Star Wars: The Last Jedi ... Film insiders tweet their verdicts
‘Best movie since Empire.’ At least, that’s what people who went to the premiere said
BB-8 attends the premiere of Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm’s ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Photograph: by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has had its world premiere at a star-studded bash in Los Angeles’s Shrine Auditorium, Rian Johnson, director of the current eighth episode, dedicated the evening to Carrie Fisher.
“Let’s all have a blast tonight for Carrie,” Johnson said at the event. Fisher died shortly after Christmas last year, but, such are the lengthy shoots on these mighty productions, she had already filmed most of her scenes as the unstoppable Princess Leia (now officially General Leia Organa).
“I want to dedicate tonight to Carrie, who is up there right now flipping me the bird, saying ‘Damn it Rian, don’t you dare make this night a solemn tribute’,” Johnson added.
Stars of the current series such as Lupita Nyong’o, Adam Driver, Andy Serkis and Mark Hamill were among those jostling up the red carpet to enjoy the latest episode in a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Versions of Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO were on hand to take selfies. Giant AT-M6 walkers loomed over the entrance to the auditorium.
Secrecy rules, but we know – because that’s how the last episode ended – that The Last Jedi will begin with the brave rebel Rey (Daisy Ridley) encountering Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on a remote island played by our own Skellig Michael off the coast of Co Kerry.
“I’m not going to lie, I’m proud of myself,” Ridley said. “It’s nice seeing something that you worked so hard on, that it’s tangible, that you can measure. Because I’m like: I was stronger and that fight’s cool.”
Elsewhere, evil General Hux, in the form of Domhnall Gleeson, looms menacingly in the direction of a growing rebellion.
The film has big shoes to fill. The last episode, The Force Awakens, took over $2 billion to become the third-highest grossing film of all time.
Full reviews are embargoed until Tuesday afternoon, but the word on Twitter was largely positive.
James Mangold, director of Logan, commented: “Massive congrats to my friend @rianjohnson for the dazzling writing and directing work he shared tonight!”
Erik Davis, who manages the movie ticket website Fandango, was scarcely less positive. “#TheLastJedi is absolutely fantastic – gripping, touching, funny and powerful w/ gorgeous shots and the most badass battles,” he tweeted.
“When it gets going, holy crap does it get going. Hands down the best #StarWars movie since Empire.”
Some of the guests had impressively technical observations. Carly Mallenbaum at USA Today said: “Still freaking out over this humongous AT-M6 Walker. And over the insane action sequences in #TheLastJedi. #starwars #premiere”
There was more where that came from. There often is at premieres.