Okay, I should be working on the end of Monster Hunter Guardian, but then I saw this dumb ass article, and it absolutely demanded a response. I saw the Last Jedi. I talked about it a little bit on Facebook, but once I started optioning books to Hollywood I quit reviewing movies on my blog. But damn it, this has pushed me too far!
That’s right. Supposedly most of the people who hated The Last Jedi were Russian robots.
And so this was me, thirty seconds after I read that nonsense.
So today, don’t think of me as American novelist Larry Correia. I’m Lavrenty Krasnov, Cossack movie reviewer, who thinks that the Last Jedi was a dumpster fire of suck. Pass the vodka, comrades, because shit is about to get real.
Oh yeah, I’m going to warn you now, there’s going to be a lot of profanity in this review.
First off, I don’t know how many Russian bots are on Twitter, but as for me and my house, we’re actual humans. And we were dumb enough to go watch Last Jedi opening week. My initial comment upon leaving the theater was something to the effect of “that was the prettiest nonsensical bullshit plot I’ve ever seen.”
The earlier Force Awakens was one of those movies where you have fun as you watch it, and you don’t think about it too hard at the time because by the time you can ponder on a plot hole, it’s already moved quickly onto the next cool visual. But when you leave the theater and you start talking about it with your kids, all the many flaws begin to stick out.
Last Jedi was that turned up to 10 and then the knob got broken off, so Rian Johnson could stick it up his butt. Because in addition to being stupid, it also pretentiously threw away any interesting or good story and character bits from the first movie which could’ve been developed into something interesting.
There was a post on my Facebook fan page (Monster Hunter International: Hunters Unite) about the Last Jedi. It wound up having several hundred participants, and like a thousand comments. Of those, the vast majority didn’t like the movie. Even though I’ve known many of these people for years, little did I realize they were actually Russian robots. (luckily, it turns out Russian robots buy a lot of books, so it’s worked out well for me).
I’ve been a Star Wars fan since I was a kid. And since I was a nerd, I didn’t just watch the movies, I also played the role playing game (old school West End Games), read the comic books, and got together with my friend’s to play with their Star Wars toys. I didn’t have many Star Wars toys myself, because we were poor (and full disclosure, when I did scrape together the money, I got GI Joes instead because I thought their action figures were way cooler. Their knees and elbows bent! Kung Fu Grip, bitches!) And when I was in college I read a pile of the Expanded Universe books. (Tim Zahn is still the king and Admiral Thrawn is a far more compelling bad guy than all the weak ass new villains put together).
Like most 40 somethings, I watched the prequels and thought they were pretty lame, but then I had a bunch of kids, and it was Clone Wars city in my house. You can’t walk ten feet without tripping over a Star Wars toy. My son has the AT-AT. The big one. The one the size of a dog. The one that I would’ve murdered someone for at that age. And the Legos, holy shit, we’ve spent I don’t know how much money on Star Wars Legos. My kids have the big Millennium Falcon. Do you have any idea how cool that friggin’ thing is?
I also like Rogue One. Mad props for doing something different and interesting WHILE NOT SPITTING ON THE FANS.
But then along comes Last Jedi… and what a farce that was.
When Solo rolled around, even though you literally can’t not step on a Storm Trooper action figure anywhere in my house, I asked the kids, “Hey, Solo is out this week. You guys want to go see it?” And I got a chorus of mehs. They didn’t care enough to bother.
The Last Jedi had killed their enthusiasm.
And you’ve got to understand. Me and my kids, we do movies right. So when we go to the theater we go to the one with the comfy recliner chairs, I even spring for sodas and candy bars, and then we always go out to eat afterwards, and Dad pays for it all. And I raised a bunch of cheap mercenary capitalists, so they understand Take Advantage Of Dad Paying For Stuff Whenever Possible.
But nothing. Just a chorus of meh.
So how fucking much did Last Jedi have to suck to kill the enthusiasm of a bunch of Star Wars dorks that they couldn’t even bother to unass the couch to watch Solo, eat snacks, and then get pizza?
