Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Arts & Entertainment

Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker is back in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
How to watch Star Wars

“The Last Jedi” is here and if you haven’t already, it’s time to get in line to see it. But what should you do before you see the new film? Many are planning to rewatch some or all the previous Star Wars films first, either for fun or to introduce people to the series. This however, raises its own question: What order should you view them in?
The two most obvious approaches are by release date and by episode number.
In the former, you start with 1977’s “Episode IV: A New Hope,” proceed through episodes V, VI, I, II and III, and end with either 2015’s “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” or “Rogue 1,” depending on your level of dedication.
The latter simply goes episode I, II, III, IV, V, VI and then VII. “Rogue One” can be included either last or between episodes III and IV, where it occurs within the internal chronology of the series.
Both of these watch orders lack nuance, though. Watching the movies in episodic order spoils one of the biggest twists in the history of cinema. It also puts the core story of the Star Wars saga – the struggle of the Rebel Alliance against the Galactic Empire – at the end and places what is essentially a bunch of somewhat confusing back story up front.
Watching the movies in order of release date makes more sense, but is still problematic. For instance, the 2004 release of “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” replaced actor Sebastian Shaw with the much younger Hayden Christensen as the ghost of Anakin Skywalker – who neither viewers nor Luke Skywalker would recognize at that point in this viewing order.
One of the orders more widely accepted by Star Wars fanatics seems to be the “Machete order,” named after Absolutely No Machete Juggling (http://bit.ly/LyScly), the blog that first proposed it. This order goes: IV, V, II, III, VI.
The Machete order presents the Star Wars saga as primarily the story of Luke Skywalker, leading up to the point where viewers learn that Darth Vader is more than just a powerful Sith Lord. It then jumps back and tells that character’s back story, just in time for us to return to Episode VI, combining the arc of his story with that of Luke’s. It also breaks to show the prequels right after the cliffhanger in “The Empire Strikes Back,” making the resolution in “Return of the Jedi” that much more satisfying.
This order typically excludes Episode I because it is largely nonessential to the story of the others, and would exclude “Rogue One” for the same reason. It does, however, perfectly prepare viewers for episodes VII and VII.
ngonzales@durangoherald.com. Nick Gonzales is one of The Durango Herald newsroom’s resident film buffs. He welcomes movie recommendations. Follow him on Twitter @lackingzones.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

(Playing at Stadium 9 and the Gaslight. Also available in 3-D with surcharge at Stadium 9)

Rating: PG-13


Genre: Action & adventure, drama, science fiction & fantasy


Directed by: Rian Johnson


Written by: Rian Johnson


Runtime: 2 hr. 32 min.


Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer: 94%

Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker is back in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
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