The Last Jedi is the eighth episode of the Star wars franchise written and directed by Rian Johnson. Like its original predecessors, it too is a jam-packed movie with jaw-dropping moments and gripping storyline. Complemented by the exquisite cinematography and iconic score ; this is definitely the season’s ‘must see’ movie for the entire family.
Like many other movie fans, I was excited about this new chapter in the Star Wars saga. Having watched the trailers and the heartfelt homage to Carrie Fisher at this year’s D23 this latest installment topped my bucket list.
However, as a parent, I did wonder how appropriate it would be for kids, particularly younger ones. After watching an early screening of The Last Jedi here are my eight reasons why you should take your kids to see it.
#1 It’s a visual masterpiece
Though most die-hard fans wouldn’t place cinematography as a top reason to see the movie, it certainly enhanced my experience. From breathtaking scenery shots to the aliens and futuristic spaceships The Last Jedi is a visual beauty.
The scenery shots showing Luke’s hideaway and Jedi ancient temple on Hch –To are stunning. Moreover, the casinos of Canto Bight and planet of Cantonica look so real, viewers will forget these are imaginary places.
Likewise, the starships and digitigrade walkers are meticulously detailed. Most noteworthy are the AT-AT walkers which are mechanized infantry combat vehicles. The ones in this movie are AT-M6 (All Terrain Mega caliber Six) and tagged as The First Order’s Dreadnought.
And completing the movie’s visual effects are cute new CGI characters. My favorites were the penguin-like Porgs and the vulpices (crystal foxes) that play an essential role in the plot.
#2 Yes, It is funny
Judging by the trailers, I thought the film was going to be dark and grim. But I was mistaken.
Though the dialogue isn’t campy, there are humorous moments that keep the movie from becoming too morose. Commander Leia along with Poe and Chewbacca provide the primary comic relief, but those porgs steal the show.Benicio del Toro ‘s cameo as a mercenary is also noteworthy though he strongly reminded of a certain character in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’
#3 A gripping storyline
In the movie, Luke Skywalker predicts that things will not go as you expect and he is right! The plot is delightfully unpredictable with twists and turns at every corner.
If you haven’t seen any of the other movies or at least the last one; you might get somewhat confused as to who is who during the first half hour. With that said, the plot is entertaining even for star war newbies.
Like its predecessors, the movie plot touches upon loyalty, family ties, and moral code. The main characters face choices and decisions that will impact their future in a big way. Luke struggles with his decision to end the Jedi line while Rey and Kylo Ren question which side to take.
And as all great stories go; the plot does provide answers but raises new questions luring the viewers to come back for more.
#4 Star Wars is part of a cultural phenomenon
Since it first came out, George Lucas’ multi-film saga has become a worldwide cultural phenomenon. Furthermore, it has influenced and inspired generations of filmmakers, writers, and even scientists. In fact, some claim Star Wars helped catapult Sci-Fi movies to the blockbuster genre it is today.
Forty years later, Star wars characters are commonly used to describe evil and good people. The phrases “May the Force be with you” “I am your father” and “Evil Empire” have become part of our lexicon. So, if you haven’t done so already, introducing kids to the series may turn out to be that missing part of a well-rounded education they actually needed.
#5 There’s plenty of girl power
For all purposes it does look like the future of the Force lies with women.The Last Jedi features four strong and corky characters that totally kick ass!
The popular princess turned general Leia Organa, played by the late Carrie Fisher is feisty, smart, sardonically funny and bold as ever. Aided by Poe and Finn, the galaxy’s first badass continues to lead the rebels through thick and thin giving the evil Snoke a run for his money.
Then there’s Rey played by Daisy Ridley. Abandoned on the desert planet, Jakku, as a child she doesn’t know anything about her family or past. In ‘The Force Awakens ‘ she joins the Resistance forces after a chance meeting with Finn, an ex-stormtrooper, and the BB-8 droid.
‘The Last Jedi’ finds Rey on the path of self-discovery.