It sucked all the suck. That’s how much.
My oldest didn’t actively hate it. She was kind of blah, take it or leave it, and she’s a fan of John Boyega the same way I’m a fan of Idris Elba (Yeah, I’ve got a man crush on Idris Elba, so sue me). That’s the highest praise any of my family could muster. Even my youngest was bored AND HE LITERALLY WANTS TO BE A DEATH TROOPER WHEN HE GROWS UP.
Just the fact Rian Johnson can so smugly turn off fans like that is infuriating, and I haven’t even gotten to the actual review yet.
When I review movies, I do it as a writer and professional story teller. Making up characters and having them get into interesting circumstances that people find entertaining is how I pay the bills and buy all these motherfucking Legos. On one of the many, many Facebook pages I saw arguing about this stupid movie, some woman told people that if they thought they could write a better story, we should. My response was NO PROBLEM. I could write a better story that Last Jedi in my sleep, because this story was trash.
So I’m going to try and set my nerdy fan boy aside and tackle this review from a story teller’s point of view.
The plot of the Last Jedi feels like fan fiction written by a pretentious English major trying to wow the teacher with his deconstructionist brilliance. So while he simultaneously tries to beat by beat match the previous works (in a hamfisted way) he’s also going to “subvert” everything (SO EDGY!).
Characters are the single most important thing in most stories. They are the best tool a writer has to work with to tell an awesome story. When we last we saw these characters introduced in Force Awakens, sure, there were some flaws, (like holy shit Rey is OP), but there were also a lot of interesting potential threads left that could be developed into—
Fuck. Fin’s just comic relief now. Way to go, Rain.
No really, Fin was by far the most interesting character, with the most interesting arc, and the most potential for development after TFA. Rain, or whatever weird ass way his name is spelled, I don’t even care anymore, just pissed all over that. Apparently when Fin was in medical stasis he dropped about 15 IQ points.
But fucking up a new character is one thing… Ruining legends is a crime.
Luke was a travesty. That was just bullshit right there. If I’d had a look at the script beforehand I would have rolled it up tight and smacked Ryan over the head with it while shouting “what the fuck is wrong with you! You’ve been given custody of one of the most beloved characters in history and this is what you do with him?”
And the fact that nobody at Disney did that is the real travesty.
Listen, I’ve written in other people’s universes. And the first damned thing you do is your basic homework of what makes it tick, and what things are sacred. You don’t try to “subvert” what came before. You see why people loved it and then you build on it.
Like holy shit man, I’ve written stories for Aliens, Predator, V Wars (coming soon to Netflix!), Warmachine, and I’m probably forgetting some other IPs I’ve worked in, that’s basic fucking IP Writing 101. You do your homework. You respect what came before. AND YOU DON’T PISS OFF THE FANS.
So yeah, Luke, the hero of your childhood is now an asshole. Deal with it.
You’d think they’d learned from Han Solo in the last one. Hey, that beloved character, yeah, he’s basically a loser who lives in a van down by the river. But at least it felt like Harrison Ford was playing Han Solo. Mark was playing some useless grumpy old asshole.
Not that characters can’t change. They can. And they should. But when you as the writer change a character you’ve got to show that. You’ve got to make it organic. You can’t just slap them in the face and go EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT I’M SO EDGY.
Go milk a fucking walrus, you hack.
What a waste. Don’t even get me started on Space Mary Poppins.
While I’m still on characters, the greatest example of Rain’s fucked up perspective of how to use even the 2nd tier characters… Holy shit.. Admiral Motherfucking Ackbar.
Think about this. Everybody in the world knows Admiral Ackbar. I could hop on a plane to Kazakhstan right now, get a rental jeep, go up in the mountains, find a goat herder in a village that doesn’t have electricity, show him a picture of Admiral Ackbar, bad ass lobsterman, and that goat herd would immediately shout IT’S A TRAP!
