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Episode VIII : The Last Jedi - Discussion * SPOILER THREAD * — Page 165

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OutboundFlight said:

I don’t quite think so. I think it sounds like postmodernism. Both Luke and Kylo act with postmodernism in mind. Rey, however, is still modernism. And Luke changes his opinion once he meets Yoda, returning to modernism. He claims “I will not be the last jedi”, before sacrificing himself in the most heroic way possible. That’s why the final shot is random kids honoring this legend. By the end of the film, Kylo is the only character supporting postmodernism- and he’s the villain. Basic storytelling tells us almost always the hero is right and the villain is wrong.

Postmodernism does not reject the notion of heroism, it just views it through a different lense, and so Luke in TLJ does not literally end up facing the whole FO with his lasersword, but symbolically. Luke doesn’t again become a legend, he just gives the galaxy at large a symbol to believe in, as the story simultaneously tells us we shouldn’t look for a Chosen One, or someone from a special lineage to deliver us from evil, but to ordinary people saving what they love. In the classic mythology the hero strives to become the ideal, the legend. In postmodernism the legend represents an ideal, that the hero can never attain. Luke the legend, and Luke the person are separate entities. This is made all the more clear in the way TLJ frames Luke near the end. Luke the aging broken, flawed human being through illusion perpetuates the legend of a more youthful invincible Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master, before dying not in a blaze of glory, but of overexertion at peace with his own fallibility. And so, the old ways die as lines between good and evil blur. Postmodernism claims that villains are created by the expectations of society, and are therefore, an essential part of the heroes they work against. By the end of TLJ Rey and Ben have become essential parts of each other, two sides of the same coin, holding a delicate balance.

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DrDre said:

Well, I would say modernism and postmodernism are opposing philosophies, much like capitalism, and socialism, and so they clash by default. I would also say RJ quite deliberately set out to create a work, that clashes with past perceptions in a great many ways. My interpretation of TLJ is, that it first rejects and deconstructs the concepts of legends, and heroism, as presented in the first 7 parts of the story, and then reframes it in a postmodern context by the end. I think this clashing of opposing views, is at the heart of the fan division, where many fans view the film as refreshing, and a necessary step in the future development of the franchise, whereas others view it as a betrayal of what came before. For this reason, even if I dislike the direction chosen by RJ, I still believe TLJ is one of the most interesting Star Wars films, and blockbusters in general to date.

I don’t have the time for a lengthy response right now but I don’t think modernism and postmodernism are exclusively opposing philosophies in general (both ideas can exist within a single work) and certainly not in the context of those two films, nor do I think the two films specifically align with those two movements (I actually don’t think TLJ is a very good example of a postmodern work). Even back to my comparison, I think one could easily make a similar argument about SW and TESB. Point ultimately being, such an analysis is subjective, and the idea that the two films objectively clash with each other is silly, as is the suggestion that anyone who disagrees is doing so in bad faith.

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DominicCobb said:

DrDre said:

Well, I would say modernism and postmodernism are opposing philosophies, much like capitalism, and socialism, and so they clash by default. I would also say RJ quite deliberately set out to create a work, that clashes with past perceptions in a great many ways. My interpretation of TLJ is, that it first rejects and deconstructs the concepts of legends, and heroism, as presented in the first 7 parts of the story, and then reframes it in a postmodern context by the end. I think this clashing of opposing views, is at the heart of the fan division, where many fans view the film as refreshing, and a necessary step in the future development of the franchise, whereas others view it as a betrayal of what came before. For this reason, even if I dislike the direction chosen by RJ, I still believe TLJ is one of the most interesting Star Wars films, and blockbusters in general to date.

I don’t have the time for a lengthy response right now but I don’t think modernism and postmodernism are exclusively opposing philosophies in general (both ideas can exist within a single work) and certainly not in the context of those two films, nor do I think the two films specifically align with those two movements (I actually don’t think TLJ is a very good example of a postmodern work). Even back to my comparison, I think one could easily make a similar argument about SW and TESB. Point ultimately being, such an analysis is subjective, and the idea that the two films objectively clash with each other is silly, as is the suggestion that anyone who disagrees is doing so in bad faith.

Who suggested the two films objectively clash with each other, or suggested that anyone who disagrees is doing so in bad faith? You may disagree, but consider this. A great many critics consider RJ’s latest film Knives Out to be a postmodern work:

https://zodiacvideos.com/rian-johnson-trades-in-lightsabers-for-postmodern-whodunnit-knives-out/

It seems RJ takes great interest in postmodernism, and I personally see a pattern. You may feel TLJ is not a good example of a postmodern work, but I would say it is not for lack of trying. I would classify it as being a flawed postmodern work, as RJ struggled to fit his postmodern concepts to the largely modern myth that is Star Wars. I would argue RJ spends too much time deconstructing the mythology, and ultimately does too little to reconstruct it by the end of the film.

