Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Post-release)

What did you think of Star Wars: The Last Jedi?

  • It was great. Loved it. Don't miss it at the theaters.

    Votes: 154 26.7%
  • It was good. Liked it very much. Worth the theater visit.

    Votes: 135 23.4%
  • It was okay. Not too pleased with it. Could watch it at the cinema once or wait for home video.

    Votes: 118 20.5%
  • It was disappointing. Watch it on home video instead.

    Votes: 71 12.3%
  • It was bad. Don't waste your time with it.

    Votes: 99 17.2%

  • Total voters
    577

Solo4114

Master Member
Making Holdo a man in uniform isn't a proper comparison. If the man has purple hair and is wearing a party suit, and keeping his plan a secret, then yeah, most folks would still have a problem with it.

She has a plan, and she's keeping it to herself!

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I was speaking specifically to the discussions surrounding "emasculation." But let's break down some of what you're saying.

Suppose:

1. Holdo is a gruff, military man in uniform with a tight-cropped haircut (no funny colors), who withholds his plan?

2. Holdo is a soft-spoken, slender man out of uniform and in plain clothes, with green hair, who withholds his plan?

3. Holdo is a stern woman in military uniform with steel grey hair in a bun, who withholds her plan?

Otherwise, leave the dialogue the same. How's it play?


I think the "leader withholds plan" is always going to seem weird within the context of a movie (where we, the audience, are used to being in on the plan), but it will seem more palatable and certainly less emasculating when either (A) the person is "coded" as military (e.g. wearing a military uniform, speaks in a very matter-of-fact way), or (B) the person is a man. The emasculation stuff comes in primarily because Holdo is "coded" as very feminine, and because we aren't used to seeing very feminine women pulling rank on very masculine men. But otherwise, it's just a dressing-down by a senior officer.

I also think that much of the "the character is poorly written" stuff would be eliminated specifically with a military man in uniform because we're primed to accept that kind of stock character (e.g., the Top Gun example, Gunny Highway in Heartbreak Ridge, etc.). We wouldn't be wondering "What?! Who the hell is this? Where did Admiral Holdo come from? How does THIS guy have so much authority? Someone needs to explain all of this!" because, again, visually it all just plays to type. Whereas Laura Dern's Holdo is dramatically counter to the stock character, which automatically starts your brain wondering "WTF?!" and demanding explanations, consciously or unconsciously.


So, here's a thought. Kind of a crazy one.


What if all of that was on purpose?


What if the entire reason why Holdo looks the way she does is to create in the audience exactly the kind of response they had? What if the purpose is confusion and disorientation, and all of that is done so that we sympathize with Poe and support his plan? It's essential for the audience to buy into Poe's (and Finn's and Rose's) plan, or else we'll treat the entire thing as a stupid idea and stop rooting for them to succeed. (Which in turn will undercut Leia's dramatic re-entrance.)

By making Holdo an against-type character, and by not explaining anything, we're instantly alongside Poe in our sense of being disoriented and wondering just how the hell this person, of all people, has any authority. If it were a stern or gruff military man, there's that much more chance that we might get a sense that his authority is legitimate, and therefore Poe is being an idiot. Leia already got done admonishing him for disobeying orders, so when he disobeys Admiral Gruffguy, maybe we can read the writing on the wall and realize Poe is headed down a very stupid path. But, by having Holdo be this very feminine, odd-looking woman, we're primed to doubt her authority and therefore side with Poe. In other words, the movie plays on our own unconscious biases and coded imagery to have us personally experience exactly what Poe did.

Just a theory.
 

robn1

Master Member
I was speaking specifically to the discussions surrounding "emasculation." But let's break down some of what you're saying.

Suppose:

1. Holdo is a gruff, military man in uniform with a tight-cropped haircut (no funny colors), who withholds his plan?

2. Holdo is a soft-spoken, slender man out of uniform and in plain clothes, with green hair, who withholds his plan?

3. Holdo is a stern woman in military uniform with steel grey hair in a bun, who withholds her plan?

Otherwise, leave the dialogue the same. How's it play?...
My only problem with Holdo is the plan, not keeping it secret but not even mentioning that she has one. It made a bad situation worse, when a commander could be giving everyone a little assurance.
 

Solo4114

Master Member
My only problem with Holdo is the plan, not keeping it secret but not even mentioning that she has one. It made a bad situation worse, when a commander could be giving everyone a little assurance.
Sure, I get that. I don't think that means the character was poorly written, but rather that the character was confusing in her behavior. And yeah, it's absolutely confusing why she didn't just say "We have a plan, but for security reasons, we can't tell anyone" or something. So I do understand that complaint.
 

