Star Wars: The Last Jedi first reactions (no spoilers) and top merchandising

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is undoubtably the most anticipated film of the year. And for good reasons. You won’t get any spoilers from me here but rest assured that the latest instalment won’t disappoint. Fans of the franchise will find the good old look and feel, familiar faces and spaceships, lots of new characters and fantastic creatures, and well created battles in space like in the first three movies. Add to that a more diverse cast including female heroes and pilots, racial representation, humour and action and you have the perfect Star Wars film for a new generation of fans.

 

Those who have been following the saga for 40 years like me – when the first movie was released in 1977 I went to see it with teachers and school fellows from primary school during class time – will find this episode quite emotional because we see our beloved characters – Luke skywalker and Princess Leia – more mature and at times pessimistic.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..General Leia ..Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. ..© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Seeing Carrie Fisher on screen, for instance, made cry in every scene. I knew this would be her last movie – she died after finishing filming this episode.  It is probably her best performance ever. For me it was particularly emotional because I was lucky enough to meet her at the press conference of The Force Awakens in 2015.

 

I realised then that she was the wittiest and smartest of all cast. The mature Luke is also very well portrayed by Mark Hamill who has lived in the shadow of his character for the past 40 years and has had time to grow up professionally as well as personally. Let’s not forget that A New Hope was his first movie. 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)..Photo: John Wilson..©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

The Last Jedi is a movie worth seeing as a family at Christmas and yes, it is ok for 8+ children to see it too provided they know the saga because all clues and references to previous episodes make the viewing a lot more interesting than watching it as a stand-alone film. 

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Rey (Daisy Ridley)..Photo: David James..©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

 

The whole Star Wars saga is not just a film for sci-fi fans but for anybody who loves good storytelling. In fact, I’d dare say that Star Wars’ stories are some of the best ever written and adapted to the big screen.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..AT-M6 Walkers, along with Kylo’s Shuttle..Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. ..© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

 

Fans quite rightly expect great things from Star Wars: The Last Jedi because it’s the last movie where we get to see the beloved Princess Leia (actress Carrie Fisher died in December last year) and also the film when Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill) is back.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..First Order hangar..Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. ..© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Photo: Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm..©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

 

I won’t give away any spoilers here but rest assured that The Last Jedi is one of the best Star Wars films to date and one to be enjoyed by the whole family when it opens in UK cinemas on 14 December 2017.

 

The story

I won’t be revealing any storyline, because the beauty of enjoying a new Star Wars episode is to get each new detail in the story bit by bit.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and Stormtroopers..Photo: David James..©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

When you go to the cinema, just sit back and let yourself be tele-transported in the galaxy far far away without wanting to rush to the end. Two and half hours will pass at the speed of light.

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Rey (Daisy Ridley)..Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. ..© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

 

In Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of the UK’s biggest film of all time, The Force Awakens, join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past. The film stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher (sadly in her very last appearance), Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.

 

Benicio del Toro as DJ in THE LAST JEDI.

 

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman. J.J. Abrams, Tom Karnowski and Jason McGatlin are the executive producers.

 

The trailer

 

The verdict

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is the latest film of the blockbuster sci-fi/fantasy saga, and follows the story from 2015’s The Force Awakens. Star Wars has been one of the most successful film franchises in cinema history since its original release in 1977, quickly becoming a defining moment in popular culture.

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..L to R: Finn (John Boyega) battling Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie)..Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. ..© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

The series has continued to win new generations of fans with each instalment, resulting in a global fan base of millions. From A New Hope and Return of the Jedi through The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, right up to more recent successes such as The Force Awakens, Rogue One and The Last Jedi, Star Wars continues to reach new heights by introducing great new characters as well as focusing on old favourites.

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..L to R: Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and a Porg..Photo: Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm..©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Adam Driver’s performance as Kylo Ren / Ben Solo is powerful. He is magnificent at portraying the tormented grandchild of Darth Vader and nephew of Luke Skywalker. With such bloodline, we cannot expect plain sailing so audiences will be in for a rollercoaster ride with Kylo / Adam. He can seriously act! 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)..Photo: Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm..©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

 

There are lots of new fantastic creatures that children will love and will want to have as teddies this Christmas. Some have already appeared in shopping windows but some will probably appear later. I am always amazed by the imagination behind the creation of these animal figures who have a purpose in the story. 