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DrDre said:

DominicCobb said:

DrDre said:

Well, I would say modernism and postmodernism are opposing philosophies, much like capitalism, and socialism, and so they clash by default. I would also say RJ quite deliberately set out to create a work, that clashes with past perceptions in a great many ways. My interpretation of TLJ is, that it first rejects and deconstructs the concepts of legends, and heroism, as presented in the first 7 parts of the story, and then reframes it in a postmodern context by the end. I think this clashing of opposing views, is at the heart of the fan division, where many fans view the film as refreshing, and a necessary step in the future development of the franchise, whereas others view it as a betrayal of what came before. For this reason, even if I dislike the direction chosen by RJ, I still believe TLJ is one of the most interesting Star Wars films, and blockbusters in general to date.

I don’t have the time for a lengthy response right now but I don’t think modernism and postmodernism are exclusively opposing philosophies in general (both ideas can exist within a single work) and certainly not in the context of those two films, nor do I think the two films specifically align with those two movements (I actually don’t think TLJ is a very good example of a postmodern work). Even back to my comparison, I think one could easily make a similar argument about SW and TESB. Point ultimately being, such an analysis is subjective, and the idea that the two films objectively clash with each other is silly, as is the suggestion that anyone who disagrees is doing so in bad faith.

Who suggested the two films objectively clash with each other, or suggested that anyone who disagrees is doing so in bad faith? You may disagree, but consider this. A great many critics consider RJ’s latest film Knives Out to be a postmodern work:

https://zodiacvideos.com/rian-johnson-trades-in-lightsabers-for-postmodern-whodunnit-knives-out/

It seems RJ takes great interest in postmodernism, and I personally see a pattern. You may feel TLJ is not a good example of a postmodern work, but I would say it is not for lack of trying. I would classify it as being a flawed postmodern work, as RJ struggled to fit his postmodern concepts to the largely modern myth that is Star Wars.

I would say that RJ used postmodernism as a way to frame Luke’s doubts about himself and the Jedi, but ultimately Luke’s doubts and Kylo’s entire philosophy fall in the face of the traditional Star Wars outlook that Leia, Rey, and Poe support and that Luke comes back to after talking to Yoda. I agree that postmodernism is entirely about questioning and doubting myths, but the entire focus of TLJ, at least as it related to that part of the story, is that doubting Luke and Kylo Ren are both wrong. The end of the film very much supports the return to myth and hope. Luke does not just fake the battle, he instantly elevates himself to mythic status. That is what the broom boy clip at the end means. He and his friends are replaying that fake battle without considering that it is fake. That is type of myth and legend and what it means in the Star Wars universe is against the postmodern goal of tearing down such myths. Luke’s part of TLJ is entirely about how far he has fallen and lifting him back up. Contrary to how many see the TLJ depiction of Luke, RJ was taking the Luke that Lucas and Abrams had created and giving him a path back. But not as the hero of the story (for his time as hero has passed), but as the myth and legend that gives hope to the galaxy and a tool and Leia can use to save the New Republic and that Rey can use to rebuild the Jedi. I get the feeling that you take the doubting Luke and Kylo Ren to be the voice of the story without truly considering what the end of the film means for where they were in the middle. Luke is playing the role of the Mentor redeemed. A little more eccentric take on the typical hero’s journey, but found often enough to not be too strange. TLJ takes him from that old fallen hero role and lifts him up to be the mentor that Rey needs to complete her journey. The end of TLJ really contradicts just about everything you keep trying to claim the movie means.

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DrDre said:

Who suggested the two films objectively clash with each other, or suggested that anyone who disagrees is doing so in bad faith?

The post that started this round of debate, maybe? At least, that’s 100% the read I had on it:

ATMachine said:

I applaud that article writer for acknowledging the obviousness of Abrams & Johnson’s clashing ideas, rather than trying to rationalize it away

a trolling bantha

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I agree with Yotsuya. It makes me think of Jared from Wisecrack’s video on The Last Jedi. It was a great analysis, but unfortunately he misunderstood what the movie was trying to say by the end of his analysis (and inadvertently spread that misunderstanding to anyone who watched his video).

EDIT: But that’s just my opinion.