Admiral Ackbar has transcended being a character to become a cultural icon. He’s like the #1 meme on the internet. Everybody loves Admiral Ackbar.
Now watch as Rian Johnson pisses in your eyes.
He took this cultural icon, this HERO, and capped him so casually that I wasn’t even sure what happened. Like, wait, what?
But not only that, in this dumbfuck plot some assholes threw together after smoking way too much weed, there’s another new character, Admiral Evening Gown, who struts in and does everything that he easily could’ve had Admiral Ackbar do, big heroic sacrifice moment and all that jazz, but nope. Fuck Ackbar, and fuck your memories. Here’s this totally unlikable new character.
And yes. Everybody hates Admiral Holdo because she was an awful character who was completely useless, most of the plot only exists because of her Plot Mandated Stupidity, and then here is a crowning moment of awesome hyperspace kamikazee… Oh, but wait, I’ll get that scene later, because honestly, though beautiful, it’s the worst scene of the movie for a reason.
But if you say you don’t like Admiral Holdo, who behaved like she was beaten with an idiot stick, IT MUST BE BECAUSE YOU HATE WOMEN. And since I’ve written like twenty novels chock full of heroic female characters (only mine have functioning brains) I just rolled my eyes so hard I injured myself, but whatever, that’s the world we live in now, comrades.
It’s literally every character written as dumb. I saw that there was some controversy because rabid fanboys were yelling at Rose. That’s unfair. Yeah, her character was stupid, BUT THEY WERE ALL STUPID. That’s not the actresses fault. They could have cast Dame Judi Dench and it still would have sucked, because an actor can only do so much when your script is made of cheese.
The bad guys… Admiral Hux of the Huxington Huxtables went from being menacing frat boy in the first movie, to idiot comedy relief. Seriously, Admiral Thrawn would have had all these mopes flogged.
Oh, look, there’s a lone rebel righter just parked there, doing the most idiotic bad microphone shtick in the history of movies, you think maybe we should like do something defensive or something? Naw… I’m just a spaceship captain. What’s the worst that could happen? Like seriously, these people make the crew of the Prometheus look like VonClauswitz.
Despite Rey being the best at literally everything in the universe EVER, there were some possible character arcs that could’ve been taken after TFA. But nope, Rain is SO EDGY, but he couldn’t possibly do anything to humanize the uber character. Same with Kylo. One of the only things I’ll give this movie is that at least he was more interesting that the mopey emo crybaby they made him in the last one.
That’s some pretty faint praise all things considered.
Characters it’s all about rooting for someone. When your characters do nothing but stupid shit, it’s hard to root for them. Your antagonists need to be menacing, not clowns, or worse, just thrown away! (hey, Snoke is interesting… and never mind…). Or Phasma. Hey, wow, she must be super bad ass to have the silver armor and…. Garbage chute… Maybe some menace this time and…. Oh fuck it.
The Ewoks had more character than this. AND THEY COULDN’T BLINK.
Now that we’ve written every character to be a complete bumbling idiot, useless asshole, or made of wood, let’s give them interesting things to do!
Oh wait… This is Rain Johnson we’re talking about. Never mind.
There are so many plots holes… I think I put more thought into continuity for a short story than Disney did for this bazillion dollar movie. If there was a continuity person on this train wreck, FIRE HIM.
Our basic plot is that in the last movie when Totally Not The Death Star blew up a bunch of planets (with a faster than light beam that is dramatically visible to the naked eye), the Millennium Falcon flew through a shield at hyperspeed (not much a shield then is it) before shutting it off manually in the .000000000000001 of a second before impact, to save the day, so that Rey who has like three minutes of training can kick the shit out of a dude who has been punching rocks under waterfalls for the last twenty years (Rey is basically Kung Fu Panda).
So that all happened in the last flick, and Rain Johnson scoffed, and said, “You call those plot holes? I’ll show you plot holes J.J. Abrams! Hold my bong and watch this!”
So after the New Republic demonstrated that it is the most inept government in history, the Hash Tag Resistance is on the run, as they moved around the plot beats of Empire Strikes Back.