SofaKing01

Master Member
By making Holdo an against-type character, and by not explaining anything, we're instantly alongside Poe in our sense of being disoriented and wondering just how the hell this person, of all people, has any authority. If it were a stern or gruff military man, there's that much more chance that we might get a sense that his authority is legitimate, and therefore Poe is being an idiot. Leia already got done admonishing him for disobeying orders, so when he disobeys Admiral Gruffguy, maybe we can read the writing on the wall and realize Poe is headed down a very stupid path. But, by having Holdo be this very feminine, odd-looking woman, we're primed to doubt her authority and therefore side with Poe. In other words, the movie plays on our own unconscious biases and coded imagery to have us personally experience exactly what Poe did.

Just a theory.
Holdo's character existed for this exact reason - counter Poe at every turn! Could care less if it were man or woman with purple hair. That's not my argument. But the question is why was it written this way in the first place? Poe demonstrated himself to be a hell of a pilot and in some cases a hero. The hero is then treated like a criminal - based on his actions. Poe reacted to a desperate situation. Was it good or bad? Dont know. But, TLJ was very good at tearing down all these established plot devices, lore, etc... Where the poor writing really shows is that it was, predictably, Holdo who sacrificed herself to save the Resistance. Question: Did they create a counter-character to Poe and use her as a way to gain sympathy for the character or was it something greater, adding a plot twist or just story telling? I dont know if it worked because it was totally predictable.
 
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Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
I don't know what to tell you. You hated it, I didn't. we are both intelligent adults... and we disagree. That is all. And I don't begrudge anyone for disliking it. What I do begrudge is the implication that because I did like it--and because i stick up for that fact--that i am somehow less intelligent, or that it should be a surprise to you that someone (like me) whom you view as intelligent should somehow be above liking something just because others don't.

In the end, we disagree. And I'm OK with that. we agree on enough other things that I'm happy to let this one pass. :)
This is pretty much where I was coming from in my recent big post over in the KK thread. I haven't been going around calling anyone a moron for not liking TFA or R1 or TLJ or Solo. So why am I feeling so attacked for liking them? I had no problem with Rose. No one I saw the film with had any problem with Rose. She is not this universally-reviled character some put her forward as. She's not a racist stereotype like Jar-Jar was. She's not "comic relief" like Jar-Jar was. I am totally baffled at people drawing a parallel between the two characters. She's a hard-working Resistance tech who came from a planet strip-mined by the First Order, she just lost her sister, and she steps up and does her duty, becoming the hero she didn't feel she in any way could ever be. He's an idiot who stepped in poop, got farted on, and created the Empire.
 

AJTaliesen

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I was speaking specifically to the discussions surrounding "emasculation." But let's break down some of what you're saying.

Suppose:

1. Holdo is a gruff, military man in uniform with a tight-cropped haircut (no funny colors), who withholds his plan?

2. Holdo is a soft-spoken, slender man out of uniform and in plain clothes, with green hair, who withholds his plan?

3. Holdo is a stern woman in military uniform with steel grey hair in a bun, who withholds her plan?

Otherwise, leave the dialogue the same. How's it play?
Not sure about 2, but 1 and 3 Would be better, but still bad. Because there's actually TWO problems with Laura Dern's Holdo. One is that Laura Dern simply isn't believable as a military leader. Definitely as civilian resistant, or a Senator, even as a civilian commander which there IS precedent for in universe. But not as a military officer, any more than Don Knotts would be believable as Mad Max. Just because someone is a good actor (and Laura Dern is a very good actor) doesn't mean they are right for every role.

The second problem is the "withholds the plan" part. :
I think the "leader withholds plan" is always going to seem weird within the context of a movie (where we, the audience, are used to being in on the plan), but it will seem more palatable and certainly less emasculating when either (A) the person is "coded" as military (e.g. wearing a military uniform, speaks in a very matter-of-fact way), or (B) the person is a man. The emasculation stuff comes in primarily because Holdo is "coded" as very feminine, and because we aren't used to seeing very feminine women pulling rank on very masculine men. But otherwise, it's just a dressing-down by a senior officer.

I also think that much of the "the character is poorly written" stuff would be eliminated specifically with a military man in uniform because we're primed to accept that kind of stock character (e.g., the Top Gun example, Gunny Highway in Heartbreak Ridge, etc.). We wouldn't be wondering "What?! Who the hell is this? Where did Admiral Holdo come from? How does THIS guy have so much authority? Someone needs to explain all of this!" because, again, visually it all just plays to type. Whereas Laura Dern's Holdo is dramatically counter to the stock character, which automatically starts your brain wondering "WTF?!" and demanding explanations, consciously or unconsciously.


