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Episode VIII : The Last Jedi - Discussion * SPOILER THREAD * — Page 178

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FreezingTNT2 said:

StarkillerAG said:

I agree that Luke was the only good character in the sequel trilogy, but I do feel like they took his character too far. I’m not saying Luke isn’t allowed to make mistakes, but I don’t think Luke from ROTJ would go to die on an island the instant something bad happened. He always seemed more hopeful than Obi-Wan or Yoda. I enjoyed Luke’s character arc, but I found it hard to accept that this is the same Luke from the OT, and I understand the complaints of those who felt they ruined his character.

They also undid Luke’s arc of overcoming darkness in Return of the Jedi. That moment he considered the cold-blooded murder of a sleeping Ben Solo undermines the scene in Return of the Jedi where he realizes his mistake after attacking Vader, tosses his lightsaber forward, and promises he will never turn to the dark side, knowing that it isn’t the way of the Jedi, which showed that he has matured to better face and overcome darkness.

He redeemed his father and conquered the darkness, only to fall victim to it yet again?

You could easily look at his temptation as an ongoing struggle. It makes his character more human and hence more interesting in TLJ. Plus he didn’t do it, so I still don’t know why certain people get all bent out of shape about this. He’s not space-Jesus.

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pleasehello said:

FreezingTNT2 said:

StarkillerAG said:

I agree that Luke was the only good character in the sequel trilogy, but I do feel like they took his character too far. I’m not saying Luke isn’t allowed to make mistakes, but I don’t think Luke from ROTJ would go to die on an island the instant something bad happened. He always seemed more hopeful than Obi-Wan or Yoda. I enjoyed Luke’s character arc, but I found it hard to accept that this is the same Luke from the OT, and I understand the complaints of those who felt they ruined his character.

They also undid Luke’s arc of overcoming darkness in Return of the Jedi. That moment he considered the cold-blooded murder of a sleeping Ben Solo undermines the scene in Return of the Jedi where he realizes his mistake after attacking Vader, tosses his lightsaber forward, and promises he will never turn to the dark side, knowing that it isn’t the way of the Jedi, which showed that he has matured to better face and overcome darkness.

He redeemed his father and conquered the darkness, only to fall victim to it yet again?

You could easily look at his temptation as an ongoing struggle. It makes his character more human and hence more interesting in TLJ. Plus he didn’t do it, so I still don’t know why certain people get all bent out of shape about this. He’s not space-Jesus.

That still undid his character development. When Luke attacked Vader and cut off his mechanical hand after the latter threatened to turn Leia to the dark side in Return of the Jedi, he looked at said hand and looked at his own mechanical hand, before he realizes his mistake, tosses his lightsaber, and tells the Emperor that he will never turn to the dark side. It showed that he has fully matured as a person to better face and overcome the dark side.

The entire point of Return of the Jedi was to show that our heroes have matured since A New Hope.

As I said, he redeemed his father and conquered the darkness, only to fall victim to it yet again? I mean, what was the point of him conquering the darkness in Return of the Jedi if he is going to fall victim to it yet again?

The unfortunate reality of the Star Wars prequel and Disney trilogies is that they will always be around. Forever. They will never go away. It can never be undone.

I also prefer to be referred to as “TNT”, not “Freezing”.

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FreezingTNT2 said:

As I said, he redeemed his father and conquered the darkness, only to fall victim to it yet again? I mean, what was the point of him conquering the darkness in Return of the Jedi if he is going to fall victim to it yet again?

I mean, that’s the question isn’t it? The question his entire arc in TLJ is based on. Why did he fail, again? And what does that mean? It’s not undoing character development, it’s expanding upon it.

The answer the film provides reinforces another theme of ROTJ that everyone tends to look over. Vader realizes his previous choices don’t define his future ones. He can still do a good thing even if he feels it’s too late for him. But that can be true for good and evil. Luke’s choice to reject the dark side once didn’t mean he wouldn’t have to face that decision again down the line. Darth Vader dies in the OT before they can explore the nature of ongoing redemption, (because that’s what redemption should be) and that’s what makes this a relevant and fitting theme for Star Wars.

Life is an ongoing struggle and “hero” isn’t a job title you earn, it’s a part you play every day. And it’s hard to do. Remember, the danger of the dark side is that it’s quick and easy, and can look like the justified right thing to do. You don’t conquer it, because it’s choice. Not nature. Luke Skywalker the Legend only exists if Luke chooses to be.

This permeates every subplot of TLJ: Poe can’t coast on good intentions if it kills the people around him, Finn won’t help anything with fruitless sacrifice, Rey finds turning someone is more than just reaching out.

