That article (it's a good read) touched on two interrelated points that I think explain why The Last Jedi has been the most divisive Star Wars movie ever.
In respect to Meta-Narrative vs Narrative, Does The Last Jedi:
A.) succeed on the basis of meta-fiction?
B.) work for Star Wars as a work of meta-fiction... does that ultimately suit Star Wars? By definition, meta-fiction functions as device for the audience first and device or character/story second.
Luke Skywalker by way of Don DeLillo.
It's hard to take The Last Jedi seriously as a work of literature as film when it lacks literacy.
A.) Like many others, Rian's cutting between arcs without tonal/thematic/visual motifs to unite them ultimately disrupts my enjoyment of each arc (I like each).
B.) The Last Jedi overvalues meta-narrative stakes while undervaluing actual narrative stakes. Finn's arc is all zany slapstick with a strong thematic core and the nonchalance serves the metanarrative of TLJ while hurting the credibility of the conflict Finn tries to save. He doesn't seem desperate to save The Resistance because the meta-narrative doesn't call for him to be.
C.) TLJ deletes the "falling action" element of his storytelling completely. After the climax we go right back into 'rising action' again so nobody deals with any of the consequences of their actions. Posted about this lots of times, but it's almost like the third act is Episode IX in fast-forward. Very odd when Empire Strikes Back ends with everybody at their lowest point and TLJ leaves people at their lowest point after the climax, but 5 minutes later it's as if we've cut to the opening of Return of the Jedi.
What kind of viewer are you?
A.) The Last Jedi is almost a litmus test for what you care about not just in Star Wars, but in mythic storytelling in general. I still don't know what to do with that, but I hope at some point I do.
If you guys think you know the answers to these questions, would love to read your thoughts.
Letting go of OT =/= forgetting basic plot elements that make successful or interesting arcs/stories.
I'm all for the distancing from the OT but we shouldn't forget it when the canon and the story being told is linked to it so directly. I feel like the excuse of the film being "bold" or being it's own thing is distracting from the problem that the film has on basic levels. Not everyone critiquing this film is going off the merits of what came before, many are just taking it at face value and are pointing out either contradictions or things that just don't work the way they should.
I understand distancing from the OT but it almost seems careless. I don't have a problem with Luke's arc but this trilogy is set on the aftermath of the OT. I know The past needs to be distanced from and the new ones need to stand on their own but if they wanted to do something completely away from that why bring anyone back from the OT?
Jarrett wrote:I understand distancing from the OT but it almost seems careless. I don't have a problem with Luke's arc but this trilogy is set on the aftermath of the OT. I know The past needs to be distanced from and the new ones need to stand on their own but if they wanted to do something completely away from that why bring anyone back from the OT?
Because seeing characters grapple with new contexts and scenarios is more interesting.
It's like people asking why Yoda isn't a jokey mad prankster in the prequels. Because things happen to people.