So, here's a thought. Kind of a crazy one.


What if all of that was on purpose?


What if the entire reason why Holdo looks the way she does is to create in the audience exactly the kind of response they had? What if the purpose is confusion and disorientation, and all of that is done so that we sympathize with Poe and support his plan? It's essential for the audience to buy into Poe's (and Finn's and Rose's) plan, or else we'll treat the entire thing as a stupid idea and stop rooting for them to succeed. (Which in turn will undercut Leia's dramatic re-entrance.)

By making Holdo an against-type character, and by not explaining anything, we're instantly alongside Poe in our sense of being disoriented and wondering just how the hell this person, of all people, has any authority. If it were a stern or gruff military man, there's that much more chance that we might get a sense that his authority is legitimate, and therefore Poe is being an idiot. Leia already got done admonishing him for disobeying orders, so when he disobeys Admiral Gruffguy, maybe we can read the writing on the wall and realize Poe is headed down a very stupid path. But, by having Holdo be this very feminine, odd-looking woman, we're primed to doubt her authority and therefore side with Poe. In other words, the movie plays on our own unconscious biases and coded imagery to have us personally experience exactly what Poe did.

Just a theory.
That's not a crazy thought at all, I think it's possible and even likely that it WAS on purpose, for exactly the reasons you describe. And for most of us, that IS bad writing. For one, it's contrived: the story is not guided by the story but by how it leads the audience along. Not telling US is one thing, but making it so she specifically doesn't tell him just so we don't know is contrived.

But also because while it does surprise us, the surprise is how surprisingly obtuse their leader is. Part of being a leader is understanding how what you're saying is going to affect those following you. Especially if the main reason they are following you is because they are NOT the ones who blindly follow authority. They are specifically an entire organization built around the idea that you should only follow leaders who are doing the right thing.



ALSO, I'm really not sure why so many have issues with the purple hair. I thought the hair was nice. Didn't add or take anything away from the character.
 

egosheep

Sr Member
One issue I hadn't thought of until recently is, why does Rose support Poe's plan over Holdo? Rose is from Holdo's ship and came over to the Raddus with her. The bombers were part of Holdo's ship as well. Poe is publicly seen demoted for his irresponsible attack causing the loss of the bombers. If Rose has a natural conflict in this movie, it seems like it would be with Poe because he's partially to blame for her sister's death.
 

Cephus

Sr Member
My only problem with Holdo is the plan, not keeping it secret but not even mentioning that she has one. It made a bad situation worse, when a commander could be giving everyone a little assurance.
My problem with it has nothing to do with the gender of those involved. You have a newly assigned leader in a dangerous situation who is doing nothing at all to reassure her troops that she's got the slightest idea what the heck she's doing. Yes, they do mention that she won a military battle in passing, but that's no reason for THESE people to trust her or go along with her plan, which she doesn't even say that she has. This situation is not made better no matter who you put in that role. It's just terrible writing.
 

kalkamel

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Sorry, Kristen - the movie absolutely created the toxicity.
It's simple cause and effect. The toxicity didn't exist until the movie did. The toxicity is a reaction to the movie.

TLJ is an insult to Star Wars fans. A literal insult to Star Wars fans.
The only way it could be more blatant is if Rian Johnson himself came to your house and personally **** on your porch.
I am baffled that a woman of your intelligence is defending this film.
How can you not see it for what it is?
Couldn't have said it better.
 

INDY

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Maybe I am missing something, But I actually have more issues with TFA than TLJ.
 

Solo4114

Master Member
Not sure about 2, but 1 and 3 Would be better, but still bad. Because there's actually TWO problems with Laura Dern's Holdo. One is that Laura Dern simply isn't believable as a military leader. Definitely as civilian resistant, or a Senator, even as a civilian commander which there IS precedent for in universe. But not as a military officer, any more than Don Knotts would be believable as Mad Max. Just because someone is a good actor (and Laura Dern is a very good actor) doesn't mean they are right for every role.

The second problem is the "withholds the plan" part. :


That's not a crazy thought at all, I think it's possible and even likely that it WAS on purpose, for exactly the reasons you describe. And for most of us, that IS bad writing. For one, it's contrived: the story is not guided by the story but by how it leads the audience along. Not telling US is one thing, but making it so she specifically doesn't tell him just so we don't know is contrived.

But also because while it does surprise us, the surprise is how surprisingly obtuse their leader is. Part of being a leader is understanding how what you're saying is going to affect those following you. Especially if the main reason they are following you is because they are NOT the ones who blindly follow authority. They are specifically an entire organization built around the idea that you should only follow leaders who are doing the right thing.



