This article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 31, 2017.
There is a disturbance in the Force - and it is caused by the latest Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, possibly the most divisive instalment in the intergalactic franchise. Basically, hardcore Star Wars fans hate it. And the reviewers love it. And so the lightsabers are out. Some viewers are so riled up that more than 50,000 of them signed an online petition to Disney to strike "the travesty" entirely from the Star Wars canon.
But critics are raving about the film. Some reviewers, such as those from news sites Vox and eFilmCritic.com, are even calling it one of the best Star Wars movies of all time. The backlash has received such a high profile that the people behind the film have also weighed in on the issue.
The movie's director, Rian Johnson (Looper, 2012), saw the chatter as a good way to talk about where Star Wars would go in the future. He tweeted: "The goal is never to divide or make people upset, but I do think the conversations that are happening were going to have to happen at some point if Star Wars is going to grow, move forward and stay vital."
Who has the last word on The Last Jedi? The box office, of course. The movie, despite controversy, has been dominating box offices worldwide since its release in cinemas two weeks ago. It is on track to cross the coveted US$1-billion (S$1.34-billion) mark in time for the new year, say analysts.
Scroll down to see the rest of the pictures.
Click on them for bigger and better views.
Many fans are taking issue with how hero Luke Skywalker is portrayed in The Last Jedi, saying that everything he does in the new film feels so out of character compared with previous depictions, he could not possibly be the same person.
Another issue that fans have with the movie is the myriad holes in the storyline. Things that director J.J. Abrams set up in The Force Awakens (2015), such as the truth behind heroine Rey's parentage or the identity of supervillain Snoke - the one responsible for turning Kylo Ren to the Dark Side - have simply been thrown out in one fell swoop. Rey's parents turn out to be just "nobodies", while Snoke, supposedly one of the most powerful villains around, is killed too easily and with little fuss and drama.
Actress Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, is a tad confused by the obsession over her character's family ties. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, she was quoted as saying: "For me, this whole thing is not necessarily about where any of us come from. It's about where we're going."
Personally, I enjoyed the movie and like where it's heading. J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens (2015) was mostly a rehash of the first Star Wars movie, A New Hope (1977) so I applaud director Rian Johnson for daring to take the franchise and make it go in a new direction, a fresh approach. Let's see what happens in two years' time when the last episode in the trilogy is shown.
This toy blog post also shows off the Hot Toys MMS337 Star Wars: The Force Awakens 1:6 scale REY collectible figure which I got in November 2016 (see my haul post HERE). Due tot he big move to my new place, I never did do a review post of Hot Toys Rey and BB-8.
I really like the choice of Daisy Ridley as Rey and how positive she is in the Star Wars films. I certainly enjoyed her performance and where the new movies are going with her on board. I still prefer this head sculpt to the newer one Hot Toys previewed for The Last Jedi (you can see the preview pics HERE)
When it comes to the action genre, women usually get short-changed. For the longest time, female characters are usually there in service to the male protagonists in some way — whether a lover interest, victim, etc. So it's refreshing to see a female lead in a Star Wars film and Daisy Ridley as Rey certainly carried the show on her shoulders very well.
The full article can be viewed HERE
Hot Toys Star Wars: The Force Awakens 1/6th scale Finn 12-inch Collectible Figure Review posted on my toy blog HERE and HERE
Action Figure Review of Hot Toys "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" 1/6th scale Kylo Ren Collectible Figure HERE and HERE
Evolution of the Star Wars Stormtrooper: Episode II (Phase 1 armor) to Episode VII First Order posted HERE