Film Buffery #wonder #thelastjedi

Christmas is the time for gifts and surprises and peace on earth and all that. It’s also when traditions are dusted off, the bulbs are checked and given an airing. In our house we play charades at some point, watch Love Actually, go for a morning walk in Christmas day, make a large wood fire where we open presents and eat our weight in food.

Sometimes the experience of reliving a memory which is what traditions are after all can disappoint. Not because they are wrong or they fail in their desired objective – charades can be flat if the timing is wrong, the walk can be disrupted by the weather, the food can be just a smidge too much (no, ok that’s never happened).

Seeing the Last Jedi felt a bit like a Christmas tradition, from the opening music and credits sliding at a angle over the screen, describing events in a galaxy somewhere beyond Penge, which is far far away at Christmas, or at least ought to be. The hype was rather encouraging though, and all the reviews I’d read were either four or five stars, from reviewers I rather respect.

So, armed with a  rather excellent coffee and, sharing some decent popcorn (which is the definition of hypocrisy given how I hate the rustling, crackling, masticating cacophony that usually accompanies other’s popcorn) I took my seat.

Where do you like to sit? Me? At the back in the middle which sadly wasn’t available when I booked but the seats were empty both when I sat down and when I left. That was annoying. Did it make a difference to my enjoyment? Maybe.

You see, the Last Jedi is great and bloody irritating at the same time like a tradition that fails to live up to the memory. The film is essentially two themes: Rey finding Luke Skywalker – she ended the last film with him on this rather bleak island – and trying to persuade him to give up his exile; and the usual rebels against the baddies, holding out against the odds yet always, it seems, destined to be destroyed.

The special effects are wondrous – but you expect that like always having decent rum butter with the pud – and the characters of old that haven’t already died are all there. But the hole in the movie is Hans Solo – is Polo was the mint with the hole, Solo is the hole in the film. They sort of try and fill it with Skywalker becoming a curmudgeon in organic knitwear but these bits of the film just drag – all this Jedi-as-a-religious-experience-‘the-force-is-balance-dark-and-light’ stuff is baloney. The dialogue is wooden and from the bleedin bloody obvious playbook and, frankly Rey doesn’t have the acting ability to carry this piece. Back at the interminable battle, the character twists are actually nicely done and, yes the special effects still capable of driving you back into your seat.

True there is another relationship element, and other story lines that get you thinking and I won’t plot spoil by describing them here; suffice it to say they keep the film – which is really overlong – just the right side of disappointing. A bit like some of Christmas.

The surprise was the next film we saw. Wonder is a weepy, a feelgood, a disfigured boy starting school having been home schooled, having to find a place, over come the bullies, show courage with his friendships and open others minds with his resilience. All formulaic, all potentially meah. But here we had a thoughtful script, fab performances particularly from Julie Roberts and Owen Wilson (Who knew? He can act). The use of a device whereby each leading character was given a scene from their point of view worked well to develop the nuances needed to make this thing subtle rather than smug.

And the child actors were excellent. I’m not sure what has changed but recently I’ve seen a number of children in films and they’ve been great, nuanced and believable. A damn sight better than those planks who took the lead in the Potter movies. I recommend it as an unchallenging piece of cinematography.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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31 Responses to Film Buffery #wonder #thelastjedi

  1. Ritu says:

    I am so not a Star Wars fan… but Hubby Dearest and Lil Man are off to watch this tonight!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For some reason, I read your reviews with a smile. You review well – not too harshly, but with a bite of an edge, perhaps a crunch of popcorn not popped enough. I haven’t seen either film yet, and both are on my list. I tend to be forgiving when I see films like Star Wars and Star Trek. I’m much less forgiving with movies that include drama or comedy. Okay, here comes my confession. Ready? The day after Christmas my daughter and I took her three kids to see Jumanji. We both loved the Robin Williams version (she was a kid when I took her to that one). And you know what? We both adored this new version. Laughed. Jumped when the wild animals roared. Even had a tear or two. (But don’t tell anyone….)

    Liked by 3 people

  3. We watched the Sound of Music again. Why would anybody watch that Jedi rubbish when you could have the Von Trapps? That’s real entertainment. And I’m being absolutely, 100% serious.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Rowena says:

      Hi Jane,
      Happy New Year to you. I’m home alone with the dogs for a week, as the rest of the family’s gone up to Queensland for a family wedding. So, I delved into the DVD cupoard (a rarity for me) and I did see the Sound of Music in there and briefly considered it. However, Beaches was still unwrapped, as was The Theory of Everything and next I moved onto The Man From Snowy River. I had a wonderful night and also managed to finish two books that day and start Harry Potter. I must be one of the few writer/readers our age who hasn’t read it. It’s a great time of year for watching nostalgic movies, although for me, I’m escaping the heat and have the air-con pumping away, accompanying my the squaks of the pups chewing their Santa toy to pieces.I don’t think the big red fella should ever pop in here.
      Best wishes,
      Rowena

      Like

    • TanGental says:

      well, there’s why we will never understand the human condition; if ever I was put in room 101, it wouldn’t be rats but von Trapps that would get me confessing my love of the government. Happy new year Jane and if that doesn’t happen then at lease a productive one!

