STAR WARS Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)

The long-anticipated, actually still alive Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) returns in the new instalment of this juggernaut, undying franchise. Could this film ever possibly live up to the hype? Well, yes it can.

It’s forty years since megalomaniac auteur George Lucas’ original 1977 Star Wars and boy does it show in Hamill’s acting quality. It’s no spoiler to reveal that, compared with the previous Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Luke Skywalker plays a pivotal role in the movie, uniting past and present Jedi, in a performance that has all the original charm with a significant new layer of gravitas, and even humour. Carrie Fisher, sadly no longer with us, also turns in a wonderful performance as General Leia Organa that ties together the old and the new.

The visuals, as always, are breathtaking. While undeniably CGI heavy, the look and feel is decidedly organic; like the originals rather than current blockbuster sci-fi and superhero fare. It’s long — 150 minutes — but when the story is constantly thrilling and the production design constantly arresting (not to mention John Williams’ stunning score), the time flies by.

There is plenty of humour for families, first-time watchers, and old fans alike, so despite some very dark undertones and heavy duty action sequences, kids can be sure of a Christmas blockbuster with no nightmares. Some may notice that the baddies are pretty much all white men, and the goodies are pretty much all women and people of colour, lending a somewhat conservative vs. liberal overtone. Or, to look at it a different way, it’s just further proof that this blockbuster really does offer something for everyone.

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