Walking out of the movie theater after an excessive 2 1/2 hours, I felt something. Was it the force? Nope — just sadness. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” turned out to be a total dud.
I don’t want to discuss details of the film to avoid spoilers, but quite frankly there isn’t much to spoil. “The Last Jedi” is plotless, poorly written, devoid of character development, self-satirizing … I could go on and on.
As an avid “Star Wars” fan, I was supremely disappointed. And I am not alone. Take a look at the user reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. There are more than 150,000, most of them ripping the movie to shreds. The reviews cover many of the points I mention above, but there is a surprising connection among many of them:
People expressed that they felt “hurt” by the film. The word “betrayed” can also be found several times.
At first read, these words seem too grand. After all, it’s only a movie. But I couldn’t agree more with these seemingly exaggerated reviews.
I felt oddly sad for several hours after seeing “The Last Jedi.” Sad enough to wonder why. Why is this lousy movie having such an impact on me and so many other “Star Wars” fans?
The answer does not have to do with disappointment, but rather with innocence. I, like other young fans, grew up watching the films. But it wasn’t just about seeing the movies. It was the Lego sets, plastic lightsabers, costumes, competitions to see who could do the best Darth Vader voice — “Star Wars” truly was a staple of many childhoods.
I carry some of that childlike wonder with me to this day. Heck, I’m a 22-year-old man, and I still try to make pencils move using the force — because you never know.
So when “The Last Jedi” proved to be shockingly bad, it was more than a Saturday night misspent. The movie was a stain on my childhood memories. Although I have matured, I want to retain 8-year-old Benny’s view of “Star Wars.”
“The Last Jedi” confronted and even destroyed many of the elements of the previous films, tarnishing memories that were once innocent. I cannot view Luke Skywalker the same way. But, like all “Star Wars” fanatics, I will not let this disheartening movie affect my childhood memories.
My Lego Death Star confused stormtroopers now and then. My homemade Chewbacca costume fooled even the wisest of Wookiees, and the Calmenson lightsaber fight of 1999 is part of “Star Wars” lore. I am going to carry those special memories for a long, long time.
Disregard “The Last Jedi” I shall. Made so many better memories I have.
Dallas native Benjamin Calmenson is a senior finance major at the University of Kansas.