I'm kind of feeling they've botched the new trilogy, and I don't blame Rian Johnson. What else was a highly creative guy going to do with that limp, reheated material he was handed? The Force Awakens
was an entertaining enough two hours in the theater--basically a 7/10--but, sorry, Jean was right in calling it "Star Wars
karaoke," and it didn't do much to set a course for new, interesting territories.
Abrams and co. did a workmanlike job slotting pieces into place, lining up comforting analogue after analogue with the original trilogy, but, with a universe of storytelling possibilities to pick from, they opted to do nothing
else beyond that. I was thinking about this the other day: They needed Han and Chewie in the film of course, but did they even bother to work up any kind of story, any kind of purpose, to effect that? No, Han and Chewie just show up. Like, they just happen to bump into the Millennium Falcon while out patrolling the vast, fifty-million-inhabited-systems galaxy (Thank you, Wookiepedia). People have complained about that mathematical improbability before, I know, but the underlying issue is just the lack of imagination that led to them to rationalize, "Yeah, we know. Whatever. It'll do." (And yeah, I
know that a beacon was activated when the MF was fired up, but even the novelization says that its range was tiny and Han coming across the MF was pure luck. Wookiepedia won't even defend Chewbacca on that.)
And then to proceed from that encounter to that totally digressive and forgettable Cacodemon-from-Doom
chase around Han's ship, or whatever that was, which was just inconsequential filler? I totally checked out for those ten minutes.
It's fine to work from a template, to just extract things from a greater monomyth (A New Hope
did that, of course), but if you're not even going to put a little effort into the prepositions and conjunctions, the distinctive grace notes, that get you from one big idea to the next? That's just too bad. (I mean, some of the most distinctive things in A New Hope
were those little linking scenes. Lucas could have had Obi-Wan and Luke meet Han in a dark back alley, not in the cantina.)
Obviously, the better story for a new trilogy would be how the First Order rose to power in the first place. Or something other than just, "Oh, hi. Here we are again."
Anyway, I liked The Last Jedi
, but get the dissatisfaction with it. I'm no big fan of Johnson (Brick
were good, not great), but I imagine, or at least hope, he will do better working with a clean slate.