ALSO, I'm really not sure why so many have issues with the purple hair. I thought the hair was nice. Didn't add or take anything away from the character.
So I'm quoting you directly with this, but also I want to generally address this since others have raised it.

Specifically the point about the leader being a bad leader and equating that to bad writing.

I do think there's a good case to be made that Holdo is a bad leader. But I don't necessarily think her being a bad leader is bad writing. Mostly for the reason I described above (creating audience sympathy with Poe).

This can be a trope with hotshot, reckless characters whose arc is about learning temperance and judgment. Stick in an authority figure who knows better but doesn't tolerate their crap, have them think the figure is an idiot, and then have them realize they were right all along and not an idiot. The audience goes through the journey with the hotshot character, too, usually.

So back to Holdo. She withholds the plan. Tries to reassure folks. Ends up with a mutiny. I think her withholding AND not saying why is the mistake. "Security concern. Until we know how the Empire tracked us, we have to assume there could be a spy among us." One line solves that problem. So if there's bad writing, I think it's that. And to be fair, the film has several points like that where one line could fix what people see as a problem. (This is true in TFA as well, and to some extent in the OT.)

But I don't think that means the entire character of Holdo is badly written. Bad leader? Sure. But not badly written. I get a sense of her character pretty well. She is a bit stiff, happy to pull rank, and doesn't manage her troops well, but she is committed to her mission and her plan would have worked if Poe hadn't screwed it up.

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
 

robn1

Master Member
Holdo was badly written for a reason. She had to withhold her plan (Holdo, heh :p ), otherwise there's no reason for the pointless side trip to Canto Bight. It's a poorly written scene used to set up another poorly written scene, which makes up a third of the film. I guess that's my main beef about Holdo, not that she's a bad character because she's not really.
 

cboath

Master Member
Couldn't have said it better.
I think the beginning of the toxicity began before TLJ. A poll outside of just the rpf would be interesting to see where it exactly it coincides. I think there's a bit of it that began with dumping the EU (which i agree with) and some definitely cropped up with a number of people who didn't like TFA.

That said, it was on the low end, but as they say 'the spark was created'.

They sign the original stars and before a single frame is shot, the decide to NOT put them together EVER in the entire trilogy. Kill off Han in the first one before Luke even enters the picture seals the entire fate. Something damn near everyone wanted, discarded from the get go. Granted, that's minor. But, what we get in the treatment of the OT is lets reverse han's character arc, never show you a married or happy Han/Leia, and give them a shattered life. That's the treatment of the OT in the TFA. A number of people argued it away (me included) as Ben going Kylo is the equivalent of losing a child and that's the type of thing that can cause. But, at best, the spark was lit at that point.

We're giving hope with Luke at that tail end of TFA and then TLJ completely destroys the character of Luke Skywalker. Damn breaks. I know people have issues with a lot of things in the movie. It all contributes. But, treat luke with respect, don't make him a potential murderer as they only thing we see of him in 30 years prior to this flick and don't have him quit on the fight or life and I think that while there's still angst, it doesn't boil up to the rage you see from some people.

I, personally, have no rage. But I don't own it and don't plan to at this point. There could be a IX spin that makes you look at it differently that changes my mind - i can admit that. I don't think the odds are high though. My main issue is that they seem to have made the conscious choice to not care about me (fans that grew up with the originals). I cannot wrap my mind around it at all. I had no delusions that they were going to focus on the original cast. I knew it would focus on the new cast. It had to. They could very easily have done so with a ton more respect for the characters. RJ gave the exaplanation in the dialog of the TLJ as to their thoughts: Let go of the past, kill it off if you have to. That was their conscious choice, we're going to kill off our past and in a less than respectful way so we can focus on the new.

It was a very very bad choice and while it didn't soley create the toxicity - it dumped napalm on it.
 

kristen jones

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'll blame the water - although I hope you weren't affected.
Newp!

We did get ours tested and it was fine. Actually that whole thing was blown WAAAY out of proportion by the media. Only roughtly 30% of the city residences were even tested...and out of those, less than 3% were found to be above safe levels.
 

kristen jones

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Ok, that is funny :p

- - - Updated - - -

One issue I hadn't thought of until recently is, why does Rose support Poe's plan over Holdo? Rose is from Holdo's ship and came over to the Raddus with her. The bombers were part of Holdo's ship as well. Poe is publicly seen demoted for his irresponsible attack causing the loss of the bombers. If Rose has a natural conflict in this movie, it seems like it would be with Poe because he's partially to blame for her sister's death.
Hmmm... that is a good point.
 
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