Because of how it fleshes out the themes of the OT, it’s a valuable lesson to teach, if there had to be more movies. Luke being the vessel for it makes it especially more poignant. I don’t think a lot of people have an issue with this theme itself, they just don’t like that Luke had to be the one to convey it.

But I can’t think of another character it would work nearly as well with.

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hey i haven’t done this in a bit it feels good to be home

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NFBisms said:

hey i haven’t done this in a bit it feels good to be home

You know I’m just pulling your leg! It was a great writeup. Luke’s failure is an important theme for not just the movie to grapple with, but the whole trilogy. It’s a thematic justification for the ‘history repeats itself’ angle.

It’s always nice to look back on a movie that works for you and talk about why it works so well. For me, being a Star Wars fan is more about liking something rather than disliking it. There’s a lot that bothers me about TROS for example, but I can’t imagine I’ll still be mercilessly complaining about it two years on. I like to focus on the positive.

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I think the reason people don’t like this discussion is because it’s happening again. And while some people will say that it’s just rehashing or undoing previous discussion, it’s actually expanding on it.

What a grand and intoxicating innocence. How could you be so naive? There is no escape. Come, lay down your weapons. It is not too late for my mercy.
Episode 9 Rewrite THE SHATTERED SWORD (Complete!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V3 Released!) and The Starlight Project (WORKPRINT RELEASED!)

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It seems like I dislike this movie for the same reason that many people like it: the underlying message of hopelessness.

Luke is actually a depressed hermit instead of a noble hero. Sacrificing yourself for the greater good is actually not a good thing. It doesn’t matter if the Resistance loses and everyone dies, because some Harry Potter cosplayers will rise to defeat whatever fascist government is in charge at that point. For a franchise all about heroism and the light beating the dark, TLJ sure loves to portray heroism as the wrong choice every time. I used to love this movie because of the subversions, but now that I think about it I realize that the subversions actively harm the thematic structure of the saga.

My preferred saga experience:
TPM/AOTC/ROTS (Hal 9000), ANH/ESB/ROTJ (Despecialized), The Mandalorian,
TFA (Starlight), TLJ (Fallen Knight), TROS (Resurgence).
May the midichlorians be with you.

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StarkillerAG said:

It seems like I dislike this movie for the same reason that many people like it: the underlying message of hopelessness.

I don’t think anyone who likes it thinks that the underlying message is “hopelessness.”

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Did you even bother to read the rest of what I said? You may not interpret it as hopelessness, but I did. The underlying message that there will always be fascist governments and heroic sacrifices are pointless in the greater scheme of things seems overly calculating and depressing to me.

My preferred saga experience:
TPM/AOTC/ROTS (Hal 9000), ANH/ESB/ROTJ (Despecialized), The Mandalorian,
TFA (Starlight), TLJ (Fallen Knight), TROS (Resurgence).
May the midichlorians be with you.

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StarkillerAG said:

Did you even bother to read the rest of what I said? You may not interpret it as hopelessness, but I did. The underlying message that there will always be fascist governments and heroic sacrifices are pointless in the greater scheme of things seems overly calculating and depressing to me.

I did read the rest of what you said, I’m just not interested in rehashing an argument I’ve had many times before, including recently. I was merely responding to your statement, which implied that those who like the film do so because it has a message of hopelessness. I can assure you that is not how we see it.

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StarkillerAG said:

It seems like I dislike this movie for the same reason that many people like it: the underlying message of hopelessness.

Luke is actually a depressed hermit instead of a noble hero. Sacrificing yourself for the greater good is actually not a good thing. It doesn’t matter if the Resistance loses and everyone dies, because some Harry Potter cosplayers will rise to defeat whatever fascist government is in charge at that point. For a franchise all about heroism and the light beating the dark, TLJ sure loves to portray heroism as the wrong choice every time. I used to love this movie because of the subversions, but now that I think about it I realize that the subversions actively harm the thematic structure of the saga.

Not really.

Everything you’ve mentioned is more of a TROS criticism, if anything. TLJ says the opposite about pretty much all of your points. Which is interesting.

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NFBisms said:

StarkillerAG said:

It seems like I dislike this movie for the same reason that many people like it: the underlying message of hopelessness.

Luke is actually a depressed hermit instead of a noble hero. Sacrificing yourself for the greater good is actually not a good thing. It doesn’t matter if the Resistance loses and everyone dies, because some Harry Potter cosplayers will rise to defeat whatever fascist government is in charge at that point. For a franchise all about heroism and the light beating the dark, TLJ sure loves to portray heroism as the wrong choice every time. I used to love this movie because of the subversions, but now that I think about it I realize that the subversions actively harm the thematic structure of the saga.

