The Last Jedi Review

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– Darcy Selke

Yes it’s true, The Last Jedi is not a video game but really if a video game blog can’t talk about the biggest movie of 2017 what’s the point of having a blog at all?

I need to get this all out because for the life of me I don’t see what people like about The Last Jedi. It seems I’m not alone as Rotten Tomatoes hasn’t been kind to The Last Jedi but I need to just purge this from my system. I wanted to like The Last Jedi, I really did but this movie just was too bizarre and unfocused for me to get on board.

I can’t decide if it’s the worst Star Wars movie or if it’s just so difference it looks bad in comparison. So let me explain specifically what I didn’t like about the movie and I’ll give a shout out to things I did like, so with that being said…

SPOILERS AHEAD

The Bad

The “Humour”

My once favourite character Poe Dameron makes a joke about sleeping with the evil General’s mother. It just doesn’t fit Star Wars to have a “yo momma” joke and I don’t see how anyone can say that it does, it was such a reminder that I’m watching a movie, total fourth wall breaking moment.

Every scene between Kylo Ren and Rey had weird moments where a “joke” was insterted. Kylo Ren has like a “Seinfeld” moment where he tries to understand if Rey can see him and he starts talking really fast like george Costanza and Jerry.

Later Rey asks Kylo to put a shirt on during there talk because his rippling chest is too distracting.  It made the movie really hard to take seriously because none of the characters seemed to take themselves seriously.

Swolo

I get that Ren is supposed to be a new kind of villain, but constantly poking fun at him really makes the movie lack any credible villain. 

There’s plenty of moments like this which leads to my next gripe

Tone

The Red Letter Media review of Star Wars Episode 3 makes this point perfectly so if you haven’t watched that review before I can’t recommend it enough. Basically Episode 3’s opening scene is a mess of tones between like a buddy cop film, slapstick comedy and action. The opening scene of Last Jedi has the same problem.

Poe Dameron has his weird comedic dialogue with General Huxton about doing his mom which then leads into a super dramatic and desperate space battle where the viewer is supposed to feel the emotional weight of these pilots sacrifice.

This goes double for the Luke Skywalker scenes, the movie wants Luke to be this grizzled, depressed hermit who’s done with everything but constantly punctuates these scenes with weird fish nuns having there homes broken, and Luke drinking some weird blue milk straight from some space monster’s boob. I can safely say I never thought I would see something so weird in a Star Wars movie.

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Pictured here is hero Poe Dameron NOT doing something weird. 

 

Weird Character Arcs

I’m just going to lay these out as easily as I can.

  1. Finn and Rose’s entire “romance” came out of nowhere. When Rose kisses him I literally had felt 0 romance between these two before. Compare this to Han and Leia in the Milennium Falcon when Leia is struggling to resist Han’s charm.
  2. The Rebel General doesn’t tell her troops their plan and just hopes that they blindly follow her, despite the fact they’ve lost almost everyone in the rebellion and are all losing hope. It’s never explained why she kept this a secret other than to create a reason for Finn and Rose to have to leave.
  3. Snoak just  sort of crumpled as a big bad guy with 0 explanation as to who he was, how he found Kylo or how the First order ever got this powerful in the first place.

So yeah to some it all up this movie just sorta seems like a mess tonally and I’m not trying to compare it to other Star Wars movies, I think the movie was just weird as a movie and I couldn’t take it seriously because it kept undercutting itself.

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Pictured here: The universe’s worst general, who for some reason fanboys are glorifying as a feminist icon? 

 

The Good

Something Different

So my number 1 gripe with The Force Awakens was that it was just a remake of Episode 4. I was really worried that Episode 8 would be a remake of 5 and I would basically just have been tricked into watching the same trilogy twice. So I give Rian Johnson credit, The Last Jedi is like no Star Wars movie I’ve seen before. No Lightsaber ever hits another Lightsaber.

Most of the Characters

So despite the fact the attempts at “humour” didn’t really work I still think as a character Poe still works really well. He works as a Han Solo lite except there’s at least another character who is trying to teach him something. He emerges as a true leader without them stamping out the “independent” aspect of his character. It works really well.

Rey and Ren have a cool sort of story and there is the moment where you really are guessing who is going to flip and join the other one. I didn’t mind Rey’s back story with her parents being no one and Daisy Ridley once again brings a lot of charisma to her performance and I think Ren is a good villian. I say “good” because just too often I couldn’t take him seriously, he’s a child which I think is the point but I don’t know it just doesn’t strike the right chord with me.

