The Last Jedi – Serial Franchise Killer?

By Andy Duncan

I’ve seen worse movies than ‘The Last Jedi’. Well, I’ve seen one worse movie. I think that subjective honour belongs to the ungloriously appalling ‘Slipstream‘, which remarkably enough, also ‘starred’ Mark Hamill. This was a movie so bad, that it’s the only one in my entire lifetime that I can ever remember walking out of, about halfway through.

However, I do think ‘The Last Jedi’ really is the second worst movie I’ve ever had the unpleasant misfortune of witnessing. This time, I managed to get to the end without walking out, but on several occasions I really did feel tempted to do so.

But before I really get into this unfortunate though absolutely necessary demolition, let me just remind you that there are definitely spoilers ahead.

Ready to go on?

One of the main problems with this movie was that it just never knew when to stop. There were at least five occasions (or possibly more – I stopped caring after five), when the movie could’ve ended. But it just kept going on, and on, and on, and on, and on.

One suspects this happened because its scriptwriters failed to spot the climax and just kept pumping away in the hope that they would eventually satisfy the audience.

But to be satisfied, the audience needs to love the basic product. Given a sense of developed heartfelt love, the performance execution becomes secondary. However, to try to cloud that basic truth, they just kept hitting us with more orgasmic special effects and bigger pump-action glowing weapons, and all sorts of other shoot-em-up nonsense, when what we really needed all along was some emotional grip, rather than this desperate smorgasbord of pathetic nonsensical drivelling idiocy.

Where to begin?

I had always previously admired the ‘Star Wars’ franchise. What is there not to love? A group of rebels filled with ideas of freedom trying to take on a socialist democracy-riven empire enveloped with ideas of tyranny, taxation, and deadly force?

It’s hardly ‘The Matrix’ Part I or ‘Harrison Bergeron’,  but it was definitely getting there.

However, I just gave up trying to figure out who got to where, and when, and how, and why, and with whom, or whenever. It just stopped making sense after about fifteen minutes.

And there were some uses of ‘The Force’ that were so preposterous and so out of kilter, that even merely to describe them would require a fifth or sixth dimension in space time.

Moving beyond such hilarity, when we suffered that usual disastrous situation that tends to occur in such movies – such as in ‘The Matrix’ Part II – when the liberty-filled freedom-loving maverick gets shut down by some pompous hierarchical career-hungry bureaucrat, I just mentally gave up supporting ‘the rebels’, at that point right then and there. Which is a terrible shame, because I’ve been a natural rebel my entire life.

This film actually, albeit only temporarily, managed to squash my entire inner motivation of living. Which is a shame.

Yes, this movie was that bad. Are you getting the basic idea yet?

Hint to audience: remove brain at door.

And to top a strangely lilac-haired bureaucrat running the show, it must be the stupidest plot ever yet devised in Hollywood.

So how can you hire the most expensive producers, writers, and directors in the megabucks U.S. city of Los Angeles and still end up with such an utterly disgraceful bucket of slop?

It simply beggars belief. One realised that perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars had been spent on its special effects. The problem remained that the special effects were surrounding a basic plot held together by sherbet popsicles, moon-spinning fairy spiders, and filibustering pixie dust.

It was really so bad, so disconnected, so stupid, so maddening, so excruciating, that it almost defies rational explanation.

Heroes kept popping up out of nowhere, script diversions regularly took your breath away, appalling jokes left you thinking you were the only sane person left inside a disjointed universe filled with insane jesters. And how can I avoid mentioning the throwaway segment in the first few minutes where Luke Skywalker literally threw away the whole plot point of the earlier ‘The Force Awakens’!

That rather excellent movie possessed a purpose. It had a point. The point was to find Luke, and to give him back his Light Sabre. This would then somehow motivate ‘our hero’ to literally save the galaxy. It took the entire movie to get this light sabre to within Luke’s trembling grasp.