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yotsuya said:

DrDre said:

DominicCobb said:

DrDre said:

Well, I would say modernism and postmodernism are opposing philosophies, much like capitalism, and socialism, and so they clash by default. I would also say RJ quite deliberately set out to create a work, that clashes with past perceptions in a great many ways. My interpretation of TLJ is, that it first rejects and deconstructs the concepts of legends, and heroism, as presented in the first 7 parts of the story, and then reframes it in a postmodern context by the end. I think this clashing of opposing views, is at the heart of the fan division, where many fans view the film as refreshing, and a necessary step in the future development of the franchise, whereas others view it as a betrayal of what came before. For this reason, even if I dislike the direction chosen by RJ, I still believe TLJ is one of the most interesting Star Wars films, and blockbusters in general to date.

I don’t have the time for a lengthy response right now but I don’t think modernism and postmodernism are exclusively opposing philosophies in general (both ideas can exist within a single work) and certainly not in the context of those two films, nor do I think the two films specifically align with those two movements (I actually don’t think TLJ is a very good example of a postmodern work). Even back to my comparison, I think one could easily make a similar argument about SW and TESB. Point ultimately being, such an analysis is subjective, and the idea that the two films objectively clash with each other is silly, as is the suggestion that anyone who disagrees is doing so in bad faith.

Who suggested the two films objectively clash with each other, or suggested that anyone who disagrees is doing so in bad faith? You may disagree, but consider this. A great many critics consider RJ’s latest film Knives Out to be a postmodern work:

https://zodiacvideos.com/rian-johnson-trades-in-lightsabers-for-postmodern-whodunnit-knives-out/

It seems RJ takes great interest in postmodernism, and I personally see a pattern. You may feel TLJ is not a good example of a postmodern work, but I would say it is not for lack of trying. I would classify it as being a flawed postmodern work, as RJ struggled to fit his postmodern concepts to the largely modern myth that is Star Wars.

I would say that RJ used postmodernism as a way to frame Luke’s doubts about himself and the Jedi, but ultimately Luke’s doubts and Kylo’s entire philosophy fall in the face of the traditional Star Wars outlook that Leia, Rey, and Poe support and that Luke comes back to after talking to Yoda. I agree that postmodernism is entirely about questioning and doubting myths, but the entire focus of TLJ, at least as it related to that part of the story, is that doubting Luke and Kylo Ren are both wrong. The end of the film very much supports the return to myth and hope. Luke does not just fake the battle, he instantly elevates himself to mythic status. That is what the broom boy clip at the end means. He and his friends are replaying that fake battle without considering that it is fake. That is type of myth and legend and what it means in the Star Wars universe is against the postmodern goal of tearing down such myths. Luke’s part of TLJ is entirely about how far he has fallen and lifting him back up. Contrary to how many see the TLJ depiction of Luke, RJ was taking the Luke that Lucas and Abrams had created and giving him a path back. But not as the hero of the story (for his time as hero has passed), but as the myth and legend that gives hope to the galaxy and a tool and Leia can use to save the New Republic and that Rey can use to rebuild the Jedi. I get the feeling that you take the doubting Luke and Kylo Ren to be the voice of the story without truly considering what the end of the film means for where they were in the middle. Luke is playing the role of the Mentor redeemed. A little more eccentric take on the typical hero’s journey, but found often enough to not be too strange. TLJ takes him from that old fallen hero role and lifts him up to be the mentor that Rey needs to complete her journey. The end of TLJ really contradicts just about everything you keep trying to claim the movie means.

I disagree, and I believe you fundamentally misunderstand the postmodern perspective on and use of mythic themes:

The key lines here are, that:

“They [the postmodern use of mythic themes] are mythmaking self-conscious of itself, aware that it is engaged in a premeditated act of fabrication”.

“A contemporary antropologist has remarked of ancient myth, that…it was not aware of itself as myth”.

Luke and others in TLJ are completely aware or made aware, that he is engaged in a premeditated act of fabrication. Luke the myth, and legend has become a fabrication in-universe. That is the way postmodern fiction uses mythic themes. Showing these kids acting out Luke’s illusion, is like a movie showing kids believing in Santa Clause, whilst the viewer has been made aware, that in the story Santa knows, he’s wearing a fake beard. The ending of TLJ thus in the words of the author is more in the nature of post-mythic strategies than a true expression of myth.

Edit: I’ve addressed the magical elements of TLJ in a later post. Suffice to say, that TLJ’s use of magical elements like the Force doesn’t preclude it from being a postmodern work. In fact it falls under the category “magical realism”, which is part of the postmodern literary movement.

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Too bad Star Wars can’t adopt a transmodernist framework.

TRANSMODERNISM > POSTMODERNISM > MODERNISM > PREMODERNISM

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Except in this Christmas story Santa Claus is still magic.