Now, the New Order could’ve just targeted the fleet first, and spared us this entire clusterfuck of a movie, and even though they’re apparently smart enough to overthrow the New Republic, build planet sized super weapons (like… after the sun eater sucks up a star, do they fly the planet to a new sun?) they totally didn’t think of that.
Then we’ve got the scene with the space bombers. Because gravity totally works in space… What the hell was that nonsense?
Yeah, I know space wizards and lightning swords, but trust me, I do this shit for a living. Your audience will give you a pass for certain things and immerse themselves, as long as you don’t break the fundamental already established laws of that universe.
But not Rain. Oh no. Motherfucking space bombs. Because reasons.
And Poe Dameron does the equivalent of having one F-16 pop the USS Ronald Reagan, while the super carrier sits there and goes duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuur.
Then the chase… And remember, the entire point of the chase is to get somewhere they can send a message begging for help. (they just blew up a bunch of planets with billions of innocent people on them, and nobody steps up… How much do your allies suck?). But during this chase, lasers have BALLISTIC DROP.
And at that point, I was eating popcorn and thinking, just shoot me now. I once read a textbook on the physics of gravity TO WRITE ONE FIGHT SCENE, and this motherfucker got millions of dollars for this gibberish. Hey, Hollywood, I WORK CHEAP.
But anyways, after Fin tries to desert (and we all know that desertion in a desperate life or death war is basically comedy), Admiral Holdo causes most of their problems through some really awful leadership decisions.
There’s this thing in writing, where you couldn’t have a plot unless the characters are really stupid. You see it mostly in low budget horror movies. Where if the characters were smart, they wouldn’t get in trouble, but instead it’s like hey, there’s an axe murderer, let’s go off by ourselves to smoke pot and have sex. Yeah…. That’s this level of writing. The plot only exists because all the characters are too stupid to live.
Well written movies avoid this problem, by having everyone act in a manner consistent with their established character, and then twist the circumstances to force them into the interesting events. Lazy assholes just figure have the characters do dumb shit, they’ve got a huge special effects budget to distract people, and if anybody complains, just say they’re not real actual people, or they’re racist, or something. Hell if I know.
So then we’ve got this absurd subplot where Fin and Rose go off to get some specific hacker on casino planet. Except remember, the whole goal was to get somewhere to send a message… Why doesn’t Fin just send the message on Casino Planet?
But anyways, let’s shove in some hamfisted message about the military industrial complex or WTF ever that was supposed to be. (Trust me, before I was a writer I was in the military industrial complex, it’s relatively boring, and I never once got to swim in a Scrooge McDuck style money vault). But then they rescue space horses, and after all that recruit the totally untrustworthy guy who like totally won’t betray them… And the only reason they got caught was because they parked their shuttle someplace stupid.
Seriously, bad horror movie writing. If Fin and Rose had taken a break to get high and make out in the forest and then gotten killed by an axe murderer, it would have made just as much sense as this shit. When teenage characters make those kinds of decisions in movies like Night of the Demons, the audience gives it a pass, but when a bunch of supposed military rebel professionals do stupid shit like that, the audience groans.
The really sad thing is that Benecio DelToro is actually a bad ass actor. How badly do you have to fuck up a script to waste Benecio DelToro? Sure, he always looks like he just woke up with a hangover, but that can be downright menacing (see Sicario, an exceedingly dark, but well written movie).
And his big betrayal? Yeah. They’re going to get in little ships and fly to the only planet anywhere near. And the Not Empire is all like Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuur thanks we never thought about looking out da window!
But anyways, there’s another subplot where Luke Skywalker is basically a useless asshole so Rain Johnson can poop on your childhood, but we’ve already hit the high points there.
Then back to my absolute favorite part of this trainwreck. The stupid space kamikaze move. It was the most hauntingly beautiful shot, or a piece of terrible writing, in the entire history of movies. So Holdo takes the reins, flips around their cruiser, slams it into hyperspace, and smokes not just the Not Empire’s super giant flag ship, but also its entire carrier battle group of super bad ass star destroyers.