She learns to harness the ‘Force’ all the while maintaining a strong but unexplained psychic connection to Kylo Ren. As the story unravels, she faces trials and tribulations befitting a newly minted main heroine.
Laura Dern, as Vice Admiral Resistance officer Amilyn Holdo, plays a small but memorable part. Though she doesn’t reveal her true colors till later on, her determined and decisive character has the makings of a strong leader figure.
Look out for
Yet, the real surprise may lie with the rebel spaceship’s engineer, played by newcomer Kelly Marie Tran. Seemingly sweet and gullible she is no pushover! Rose’s character evolves seamlessly from a scrappy inexperienced young woman to a courageous warrior fighting alongside her male counterparts Finn and Poe.
#6 It will inspire your family to travel
As I mentioned before, the destinations selected as a backdrop for this movie are spectacular and worth visiting.
The Ach-To segments were filmed in Ireland’s Ceann Sibeal and Skellig Michael. The Irish Coastline looks incredibly inviting with its luscious green flora and rocky untamed terrain, so I’m sure the country will experience a surge in visitors this year.
Croatia’s medieval town of Dubrovnik doubled up as the movie’s Cantonica’s coastal Canto Bight town with its casinos.
With its cobblestone narrow streets and city walls, Dubrovnik is a popular family destination and is listed on UNESCO‘s World Heritage Sites.
For adventure-seeking families, the spectacular salt flats of Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia are a good fit. The salt flats are featured in the battle scene between the AT-M6 Walkers and resistance sky speeders on the planet of Crait. At 12,000 feet above sea level, the Bolivian salt flats are covered by an impressive layer of salt and span 4,000 square miles. In the dry season, it has a cracked appearance shown in the movie while during the rainy months it sports that changes an elegant reflective mirror look.
#7 It might encourage your kids to read
Taking your kids to see The Last Jedi might encourage them to read more of the Star Wars stories. Budding Jedis can keep the galactic excitement going with Star Wars books.
From pop up guides of characters, little golden book library selections to scholastic hardcovers there are many choices for every grade level.
Moreover, for avid fans, the books ‘Journey to The Force Awakens’ and ‘Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi ‘cover the thirty-year span not shown in the movies between the first trilogy and the revival series.
#8 It ties in with your future theme parks visits
If you are Disney Theme Park goer, chances are you’ve already seen the current Star Wars Launch Bay. The interactive walk-through attraction is open at Disneyland Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort as well as Shanghai’s Disneyland Park.
But the real buzz is about the ‘Galaxy’s Edge’ areas slated to open at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World by 2019. The much-awaited theme park additions are a collaborative project between Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucas film story group.
According to presentations at this year’s Disney’s D23 Conference, the Galaxy’s Edge planet of Batuu will feature humanoids, aliens, and droids along with innovative rides. Located on the outer rim of the unknown regions this planet has not appeared in any of the movies.
Furthermore, travelers who wish to expand their galactic experience will be able to stay in a themed hotel that is currently under construction in Orlando, Florida.
The Last Jedi is the eighth episode of the Star War franchise and the second film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens. The third sequel is scheduled for December 2019.
The film is produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The movie with a run time of 152 minutes has a rating of PG-13 due to sequences of sci-fi action and violence.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI opens in theatres everywhere December 15th!
- Despite its PG13 rating, both my son with autism and I didn’t find it scary. Yes, there are scenes of intense saber fighting and spaceship explosions, but nothing gory or explicit is shown. Most kids eight and above should be able to watch the movie and enjoy it.
- The movie is a whopping two and a half hours. So it is best to have your kid take a restroom break BEFORE the movie starts. Furthermore, it might be best to grab an aisle seat in the back in case your kid gets antsy.
- Like all the other Star Wars movies; this one is LOUD.
If your kid is noise sensitive; bringing a set of earplugs may be a good idea.
- If your kid hasn’t seen the other Star Wars movies, rent them or stream them BEFORE going to see The Last Jedi. This way your kid will know the story and will be able to follow the plot.
Disclaimer: I was invited to a complimentary screening of Star Wars The Last Jedi at the Disney Studios. However, all opinions are my own.