I can’t believe I’m making this comparison but does that mean Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause is a post-modernist take on the Santa folktale? In the film old Santa literally dies, and the new Santa is a mortal man who is struggling between his duties as a father-figure, and the duties of being this mythical folk character. He doesn’t think he is Santa, or even can be Santa. But in the end, he accepts the role because of how he can bring hope to children all around the world, even if he is just a man (albeit with actual magical powers).

Aren’t both stories a reaffirmation of the myth? Magic/the Force is real, and not a fabrication in both cases. Yes, Luke’s avatar is a fabrication, but it is also probably one the most powerful uses of the Force we’ve ever seen, the ultimate act of a Jedi. It’s a very real power that also demonstrated the power of his legend, and that in itself is a threat to the First Order’s authority.

I mean, by questioning the nature of the Jedi and Luke Skywalker it definitely plays in the post-modern sandbox, but when Rey gets to that island Luke doesn’t say, “Oh yeah, none of those stories you heard about me are true. I’m actually not a Jedi, and there is no such thing as the Force! It’s only midichlorians!”

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Along with postmodernism TLJ also exhibits a disturbing glibness in its storytelling.

Why is Holdo so ridiculously secretive? It doesn’t matter, she just is!

Who is Snoke and how did he rise to such power? Who cares, he’s boring, let’s kill him!

And Canto Bight is described as a place where the people lord it over the poor and oppressed, but instead of using this to further the plot – say, by having Rose & Finn fall under suspicion & be exposed as Resistance spies after they feed a beggar – we get the asinine “shuttle parkers” gag.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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RogueLeader said:

Except in this Christmas story Santa Claus is still magic.

I can’t believe I’m making this comparison but does that mean Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause is a post-modernist take on the Santa folktale? In the film old Santa literally dies, and the new Santa is a mortal man who is struggling between his duties as a father-figure, and the duties of being this mythical folk character. He doesn’t think he is Santa, or even can be Santa. But in the end, he accepts the role because of how he can bring hope to children all around the world, even if he is just a man (albeit with actual magical powers).

Aren’t both stories a reaffirmation of the myth? Magic/the Force is real, and not a fabrication in both cases. Yes, Luke’s avatar is a fabrication, but it is also probably one the most powerful uses of the Force we’ve ever seen, the ultimate act of a Jedi. It’s a very real power that also demonstrated the power of his legend, and that in itself is a threat to the First Order’s authority.

I mean, by questioning the nature of the Jedi and Luke Skywalker it definitely plays in the post-modern sandbox, but when Rey gets to that island Luke doesn’t say, “Oh yeah, none of those stories are heard about me are true. I’m actually not a Jedi, and there is no such thing as the Force! It’s only midichlorians!”

Yes, I would say Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause is a postmodern take on Santa Clause, since Santa is aware of the fact, that Santa is a fabrication, an idea, not a real person. Like Luke at the end of TLJ Tim Allen’s character realizes it is important to sustain the legend, and so he accepts the role of Santa Clause.

Postmodernism and magical elements are not mutually exclusive. Magic is not a prerequisite of myth. Conversely its presence cannot be used as the definitive proof of the alleged mythic identity of a story. I would argue Luke’s powers in TLJ fall into the realm of “magical realism”, which is part of the postmodern literary movement. It is a style of fiction that paints a realistic view of the modern world while also adding magical elements. RJ uses the magical properties of the Jedi to maximum effect to sell his postmodern message. The key element here in my view, is as I’ve stated, that the postmodern use of mythic themes are mythmaking self-conscious of itself, aware that it is engaged in a premeditated act of fabrication, which Luke definitely is, and that ancient myth was not aware of itself as myth, which Luke also clearly is. So, unlike classic Star Wars TLJ in my view cannot be classified as myth, even if it uses mythic themes, and magical elements to tell its story. The magical element in the form of Luke’s Force projection is used to reaffirm the deconstruction of the the legend of Luke Skywalker, and to highlight its symbolic nature, not to reaffirm the in-universe reality of the legendary figure himself.

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I haven’t really thought about TLJ through the lens of postmodernism, but it makes a lot of sense. It seems to me that the primary aspect of postmodernism is a rejection of established ideology and absolute morality/truth. In this way, TLJ is absolutely postmodernist and it doesn’t really matter if Luke ends up affirming the Jedi myth or not in the end - this critical attitude permeates every aspect of the story.

Keep in mind that Yoda, the preeminent authority on the Force in this universe, dismisses the foundational texts for his religion as ultimately irrelevant when urging Luke to take action. Luke is not being castigated for failing to follow the Jedi way - instead both he and Yoda seem to be in agreement that the Jedi as an institution and set of doctrines no longer serves a purpose except as a way of inciting the masses. Nevertheless, Luke decides to reaffirm the authority of the Jedi while not refuting this critique.