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Probably my favourite part of the movie was the one moment where I thought these two were going to team up. 

Luke’s character had a lot of really good moments. I loved the scene where he talks about how the Jedi really are a bunch of fuck ups, and the Empire arose because of their hubris. My only issue is I don’t think they got the payoff right, Luke sort of stumbles onto his final sacrifice and I still don’t really understand why he had to die. I get thematically why they did it, but I think it would’ve been a lot better to see Luke kick some ass as an old man and sacrifice himself physically vs that weird projection thing…

Fixable?

Usually when I watch a movie and I have this reaction I try to think of constructive criticism, things I would change.

Luke Skywalker

It was tough to watch what Luke Skywalker became in this movie. I get that it was something new, BUT you are talking about the hero of the original movies. Yes no one stays a hero forever in real life but I don’t know even after Luke’s sacrifice I was left sitting there thinking…that was it? Luke was on my Mount Rushmore of Childhood heroes with Spider-man and Samwise Gamgee. People who did the right thing because it was the right thing. This movie dragged him through the mud a little bit and while I respect the decision, I didn’t like it.

 

No more jokes

I can’t stress this enough. The movie just needs to take itself seriously. Way too many times it seemed lie this movie actively did not like Star Wars. It was a parody of Star Wars or was making a point about how you shouldn’t like the original Star Wars.

The very first scene starts with Luke throwing the lightsaber over the cliff, I get the point of what that symbolises. This movie is different, Star Wars needs to change etc.. except jeez that lightsaber should represent everything to Luke, throwing it away for a cheao laugh just felt bizarre.

 

So if you liked The Last Jedi i’m curious as to why. I saw a little of criticism about how it “ruined” established Star Wars canon and I guess it challenges some of it, but a lot of that canon was built up over 30 years of books, video games and more.

For myself I guess the point of this article was for me to reflect on it because I’ve never left a Star Wars movie and thought..that’s it I officially don’t care anymore and I did this time. I felt like the 3 hours was just a giant stop gap where nothing was accomplished, I was confused, bored at times and I guess I really no longer care about these characters and I’m not sure why. It’s a very weird thought to end on but hey, this movie was really weird.

 

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My Top 5 Gaming Moments of 2017

Okay so I was going to do a standard “best games of 2017” but honestly I didn’t have enough money to play enough 2017 games so that list would’ve been pretty small. Instead, I wanted to talk about my personal best moments. Anything from moments in campaigns that meant a lot to me, stories that I think helped define 2017 gaming of anything else I can think of. So without further ado here we go!

Overwatch’s Uprising Event

I’ve written a few times about Overwatch in the past, mostly about how professional “Meta’s” make online matchmaking worse and how games like Overwatch are adding too many characters and upsetting the balance. “Uprising” represented where I think Overwatch should go. Instead of constantly tinkering with the competitive aspect of the game, the co-operative campaign event offered a Overwatch players something entirely new, actual story.

The event let you play as either any character you wanted or, play as an Overwatch strike team made up of Mercy, Torbjorn, Reinhardt and Tracer. The event told the story of the robot rebellion that dominates much of the in-game lore. I played it non-stop for almost a full month and loved the narrative backstory it gave the characters.  Overwatch has such an impressive cast of characters, they really should work on the dynamics between them.

Torment Tides of Numenera

I know I’ve only played the game for a few weeks now and my initial impressions have been…less than stellar but I like to give credit where credit is due. Torment takes storytelling seriously, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Combat is almost irrelevant because there six different ways to get what you want before ever having to fight anything.

The characters are all interesting and I find myself constantly struggling to decide who to keep in my party, that’s about the biggest compliment I can give an RPG. They brought in real writers to actually write for the game, instead of having artists or programmers try and it shows.

The game has drawbacks, it can be confusing to be placed in this world where everything is a jumble of sci-if and fantasy. I also always resent not being able to customize my characters, The Last Castoff can change his/her outfit and weapons but the appearance remains the same. The other characters all wear the same stuff too and I just wish there was a little more meat on those bones.

Space Battles in Battlefront 2

Yes I’ve written about Battlefront for three weeks straight so I won’t waste a lot of ink here but the space battles really are amazing. Flying through trenches to blow up a shield generator as a TIE fighter screams behind you makes you feel like you’re Luke freaking Skywalker. All of the other stuff is still there, Loot Crates, annoying progressions, all of it is bad, but I defy anyone to avoid laser fire while blowing up a Star Destoryer and tell me it’s not fun, I double dog dare you.

