Let’s get this straight from the start. I’ve seen TLJ a few times now and it IS a damn fine movie. So why are so many people vehemently angry?
I learned a long time ago, in a sales job of all things, that setting expectations correctly is the ‘key thing’ when it comes to keeping customers happy. I have no experience of America, but in the U.K. you can literally tell people the world is about to end and we’d all form an orderly queue, providing there’s a plan.
TFA wasn’t the film I was expecting, the trailer and the hype painted a very different movie to the remake we got. The highly vaunted ‘Knights of Ren’ didn’t show up, the 40 year wait for our hero’s return was put off and the ‘bad guy’, if you can still call him that, was a mask removing, father killing emo.
Still, it’s a new dawn, the film is also pretty good and if Harrison only wanted to do one more movie, then we are where we are. We still have Luke, right? And let’s face it, that’s who every 40+ year old manchild keeping the cash cow fed all this time, grew up wanting to be. Our ‘New Hope’ would just have to be our ‘Last Hope’.
Enter Rian Johnson.
We all know Disney had to beg borrow and buy JJ Abrams temporarily out of his 10 year contract with Paramount to get him to work on TFA. A questionable move for a man who admits he always preferred Star Trek, but after his fantastic work on the Trekkie reboot, who can blame them? It’s also common knowledge (JFGI) that Rian had asked for a few key things to be added to TFA to make his TLJ-life easier. When he didn’t get them, he even went public.
This is only my personal take here, but I think Rian threw his toys out of the pram at this point. He then made a conscious decision to pay back JJ, by changing almost everything JJ had built up in TFA. And the evidence for this, to me, is abundant in TLJ.
TFA leads up to that magical moment of Rey passing the missing lightsaber from TESB to our hero. For 2 years, any of us with any emotional attachment to the saga were waiting to see what would happen next.
But much like the toys in Rian’s pram, Luke snatched it from Rey’s hand and tossed it over the cliff. It was clear from that moment on; Rian would be taking his issues with JJ out on the rest of us too.
Kylo Ren destroys his mask after being made a fool of for wearing it. Snoke, the only real hint of a ‘baddie’ in the film is killed off before making any impact. Rey’s blossoming romance with Finn was shifted to Ren, and sadly, along with it, the chance for Disney to finally end the shameful Hollywood (rumoured) stereotype about black men and white women ever being seen in a relationship or, god forbid kissing, on the biggest of big screens. I can hear the cringe-worthy meeting between the execs at Disney now. “I know, to avoid winding up the far right, let’s introduce a character to get the Asian Market on board and set Finn up with her instead?” Classy Disney, real classy.
Then there’s Luke. Luke, Luke, Luke, Luke, Luke. Where to start? Why even bother. He’s gone now, for good. No coming back, finito, kaput. The 40 year wait for someone we loved, someone we aspired to be and someone who had been criminally ignored by the film industry since the last time ‘cut’ was shouted in the ROTJ studio, is over. And with it, Mark Hamil’s chance to get a thoroughly deserved taste of the lime light, one last time. But at least he went out with a bang, right boys, right?
Wrong. Luke Skywalker didn’t lift a physical finger to help anyone in TLJ. The man, who would have gladly ended his own life to demonstrate ‘good’ to his evil father in the trilogy that stole our hearts, was a shadow of his former self. He didn’t train Rey, he didn’t even spark up a lightsaber. He just played a neat trick as a hologram, stalling for time, but he was so weak and impotent that this final act, resigned him to the role of force ghost, forever.
Disney, I hate you for this. I will never forgive you. You built up your cash-throwing fans expectations and then shattered them. In any other business in the world, your contract would be cancelled and you’d be replaced by another firm who delivered on their promises. And from where I’m sitting, it seems like you still don’t realise that you’ve killed off your golden goose here. How negligent can you be?
It would have been fine if he’d survived his hologram parlour trick too. Had the real, physical Luke Skywalker been given a decent comeback in the 3rd movie, it would have been great. You could have even killed him off then too. As long as he, as in the real him, not some cowardly and fake projection from on a planet far, far away, had gone out with a bang. But no, you had to take him out with a whimper.
And after a few months to get over the grief and ridicule of our expectations, I think I’ve figured out why…
Kathleen Kennedy, the head honcho of Star Wars and self-proclaimed feminist, had other plans. She made it clear from the start that this new trilogy would become a posterchild for feminism. Good call. I’m a big fan of equality and maybe bringing a little balance to the force could be a good thing?