The Finn/Rose storyline introduces a character whose sole purpose is to question the villainy of the First Order and the heroism of the Resistance, and his character is rewarded for doing so - and he’s the only character of this storyline who materially profits from it. Nevertheless, Finn proudly proclaims his loyalty to the Resistance and is ready to give his life for this institution, even knowing that it may be built on a corrupt financial foundation.

The Poe/Holdo storyline does its best to criticize the very idea of leadership, as it dispenses with all the established leaders of the Resistance and replaces them with one character who goes to cartoonish lengths to demonstrate her ineptitude. Nevertheless, Poe comes to accept her leadership after learning of her plan, and returns to his role as a leader himself within the Resistance.

The Snoke/Kylo storyline is the epitome of the postmodernist take of course, with Snoke’s unceremonious departure illustrating a complete disdain for both established authority and grand theories of its reason for being. Kylo is the only character in this story who accepts the postmodern take and runs with it.

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Yes, TLJ is postmodern. But does that mean it’s bad? I actually felt like the postmodern attitude of TLJ was a nice change of pace, especially after the boring corporate nostalgia bait that was TFA.

Myself, the boy, two droids, and no questions asked.

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StarkillerAG said:

Yes, TLJ is postmodern. But does that mean it’s bad? I actually felt like the postmodern attitude of TLJ was a nice change of pace, especially after the boring corporate nostalgia bait that was TFA.

Well, I think it’s a little late in the game to shift gears like that, TLJ being the eighth chapter of an ongoing story and all. However, I would like to steer the discussion away from good, or bad, and focus more on the analysis of the film, and what its creator intended.

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DELETED COMMENT

Adywan’s Star Wars Revisited edits are to Blade Runner: The Final Cut as the original theatrical releases of the original trilogy are to the original version of Blade Runner.

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StarkillerAG said:

Yes, TLJ is postmodern. But does that mean it’s bad? I actually felt like the postmodern attitude of TLJ was a nice change of pace, especially after the boring corporate nostalgia bait that was TFA.

I thought the postmodern aspects of TLJ were interesting departure, but it certainly was jarring on first viewing. No other Star Wars movie is really self-analytical like TLJ, so if you’re not interested in that I can see not liking the movie very much.

Again, my problem with TLJ is that it calls into question the good and evil paradigm that has been perpetuated throughout all the SW movies which is cool (“Good guys. Bad guys. Just made up words.”), but at the end of the movie we’re just back to good guys vs. bad guys.

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The question is what is a myth and do we believe it or do we think it is a lie. What I get from postmodern is that under that philosophy the myth is a lie. Postmodernism sets out to tear down myths.

What we have in TLJ ends in the opposite. Luke acts, not to create a false myth to tear down the Jedi, but to create a new myth to build up the Jedi. What he does is of mythic proportions. He does some Jedi fakery, but the First Order witnesses his actions and has no explanation. Luke stands on the battlefield of Crait and is blasted by the arrayed First Order forces and comes out unscathed. Kylo Ren takes the field to face him and after his saber appears to pass through him, Luke fades. While Luke’s actions in the OT happened in confined quarters with no witnesses, his actions here happen in the open in front of many witnesses on both sides with few understanding the reality of what just happened. Luke did not take this action to create a false myth that would destroy the Jedi (what postmodernism would do), but to create a new myth to help rebuild the Jedi. And for those of us who know what he really did (Kylo, Rey, and Leia probably understand as does the audience), his actions are even more mythic. Definitely not a postmodern attempt to create a false narrative to tear down the old ways.

TLJ is actually a critique of postmodernism because both Luke and Kylo start out the movie with a postmodernist desire to see the old fall to make way for the new. Kylo is a student of the dark side so his views are never the ones we need to pay attention to. Star Wars always makes it clear that the views held by the Dark Side are not the right ones. Luke is jaded but in the end abandons his darker views and returns to the original path of rebuilding the Jedi. He does, in his own unique way, what he had previously told Rey would not happen - he faces down the entire First Order with only his lasersword. He embraces the myth of the Jedi and takes action to carry it forward. Far from tearing down or deconstructing the old myths, he actively encourages and renews the old myths.

