There’s not really much to say that hasn’t been said about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The film has been talked about to death by just about every media outlet, twitter feed, and squawking parrot out there.
And you know what? That’s good. It’s supposed to happen to a cultural phenomenon. It’s something that, I think, any creator would love to have happened to their project.
I looked at it, as I look at all of the new Star Wars films as they come out, as some sort of culmination of a childhood spent wishing I could fly among the stars. It’s a condition from which I can’t be cured. Dashing between the planets with Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and the rest held a prime place in the pantheon of childhood dreams.
George Lucas’ vision represented an escape that my life, relatively easy as it was, certainly didn’t merit, but that I pined after anyway. Action, adventure, galactic consequences with, seemingly, a perfect ending (for the original trilogy, anyway).
So part of me expects, when I see those big bold yellow letters splash across the screen, is the infinite possibilities of childhood. Which is why I’ve enjoyed The Last Jedi more every time I’ve seen it. As if my adult self is gradually filtering those impossible childhood dreams and letting me enjoy the movie for what it is.
The takeaway, I think, is that we will always see pieces of our past in new movies, books, and TV. When those new works inevitably fail to measure up to the rose-colored history, stop.
Take a breath.
Then watch it again. Preferably with popcorn. Or a loved one/friend that doesn’t have the same baggage you do.
Now here’s the real trick – after it’s over, argue for it. Be a fan. See the film in a positive way (this can be difficult if the thing is actually terrible, but maybe that makes it more fun?).
And you might find it’s better the second time. You might find that, in fact, it’s not your childhood at all but is, instead, its own story and you’ve just made new memories.
I’m sure I’ll forget all this when the next one comes out.