Not really.

Everything you’ve mentioned is more of a TROS criticism, if anything. TLJ says the opposite about pretty much all of your points. Which is interesting.

Really? In my opinion TROS was binary good-evil to a fault. It seems crafted to be the polar opposite of TLJ’s unsympathetic portrayal of heroism. I wish they took the middle ground. You can have the heroes go through a moral crisis without showing heroic sacrifice as a bad thing.

My preferred saga experience:
TPM/AOTC/ROTS (Hal 9000), ANH/ESB/ROTJ (Despecialized), The Mandalorian,
TFA (Starlight), TLJ (Fallen Knight), TROS (Resurgence).
May the midichlorians be with you.

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TLJ loves the hell out of heroism, so I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I just fundamentally understand the movie differently than you, I guess.

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StarkillerAG said:

NFBisms said:

StarkillerAG said:

It seems like I dislike this movie for the same reason that many people like it: the underlying message of hopelessness.

Luke is actually a depressed hermit instead of a noble hero. Sacrificing yourself for the greater good is actually not a good thing. It doesn’t matter if the Resistance loses and everyone dies, because some Harry Potter cosplayers will rise to defeat whatever fascist government is in charge at that point. For a franchise all about heroism and the light beating the dark, TLJ sure loves to portray heroism as the wrong choice every time. I used to love this movie because of the subversions, but now that I think about it I realize that the subversions actively harm the thematic structure of the saga.

Not really.

Everything you’ve mentioned is more of a TROS criticism, if anything. TLJ says the opposite about pretty much all of your points. Which is interesting.

Really? In my opinion TROS was binary good-evil to a fault. It seems crafted to be the polar opposite of TLJ’s unsympathetic portrayal of heroism. I wish they took the middle ground. You can have the heroes go through a moral crisis without showing heroic sacrifice as a bad thing.

TLJ does not portray heroic sacrifice as a bad thing. Poe’s mistake in the opening is that his effort to take out the dreadnaught cost them dearly. Had he listened and the ships retreated, they could have jumped out of there. That his effort in the end turned out to be in their best interest after discovery of the tracking is not the point. That he caused the deaths of all those rebels was the point. That was not heroic. His actions in clearing away the canons was heroic, but defying Leia was not. His mutiny was not heroic. He had good intentions but he was not in charge. He lacked good leadership skills to judge when he should act and when he should trust others. His arc in the film is to learn that lesson and put it to use. Finn tries to ignore it in an echo of Poe’s actions in the beginning and Rose stops him. A very heroic move on her part. And Rian had some really good references for heroic actions. He watched 12 O’clock High, which if you haven’t seen it, is full of WWII hero actions. Finn has a different journey - he has to learn to fight for a cause rather than just running away. His sacrifice attempt showed that he was almost there, but he needed to be pulled back from his eagerness to keep fighting when the cause was lost and live to fight another day.

Luke has a hard road in the ST. It was all in the setup and many who complain about TLJ forget that TFA set everything up. Luke was training a new class of Jedi when one student turned and destroyed it all. Why he turned is not material to Luke’s journey. Luke sensed it and probed and got scared. Now, anyone who has seen the OT knows that Luke is quick to react, even if that reaction is not always the right one. So he drew and ignited his saber and then remember what the right course was, but Ben woke up, saw him, and Ben completed his fall and became Kylo Ren. We don’t know how many other students there were or their fate, but when you consider the normal human reaction to such a traumatic event, the path laid out for Luke in TFA that lead to self-isolation, was not going to end up in the type of positive role model that we think of as a Jedi Master. Everyone has good days and bad days. For Luke, that day on the Death Star in ROTJ was a very good day. He stood up to Palpatine (in retrospect throwing down his saber may not have been such a wise or masterly move) and his near death brought Anakin back from the dark side. But to say that a person must hold to lifetime high point is silly. In mythology even more so. Myths are about iconic character types. They are larger than life. Better and worse than reality to pass on a message. Luke dealt with self-doubt, day dreaming of adventure, and several flaws that he was able to overcome. He would have been a great master to learn from until things started to go dark for Ben. Then reality and myth combine in the events we see and Luke falls and falls hard. But not to just any state of mind. He returns to the ANH/TESB failings in a way that was beautifully done. He tacitly agrees to teach Rey a few lessons and botches it. Rey leaves with the Jedi texts, hoping they will be a better teacher. It takes Yoda’s ghost to snap Luke out of his funk and make him realize what being a master truly means. It all flows from the setup. Luke Skywalker has vanished. Why? We find out why and it is a very Luke style mistake on the order of him running off to Bespin before his training was complete. Luke wins in ROTJ, not because he throws his saber down, but because his father can’t let another family member die. I would say throwing his saber down was a mistake both times he did it (ROTJ and TLJ) but for different reasons. So I don’t agree that Luke had changed so drastically in ROTJ that he would never again make the mistakes the ST has him make. I think making mistakes his human and it casts Luke as the unwilling mentor in TLJ. I think it builds on his story and that the ending is the opposite of hopeless. The movie ends with hope restored because of Luke and Rey. They live to fight another day and hope spreads out across the galaxy to give them help when that day comes. TLJ setup the finale of TROS. And the ending of TLJ has Luke make the ultimate heroic sacrifice to save lives. So I think Rian portrayed heroic sacrifice as a good thing, but needless loss of life as a bad thing.