Again, while the views of grumpy Luke and dark side Kylo Ren may seem to be postmodern, the way the story plays out see the end of grumpy Luke and the rise of Mentor Luke and a return to old Star Wars and modern myth like it has always been. Taking grumpy Luke and Kylo Ren as the speakers for the film is a false view that is contradicted by not only the end of the film, but by all of Star Wars lore to date. You never listen to those on the Dark Side, even if they are telling the truth, they are doing it for their own nefarious ends. The Myth of Star Wars is intact after TLJ.

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NeverarGreat said:

Kylo is the only character in this story who accepts the postmodern take and runs with it.

Interesting take and very well written! But to me it seems it definitely frames Kylo’s perspective as wrong or misguided. So what does that say about the films own stance on a post-modernist perspective?

DrDre said:

Yes, I would say Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause is a postmodern take on Santa Clause, since Santa is aware of the fact, that Santa is a fabrication, an idea, not a real person. Like Luke at the end of TLJ Tim Allen’s character realizes it is important to sustain the legend, and so he accepts the role of Santa Clause.

Honestly, of all things, I would have never imagined us having a conversations about the parallels between The Santa Clause and TLJ. 😂
I feel like there’s a good chance we’re the first people in the world to have this conversation.

The magical elements in TLJ in the form of Luke’s Force projection is used to reaffirm the deconstruction of the the legend of Luke Skywalker, and to highlight its symbolic nature, not to reaffirm the in-universe reality of the legendary figure himself.

So does this mean the film can’t have multiple interpretations, i.e. meta-narrative, post-modern, Campbellian/Jungian? Because I think it does both. (Also the fact that different plots and character arcs could have various interpretations of their own.)

I’m not sure if the point of it being post-modernism is supposed to be a criticism of it, but I think for me it is hard for me to see how Luke’s story could’ve been told any other way that would’ve felt appropriate to his position as a legitimate modern mythic figure.

Many of the great mythical figures Luke shares similarities with all shared somewhat tragic endings. Jesus, Moses, King Arthur, we all see how they die, and none of them lived happily ever after. Jesus was betrayed, abandoned by his disciples and crucified by the people he was trying to save (he came back briefly, but Jesus’ crucifixion was necessary in order to save humanity, create a religious movement, and to one day return when the apocalypse finally came). Moses saved his people from Pharaoh, but never got to step into the Promise Land himself because of his own sins. Arthur united Britain only to see his kingdom come to ruin because of his failures and the betrayal of his own flesh and blood (in Le Morte Darthur, Arthur actually attempts to preemptively kill Mordred by casting all the newborn sons in his kingdom out to sea in hopes to prevent the dark future foretold by Merlin.) Then Arthur, mortally wounded, fled to the mystic island of Avalon to supposedly one day return.

So following that tradition, Luke’s exile, final act and death (or ascension) was a natural progression of his mythic identity. But, as the ultimate Jedi, his last heroic act also had to be one of nonviolence. I’d argue ROTJ’s climax was somewhat subversive at the time of your typical 80’s action hero because Luke did not destroy the villain, but instead, cast his own weapon aside and submitted himself to death. His greatest act was an act of nonviolence, and his greatest mistake was contemplating violence. So for him to be able to simultaneously save his followers and spare his enemies without spilling any blood was an act that reflects well on the philosophies of his counterparts, Buddha and Christ, and himself as a quasi-religious figure.

So maybe TLJ is post-modernist, but to me it still clearly follows the traditions of the pre-modern myths that came before it. With Star Wars being a modern myth, I by its nature it takes real ownership of that name by combining myth with modern philosophy. Also, were the original Star Wars films never referred to as post-modern? It seems like there are plenty of articles written about the original Star Wars films as post-modern before the new films even came out.

It just seems labels seem to change a little for convenience. The idea that new films don’t fit with the old ones because they’re post-modern and the original Star Wars was not, when it seems people would’ve said the original Star Wars was post-modern before the new movies even came out. Or is it because it is too post-modern?

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DrDre said:

RogueLeader said:

Except in this Christmas story Santa Claus is still magic.

I can’t believe I’m making this comparison but does that mean Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause is a post-modernist take on the Santa folktale? In the film old Santa literally dies, and the new Santa is a mortal man who is struggling between his duties as a father-figure, and the duties of being this mythical folk character. He doesn’t think he is Santa, or even can be Santa. But in the end, he accepts the role because of how he can bring hope to children all around the world, even if he is just a man (albeit with actual magical powers).

Aren’t both stories a reaffirmation of the myth? Magic/the Force is real, and not a fabrication in both cases. Yes, Luke’s avatar is a fabrication, but it is also probably one the most powerful uses of the Force we’ve ever seen, the ultimate act of a Jedi. It’s a very real power that also demonstrated the power of his legend, and that in itself is a threat to the First Order’s authority.

