There is definitely some sort of messaging going on in the Last Jedi. SPOILER Why else spend half the movie on a pointless and ultimately destructive sidequest? The rebelliousness of the rebellion shoots itself in the foot. The thief seems to have the most insightful line in the move, that the war is essentially a machine making money for the arms trade. I guess the point is meant to be, if Jedi are really trying to bring harmony to the force, their good vs. evil fight is not very effective.
Assuming this is at all serious (which I doubt), it would be a rather cynical, facile, and insipid reading of both The Last Jedi and history itself. The most egregious point (of the many to choose from that I could dissect) is the following:
> But she has absorbed the rebels’ self-serving narrative, and it prevents her from realizing that the Skywalkers and the Rebellion—or Resistance, or whatever they are calling themselves now—have no answers.
The answer is "not fascism." The Empire and First Order are fascist regimes. Fighting fascism is the answer. There is no perfect system. But systems that support the systematic oppression of all people via threat of violence are evil.
Seems like something that should be in r/theempiredidnothingwrong.
I went into this movie full on ignoring the metaphorical connections to the real world and let it exist in my mind as just an entertaining movie and story and to my surprise, it blew me away (although obviously far from perfect).
Its interesting to see people pick this movie apart, as if the originals had perfect acting, no flaws, and were the epitome of originality (were you expecting your life to change after watching this?)
Personally, I think Luke's change in demeanor was perfect, which not so ironically, he is pretty far from. Luke is human, which he conveys very well and is probably what upsets people the most because he doesn't reach this state of perfection upon which he has mastered the force, his feelings (he's not Leonard Nimoy), and has total control of self (again, not a Leonard Nimoy).
Could it be possibly that people are still holding onto the idea fed to those of us born in the 80's and onward that every one of us is "special", that our dreams will come true if we just believe in ourselves and never give up? These may be the people that do not care for the more realistic approach to Luke Skywalker, as opposed to the "one who will bring balance to the force."
Disney didn't pay a few billion for the Star Wars property to just end the war. The resistance/rebels will be fighting forever.
I'll assume spoilers are fair game here, since this article is pretty much a spoiler in its entirety.
The authors take many liberties in interpretation to fit their viewpoint. For instance, Luke didn't "hallucinate" Yoda's presence on Ahch-To, unless you think his previous force ghosts (as in ROTJ) were hallucinations, as well. Perhaps Rian did mean for Yoda's force ghost in this scene to be a hallucination, but I don't think he did. The authors just twisted this scene to fit their interpretation, which is disappointing.
UPDATE: The piece is satire https://twitter.com/smcohoe/status/951474247104307200
From the bottom of the article, since people are wondering whether this is serious:
> The views expressed in this article are not endorsed by and do not in any way represent the opinions of their employers or Leo Strauss. They should also not be taken to express the views of the authors.
I know it's satirical, but the authors have a point. Everyone in the movie in a position of authority has no clue about tactics or strategy or a plan that's likely to work.
(In 20th century history, WWI was the war of the clueless generals, while in WWII, both sides had relatively competent leadership.)
My biggest problem with the movie was using the hyperdrive as a weapon. Why couldn't that have been used on the first, second or third deathstar?
"Note that in none of the eight movies so far is the intensive and painful Jedi training regimen followed through. Not a single real Jedi is produced."
Well... they've got a point... we see many already produced, but none during the films' times IIRC.
There is some overfitting happening here but generally speaking I agree with the analysis. People I interact with from my own generation and younger can see that our established institutions may have failed to secure the near future for existing and arriving generations, and they are permanently shunning those institutions wherever possible.
You can see this in IT as well where we have myriad foundational problems at the levels of W3C, ICANN, MITRE, NIST and other standards/governing bodies. Cynicism spreads about whether they are sincere about delivering their core missions; meanwhile a "move fast and break things"/disruption culture thrives.
I actually enjoyed this interpretation. In a way it kind of made me less disappointed that I watched that entire crappy-ass movie.
Please note: I think this piece is satiric. Please see the end note:
Caleb Cohoe is associate professor of philosophy at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Samantha Cohoe is a Latin teacher, writer of young adult fiction, and frequent contributor to twitter.com. The views expressed in this article are not endorsed by and do not in any way represent the opinions of their employers or Leo Strauss. They should also not be taken to express the views of the authors.
I hope the authors were being tongue in cheek.
I saw it as the younger generation not learning and repeating the mistakes of the past.
The first order being like neo-nazis to the empires nazis.
The republic failing and the rise of trade federation again.
Very cyclical and nihilistic.
What irked me in the new trilogy was that not just was the first part a xerox of the beginning of the first trilogy, there was also no explanation given at all why had gone so horribly wrong.
We left the scene at the end of episode 4: The empire was defeated, the good guys had all the power, wisdom and allies on their side, there was a big victory celebration and everything was abuzz with hopes and plans for the future.
Then... things... happened and suddenly everything is reset to the same bad old times.
Yet no one even attempts to find out why this happened and where exactly the old plans and assumptions went wrong (and where they didn't). All that is done is either stoically holding on to the old plans or frustratedly admitting "failure".
I guess you could see this as an analogy to today's times as well: Everyone is panicking that the fascists are back, that inequality is rising, that living standards are falling and that no one is stopping climate change - but there seem few discussions about where exactly things went wrong, except that all it's somehow the baby boomers'/the millennials'/facebook's fault.
I do agree with the author that there's a lot of generational shift in the deeper tangles of meaning buried in the new Star Wars movies. I disagree with some of his interpretations, however. Here's my view:
TLDR: The story is basically re-told for the current young generation. There's less "magic", there's more "realism" (mind the quotes). Old mythologies are ignored. There are vast, sweeping cultural shifts such as the rise of feminism. And, yes, there's this youthful drive to declare that the past is dead, long live the future.
I don't think millennials saw TLJ as a metaphor for baby boomer disillusionment so much as a crushing disappointment that Ewan MacGregor didn't stride into a cameo as the inexplicable forbearer to Rey.
Although I suspect the authors were being tongue in cheek, I think there are spot on with the older generation falling into familiar patterns and the younger generation rejecting that in their own ways.
What makes it effective satire is it takes legitimate interpretations "The good guys in this story tend to shoot themselves in the feet and normal people get killed in the process," and stretches it to ridiculousness to highlight that point, like "Luke hallucinates Yoda's approval."
How about "token conformity to the cultural norms du jour strikes back"?
Interesting! Last Jedi was quite disappointing for me, so I'm glad the authors here managed to bring some meaning to it.
the movie sucked but at least this satire review was funny
The original Star Wars was about a son and his father, with redemption, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice. "I am a Jedi, like my father before me" still gives me shivers. But now Luke Skywalker says: "It's time for the Jedi to end." In other words: "it's time for patriarchy to end."