Ultimate fans of the Star Wars saga were shocked, just shocked that Rian Johnson, writer and director of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi won the Saturn Award for best writing recently. Their disdain for the film is nothing less than hate, depression and disappointment and the internet trolls have called for nothing less than the entire film to be remade, including a fundraising campaign to do just that. The recent news of Johnson winning an award for a work they consider substandard is just another justification for the fans to go bananas.
In a previous post, The Last Jedi As a Plot Exercise, I affirmed that I liked the movie, despite its glaring plot holes and questionable story points. I attempted to explain my views on where the plot of the saga should go at this point in the overall storyline and not whether the quality of the story writing was deserving of any praise. Because of the serious issues of the story which either don’t make sense or drags the plot along, in my opinion Last Jedi does not deserve the praise the director probably wants.
But the sad part is, both sides are right on this issue as crazy as that sounds. Johnson and the Disney Corporation are right because the film does fit into the “canon”, the overall epic derived from the George Lucas era. The fans are right too. Some of the characters are disjointed with the context of the previous films and the surprise leading of fans down one path from the previous script and going completely off on another tangent in the next confused people. My issues are less technical than they are with the story, although fans are not that stupid to not notice these flaws. As writers, we cannot decieve the audience and tell them they aren’t perceiving any flaws. If there are obvious problems, say nothing, but don’t tell fans they are wrong. I think that is what wrankled people.
Johnson clearly short-changed the general audience, the bulk of film goers who aren’t rabid as the fanboys with plot cheats, even though it is science fiction and it is allowed up to a point. But the unnecessary characters (Rose, the other Admiral What’s Her Name) and secondary plots (the whole excursion with Rose and Finn) do not help bolster Johnson’s or Disney’s argument that there is nothing wrong with the film and fans should shut up about it. But they might as well shut up about it and wait for Episode IX because the final episode of a trilogy can and must sum up the story in the final part. Explain things. Tie up any loose ends. If Disney and writer/director J.J. Abrams cannot do that then the new Star Wars films of this generation was a complete failure in terms that they didn’t entertain or inspire as well as the original films did thirty-five years ago.
I don’t believe that Disney is intentionally decieving the audience, nor are they making a non-quality product. Eighty percent of Last Jedi is indeed brilliant. Johnson did do a good job of carrying the saga forward into the new generation and preparing for the next film. Questions remain whether or not the trilogy will be concluded satisfactorily. In my mind, those rabid fans will probably never be satisfied and their whining about it will solve nothing.