I mean, by questioning the nature of the Jedi and Luke Skywalker it definitely plays in the post-modern sandbox, but when Rey gets to that island Luke doesn’t say, “Oh yeah, none of those stories are heard about me are true. I’m actually not a Jedi, and there is no such thing as the Force! It’s only midichlorians!”

Yes, I would say Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause is a postmodern take on Santa Clause, since Santa is aware of the fact, that Santa is a fabrication, an idea, not a real person. Like Luke at the end of TLJ Tim Allen’s character realizes it is important to sustain the legend, and so he accepts the role of Santa Clause.

How is it postmodern when it just takes the Doctor Who approach to Santa (it being an title and role rather than a single person). In the film Santa is a real person, not a fabrication or just an idea. Tim Allen does think that at the start and then is thrust into the role. It adds a new wrinkle to the myth but it perpetuates the Santa myth rather than revealing it to be false. A kid who believes in Santa can watch the film and still believe in Santa. If it was postmodern wouldn’t it have the opposite effect - someone believing in Santa watching it would come to believe that Santa is just a story.

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yotsuya said:

DrDre said:

RogueLeader said:

Except in this Christmas story Santa Claus is still magic.

I can’t believe I’m making this comparison but does that mean Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause is a post-modernist take on the Santa folktale? In the film old Santa literally dies, and the new Santa is a mortal man who is struggling between his duties as a father-figure, and the duties of being this mythical folk character. He doesn’t think he is Santa, or even can be Santa. But in the end, he accepts the role because of how he can bring hope to children all around the world, even if he is just a man (albeit with actual magical powers).

Aren’t both stories a reaffirmation of the myth? Magic/the Force is real, and not a fabrication in both cases. Yes, Luke’s avatar is a fabrication, but it is also probably one the most powerful uses of the Force we’ve ever seen, the ultimate act of a Jedi. It’s a very real power that also demonstrated the power of his legend, and that in itself is a threat to the First Order’s authority.

I mean, by questioning the nature of the Jedi and Luke Skywalker it definitely plays in the post-modern sandbox, but when Rey gets to that island Luke doesn’t say, “Oh yeah, none of those stories are heard about me are true. I’m actually not a Jedi, and there is no such thing as the Force! It’s only midichlorians!”

Yes, I would say Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause is a postmodern take on Santa Clause, since Santa is aware of the fact, that Santa is a fabrication, an idea, not a real person. Like Luke at the end of TLJ Tim Allen’s character realizes it is important to sustain the legend, and so he accepts the role of Santa Clause.

How is it postmodern when it just takes the Doctor Who approach to Santa (it being an title and role rather than a single person). In the film Santa is a real person, not a fabrication or just an idea. Tim Allen does think that at the start and then is thrust into the role. It adds a new wrinkle to the myth but it perpetuates the Santa myth rather than revealing it to be false. A kid who believes in Santa can watch the film and still believe in Santa. If it was postmodern wouldn’t it have the opposite effect - someone believing in Santa watching it would come to believe that Santa is just a story.

It does not perpetuate the Santa myth, because the movie makes clear that anyone who accepts the “Santa Clause” can become Santa. Santa Clause is not a single person, or entity, but any person willing to literally and figuratively wear the mantle of Santa. The person wearing the suit is completely aware, that their purpose is to perpetuate the myth of Santa Clause, to honour the contract called the “Santa Clause”, until such time when the function of Santa is filled by a different person. This awareness is what separates true mythology from magical realism in postmodern fiction. Becoming Santa in this postmodern context is thus no different from becoming the President.

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I think the inability to allow Star Wars to be more than one thing at a time is pretty limiting, and the strictness by which people are outlining limits and borders as to what the definition of “Star Wars” is or can be tends be one of the most stubborn roots in a lot of Last Jedi conversations. It seems to be part of a desire to justify a dislike of what happens in the movie by going the extra step towards invalidating the product as not being “really” Star Wars.

The Last Jedi uses postmodernism to reaffirm the mythology, and - nakedly, earnestly - celebrates not just the mythology, but the power and majesty of it in its ending. Was the Force Awakens postmodern when it made Ben Solo/Kylo Ren an on-the-nose stand-in for toxic Star Wars fans? I’d say so. Is the Last Jedi postmodern by essentially putting about 40 years of composite Star Wars fan in the film via Broom Kid (hence my user-name)? Absolutely. Short of fans managing to climb the fandom ladder and get industry jobs that put them on camera, Temiri Blagg is probably the single best chance for a large segment of Star Wars fandom to see themselves AS themselves in a Star Wars film. But I don’t see that as a negative thing, or even necessarily against the “rules” of Star Wars. Star Wars was considered “post-modern” at the time, as has already been pointed out. For a lot of people (myself included) the grasp on the concept is inherently slippery due to the ever-shifting idea of what “modernity” even is depending on when the claim is being made. Modernity in the '60s isn’t the same as it is in 2020.

