It would be wrong to say that I've despised the 'Star Wars' films. I've just never been moved by them. Having seen them all on the cinema screen, my feelings are still very much the same as when I watched that first one back in 1977 - some disappointment, rather more boredom, and even more confusion - plus the questioning "Why all the fuss?" However, I do recognise that a sizeable proportion of cinema-goers are in thrall to the series and it's as though treading on sacred ground to voice the slightest criticism of new releases.
Having said that, I will admit that this latest has rather more substance than most of its predecessors, though it could have been mightily improved by being shorn of at least 30 mins. Two hours and a half is bloating it beyond what it will take, at least to hold my interest for all that period.
I shan't attempt to precis the story for the very good reason that I couldn't follow it beyond 'goodies' v 'baddies' with, inevitably, characters masquerading as the former turning out to be on the other side and v.v.
The cast here is more interesting than, perhaps, it's ever been. Aside from the poignant and quite substantial role for the late Carrie Fisher (going out on something of a deserved 'high'!), there are major parts for Oscar Isaac, and (I didn't know he was in it) Benicio Del Toro, as well as Laura Dern (mercifully here not screwing up her face at any point into a 'gurn'!) Then there's now-regular John Boyega (why did he have to speak with an American accent when others in cast spoke with clipped 'received' English pronounciation?) - as well as British stalwarts Andy Serkis and Warwick Davis.
Major female role is taken by Daisy Ridley, reprising her part in the previous film, as also is Adam Driver.
Presiding over all, however, is the irreplaceable and statesman-like presence of good ol' Mark Hamill.
This is director Rian Johnson's first feature film that I have seen, and there's no denying that he handles it all with the assurance of someone more experienced - but, Jeez, what a racket for a goodly proportion of the film!
I said last time that I was giving up on the series as they don't bring me anything special enough to justify the investment of time and money. This film doesn't change my attitude, though I do rather wish the series would now lie down and go to sleep - permanently............4.
23 minutes ago