First Game of HOTS with a Full Team

Heroes of the Storm has been around before 2017 but I only started playing this year. Playing a MOBA with just your friends always makes it more enjoyable and HOTS is no exception. It makes everything better, you can plan team fights better, your team make ups are more complimentary and you can always chirp the one friend who can’t stop dieing (me).

I’m curious to see what happens with HOTS in the next year. I worry it’s going to go down the DOTA-road and just keep adding characters until the game is almost impossible to balance. Every patch will need adjusting to as the new heroes seem over-powered and then I’ll just stop playing. I hope I’m wrong though.

The Trouble With Streamers

Twitch

I don’t watch a lot of streamers, I enjoy playing games more than watching others play but it’s undeniable that streaming has become one of the largest components of video game culture. This year however we saw the world’s most popular streamer Pewdepie cause the industry to look at how they have treated streamers.

After several racist outbursts, game makers demanded he stop playing their games. He got a lot of support as people cited free speech but I think that arguement only applies once. If you make a mistake and say something you acknowledge is wrong that’s fine, if you do it multiple times, you’re not really learning anything are you?

It’s why i’m hesitant to stream, not because I’ll say something racist or bad but because there’s so much you can’t control. Other people can come on your stream and just ruin it, it’s not really something I look at think, “yeah that’s a good idea for me.”

 

 

So that’s it for my list, I realized I actually didn’t play too many 2017 exclusive games this year, probably because the Xbox exclusives were a joke so I’m hoping 2018 will be a return to form. 

Lastly thank you for reading. This started as a school assignment and I’ve really enjoyed writing this stuff. I’m hoping 2018 will be just as fun and I’m hoping Replay value can keep growing. 

 

Quick Update and Grab Bag

Darcy Selke

Apologies for not having any updates, I’m actually in talks with bring a few guest writers in for this month and just couldn’t find the time to write a full article. So with the introduction of some new writers I’m going to start posting article authors just so now one gets confused and you can all yell at someone else for once.

Since it’s the end of the year I want to look at the best games or gaming moments I played this year. So those should be coming up every week from myself and my (hopefully) new guest writers! I didn’t have anything I wanted to write a full post about just a bunch of smaller things I wanted to mention this week.

Battlefront 2 Is Still Frustrating Yet Fun

I talked about it in depth in my earlier review but now that I’ve played enough to actually get some good “Star Cards” and upgrade my units I’m doing a lot better in games and enjoying them a lot more. It’s still really silly that I can’t play every hero I want and they are way too overpowered in game but it’s at least manageable once you have a few items under your belt.

The Star Fighter Mode is where it’s at. I spend most of time there and I just can’t get enough. The controls are weird but once you get used to them they’re perfect, and the sound and effects just really make you feel like you’re in the movies. Like the other ones, the mode gets hampered by heroes and star card non-sense and I really wonder how long before they just set up a game mode where all that shit is non-existent. Just let me shoot down TIE Fighters and put everyone on a level asteroid field (see what i did there?)

 

Age of Empires Didn’t Age Gracefully

I grabbed Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings off Steam last week for only $5. I loved this game when I was a kid so I grabbed it for the nostalgia and I have to say, I remember it differently.

I get SOME people might want the same gameplay that they loved as a kid but the multiplayer system is just a mess. You have to hop into lobbies that other players have created, check through all the options they made, civilisations they’re playing etc. There’s no automatic ranked mode that just puts you in a standard game. It seems like something that someone should’ve just said “do we really need the matchmaking system to be ancient too?”

Campaign mode is still a lot of fun, the historical accuracy was always a nice touch with these games but I don’t remember the weird population limit on games. This means certain levels go on forever because it feels like the game is artificially making it harder for you to build a proper army and supply it.

 

Torment Tides of Numenera: …Wtf is Going On?

So this is one of those crowdfunded games thats a “spiritual successor” to a classic game, Planescape Torment. It’s a single player story heavy RPG and I really want to like it but honestly half the time I’m struggling to keep up with the story.

Unlike games like Baldur’s Gate or Dragon Age which are set in medieval-fantasy realms, Torment is sort of a hybrid between sci-fi and fantasy so the characters use swords but also lasers sometimes and explosives? It just gets to be really hard to keep up because there’s nothing relate-able, so many times I sit there looking at my screen and have to every part of a sentence explained to me.

I’m going to keep playing it for a bit but combined with the tricky combat mechanics the game isn’t exactly making me fall in love with it.

 

Anyway that’s it for now. Next Week I should have my Top Games of 2017 List.