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Broom Kid said:

I think the inability to allow Star Wars to be more than one thing at a time is pretty limiting, and the strictness by which people are outlining limits and borders as to what the definition of “Star Wars” is or can be tends be one of the most stubborn roots in a lot of Last Jedi conversations. It seems to be part of a desire to justify a dislike of what happens in the movie by going the extra step towards invalidating the product as not being “really” Star Wars.

The Last Jedi uses postmodernism to reaffirm the mythology, and - nakedly, earnestly - celebrates not just the mythology, but the power and majesty of it in its ending. Was the Force Awakens postmodern when it made Ben Solo/Kylo Ren an on-the-nose stand-in for toxic Star Wars fans? I’d say so. Is the Last Jedi postmodern by essentially putting about 40 years of composite Star Wars fan in the film via Broom Kid (hence my user-name)? Absolutely. Short of fans managing to climb the fandom ladder and get industry jobs that put them on camera, Temiri Blagg is probably the single best chance for a large segment of Star Wars fandom to see themselves AS themselves in a Star Wars film. But I don’t see that as a negative thing, or even necessarily against the “rules” of Star Wars. Star Wars was considered “post-modern” at the time, as has already been pointed out. For a lot of people (myself included) the grasp on the concept is inherently slippery due to the ever-shifting idea of what “modernity” even is depending on when the claim is being made. Modernity in the '60s isn’t the same as it is in 2020.

This precisely the crux of the matter. Mythology and a meta narrative celebrating the power of mythology is not the same thing. Whether it needs to be the same, is a whole other question.

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DrDre said:

Mythology and some meta narrative celebrating the power of mythology is not the same thing.

It can be, though. A blend of the two can be achieved. A metatextual celebration of mythology within a mythology doesn’t disqualify its status AS mythology, and it further doesn’t disqualify the storytelling using that as its engine from being good, either. The Princess Bride is a great example of this.

A lot of your arguments seem focused primarily on that impulse towards disqualification, specifically of the film’s storytelling conceits as not being “Star Wars” in and of itself. Which is limiting, to me. Those limits weren’t applied to Empire, thankfully, and the film that came out of that willingness to experiment and metatextually comment on what came before was all the richer for it. A lot of my favorite things in Star Wars are things that weren’t really “Star Wars” until they were introduced to it.

Some people have a really hard time processing these films AS films in and of themselves, and can’t help but looking at them solely through the perspective of their place in the larger saga. Not that it’s an invalid way to process the movies at all, I’m not saying that. But it also means that interfacing with what these movies are doing AS movies becomes a lot harder when they’re not pre-canonized for analysis and consumption. When something as adventurous and rule-breaking as Empire is already decades old and fully accepted for what it is before you ever clap eyes on it, a lot of the arguments that could be applied as equally as they are to Last Jedi or Force Awakens simply don’t get applied, or are only applied as an academic concern at best, a fun “what if” that is almost beside the point.

Granted, it’s almost impossible not to take into account the movie’s place in a larger series, but I think it’s also unfair to act like movies that safely color within the lines of what “Star Wars IS” are inherently better as cinema than the ones that don’t. Not only are those “rules” often arbitrary and more in the eye of the beholder than in the eye of the storytellers in question, but adherence to those rules aren’t necessarily any sort of real roadmap to successful storytelling.

As much as I dislike Attack of the Clones as cinema, and as storytelling, I wouldn’t consider disqualifying any individual aspect (or the film as a whole) as Star Wars simply because it’s a bad movie. And if I can allow that Star Wars by the numbers can lead to something being a massive turd, then I have to allow for the idea that Star Wars outside the box can be brilliant, if not necessarily adherent to traditional ideas of what “Star Wars IS.” Essentially - that rigidity stunts potential, and can stunt appreciation, and if primary complaints about the Last Jedi tend to center on it’s decision to not maintain that percieved rigidity, and doesn’t take into account how well those elements were actually EXECUTED… those complaints read to me as self-minimizing. Because what’s more important to me in a movie isn’t necessarily what’s being done, but why it’s being done, and how it was executed.

In the case of the Last Jedi, I have a hard time finding fault with why things are happening in that movie and how they’re being pulled off. The history of the series its a part of serves as a good contrast point, but I also don’t believe it NEEDS to be SO beholden to that history. Which is, itself, one of the lessons the film puts forth.