However, the problem with some feminists is that they don’t want equality. They want it ALL. And unfortunately for a billion Star Wars fans of both sexes, Kathleen went too far, too soon. She wanted the whole of the (that’s no) moon, on a stick.
The Last Jedi? It left us all guessing. We all thought it was Luke. Haha, what fools we were. So it’s Rey then? Well no, Rey didn’t even get trained. A Jedi, she is not. So it’s Ren? Nope, he’s an emotional wreck with aspirations of becoming a Sith Lord, that frankly makes Jar Jar Binks look scary. That only leaves one remaining force user.
Yep, here’s the sucker punch we all missed. Leia is the The Last Jedi. And she can flippin’ fly! The quick-tempered female lead, who wouldn’t know the right end of a laser sword from the wrong one, who could charm the pants off even the scruffiest looking of nerf-herders, is now the only Jedi left. Never trained as a youngling or even teenager, she is somehow now even more powerful than Master Yoda. Backflips aside, he couldn’t bloody fly… Darth Plagueis the wise? Bitch please; Leia can stop herself from dying. In fact, she’s now the most powerful force user the saga has ever known and this is the reason Luke HAD to die.
How else could Kathleen create a strong female, feminism-wielding, force user who would complete Rey’s training in the next movie without the aid of any pesky penis bearing men? Even Carrie didn’t fancy sticking around for that plot line!
Huzzah, I hear triggered militant-feminists rabidly screaming, louder than the sound of millions of voices suddenly crying out in terror. But as Carrie Fisher has died in the real world, this move, along with pissing off a billion wannabe Luke Skywalkers, leaves Kathleen with egg on her face and even more begging, borrowing and buying from Paramount.
Kathleen’s overall plan seems to be to take Star Wars from the boys, big and small. Yes, the same ones who still buy the toys today (I am that sad) and to give it to a new generation of girls instead. Fair enough…it’s a big win for feminism, but imho a big mistake for a billion dollar industry.
Imagine doing this in any other business in the world? A new CEO takes over Ferrari, changes the logo to a dolphin and decides its old customer base isn’t needed anymore. They’re going to make blue speedboats instead! It doesn’t take a team of brand-analysts to work out that the existing customer base is going to stop spending, or that building up a new list of clients will take something special. The share price would instantly tank and the new CEO would be looking for another poor shmuck for future gainful employment. This is what Kathleen would be doing, if I was in charge of Disney’s profit margin. It was a bold move in the first place. Now it has left toys gathering dust on the shelves, it’s a failure that would cost her a job in any other industry.
It only takes a quick glance on social media to prove this too. Sure, to a layman it certainly looks like a lot of hardcore fans loved TLJ too. However on closer inspection, large numbers of these ‘fans’ have the same thing in common. No photos of actual human beings on many of their profiles!
Look for yourself, if this review gets any more than 30 hits, Disney’s very own clone army of fake marketing accounts will soon descend upon us, using every trick in the ‘book of logical-fallacies’ to strike me down like Ol’ Ben. I’ll be called a misogynist, a bitter old fanboy or mocked because the film hasn’t met my expectations. Ad hominem will be used in abundance, in all its manipulative-glory, and eventually some of the easily-led-herd, will start to follow the trend and actual human beings will join in. Regrettably, this is just how marketing and social engineering is done these days. It’s the emperor’s new clothes all over again and quite frankly Snoke’s sex-gown was a bit OTT too.
And this to me is the final nail in the coffin. Paying for propaganda-style marketing that Palpatine himself would be proud of, to literally abuse unhappy customers, might well stop them posting about their negative TLJ experience. It might even squeeze out a few more dollars out of those who haven’t seen TLJ yet as well, but it’s not going to make angry people part with more money. If anything, it’s just going to make us all angrier.
Can JJ save the trilogy after all this? Will he create another 40 years of young girls growing up and loving the new trilogy so much that they pay up to $5000 for original TFA Rey figure? Time will tell and if anyone can, it’s probably JJ, but boy… oops my bad, girl, does he have his work cut out.
The irony in all this is that it’s recently been reported that George Lucas’ wife was actually the one who turned his original shockingly-awful-plot of Star Wars into the film we all know and love today. Maybe we should put her in charge instead?