A few spoilery thoughts on The Last Jedi

Here, by popular demand, some spoilery thoughts on The Last Jedi.

The film looks GREAT. I particularly like the “ice and salt” planet that the finale of the movie takes place on. There is gorgeous red on white action in the First Order-Resistance fight there that made my jaw drop in the cinematography. And other places like Canto Bight really really came alive and looked good. The island of Skellig Michael is absolutely magnificent looking. And space battles where I can tell what is going on!

This movie really deconstructs a lot of the mythology of the Star Wars verse. I get why certain people are very upset at this movie, this movie interrogates some of the base assumptions of how the Force and the Jedi and Sith work. I was surprised.

If The Force Awakens was A New Hope Redux, The Last Jedi was a reenvisioning of elements of the Empire Strikes Back *and* Return of the Jedi. We get an ice planet, training moments, an escape from a base as the Empire is closing in, trying to turn someone to the Light, a betrayal between master and apprentice, and desperate fleet actions. And there are deconstructions of all of these. This was a movie definitely in conversation with the original trilogy. I mean, we get the “Kill the Emperor moment” in the Second Film of the trilogy.

There is a key plot point that gets very soft pedaled: The whole “How can they track the Resistance in Hyperspace” tech. That seemed to be a very important tech piece which came out of left field.

Pyrrhus of Epirus has got nothing on Poe Dameron.

I now see the reason why some people freaked out, good and bad, about Vice Admiral Holdo. I get her, I really do. This is a role that in 99.99999% of movies, would be played by a tough as nails man–and having it be someone completely different in gender and nature, is a really good thing. Especially given her sacrifice. You don’t see middle aged feminine women be badass admirals, anywhere. Definite play with expectations. Her plan, though, and a lot of the plot seems to revolve around a lack of communication between her and Poe, which feels like a plot weakness. It’s clear in the film that we should be trusting Holdo all along and Poe is wrong, emphasized when Leia shoots Poe.

I did not expect Yoda’s Force Ghost to show up. And I mourn the loss of Captain Phasma.

I’m so happy with their decision to make Rey’s parents just ordinary people. Thank God. Like Rogue One, average people are important. Kids. People of color. Women. Not just a few men, of a special bloodline. (The Kid with the broom, the last scene of the movie is really really poignant). This is a sensibility for our times.

Like Rogue One, this movie definitely strikes notes of left/populist political philosophy that you don’t usually see in Star Wars movies. I mean, this movie calls out arms dealers for crying out loud.

The Rashomon like study of what happened at the fall of Kylo Ren was real interesting.

Porgs are cute. I suspect that Chewbacca has lost his chance to eat one now, though.

I cried during the credits. Yeah.

I need to see the film again to know where I am going to put in the Star Wars canon. I definitely and happily will.

2017 Travels, Travails and Traverses: My Travel year

2017, a banner year for me traveling. I thought 2016 was hard. I had no idea what 2017 was going to be.

Major Trips:

Well, the Down Under Fan Fund allowed me to take a Trip to New Zealand and Australia. That was huge.

I also went to Worldcon in Helsinki, Finland. Not a place I ever expected to WANT to go, but I was enchanted by the city and its environs.

Those two huge trips dominated the year, quite frankly. I made a day trip now and again to places like the North Shore…


…and the St Croix valley…

…and the Minnesota River Valley…

New Records:
Furthest South: Wellington, New Zealand.
Furthest West: Warrnambool, Australia.
Furthest North: Helsinki, Finland
Furthest East: Helsinki, Finland

New Capitals Visited:
Wellington
Canberra
Helsinki
And yes, I ate at a McDonalds in each.

Onto 2018!