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It’s been known for awhile that some of this film was shot digitally, but I think this article is the first time we’ve found out it was such a big percentage - apparently 50% -
https://www.polygon.com/2020/2/6/21125680/film-vs-digital-debate-movies-cinematography

In a funny way, the fact that this is really the first time that film and digital have been seamlessly blended on a big movie is kind of full circle for the franchise after the digital innovation of the PT. We’re fully entering an era where you can shoot digital and have it look exactly like film.

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NFBisms said:

TLJ loves the hell out of heroism, so I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I just fundamentally understand the movie differently than you, I guess.

Would you be able to show some examples of that? Because TLJ is pretty much a de-construction of Star Wars hero narrative. There are no heroes in TLJ.

  • The Jedi are corrupted, Luke stepped away because of it and because of it he could not be the hero Rey wanted him to be;
  • The resistance is just as crooked as the “bad guys” from the first order, buying black market weapons to fund their ideology;
  • Poe is a wrong doer who doesn’t care about the lives of his comrades, only glory;
  • Rey couldn’t be a hero, since wan’t trained and by the end of the movie she is still holding on to the prospects of someone taking her in as a pupil;
  • Finn tries an act of heroism, the movie stops him;
  • Holdo does an act of heroism, but she wasn’t written as a likeable character. Constantly opposing the characters the audience knew and loved (poe);

Personally I don’t see any acts of heroism in TLJ, simply because the stakes aren’t that high in the movie.

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But conversely…

  • Luke learns the error of his ways and becomes a true hero
  • It’s not whether you buy from a black market but what you choose to do
  • Poe learns the error of his ways and becomes a true leader
  • Rey is tempted by the darkside and rejects it and becomes a true hero
  • Finn tries an act of stupidity and a hero saves him
  • Holdo is a gruff unlikeable character trope, the kind who has their heart in the right place all along

Personally the stakes are irrelevant, small or big, the overall movie is what matters. Which is … a mixed bag.

Yub Nub for life

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DominicCobb said:

In a funny way, the fact that this is really the first time that film and digital have been seamlessly blended on a big movie is kind of full circle for the franchise after the digital innovation of the PT. We’re fully entering an era where you can shoot digital and have it look exactly like film.

Interesting but I think that certain parts (the establishing shot of Rey on the meditation cliff for example) look worse and are probably the digital ones.

Yub Nub for life

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Mocata said:

But conversely…

  • Luke learns the error of his ways and becomes a true hero
  • It’s not whether you buy from a black market but what you choose to do
  • Poe learns the error of his ways and becomes a true leader
  • Rey is tempted by the darkside and rejects it and becomes a true hero
  • Finn tries an act of stupidity and a hero saves him
  • Holdo is a gruff unlikeable character trope, the kind who has their heart in the right place all along

Personally the stakes are irrelevant, small or big, the overall movie is what matters. Which is … a mixed bag.

Yeah, it’s all a matter of perspective how you interpret the messages of TLJ. I feel like that’s the reason why people have such opposing views on this movie. It’s like the cave on Dagobah, it only shows what you take with you.

My preferred saga experience:
TPM/AOTC/ROTS (Hal 9000), ANH/ESB/ROTJ (Despecialized), The Mandalorian,
TFA (Starlight), TLJ (Fallen Knight), TROS (Resurgence).
May the midichlorians be with you.

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Wanderer_ said:

NFBisms said:

TLJ loves the hell out of heroism, so I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I just fundamentally understand the movie differently than you, I guess.

Would you be able to show some examples of that? Because TLJ is pretty much a de-construction of Star Wars hero narrative. There are no heroes in TLJ.

