Let the past die – kill it if you have to


James K

James is a government policy analyst, and lives in Wellington, New Zealand. His interests including wargaming, computer gaming (especially RPGs and strategy games), Dungeons & Dragons and scepticism. No part of any of his posts or comments should be construed as the position of any part of the New Zealand government, or indeed any agency he may be associated with.

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17 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Carrying over my mythic archetype analysis from @Richard-hershberger’s thread, it’s entirely possible that the moral choice offered to a character may be “will you repeat the mistakes of the past?”

    But I do insist that the core of what makes a story satisfying is whether the protagonist’s success or failure is the result of a moral choice that she/he is prepared to make during the story’s progress.Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    One thing I enjoyed in the new films is the, now recurring, theme of practical minded First Order minions. Kylo Ren is having himself a destructive tantrum in the interrogation room after finding Rey has escaped. Old Storm Troopers would rush in and ask what happened. New Storm Troopers quietly turn around and march the other way.
    Kylo, again, heaves Hux across the shuttle compartment after he questions an order to land. The pilots snap to. Oh hell yes! We’re landing sir, would you like some coffee to go with that landing sir? I busted up.Report

  3. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    I saw it last night, and this was very much my takeaway also, that this is a refreshing yet subtle commentary on the original trilogy.

    I also sensed a different mood of maturity. Partly because Luke and Leia were so much older, it had a sober gravitas that the original never could have had. We can literally see the effect of time and tragedy on their faces.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      It made me extremely sad that Carrie Fisher has died. I would have enormously enjoyed watching a lot more films with this version of Leia.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      As much as I complained about the technical details and plot holes, I really did enjoy the characters, especially how Luke and Leia are portrayed as real, flawed people struggling with the past they take some responsibility for.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Chip Daniels says:


      I agree, they tried to did this a little in A New Hope with Obi Wan, but it works so much better here because we saw young Luke and Leia, so the more grizzled / beaten down feeling the characters has hits harder.

      While there is much to dislike about the current fad for endless sequels, in The Last Jedi they are at least using Star Wars’s history for something useful cinematically.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James K says:

        As days have passed since I’ve seen the movie, Grouchy Luke has only grown on me as an interesting character.

        We’ve seen him make choices. We’ve seen him do the wrong thing, we’ve seen him deal with how he did the wrong thing, and we saw him just up and give up since he did the wrong thing, and then we saw him apologize for screwing up.

        (Maybe we saw him die… but it seems to be the kind of dying that lets you come back and give speeches. So maybe we’ll see him haunt Kylo Ren in return for being haunted by him for so long. I wonder if we’ll see Anakin again.)Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to James K says:

        James K: they tried to did this a little in A New Hope with Obi Wan,

        This is an interesting point. Nowhere in the original trilogy does Alec Guinness convey a sense of tragedy about what happened nearly 20 years ago – Frank Oz does, and does it well, but Guinness doesn’t.Report

        • Avatar Zac Black in reply to Kolohe says:

          Well, in fairness, that’s because Alec Guiness famously thought the whole thing was just a dumb kids movie and beneath him, so in a lot of scenes he’s kinda phoning it in.Report

          • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Zac Black says:

            In fairness, everything we know about what happened twenty years ago was established after A New Hope. And even the specifics revealed at the end of Empire Strikes Back weren’t known to anyone in the cast but Mark Hamill and James Earl Jones.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Zac Black says:

            And yet Alec Guiness phoning it in is far better than Hayden Christensen giving his all.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

              In defense of Hayden Christensen, he *CAN* act (see: Shattered Glass).

              It’s just that his lines were exceptionally leaden and his direction exceptionally surrounded by a director who thought “we’ll fix that in post… CGI it…” rather than one who didn’t yet have his head up his bee-you-tea-tea.Report

  4. Avatar Fish says: