For the Holiday season, there’s only one big-budget spectacle to arrive into multiplexes in Finland.
In fact, it has already arrived. Today, Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in cinemas across the country — two days before the release date in its home country, USA. (The flashy Hollywood premiere last Saturday doesn’t count. Only 2,000 people were invited.)
But what if sci-fi doesn’t make your clock tick? Especially, if it’s described as a “soap opera.” I know people who haven’t seen a single Star Wars film. For them, I would say, don’t worry. So what, if the latest installment is the eight part of the saga.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi offers plenty with the simplest universal themes, including kindness and the battle between the good and the evil. It ties generations together with the sagas cult reputation and retro look. The difference is that the viewer is brought to the modern world with the latest booming effects and blazing lasers provided by Lucasfilm and its subsidiaries, which have come a long way since producing the first Star Wars in 1977.
George Lucas, the Star Wars creator, director and billionaire, who is in the respectable age of 73 and still sits at the writing board of the latest installment as well, has made sure that The Last Jedi will appeal to the fans as well as to the general moviegoer.
[alert type=white ]Finland is thrown on the big screen as well when the former basketball player Joonas Suotamo from Espoo pulls on the hairy suit of Chewbacca.[/alert]
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the second film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, a set of three films for the next generation. To keep things fresh, however, the director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which premiered in 2015, has been sent to the backseat. Even if Director J.J. Abrams has said in interviews that he will now let others do the heavy lifting, he is still tied to the film as the executive producer, which is a smart business move, considering that his Star Wars debut (but not sci-fi debut, he has directed the new Star Trek films, too) grossed over two billion dollars worldwide.
Rian Johnson has taken the director’s seat without any sci-fi directing experience. Does this show in the end result? Not really. With the production team and Disney engine behind him, he’s not allowed to mess up. The team knows that the devil is in the details.
Everything in Star Wars: The Last Jedi is done with Disney preciseness. Just like in the first part of the new trilogy, where Harrison Ford, 75, was dragged along as Han Solo, one of the aging original heroes of the ‘70s — with favorable results — in the latest installment, Mark Hamill, 66, is brought along as Luke Skywalker, the Jedi master. (For those who don’t know, Jedis are the good guys, robe-wearing Force-sensitive protagonists, skilled in waving the lightsaber.) There are other classic characters involved, too, such as Princess Leia, played by the late Carrie Fischer, who died at the final stages of filming at the age of 60.
Finland is thrown on the big screen as well when the former basketball player Joonas Suotamo from Espoo pulls on the hairy suit of Chewbacca, a tall werewolf-looking Wookie from the planet Kashyyyk (He was the stunt Chewbacca in the Force Awakens as well.) Suotamo is not allowed to take the whole credit for the role, though. As true to the Star Wars spirit, the original actor, Peter Mayhew, 73, is still the main player. Suotamo, 31, takes turns with Mayhew when he needs a piss break. Unfortunately, there’s no noticeable difference in their grunts and movements, so it’s hard to say for sure when we can spot Suotamo on the screen.
In general, the cast is the same as in the prequel of the new trilogy, but more evolved as characters. Daisy Ridley, 25, plays Rey, a young lady getting acquainted with her new-found powers; a natural while swinging the lightsaber. After tedious training around filming, no special effects were needed to improve her performance.
Adam Driver is Kylo Ren, according to the Star Wars Wiki, a human male who was a Force warrior and a former Jedi trainee under his uncle, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. Like in the first part of the new trilogy, he is still struggling with the forces of good and evil. It’s inner conflict with the Disney preciseness.
Of some of the new characters involved, we are treated by the fantastic performance by Benicio Del Toro. The film also features countless cute creatures, staying true to the formula of appeal across genders and ages.
The light, the shadow and the camera angle are in good hands with Cinematographer Steve Yedlin. The music is composed by John Williams, one of the best known, awarded and financially successful composers in the US history.
He is now 85 years old and composed the original score of the first Star Wars movie as well. It makes only sense that he is still involved four decades later. We are, after all, talking about another film very true to the Star Wars spirt.
‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ opens in cinemas December 13.