Friday, December 22, 2017

The many take-downs of "Star Wars: the Last Jedi"


"Star Wars: the Last Jedi" is full of demotions, humiliating take-downs of those with pretension. Commander Poe knows he needn't listen to authorities because his sense of things is best. But his fate isn't -- in his own "Skywalker" look-within-yourself moment, as he faces his momentous task against a great battle behemoth, solo -- to know that trusting yourself and abating authority/regulations isn't not right, but that he's all narcissism and ego (which becomes agreeable when he accepts that he's not "the best pilot in the resistance," period, but "the best pilot in the resistance" but also an irrepressible, loveable goof -- a mamma's boy, a boy who never grew up): he can't allow that someone else in his same position might as well know what they're doing. Specifically, when Vice Admiral Holdo rebuts all seemingly justified restrictions on her own behaviour, all Poe can do is consider mutiny. Luke Skywalker has turned from being a bold light in the universe to someone who refutes it, as he lives an isolated life sucking from four-(human)titted "cows" and fishing jarring, discordant fish, on an island which betrays a suspicious attitude towards gaps (dreadful vaginas) and holes (inhaling wombs). He is made to seem so special ultimately for being the most easy of the original "Star Wars" lot to imagine slipping back into the infantile regressed state of a petulant Teletubby, engrossed in fecal withholding play with decaying books and monopolistic attachment to an overflowing supply of breast milk, all his for the tweeking, but never enough to repair some angry damage he's suffering from. Hux is not a scary nazi leader, but a daft buffoon. Snoke proves a flash in the pan. Rey is pretence, fabrications, lies... a manifestation of what you can get away with the universe seems to want to imagine you a certain kind of way (the world has changed from last film to this one in a Sandberg/Hillary Clinton professional to Saunders/Hillbilly Elegy "the commons" kind of way, seemingly leaving "anointed" Rey in a lurch). Ren is bested by a girl, untrained in the lightsaber, and in and out of his leader's good books. He's told to forgo his silly mask, and there's a bit of "the girls will want to see you take off your shirt at some point" direction that afflicts Chris Hemsworth in every Avenger movie he's in, put to him as well -- unmasked, with deep black lengthy hair and bare torso, Ren has gone from scary vehicle to being put on parade for the ladies. (Maybe in the next film Rey and Ren will be put to the task of doing a shower scene together, in mode of "Starship Troopers'"... about debasement and demotion as well.) New codebreaker/thief is baited to us as a James Bond type, but then withdrawn and enacted as a stuttering skulk. Finn becomes a sanitation expert again, an ostensible redemption of what had always been of value about him but which traditionally is deflated in importance as those too good for the trades hoist their intrinsic noble character over everybody else, but which feels like he's being yanked back amongst a crowd he was singularly able to distinguish himself from... "oh, you think you're so special, do you?" Talking so much techne in this film he seems more within our range, as we forget he was the one who initiated a protest which would be impossibly scary to undertake, and which no one else would dare. Holdo remains distinguished and dignified, but "heroic necessity" is used to quickly dispatch her for her being too scary: we feel required to love her, but can't be requited from always feeling intimidated by her, so bye-bye in-a-way-which-seems-to-obligate-her-departure-considering-her-high-virtues-and-which-leaves-us-able-to-pretend-we'd-actually-wish-she'd-stay kind of way. Princess Leia is regal, but -- as Carrie Fisher -- already dead. Rose Tico isn't compromised, but she's introduced ordinary (Hi, I'm a fan, a complete geek, and introduced wicked modest, but that won't stop me from taking over the franchise if you let me [today I've stepped over the great Finn, tomorrow -- the world!]). And Chewie is great, even promoted in scale, but he was always a bit subaltern (so too the cute BB-8, who gives hints in all that he ostensibly could be shown to be able to do, that humans could be proved unnecessary, if for example they forget to oblige droids the right way). 

The feeling you have at the finish is that everyone in this universe is a bit used, sodden, as everything that gave them propeller momentum out into the world has been withdrawn and they're cradled back to their mamas, and that a new generation of "pure" parental imagos is being born adrift from these constellations of people, amongst kids who'll only hear about them in reified form, if at all. This group won't require take-downs, for they'll wear their subalternship forever on their sleeves. Built just the right way -- egoless, complete lack of pretension -- from the get-go.



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