'Star Wars: The Last Jedi': Exhilarating and engaging
New Delhi : Film: "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"; Director: Rian Johnson; Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisey Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro; Rating: ****
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is the eighth episode of the series and the second film in the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy, following "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" which was released in 2015.
Hardcore devotees of the franchise will definitely go over the moon with this edition. Elevating several notches from its previous edition, the film has all the elements that encapsulate the magic of movies. An uninitiated person to the series will also find this film fascinating. They will lap it up with a little trepidation, simply because of the film's genesis.
The saga begins with a comforting sense of deja vu, "In a galaxy long, long time ago", followed by an informational scroll which gives an insight into the Galactic War.
Like every edition, this one too is a battle between good and evil. Written and directed with thoughtfulness and visual flair by Rian Johnson, the film picks up right after the events of "The Force Awakens".
Interspersed between scenes of an inter-galaxy war led by Resistance leader General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and The First Order, led by General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), Rey (Daisy Ridle) has found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on a remote island on an equally remote planet with the intention of bringing him out of retirement to help the Resistance, to take down the First Order, which rose from the ashes of the defeated Galactic Empire. Incidentally, the Resistance was earlier called the Rebellion.
Like most hermits, Luke is grumpy and regretful. He tried to rebuild the Jedi Order a few years ago but failed. So he tries to dissuade Rey from forcing him out of retirement. But she is adamant.
Meanwhile, Rey turns to Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) an old ally for help. But unbeknownst to her, he is now a disciple of the First Order's Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis).
How The Resistance defeats the First Order forms the crux of the tale.
With every character having complex emotions and motivations, the tale is what holds the film in good stead, the performances of its ace star cast become secondary but nevertheless elevate the viewing experience.
The plot swings with dramatic twists and from the visual point of view, every frame exudes brilliance. True to the formula, the director tells the saga by breaking the story into separate threads, each with its own set of objectives. Every location has its action scenes, mostly exhilarating and none of them unnecessary.
The visuals are bright and colourful, especially the one scene that takes place in a casino and the scenes that lead to the film's final battle. The computer generated images mesh seamlessly into the live action sequences demanding the film to be seen on an IMAX screen.