Rose Tico’s Beautiful Wisdom

Rose Tico has the wisdom of the Buddha.

“That’s how we’ll win,” she tells Finn in The Last Jedi. “Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love.”

Those words echo the Buddha’s in The Dhammapada:

“Hatreds never cease through hatred in this world; through love alone they cease. This is an eternal law.”

Eternal as in, it’s also true in a galaxy far, far away.

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Oh Holdo

Last night I revisited The Last Jedi with many people’s complaints about Holdo in mind. I ignored the myriad ones that are clearly coming from sexist places (so many complaints about this movie keep boiling down to people having a hard time with new characters who are not white males, but who knows what’s really behind that) and focused on the main one:

Why doesn’t she just tell Poe what her plan is?

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Saving What We Love: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

For Star Wars to live, Star Wars must die. Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a thrilling, layered and goddamned fun meditation on the tension between our need for legends and myths and the ways those legends and myth constrain and reduce us. Star Wars is the film series that popularized the monomyth in the modern era, and Johnson walks right up to old Joe Campbell, kicks him in the nuts… and then gives him a hearty bear hug. The Last Jedi struggles with and embraces the paradoxical duality at the center of the meaning of legends and heroes, leaving thoughtful audiences with more to chew on than any other blockbuster in recent memory.

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You Can’t Be A Jedi

“The Force is with me, and I fear nothing.”

Here’s the problem with the Jedi: you’ll never be a Jedi. Maybe when you first saw STAR WARS as a kid you entertained the idea that you, like Luke Skywalker, were a secret space wizard just waiting to be activated. But as you got older it became pretty clear that this would never happen, that you’d never be a space wizard.

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ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Review

Complete spoilers for ROGUE ONE follow! Be aware I will spoil it all!

It’s been interesting seeing the divide in people’s reactions to ROGUE ONE. I suspect it comes down to how you reacted to the characters; if they worked for you, you truly loved the movie, but if you didn’t gel with them the whole thing fell flat. I don’t have a further theory on this – ie, I don’t really know why some people didn’t like the characters while others, like me, fell for them hard – but it does seem to be dividing line.

Because I loved the characters I found the ending to be doubly impactful. It’s impactful on a simple level everyone has to agree on, which is that we NEVER see the leads die in a blockbuster franchise movie, let alone see ALL the leads die (also this movie blows up every new location, making ROGUE ONE almost impossible to revisit in any meaningful way in future films). That’s a big deal, and it’s a ballsy move for a movie studio that is just as interested in licensing and toys deals as it is with telling stories.

That ending is so important, though, and I believe it’s the ending that we need right now as we face down Trump’s America. Indulge me while I talk about this for a minute.

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