      Like

  4. I’m not a Star Wars fan, the last being the second in the revised franchise of the original. I was soon bored I’m afraid, and put it down to my age and no kids to watch it with.
    I remember Eric Stoltz as Rocky Dennis in the 1985 film Mask (not to be even remotely confused with Jim Carrey’s The Mask), and I cried, especially at his description of Billowy. We don’t go to the cinema for a variety of reasons, preferring to wait for the DVD or internet availability. I saw Wonder mentioned in an article and this would probably appeal to me, so I shall look out for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. JT Twissel says:

    Your’s is the first review of the Last Jedi which was not glowing with praise! I have to admit, it’s hard to imagine a Star Wars flick without Han Solo. A very Happy New Year to you and your family!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. willowdot21 says:

    I bloody loved it, my eldest son who took me, enjoyed it, not quiet as much as I did though!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have yet to see Jedi, but I understand the loss of Solo and expect to find that “something missing” myself. Wonder looks like a worthwhile viewing to me. Thanks, G.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rowena says:

    Hi Geoff,
    I love Christmas traditions a nd became a bit weepy on Christmas Eve when the band sang “O Holy Night”. My gran used to cry in church alot and always had those pretty lace hankies in her handbag along with lemon sherbet lollies. I was just like her and missed her so intensely. She died 18 years ago, which reminds me that Geoff’s Mum died 18 years ago today. We were watching New Year being announced around the world for the start of the new millenium and that’s when the phone rang. Unexpected, yet expected as these things often are.
    Our Christmas Day ritual is going in my aunt’s pool, although I n ever seem to make it in there and my cousin entertains the kids, especially Mr, and goes home bruised, fed and under the weather.
    However, my NYE ritual is watching “Can’t Stop the Music” until about 3.00am. It is equally bad every year and very slow but I love seeing the Village People again.
    We’ve never played charades with the kids, but they’re getting older now and that sounds like a great idea. We’ve moved on from I Spy these days.
    Happy New Year to you and all the family.
    I am starting my New year off by putting about 6 bags of rubbish out for council cleanup tonight. I also went into KIKI K and bought two journals. One is a photo a day and the other has a blank page for each day. Now, I need to find a place to put them so they get acted upon. I guess through these seemingly small tasks, you could say that my words for 2018 so far are PERSISTENCE and PERSEVERANCE and my phrase: “GET ON WITH IT!!!”
    Heavven help me. It’s the same every year!
    Have you set any goals or resolutions yet?
    Best wishes,
    Ro

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      i have themes and ideas but no resolutions; I hope to publish two books and prepare two more but let’s see. Otherwise it’s steady as she goes I think

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        Yes, my resolutions are slowly taking form now that I’ve been taking it slowly after Christmas. I’ve never heard about people setting NY resolutions for other people, but it sounds good to me. In fact, I’ve been working towards this with the kids rooms getting organized with a place for the most important things…the essentials. My daughter has slime all over her carpet which has set into a horrible plastic cement and even had a sock stuck to it. This “treasure” was buried beneath the sea of crap. Somehow my role in this scene of carnage is to be the first responder…emergency services. Now that I’ve cleared the floor, I’m needing to clean up the slime before they get back and “Daddy finds out”.
        The carpet is getting replaced with a floating floor over the holidays anyway, but I don’t want Geoff to have a cardiac arrest after a 12 hour drive.
        As for myself, I am hoping her bedroom slime lab might lead to some kind of career in science and as she’s giving her Nobel Prize acceptance speech, she’ll mention how it all started in her bedroom.
        Best wishes,
        Ro

        Like

      • TanGental says:

        Wow
        Has she invented a new compound. Like graphene for pre teens. Such a chemist. Could this ne used to protect the GBR from bleaching do you think

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        Perhaps, Miss and her brother could collaberate. He starts studying aquaculture at school this year and wants to become a marine biologist. The slime thing has become a complete obsession in her age world around the world. She really likes the texture of the slimes and plays with it alot. It’s could be a more grown up version of playdough. I don’t really like touching the stuff myself, but perhaps I’m just getting old.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        I think all need more slime in our lives, ooze too. Personally I’m far too crusty these days….

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        My daughter’s carpet is very crusty too!
        We saw the kids off on their Church youth camp tonight and the youth lead the service. They were so alive and full of energy and were slam dancing down the front like I used to do in the uni bar too many years ago.
        The kids are keeping us young atm. I’m sure that makes a bit difference in terms of trying new things and not getting too set in your ways.
        Hope you have a great week.
        xx Ro

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        thanks Ro; apart from the dentist I expect so; hope you do too and the ridiculous temperatures in Sydney today didn’t bake your piece of the coast too

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        We stayed inside yesterday with the air-conditioning on, but ventured out to drop the kids off for camp. It was so hot my eyeballs hurt. That doesn’t happen often. These days I sunbake indoors in my recliner.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. abetterman21 says:

    The movie has spawned a couple of toys, to go on the tangent. Try out the VR saber. Really fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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