Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" Trailer

I woke up early this morning to see the trailer for "Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi".

 Although I think the teaser trailer was more intriguing in certain ways, this trailer definitely got me excited to see the next installment in my favorite movie series. I have to say, the music by the legendary John Williams is absolutely epic & it's edited into this trailer in a masterful way. I love the powerful music at :30s, as Rey journeys into the mystical tree to see the ancient Jedi manuscripts, then switches to a majestic version of "Jedi Steps" when she begins to move the rocks around her in meditation.

Speaking of which, I really like the concentration (pun intended) on meditative techniques, shown as Rey sits in lotus position and begins affecting her surroundings. It was also expressed in the teaser and in the mini-teaser for this trailer, with Luke instructing, "Breathe, just... breathe." I see the spiritual aspects of Star Wars as reflections of our own spiritual truths, and I am hopeful we will get Luke in the same role as Yoda, being a catalyst for the cultivation of inner awakening.

In my previous post about the teaser, I already went into detail about my thoughts of Rey's training with the now-reclusive Luke Skywalker. I suspect a more nuanced view of The Force will be explored- one that transcends the binary Light vs. Dark dynamic that drove the previous movies. There has been a lot of talk about Luke as a neutral "Grey Jedi," who recognizes the need for emotion, discipline, & morality in balance. I think this will open up a whole new vision of the mystical aspects of Star Wars for future storylines.

The island of Ahch-To, where Luke is exiled, looks to hold some fascinating secrets to the history of the Jedi and the Star Wars galaxy. Rey is going to be put through the necessary challenges & trials to ensure she can properly harness her powers. It appears that she will also experience the spiritual and intellectual awakening that accompanies such growth.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

We finally see Luke speaking in this trailer, and not just hear his voice. I can't wait to see how they treat him as an older, wiser, and seemingly more cynical Jedi master. Luke seems startled & unsettled by Rey's abilities. Clearly, both he & Supreme Leader Snoke are aware of the "raw power" that this new generation of Force-wielders possess. Where Snoke probably wants to control this power for his own ends, Skywalker recognizes the danger in it.

The other new & powerful Force user is Luke's nephew Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren. He killed his own father, Han Solo, in his bid to become powerful in the Dark Side. In this trailer, they make it look like he may kill his mother, Leia, as well. However, I think this trailer was edited to be a bit misleading. I don't know if Kylo will actually destroy her, but I think he finds that he cannot do it. Maybe someone else does, which throws him through a loop. One of the cool & unexpected visual elements was Kylo's cybernetic or carbon fiber patch over his facial scar. This must be earlier in the movie, because later in the trailer it shows the scar has healed, without the futuristic wound dressing.

We also get to see Kylo Ren's Tie Silencer in action, and it appears that he has inherited his grandfather Anakin & his dad Han's piloting skills.

A shot we already saw in the mini-teaser was Kylo picking his lightsaber off the floor of Snoke's red throne room, with the feet of Snoke's personal Praetorian Guard in the background.

We are going to get a much better view of the Supreme Leader in this movie, and a shot shows his partially-obscured face in more detail than we've seen so far. He doesn't look alien, but appears to be a badly damaged & old human. Perhaps like Palpatine, he was sustained by the Dark Side beyond his natural lifespan, leading to his corrupted, decayed appearance. It also seems likely he was badly disfigured in a battle or incident, perhaps by Luke himself. He is wearing gold robes, and may represent the power-hungry, lavish elite that our own world is familiar with.

I think one theme of this movie will be the contrast between the simple, almost poverty-like conditions of Luke's hermitage, and the trappings of wealth & power displayed by Snoke and the rich inhabitants of the casino world of Canto Bight.

In another scene, Snoke is Force-lifting and immobilizing Rey. You can see him & his guards by his throne in the background, and when enlarging the image, it's even possible to make out the large black crystal ring that is rumored to be a focus of Dark Side power.

It is going to be interesting to learn some more about the enigmatic Snoke's background and how all these characters play into the story. Another great visual was the closeup of Captain Phasma's helmet during a battle with Finn, as the electricity from the baton reflects off the chrome mask. It looks like Phasma may be more of a threat in this movie than in 'The Force Awakens".

So, yes, after almost 40 years on this planet & having grown up watching the Star Wars saga, the trailer for a new movie can can still get me excited like I'm a kid again. It is a testament to the vision and creativity that goes into these movies, that generations of people anticipate a new chapter in a story that has its roots in all aspects of human culture and experience. I have always appreciated the elements of mythology, religion, history, and the hero quest that have been incorporated into the Star Wars universe.

I look forward to seeing the new & familiar aspects come together into another episode of the greatest movie series of all time... and in my opinion, the greatest fictional work of the modern age.

"This is NOT going to go the way you think!"
-Luke Skywalker

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