Friday, December 15, 2017

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, A Spoiler-Free Review of The Longest Star Wars Film Yet

What We're Watching--Films On Our Radar

**Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in U.S. theaters on December 15, 2017**

In order to give audiences around the world the opportunity to enjoy STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI to its fullest and allow them to discover any surprises and plot twists on their own, we're refraining from revealing spoilers and detailed story points. 

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List: Action Film Favorites

A long time ago (1977 to be exact), in a galaxy not so far far away (a small Ohio suburb), a 10 year old girl had a birthday party and invited her friends to see the first Star Wars movie in the theatre. The space battles, myriad alien lifeforms and storyline were epic. Princess Leia was the kind of role model a girl could look up to. Before Star Wars, the princesses in movies consisted of the coma queens, fairytale princesses like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel. Their lives were spent either lying inert awaiting rescue by a prince or trapped under house arrest in a tower, which was much the same thing, until they could be kissed and be queens. They made for boring recess play and not much in the inspiration department. 

Leia was different. She gave a generation of girls a new hope that we could head rebellions, wield power, keep up with the boys, and do it all in a long dress and funky side buns the size of dinner plates. Leia was smart, funny and entirely badass. 

Over the years, that 10 year old girl from Ohio grew up, eagerly awaiting each new iteration of the Star Wars saga, and eventually had a couple kids of her own that she eagerly introduced to the whole series once they were old enough to appreciate it. They too loved the exciting battles, exotic worlds, scary villains, wise elders, convoluted plot twists, adorable aliens, and the eternal fight between good and evil internally and externally.

This past Monday, I reflected on the 10 year old girl I was when I was first immersed in the world of Star Wars. I had a press pass for an early screening of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and knew that if my 10 year old self could have seen 40 years into the future, she never would have believed she'd be watching the 9th Star Wars movie in a theatre with an oversized reclining lounger that vibrated with the sound of the fight scenes, and state of the art CGI, and Dolby sound. So much has changed in the past 40 years on and off screen, technologically, socially, environmentally, politically... 

Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) grew up to be a prolific author, screenwriter and actress, as well as a vocal mental health advocate. Her first novel, Postcards From the Edge, was adapted into a movie starring Meryl Streep. Just about a year ago, December 23rd, 2016, she died of a massive heart attack. Fortunately, she had already shot her parts in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It's bittersweet to think that this is her last feature film appearance, and reflect back on the inspirational influence she had on our world, over the course of her lifetime. She will be missed.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has adorable new exotic critters, along with familiar favorites.  

Cutting Edge Tech... 

Quiet Spaces for Contemplation and Education (& hiding out)... 

Stunning Visuals... 
from the unique locations, to the battle on the red salt, to individual camera shots composed creatively. 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has Mighty Girls... 
Though women in 2017 have more career options and freedom than we did 40 years back, I'm thrilled my 14 year old daughter has a new generation of kickass female Star Wars role models in the era of Trump and #metoo.  

and Diverse Heros...

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is action packed, with satisfying fight scenes, plenty of plot twists, and characters that are easy to love and hate. It's bound to be a favorite for generations. There's plenty of complex content to geek out on, if you enjoy getting in depth. If you just like to see fire, fights, and explosions and not think too much, there's plenty of that too. The Last Jedi is highly entertaining. 

I’m especially happy about the diversity and gender equality among main characters and think this enriches the storyline and the franchise as a whole. Kudos to Star Wars for giving kids a range of role models that resemble them. The Last Jedi girls aren't locked in a tower or lying around comatose, awaiting a kiss. 

They're brave, strong and mighty women of action. They're fighters, leaders, wives, and mothers. Sometimes they even rescue the guys. In the last film and this one, they fight alongside a bigger variety of humans too. Even though the franchise got some slack for that from some, in my book, if you get boycotted by bigots, you're doing something right! Star Wars heroes have been fighting alongside aliens from a vast array of planets for decades, and we're elated to see the human diversity continue among the main characters. 

This is the true gem and potential lasting impact of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. If they can accept women and minorities as equals, bosses, and heroes in a galaxy far far away, there's hope we can get it together here in our own country as well, in a not so distant time or place. May the Force be with you. 

Behind the scenes:
I'm married to a location sound engineer in the TV & film industry, so here's a shout out to the hard work, creative genius, and long hours that went into making the on screen magic of Star Wars: The Last Jedi happen. As part of a dual freelancer household, I'm acutely aware that the industry puts food on many families tables. I'm grateful and happy the success of huge feature films like this means work for so many people.  

Genre: Action-Adventure
Rating: PG-13
U.S. Release date: December 15, 2017
Running time: 2 hours and 32 minutes

Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar
Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels,
Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro
Director: Rian Johnson
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Ram Bergman
Executive Producers: J.J. Abrams, Tom Karnowski, Jason McGatlin
Written by: Rian Johnson

In Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.

The film stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman. J.J. Abrams, Tom Karnowski and Jason McGatlin are the executive producers.

**Don't miss this! I can't wait to take my husband and teens back to the theatre for the longest Star Wars film yet, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Got your tickets? Go already.**

Running times of all Star Wars Films:

A New Hope: 125 minutes (2 hours and 5 mins)

The Empire Strikes Back: 127 minutes (2 hours and 7 minutes)

Return of the Jedi: 136 minutes (2 hours and 16 minutes)

The Phantom Menace: 136 minutes (2 hours and 16 minutes)

Attack of the Clones: 142 minutes (2 hours and 22 minutes)

Revenge of the Sith: 140 minutes (2 hours and 20 minutes)

The Force Awakens: 135 minutes (2 hours and 15 minutes)

Rogue One: 133 minutes (2 hours and 13 minutes)

The Last Jedi: 152 minutes (2 hours and 32 minutes)

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