Star Wars with all its sequels, prequels, and offshoots remains one of the most influential movies in the last forty years. And its recent developments, which included its original visionary and creator George Lucas’s decision to sell the entire Galaxy to Disney continues to be a big issue for debating fans, punters, and detractors. Each new movie has its critics, both harsh and understanding, lashing out vile criticisms or defending the movies’ merits.
And it is always helpful, and entertaining at best, to be able to read open-mindedly both sides of the debate—amidst all the love and hate. After all, I will always respect and recognize everyone’s thought about my most favorite movie of all times. However, once in a while I encounter commendable insights that have obviously been woven with so much thought, consideration, fairness, and understanding.
Here’s one of such insightful after-the-movie commentaries of the still currently showing, new instalment to the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi—not one’s typical and overly critical review that is seething with hateful comments, know-it-all anecdotes, and a false sense of entitlement.
This one is reflective, fair, respectful, and inspiring—written by a friend and fellow galactic and music comrade of mine.
The Last Jedi
by Michael Sutton
“And now we’re moving to new beginnings
But as we move we look once behind….”—Ricky Gervais, “More to Lose” by Seona Dancing, 1983
I thought about my mom as I watched The Last Jedi. She is 80, frail; and honestly, I do not know how many years she still has left on this Earth, so I try to spend as much time with her, taking care of her, as much as I can.
And I get it now with this new Star Wars trilogy. There is a deeper meaning to these films than the rebellious overthrow or pursuing your true destiny. These movies are about us, the kids of the late ’70s who saw the films in theaters, bought the toys, and read the comics. From A New Hope to Return of the Jedi, we witnessed Luke Skywalker’s evolving from a bored, dreamy adolescent to a powerful yet conflicted adult.
At the end of The Force Awakens, we saw Luke as an old man, grey-bearded and silver-haired. His eyes burned pale from crushing disappointment. This is the face of Generation X—tired and fucked- up and tired of fucking up. Those of us who went from Star Wars to The Smiths and Nirvana: We’re now middle-aged, but the angst of our youth still echoes through the days of the calendar.
Luke discovers that Han Solo is dead. Like us, he has started to lose friends. Life begins as a series of hellos and ends with a succession of goodbyes. He is needed much like how Ben Kenobi was in A New Hope. The next generation, well, most of them make the same mistakes that many of us did; it’s a vicious cycle.
Kylo Ren is like the abused child in school who becomes a bully himself; Rey is the lost girl, looking for her parents in the eyes of any grownup who is willing to guide her. You know these people. They are in your school, your office, and the community where you go about with your day-to-day routine. This is no fairy tale. It’s a bitter pill of reality hidden inside a tempting chocolate cake.
I’m not going to retell the adventures in this movie. No words can properly describe the sense of wonder and untainted fun of space battles and lightsaber duels. You know what to expect. The film is a work of pristine beauty; it is gorgeous from beginning to end, a balance of light and darkness.
But I get it now. Everyone who complained that The Force Awakens borrowed elements from A New Hope has missed the point. These movies are actually looking back one more time, just as we are in our middle age. It’s like going back to our adolescent haunts—that old comicbook store or record shop in the form of a planet in this trilogy. The familiar spaceships remind us of the precious toys we had. These movies are truly about our generation.
If the first two Star Wars trilogies were about the sins of a father, then this one is about the sins of a son. And there’s this realization that one comes to face when one hits 40. Your legacy is not about your accomplishments; it’s about how your accomplishments inspire those you will have left behind after you die.
Luke is not “The Last Jedi” after all. It’s the boy at the end staring at the stars. Not you, but your child, your student, your progeny, your Padawan…the one who will either continue your unfulfilled dreams or pursue an altogether different dreams of his own. And that is really up to him.
The Force may still be strong in all of us after all these years, like in Luke in the new movie. But we have to acknowledge that the same Force we have already long bequeathed to the current generation. But that’s okay. It’s their turn now to continue the saga. For as a new dawn fades, a new hope begins.