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Caretakers..Photo: Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm..©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Now that I have seen this episode, I am eager to see the next one. If my calculations are right, the next one is expected to be a defeat for the rebels who have had the best fights in The Last Jedi. My son and his friends at school have worked out that all episodes follow a pattern: A New Hope was a win for the Rebellion (the good guys), The Empire Strikes back saw the villains led by Darth Vader victorious, the Return of the Jedi was a success for the rebels and so on one win and one defeat up until The Last Jedi. You get the idea. 

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..The planet Crait..Photo: Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm..©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

 

London Mums’ rating: 10/10 

 

European premiere in London 

LONDON, UK DECEMBER 12: HRH Duke of Cambridge and HRH Prince Harry attend the European Premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the Royal Albert Hall in London, UK on Tuesday 12th December 2017. They have a cameo as Stormtroopers in the movie but I could not spot them as they are behind the mask. 

 

LONDON, UK DECEMBER 12: Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill attend the European Premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi in the presence of HRH Duke of Cambridge and HRH Prince Harry at the Royal Albert Hall in London, UK on Tuesday 12th December 2017. *** Local Caption *** Daisy Ridley; Mark Hamill

 

LONDON, UK DECEMBER 12: Daisy Ridley attends the European Premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi in the presence of HRH Duke of Cambridge and HRH Prince Harry at the Royal Albert Hall in London, UK on Tuesday 12th December 2017. *** Local Caption *** Daisy Ridley

 

 

London Mums’ favourite Star Wars: The Last Jedi merchandising

Star Wars merchandising must be the most sought after by fans all over the world. I have managed to get hold of some of my favourite gadgets from The Last Jedi which would make any Star Wars fan super happy.

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Jedi Training Remote by Wow! Stuff RRP £30

  

As a fencer I have always aspired to the Jedi Knight, as you can imagine. Now with this small gadget I will be able to train like a Jedi and try to emulate the moves when they feel the Force and learn to release the inner Jedi like Rey in scenes from The Last Jedi with this hand controlled Jedi training remote. It is a unique patented flying toy which detects any solid object underneath and move up and away.
 

 
You can control it with your hands and feet or by simply pressing the trigger for height and speed control, pressing the fire button for lights and sounds. The ball charges in 4 minutes using the USB charging cable. It is really easy to use and very robust.

 
We have smashed it on a hard floor a few times before learning how to be a Jedi but it doesn’t even have a scratch. This ‘drone’ type of technology is not suitable for children under 3 years. And older children can use it under adult supervision.  I will post my own video of this on YouTube in due course. Meantime check this out.
 

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Jedi Big Figs by JAKKS RRP £20

Film characters are always some of my favourite merchandising from Star Wars. The new ones are huge. 45cm action figure is substantial and if you are not a collector, you can seriously do amazing pretend games with them and recreate the best moments from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as well as imagine new adventures of your own. 

 

The Rey Figure from the Star Wars Big-Figs range is very sturdy so it will resist the force of children’s imaginary games for a long time. Girls will have a new heroine to aspire to. Having grown up as a scavenger on the desert planet Jakku, Rey develops her warrior skills which prepares her for when she stumbles upon the mission of a lifetime. When she finds the last Jedi Master, Luke Skywalker, it’s time for her to learn all about the power of the Force.

This figure has seven points of articulation and comes with a lightsaber accessory, so she’s always ready for action. There are lots of other huge Star Wars Big-Figs figures to complete the supersized set. They are perfect for Jedi warriors aged 3 and up.

The Kylo Ren figure is also amazingly done, one of the best I have seen on the market so far. Most definitely a collector’s piece. 

Star Wars The Last Jedi Rey Luminart RRP £24.99

I got this exclusively from Disney in July and I have had it in my office since. It is a great Star Wars artwork with one of my favourite new characters from the Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It certainly is the ultimate gift for any Star Wars fan.

