These new people blended with our beloved favorites from the original trilogy to capture our imaginations and renew our love of all things Star Wars. In 2017, we were once again captivated when the next film furthered the plot in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Coming to home entertainment this month, it is certain to be a hit and sell out everywhere.
At the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey travels to the far reaches of the Universe to locate Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill; Kingsman: The Secret Service). As The Last Jedi opens we see she has found him but he is reluctant to train her. Also, the rebellion is losing as Emperor Snoke (Andy Serkis: War for the Planet of the Apes) and Kylo Ren gain even more power throughout the galaxy.
Throughout the film, we watch as the Rebellion becomes even weaker and splinters from within. Meanwhile, Rey explores her newfound powers despite Luke's lackluster teachings. She also seems to have a connection with Kylo Ren that is unsettling to both of them. Eventually, they each try to "turn" the other hoping to further their cause but by the end of the film, we once again see the struggle they each bear between the light and dark sides.
I felt Ridley was excellent casting in The Force Awakens and this second film solidifies my opinion. She handles the anger, sadness and brief moments of elation with strength making Rey a complex character. Driver has proven himself a terrific actor and his portrayal of the evil lord is no exception. Following in Darth Vader's footsteps isn't easy but he does it nicely. As the newcomer to the cast, Kelly Marie Tran (untouchable) as Rose does an admirable job to bring some hope to a group of jaded fighters. Isaac and Boyega once again give us some great scenes. Of course, Hamill and Carrie Fisher (Shampoo) add an element of nostalgia to the movie and their performances are always great.
Sometimes the technology of 4K can be problematic with special effects, especially in older films, but that is not the case here. The 2160p resolution is fantastic, especially when viewing the final fight scene. The red of the sand as the cruisers "skate" across the land is deep and true and stands out. The Dolby Atmos audio is spectacular, though the mix seems a little off between effects, dialogue and the soundtrack. Nonetheless, this latest technology showcases the audio as a compliment to the excellent picture quality. The combo pack offers a third Blu-ray to house the extras as there are over two hours of worthwhile footage to view. These include an Audio Commentary, The Director and the Jedi, Balance of the Force, Scene Breakdowns, Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only), and Deleted Scenes.
I really enjoyed the connection between Rey and Kylo Ren this time around and these plot points set the third film up nicely. It will be interesting to see where writer/director Rian Johnson (Looper) takes it all. I was underwhelmed by some of Fisher's moments and her interactions with Poe were superfluous to me. Tran was certainly cute and it will be interesting to see what they do with her and Finn in the future. Overall, the film had good and bad points but still supersedes the prequel films (not to be confused with the original three).