe the question is how much did Rian Johnson screw up that basically forced their hands on Episode 9?

I don’t see it that way. Those movies are awful.

I’ve heard people say that the prequels are a good story, poorly told and that the last three are a poor story, well told. I don’t really buy that either because the prequels weren’t telling a good story.

The last three have the advantage of having a handful of cool/memorable moments. There is only one good scene in the prequels - the light saber fight at the end of the first one.

The light saber fight at the end is a great one… with the exception of the Anakin Skywalker line, “From my point of view it is the Jedi that are evil!”

Although that has given us some great memes, so overall I give that scene a 14/10.

Episode one was terrible. So much to dislike about that movie, but I’ll just say this: Jar Jar Binks

When was “Rogue One” panned by critics? It’s RT rating is 84%. Most everyone I know liked it. Maybe you’re thinking of “Solo” (which I also quite liked)?

I didn’t think the new trilogy was awful, but I didn’t think it was all that great either. They were fun popcorn movies…and this is coming from a huge SW fan (even had STR WRS vanity plates on my car for over a decade, lol).

The prequels were far, far worse imho.

I just liked the original.
Period.
Everything else seemed like a humogous ego-money grab.
I know, I know. “Lighten up Francis…”

You guys are focusing on the wrong Star Wars content. Watch the full Clone Wars television series (expect the first two seasons to be a bit hit and miss). Then watch Star Wars Rebels. These have stories have all been guided by the hand of Dave Filoni, who I believe to be the best storyteller among any of the Lucasfilm team. He has also had a major hand in guiding along the storyline in The Mandalorian, working side-by-side with Jon Favreau. Season seven of Clone Wars is going on right now on Disney+. The final story arc is epic.

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Episode 3, Revenge of the Sith was decent, not Star Wars (original good), on par with Jedi or Solo perhaps. Sith was definitely better than the other 2 prequiels.

Of the 5 since Disney took over, Rogue One, and Solo are the best with Rogue One being the better, by far of the 2. The remaining 3 are a big fat meh, to Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones bad.

Yes, the series have been pretty good. I like Rebels, and Mandalorian (so far) has been great. I haven’t had the chance to see the Clone Wars series, beyond a hit and miss when I’ve had time, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen.

Mandalorian is great - they got that the original Star Wars was a western movie set in space, and that is what makes it fun. My only beef is ‘Mando’ was more fun when you weren’t sure if he had a moral compass.

Sith was garbage, like the others. Part of that is the fact that Sith inherited a group of awful characters and plot lines from the first two movies. As I said, there was only ever one well-crafted scene in the prequels, and it came at the end of the first one. That is why the new movies beat the prequels - even though those movies are bad, they do contain a handful of decent scenes and ideas.

As for the cartoons, I’ve watched them all with my son (the clone wars shorts as well as the two series mentioned). Some episodes are pretty good, and some are immediately forgettable. The Clone Wars was definitely handicapped by the story line laid out in the prequels, which is why I think Rebels is the better series.

Episode 3 was very good. Entertaining, and it did a good job of bringing the whole narrative together.

Episodes 7 and 9 were both solid, entertaining movies if you kind of view them as stand-alone sci-fi flicks. However, the massive, inexplicable failure of 7-9 was the fact that there was no unified plan, no established story arc from the outset. It is unthinkable that they made Episode 7 without knowing how the next 2 would go. It is insane that they had different writing teams and directors for those movies. At least then we would have had a consistent, cohesive story, even if we didn’t love that story.

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You are wrong on Episode 3, but you make up for it with a good synopsis of the problems in 7-9.

I’ll add this: I think bringing in the old characters handicapped the three films in the end. That decision messed with a story that was already complete to the satisfaction of everyone. And the old heroes just got in the way of a new story and new character development. Maybe there was room for Luke in the role of a Jedi Master, but that’s it (and they didn’t do that particularly well).

All I have to say about the prequels is…Have you seen Red Letter Media’s review of Episode 1? It definitively proves Lucas was sleeping in his basement sucking up carbon trioxilide fumes from his furnace and water heater droids while he wrote it. (And yes, it is worth watching all seven parts of this review)

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