 
This Luminart measures 20cm x 30cm (approx 8x12in) and is a piece of illuminating wall art featuring Daisy Ridley’s heroic Rey from Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi and the Force Awakens. It is dual powered by either USB or battery, this iconic Star Wars artwork is a must have piece of collectable fan memorabilia.
 

The light-up canvas can be free-standing or wall-mounted depending on preference (as you can see from both pictures here), and comes with a USB cable included. Alternatively, the light can be powered by 3 x AA batteries (not included). The Last Jedi Luminart is an officially licensed Star Wars product.
 

Here’s another great Star Wars memorabilia and home weird and wonderful decoration. When you illuminate this Holopane 25 Stormtrooper Collectible panel you can see a 3D model of the character. Advanced holographic images like those in Star Wars may be a little way off from home installation, but these cost effective Holopane light panels come pretty close! By placing one in front of a lamp or a brightly lit window you see a life-like image of a stormtrooper’s mask which looks like it’s following you around the room, and changes appearance when you view it from different angles. It’s actually a very clever optical illusion, but it’s definitely one that will start conversations and cause amazement! You can even slide it into a dedicated Holopane 25 light box (sold separately) and make it more of a feature for your home. It’s the perfect gift for stocking fillers this Christmas or birthday and suitable from 8+. RRP £7.99

 

Official commemorative Star Wars note

 

From 7th December 2017 fans and collectors across the globe have had the chance to own an official commemorative note that has been specially created to celebrate the launch of The Last Jedi.

 

1000 commemorative notes are available to buy at a fixed price exclusively on www.ebay.co.uk/starwars and 50 premium notes will be up for auction until Sunday 17th December 2017.  They have been created using the technological and design expertise of British company De La Rue, which provides currency to over two thirds of the world’s countries, including the United Kingdom. This forms part of a special initiative between Disney and the GREAT Britain Campaign to celebrate the 40 years of British creativity behind the Star Wars films.

 

The commemorative notes support the Star Wars: Made GREAT in Britain initiative which celebrates the special relationship between Great Britain and the Star Wars films. Over 40 years ago the incredible story between Great Britain and Star Wars began with the production of Star Wars: A New Hope at Elstree Studios. The imagination, inspiration and innovation of the filmmakers included the original lightsaber design by British set decorator Roger Christian – who fashioned it from spare camera parts and collected junk, Academy Award®-winning costume designs from British-born John Mollo – the man who brought Darth Vader’s iconic look to life; and the key roles of the London Symphony Orchestra and Abbey Road – the birthplace of one the most iconic themes in the galaxy. The story continues this year with Star Wars: The Last Jedi which was filmed in the UK using world-class British talent in both the production team and amongst the on screen stars.

 

100% of the money raised from the commemorative note will be donated to Together for Short Lives, on behalf of Star Wars: Force for Change. Together for Short Lives, a UK-based charity, supports children’s hospices and all children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions, and their families. Star Wars: Force for Change, a charitable initiative from Lucasfilm and Disney, harnesses the strength of Star Warsto empower and improve the lives of children around the world. This holiday season, Disney UK has combined forces to launch a broad campaign across its range of businesses and its partners’ platforms to raise money, awareness and to create magical memories for the children under hospice care.

 

eBay will be the exclusive home to a limited run of 1,000 commemorative notes, available at a fixed price of £100 plus a further 50 unique premium notes up for auction. The notes are crafted with 100% cotton cylinder mould paper, securitised and printed in De La Rue’s high security proofing department based in Hampshire. They incorporate an original light side/dark side artwork composition and several special features including serial numbers; pattern work of the First Order and Resistance emblems; hidden scenes (discoverable under 365nm UV light); hidden messages in microtext (discoverable with an eye glass); a message in Aurebesh, one of the languages of the galaxy; and the signature of Director/Writer Rian Johnson. The 50 unique, premium notes will also include an intaglio (a raised, hand-engraving of Rey) and each will have a unique, sequenced serial number.

 
 
 

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