And so what does Luke do at the beginning of this movie? He literally throws away this proffered light sabre. Er…what? What the heck was the point of ‘The Force Awakens’? Why did the stoic Han Solo have to die? I thought Luke was going to become the avenging hero? He instantly became the prize chump instead.

Dear Lord, I felt like walking out at that point right there. But then I thought I would suffer the rest in a ‘least falsifiable’ cause of Popperian truth discovery. (Because, dear reader, I am literally a hero.)

Hopefully, Ludwig von Mises would’ve been proud of me!

But I should’ve left. It continued to get worse from that point on.

Ok, so were there any good points?

Well, of course, all the evil men had English accents. In my book, that’s always a good thing. We English may fail to amount to much at the moment (except for having invented everything worth having of course, except Austrian Economics). However we do like to play the bad guys. It sort of fits our national mentality. We’re better than you, in all those ways that matter (more intelligent, wittier, better looking, sexier, the hot ladies love us more than you, etc.), plus we’re devilishly cunning pirates, the handsomely rugged descendants of Vikings and Saxons.

What could be better than that?

So were there any other good points? Well, very few. As a red-blooded man, I can say that Daisy Ridley as ‘Rey’ supplied the most gripping and commanding performance of the entire film. She’s my kind of woman. Full of fire, her own person, implacable, defiant, a lover of freedom (and presumably therefore a lover of Rothbardian property). Yes, if she was the only woman on God’s good green Earth, and I was the only man, I would be nervous about coming up to her requirements, but I would definitely relish the challenge.

So, aside from evil villains sounding English and Daisy Ridley being a feisty desirable woman of the first quality, was there anything else good in this movie?

Errr…well. No.

It was terrible. It was, as I’ve already described, the second-worst movie I’ve ever seen. It truly made those awful George-Lucas-directed Star Wars prequels look like ‘Casablanca’, ‘The Godfather, Part II’, and ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’, rolled into one.

It was simply excruciating. And simply endless. It just refused to stop!

And let’s avoid blaming the actors. Everyone was trying real hard. You could tell. But the plot, the script, and the direction, were simply unbelievably poor.

Oh, how the lights in C-3PO’s eyes should’ve gone out. But instead, the director made them brighter, and lost all of C-3PO’s personality in the process.

I’ve seen better directed student plays at red-brick universities. Hell, I’ve even played some minor parts in a few! (My ‘policeman’ in Joe Orton’s ‘Loot’, at Sheffield University in the late 1980s, was simply megatastic!)

Honestly, you could’ve put me and my pet monkey Cyril into the director’s chair, and we’d have done a much better job, even whilst watching England play rugby and cricket on a side channel.

So what else do you want me to say? Null points. Zero. Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson. A politically correct Doctor Who. It truly was an epic travesty of basic human justice.

I’ll avoid saying that I’ll refuse see the next instalment, should they dare to make one. However, it will definitely be on a plane on some random trip to Iowa, rather than within the plush expensive seats of a high-price cinema.

Has this movie actually murdered its own franchise? I think so. But one can never tell. There is so little out there that’s entertaining these days, and there are so many state-indoctrinated morons around who like this kind of sentimentalist ersatz junk full of special effects, that one can always be surprised.

The market is also eternally fickle, thank goodness. And directors can be sacked and new ones hired.

That the current one lost all that necessary purpose of people trying to fight for freedom against tyranny is a terrific shame. However, I would suggest to the money-moguls of Hollywood that if they want to revive this franchise’s cash-generating abilities, then they need to get back to the basic human story of people against slavery, men and women against tyrants, and society against the state.

That is why the original Star Wars made so much money. The special effects and the cute furry animals were always secondary.

However, unless the next of their movies (that I’ll watch on a plane) is truly ‘out of this galaxy’, then I am simply ‘done’ with Star Wars. If you can get your cash back on tickets then I would advise you to do so. Watch it on a plane sometime in the Spring, instead. If you suffer from plane-bound insomnia, I reckon it’ll knock you out in about fifteen minutes.

