Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Rey attempts to persuade legendary Jedi, Luke Skywalker, to join the cause against the First Order whilst she also begins to realise the extent of her own powers. Meanwhile, Finn, Poe Dameron and the rest of the dwindling Rebel Alliance find the struggle to fight the First Order increasingly difficult and with their survival seeming bleak, the hope for the future could come from an unlikely place. 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) – Director: Rian Johnson

Is Star Wars: The Last Jedi appropriate for kids?

Rating: 12A

Running Length: 152 mins

Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver

Genre: Science Fiction

REVIEW: ‘STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI’

Continuing the plot of ‘The Force Awakens’, the long-awaited ‘The Last Jedi’ sees Rey separated from the rest of the rebels on her journey to enlist the help of Luke Skywalker, who has all but turned his back on his past. The Rebel Alliance meanwhile, headed by Princess Leia, are desperate to stop the First Order (which is close to decimating their numbers). Perhaps to combat the typical ‘slow’ middle instalment of a trilogy, ‘The Last Jedi’ seems intent to pack as much into this gravy train as possible. The plot barely takes a breath before going straight into the action with the only let up being the scenes of Rey and Luke – which are often themselves full of drama. The movie, therefore, as a whole feels intense and at times leaves the audience feeling a little punch-drunk but, with so much plot to get through, this level of action does keep interest high for the vast majority of the running time.

Although a major character in ‘The Force Awakens’, Finn finds himself with little to do as Rey is off on her own journey of discovery and Poe Dameron fights the First Order. When Finn goes on a mission with franchise newcomer, Rose (played by Kelly Marie Tran), it feels like the character is simply being given something to do. However, these scenes are well done, have purpose and fit in enough with the plot that they aren’t completely token. The character of Kylo Ren remains frustrating: his parentage, conflicted loyalties and uncertainty could all make him fascinating but, with actor Adam Driver languishing ineffectively in the role, he comes across as little more than a moody teenager which cheapens the character’s otherwise deeply emotional moments.

With so much to pack in to the movie, ‘The Last Jedi’ struggles to be as impactful as it could be with a little more time, perhaps slightly less action, and better scenes of character development. But what we are given is exciting, action-packed and, most importantly fun!

CONTENT: IS ‘STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The movie has numerous deaths, many of which are ships carrying people on board being blown up. Occasionally incidental pilots are seen to be shot down. Fire engulfs them onscreen and they can be heard to scream briefly before the camera cuts to the rest of the action. Many First Order fighters wear masks and therefore their deaths are not generally upsetting. However during an intense fight scene, one of these fighters is ‘stabbed’ through the face with a lightsaber on-screen, when the ‘light’ is turned off, a large gaping black hole is seen in the mask.

Supreme Leader Snoke is a very scary looking character. His head is skeletal and deformed, with a large scar slicing through most of his head. He is very menacing and often attacks his underlings if he is displeased with them. This character also tortures another by holding them aloft with the force and causing the character to cry out in pain.

A character has a vision of a seemingly pitch black pit. The camera moves towards it and looks directly down into it. Later this character gets pulled into the pit and comes across mirror images of themselves going on seemingly forever. Finding themselves as one of these reflections, every movement leads to the subsequent reflections doing the same action but a split second behind; the dark lighting and surreal nature of this scene could be unsettling for some kids.

Two characters are taken prisoner and told that they are to be killed. The character giving the order says ‘execution by blaster is too good for them, let’s make this hurt’. These characters are then shoved to the ground and weapons with two thin laser beams are held close to their heads, they close their eyes tightly and wait for the inevitable.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT: IS ‘STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI’ OK FOR KIDS?

Being a ‘middle’ film of a trilogy is always difficult and ‘The Last Jedi’ does plenty to keep audiences happy but with some elements full of breathless spectacle for the sake it and without the movie taking the time to settle into itself, it feels like it lacks the confidence to concentrate on anything but the action, which is a shame. As most of the content is relatively mild, we feel this movie should be suitable for kids aged 7 and over.

  • Violence: 2/5
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5
  • Fear Factor: 3/5 (Snokes is a frightening villain and several others in the First Order are menacing and scary. In a flashback scene, a character is seen to be about to kill another and as the scene is set at night, the light shining off their eyes makes them appear insane)
  • Sexual Content: 0/5
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (infrequent mild curse words)
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (a character speaks of another saying ‘he left with a handful of students and slaughtered the rest)
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of rebellion, defying authority for the greater good, risk taking, embracing who you are, sacrifice, hope and despair.

Words by Laura Record

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