I think I’ve worked it out – the whole Star Wars franchise is really a parable about Brexit. I mean, of course it’s all nonsense but if you believe enough, you can leave Europe and it will all turn out fine. Stay with me on this…
The First Order (the baddies) are the Brexiters of course, led by the evil rasping voiced Snoke, played by Nigel Farrage. The Resistance (the goodies) are the Remainers, locked in a ceaseless, never-ending battle for the soul of the universe (Britain), led by Princess Leia, played by Anna Soubry. In the background, hovering like the King across the water, in a grubby cloak with a cowl hood, hush puppies, lank hair and a homeless man’s beard is Luke Skywalker, played by Kenneth Clarke. The young, female lead – Rey – is played by Nicky Morgan – she searches for Luke who lurks on the back-benches on a mystical island and seeks to persuade him to return to the fray and defeat the evil Kylo Ren, played by Boris Johnson but with black hair and a fitter body.
Kylo (the son of Leia and Han Solo) is scarred and conflicted – he does not know whether to embrace the xenophobic, racist, oppressive dark side of Snoke/Farrage or join with Rey/Nicky. Meanwhile, General Hux, played by Michael Gove with black boots, commands his battle-cruiser hurling ineffective thunderbolts at Anna Soubry who leads her dwindling band of plucky resistance fighters. Hux, who has red hair and is therefore clearly mad, commands an enormous battle-fleet of deluded little Englanders and spends all his time and the whole film chasing Leia and her loyal followers across the universe trying to reach the sunlit uplands of free trade and sovereignty. As a consequence, no governing takes place throughout the galaxy and so social care, education, the police service and prisons, the NHS, transport, defence and everything else gradually falls to pieces while the traitorous remoaners, mutineers and enemies of the people are hounded across the galaxy.
And now, back to the film.
There is a dreary, unnecessary minor sub-plot involving John Boyega (Chuka Umuna), a former cleaner who hatches a plot with the curious Rose, played by Dominic Grieve. Together they travel to the corrupt city of Cantobight (Brussels) in order to persuade a traitorous master code-breaker (Benicio del Toro, played with stuttering relish by Iain Duncan-Smith) to assist them to break into Hux’s battle-ship and disable the tracker which is chasing down Princess Leia’s cruiser. When Leia and the other rebels climb into the escape pods (soft Brexit) Leia’s deputy, Admiral Holdo – played by Theresa May, previously a reluctant Brexiter and now a reluctant Remainer – stays behind and turns the Cruiser around and heads straight for Hux’s battle-ship (at light-speed) and thus departs the film, sacrificing herself for the good of the country.
And, just like Brexit, this fight between good and evil can play out indefinitely, through endless sequels and prequels, because the Remainers, though small in number and subject to attacks from all sides, will never give in and will never be defeated, while the Brexiters, superior in numbers if not in intellect or moral authority, will chase them to the ends of the pound until England lies waste, miserable and poor with only a glittering trade deal with New Zealand for company. Oh, and just like Brexit, there is no role or part for Jeremy Corbyn to play.
If you buy the whole Star Wars shtick – Force, Jedi, Darth Vader, Luke, Leia, Harrison Ford, Obi Wan Kenobi, silly robots and fantastic beasts, Yoda, Chew-Bacca, Death Star, an alternative universe where there is no loneliness or food banks and the guns always work and the light sabres never lose their shine – then Star Wars – The Last Jedi is a pretty good film. It’s well done, the battle scenes work, most of the characters stay the right side of parody, John Williams’ great theme is played (and played and played), the story moves along reasonably, the female lead – Rey – is bright and strong and independent, the CGI is passable, the giant space battle-ships are impressive, the script shows some surprising and welcome flashes of humour and there is no reason why they can’t make another 50 of these films. And they will…
Carrie Fisher dying was unfortunate timing and Mark Hamill can’t live forever but they’ve found some decent alternatives – Rey and Finn and the other one, and the storm-troopers are in costume (Princes William and Harry amongst them, so it is rumoured) and can therefore be endlessly filled by new extras and Kylo Ren wasn’t killed so he’ll be in the next instalment.
It’s not without faults – the Finn/Rose sub-plot doesn’t work, it’s too long, there are a few too many ‘with one bound he was free’ moments, C3PO still has that stupid Ealing comedy accent, there is too much green screen and the story is old hat – resistance, evil empire, plucky hero learning from reluctant old master, unconsumated love conquers all, etc. It also suffers from the same problem as all other 12A films – lots of people get killed but no-one gets hurt and there is a little unpleasantness but nothing to give the youngsters of all ages nightmares and, just like Brexit, everything is black and white.
And if you don’t buy the whole Star Wars shtick (and I don’t and haven’t seen the first 7 films) it might be nonsense but it’s still rattling good entertainment and about a hundred times better than the dreadful Murder on the Orient Express.