Really, I’m telling you. Watch this dreadful movie at your own peril. Or simply perhaps for a kind of ‘Schadenfreude’ masochistic pleasure?

I do have one potential theory that might explain its active badness.

The elaborately story-boarded and twisted scenes may have been stitched together in such a complex way merely to sell us the related computer action games. That’s how the plot feels, constantly jumping from one computer game action sequence to the next, with the flimsiest connection between each set piece.

And that’s me being generous. Maybe they weren’t actually being that thoughtful? Maybe they just thought they could just dupe us ‘flyovers’ by dressing up feeble half-cocked plots with garish computerised animation sequences? Maybe those high-earning producers in Hollywood really do think that we’re all that dumb?

Whatever the case, Luke, this film really is worse than you could possibly imagine. I have only scratched the outer tendrils.

Barring ‘Slipstream’, in a galaxy far, far away there may be a worse movie.

But I hope to never see it.

Andy Duncan is a Vice-Chairman of Mises UK and also the Chief Technology Officer of Finlingo.Com


  1. A major reason most big-budget movies suck is because of the audiences – which are mostly overseas, especially Chinese. Because they can’t put anything in that depends on a shared culture or deep references to mythology and philosophy that the audience will have no chance of following, it’s all just lazer-swords and women in tight pants.

  2. I haven’t seen it, but it’s probably better than people are saying. I tend to find, as a general rule, that when a film is widely panned, it’s actually quite good, whereas when a film is widely praised, it turns out to be rubbish.

    If Luke Skywalker does turn to the Dark Side, I fail to see the problem with this. It would be entirely consistent with the original intentions of the canon, and even with the canon as it actually played out. Most people don’t know this, but originally Lucas had intended that Luke would become a self-declared Sith Lord at the end of Return of the Jedi, taking the place of Darth Sidious and wearing his deceased father’s helmet – an ending that is much more consistent with Luke’s moral ambiguity and the perceptions of him among the Jedi Order itself. They literally had a script prepared with a scene in which he dramatically puts the helmet on, like a Corinthian warrior, and vows to eliminate the rebellion for good and rule the galaxy. Alas, the ending was changed to something lighter in view of concerns about, first, how such a morally-complex denouement would play with a target audience consisting mainly of children and their parents, and second, how it would affect the franchise commercially.

    That decision probably doomed the rest of the franchise from a critical perspective. I liked the first two films of the original (middle) trilogy, they are in fact truly great films, but I disliked Return of the Jed and see that as the start of the rot and the point when Lucas’ focused cinematic grip on things slipped in favour of a more business-like mentality: the ending was cowardly and poor-conceived for the reasons I have just given, and the production values were too Disneyfied.

    The rest of the films have been self-conscious garbage. Had Lucas stuck to his original story arc, the third trilogy would have been much darker and more political than it is, and more ‘adult’ and interesting. A clue to what it would have been like is to be found in the canon books, which are terrific but which seem now to have been dropped and are presumably to now be regarded as deuterocanonical. I would have loved a more ‘faithful’ latter trilogy, simply because I always identified more with the Dark Side/Sith than with the Rebel and Jedi characters, and as I argued in my comment to the last essay on this film (link:, I don’t accept that the New Order Empire is necessarily ‘bad’.

  3. Naturally, I had to go find find Slipstream ($2.50 to buy in digital format on Amazon — that’s 49 cents less than it costs to rent it!).

    I watched the whole thing, in much the same way that one might watch two trains which are obviously and inevitably about to collide.

    Yep. Bad. So bad that it was worth $2.50 to sit around with my wife and kid making fun of it for 90 minutes.

    • Alas, I don’t know quite how bad it was because I only saw half of it (and have absolutely no wish to see the rest). But well done for enduring all of it. You are made of stronger stuff than I.

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