Let’s break this down, and why it is so obnoxiously, incredibly, painfully stupid.
If you can take a cheap ass freighter and easy button instakill an entire carrier battle group, then why haven’t they done this in any of the previous movies? Why fly down the trench of the Death Star? Or into the interior of the 2nd? Why have big fleet battles at all?
In writing, this is a basic fuck up that you usually see from newer fantasy authors. That’s where they’ve got their established rules, but then they toss in some new super amazing hotness power, but which invalidates all the previous struggles (because why not just use that?). It’s why the Time Turner shows up in Harry Potter, and then is promptly forgotten about. Because I’m sorry, if I was writing that, I could fuck some shit up with a Time Turner.
But anyways, back to Rain’s crowning moment of stupid… If you can hyperspace kamikaze slam a far weaker ship into a far superior ship so hard that you can secondary kill battleships just off the spalling, why didn’t they do that before? Why have fleet battles at all? Build the cheapest Mon-Cal freighter you can, and stick a single pissed off suicidal droid pilot on it. Whammo. Problem solved.
It invalidates the entire movie Rogue One. Why go through all that struggle to get the Death Star plans when you can just render one combat ineffective with a hypserspace freighter. Boom. Done.
It’s shit writing. Period.
Not only does it invalidate and make pointless every other space battle in all the movies (because again, why go through all that when you’ve got an easy button) but it also breaks the internal logic of this movie. Because there were several large ships that ran out of gas before that, who drifted back, to get destroyed, AND THEIR CAPTAINS WENT DOWN WITH THE SHIP!
So when one of those hits E and the gas tank warning light comes on, instead of dying like a little bitch, why not flip around and go all space kamikaze on their ass instead?
These are those simple, basic questions that writers (and their editors!) should be asking when they’re putting together scenes like that. I can’t imagine that there was somebody, anybody, at Disney , who looked at that and caught what an absurdity it was.
I’ve seen some die hard defenders of TLJ try to insert explanations of why they didn’t do that move before, or why it would only work in this one specific situation… Except NONE OF THAT IS ACTUALLY IN THE MOVIE. It’s called theory crafting. And if you have to theory craft on a whole bunch of extra plot to explain a plot hole, that’s still a writing fail.
But just for a moment, let’s pretend that Rain Johnson isn’t a pretentious asshole, and imagine that he actually had the writing chops to put in an explanation justifying this one off super cool maneuver…. Even then the crowning moment of heroic sacrifice went to an unlikable new character because he’d already thrown away Admiral Ackbar.
The instant that shot happened, all quiet, and ominous, my thought process was that’s cool looking, but then my mind started thinking through all the ramifications.
Like I said above about IP Writing 101. It’s about respecting what came before. That shot was the ultimate disrespect.
Then the finale, which is basically the opening of Hoth. Again, pretty to look at, but vapid and stupid. Oh, and by the way, the super awesome light saber showdown you’ve been waiting for between the master and student? SUBVERTED! SO EDGY!
And in the end Luke just wastes away… Kind of like the Star Wars franchises’ potential.
In conclusion, that’s what disgusts me the most. You got entrusted with the most valuable IP in the world, and THIS is what you did with it? And you assholes don’t even have the stones to fess up that it could’ve been better, that your characters were lame, and your plot made of Swiss cheese. Oh no… That would require an ounce of artistic humility and self-awareness. Instead you flip it around and it’s all bullshit obfuscation about social justice. So when Solo flopped, obviously that’s because of all these other reasons, and not because TLJ was so lame you managed to strangle our enthusiasm.
I wasn’t going to say anything until I saw that we’re all Russian bots. So today I put on my ushanka and drew my Cossack saber. (actually, they both belong to my son, because he’s the one who is learning to speak Russian, and I was too lazy to get one of my AK-47s out of the gun safe). I am proud to be counted among the Russian Bots who think that The Last Jedi was utter dreck.