Rated: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: December 15, 2017 Released by: Walt Disney Pictures
This episode is the middle one in the last trilogy. Just by its nature it is the transitional segment leading to the final chapter and resolution of the trilogy. In this case it is the last of the three sections of the Star Wars saga and it sets the path for the ending of the series.
The special effects as usual are spectacular from the opening battle between the rebels and the empire's powerful forces, the opulent red hued thrown room in which Snoke (Andy Serkis) announces decrees and gives instructions to destroy the rebels, to the crystal animals which were modeled after dogs with straws they all are a delight to look at. Even the island where Rey (Daisy Ridley) discovered Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) at the end of episode VII has vistas and breath taking views both natural and even more so with the computer effects added in.
The characters are in as much transition as the large plot of the rebels and the Empire as the battles rage between the unique space vehicles, the battle between a reluctant Luke Skywalker and the determined Rey who wants him back into the battle and Rey's tension with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is the son of Leia (Carrie Fisher) but who has turned to the dark side. Sounds a bit like a soap opera with all the twists and turns. That is a weakness in the film the characters twists and turn from one position to another confusing the plot. It is not clear and direct as the opening chapter back in 1977. Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) is new to the series and she begins to develop a relationship with Finn the former storm trooper (John Boyega).
While all that is happening Poe (Oscar Isaac) is contesting Vice Admiral Holdo, played by Laura Dern decisions. Benicio Del Toro enters the picture as DJ a pure capitalist similar to Solo during the earlier segments. Anthony Daniels and Jimmy Vee play C3PO and R2 D2 but BB-8 performed by Dave Chapman has far more screen time as a hero in this part of the story.
All the characters are tempted and tested and react in a pattern which will lead to the final chapter in the next film in the series.
It is difficult to live up to episode IV the original film, but this is an exciting well made adventure in space, filled with interesting characters, human and otherwise with a little humor to modify the tension which strikes at the Jedi's ability to continue its existence.
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