We had an outing! Just this week. Old Jack and the other residents all went to the cinema to bask in Mark Hamill’s return as the hero of our filmic youth: Luke Skywalker.
As you’re all probably still looking for wheelchair spaces in the local pit, old Jack’ll keep this vague. The Last Jedi is glorious.
Now, it is still predominantly aimed at the young and folk whose brain bleeds let them process an on-rush of explosions and shouting as character-led drama, but, for those in middle-age, it is a joyous, touching, bittersweet experience. And – oh! – that music!
Unlike its predecessor, The Force Awakens (now on Netflix UK, grandpa!), this one is pretty much about the force draining out of the Jedi. And you can see why they really feel it: all those movies and life is getting difficult again in the galaxy slightly less long ago and far far away. We have Luke Skywalker back, now looking satisfyingly like us: saggy of face, grumpy of temperament, but just as short as you remember and shown to enjoy the occasional afternoon fishing. His performance is easily matched by the excellent work done by the now-dead Carrie Fisher as Leia. And it is a mighty shame that she isn’t here to take the praise for what she did here. The angry girl of the original movies is now beaten, thoughtful and tired. She is her only hope.
Now…Mark Hamill: he should be hugged by more than the Star Wars fan-base for turning Luke into a human Yoda. When we all got back to the home, you could hear the clack of walking-sticks late into the night. Old Clive was trying to teach the sumptuous Nurse Sally to break biscuits with his light-zimmer. There was an energy I’d not heard in years. An old friend was back.
All the Star Wars tropes are in play, but this time it feels like a 21st century film and not a digital scrub-up of a 1977 one. And the best moments – mostly contemplative – come from those in their middle to late years. Yes, there’s a shiny new generation of dark and light types at work, but the movie’s weight comes from Luke, Leia, their memories and the power of the Force…
So – vaguely speaking – it’s excellent fun. There are oddities in the plot, surely (one character seems to have a catastrophic daydream before getting her act together and going into battle), but Daisy Ridley (Rey in a personality-stretching piss), Adam Driver (acting this time out), John Boyega (as the most-human Finn), shiny new Kelly Marie Tran (as his enlivening match and great fun), Oscar Isaac (in the Han-Solo-is-a-bit-of-a-dick role) all provide give-me-more performances as Hamill and Fisher deftly offer class and solace to those of us battered by the years.
Go see this at the cinema now. Then book a second ticket and watch it next month. It’ll tickle your I-was-there-in-’77 bone and make you feel like skipping home. Assuming you can, of course.
It’s also loud and bright, so, you know, hearing-aids on low.