  • The Jedi are corrupted, Luke stepped away because of it and because of it he could not be the hero Rey wanted him to be;
  • The resistance is just as crooked as the “bad guys” from the first order, buying black market weapons to fund their ideology;
  • Poe is a wrong doer who doesn’t care about the lives of his comrades, only glory;
  • Rey couldn’t be a hero, since wan’t trained and by the end of the movie she is still holding on to the prospects of someone taking her in as a pupil;
  • Finn tries an act of heroism, the movie stops him;
  • Holdo does an act of heroism, but she wasn’t written as a likeable character. Constantly opposing the characters the audience knew and loved (poe);

Personally I don’t see any acts of heroism in TLJ, simply because the stakes aren’t that high in the movie.

Well, the old “idealism and cyncism are not actually opposites” conversation applies here. You can’t deconstruct if you didn’t understand, you don’t become disillusioned without having ideals in the first place. And idealism is just being cynical enough to stand up and take action when no one else will, anyway. They feed into each other - without one another it’s just hopeless pessimism, or naivete.

I’ve discussed this at length on the board before, so forgive me anyone who has to endure this again, but to me TLJ only reinforces heroism by putting heroic idealism through the ringer. Yes, it seems like those traditional examples are more or less refuted in some way - but that complicated tightrope to do the right thing is what makes heroism strong and noble. Even as far back as ESB, the dark side is dangerous because of how easy it is. Fear, anger, hatred, etc. It won’t look like evil incarnate, it’ll seduce your good intentions, exploit your selfish desires.

It is the pursuit of “doing a heroic act” that is a “trick of a dark side”, if you want to look at it that way. Poe and Finn were just looking for a fight, a last stand like in those stories, without understanding what made them heroic in the first place. All heroism really takes is making the right purely good choice in the face of disillusionment.

It’s clumsy, but TLJ reminds us how “we won” in ROTJ. Luke as the son who loved his father, not a Jedi who defeated the Emperor and Vader. Vader not as a Sith Lord who became uncorrupted, but a broken man who realized he still had a choice. The elements that tend to be focused on in those narratives is the sacrifice, the Jedi, the light and the dark - but TLJ brings it back to the people behind it, just making choices. To save the ones they loved.

TLJ doesn’t say, “hey if the bad guys are winning, just give up and run!” It does say, “if the bad guys are winning, that’s why you should keep fighting! live another day” Because there is no endpoint, no perfect character arc or happily ever after. Believing there is, is what leads to disappointment. TLJ fleshes out what it means to follow the OT’s example in a messy real world. It deconstructs by showing us that always lingering element of futility - but comes back to reinforce the value of standing up to it over and over again no matter what. The future as more important than "the end."

The stakes being low(er) emphasizes how noble deeds don’t have to be relegated to one big hero in one big moment. Waiting for one is the wrong move, when we all have the capability for greatness in ourselves. Your heroes are just like you, anyway. Being a hero isn’t a job title, nor is it an exclusive club for “legends.” Our small choices together can make a big impact.

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I really really love your takes NFB!

One of my favorite things about TLJ is that it really destroys the old ‘Übermensch’ idea of force users. While I don’t think that George intended it, the fanbase/writers in the old legends continuity really really liked using that fascist idea of ‘strong bloodlines make people strong’ and stuff like that. Everyone who was good at things had to have some force connection because their dad had the force or whatever.

This movie is about resistance to evil and how everyone can/should fight back, and how you can be strong even without “strong blood.” And even those people with “strong blood” aren’t better than anyone else.

i’m a lady who makes things

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I feel like we’re missing the point here. In my opinion, the biggest problem with TLJ’s themes is how some actions are portrayed as heroic at first, then unheroic later. Poe’s dreadnought attack and the bomber run are portrayed as a brave sacrifice in the moment, but just a few scenes later Leia slaps him in the face for it. Holdo is portrayed as an incompetent idiot for most of the second act, until it’s revealed that she actually had an amazing plan all along, and all that work getting the audience invested in Poe, Finn, and Rose was useless. Finn’s suicide attack is portrayed as heroic, with dramatic choir music and slo-mo, up until Rose slams into him and tells him that sacrificing himself to save the Resistance is actually a bad idea. Rian’s storytelling style is thematic whiplash and slapping the audience in the face, and I feel like that doesn’t work when you’re supposed to get the audience invested.

My preferred saga experience:
TPM/AOTC/ROTS (Hal 9000), ANH/ESB/ROTJ (Despecialized), The Mandalorian,
TFA (Starlight), TLJ (Fallen Knight), TROS (Resurgence).
May the midichlorians be with you.