How ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ changed the way I watch movies

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Much has already been said about “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” — perhaps too much, and by the worst types of fans.

That said, “The Last Jedi” is my favorite movie of all time. I know that such a statement might smack of recency bias. But given that “Star Wars” is the reason why I love movies, the best entry in the franchise is, by association, my favorite film.

I’m not here to defeat my fellow graduating seniors and win this death battle. That would be antithetical to a guiding message of “The Last Jedi” — “not fighting what we hate, saving what we love.” With that in mind, I want to speak on why “The Last Jedi” struck a personal chord with me.

Given that the film’s predecessor “The Force Awakens” was predicated on J.J. Abrams’ signature mystery box philosophy, the hype around “The Last Jedi” was overwhelmingly driven by speculation — something that I rather regret contributing to. Then, when “The Last Jedi” sliced those fan theories in half, many were left disappointed and angry.

Personally, I enjoyed seeing my wacky predictions proved wrong, which meant that I could enjoy the movie’s twists and turns — I can’t know what it was like to experience the surprises of “The Empire Strikes Back” in a vacuum, but I feel like “The Last Jedi” comes pretty close to it.

But speaking more abstractly, I realized that being proved wrong is something to value rather than reject. In the film, Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Yoda (Frank Oz) convince a hermit Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to emerge from his self-imposed exile and rejoin the fight against galactic tyranny. Even though he’s become a Jedi master, Luke realizes that he still has much to learn — an ethos that I have come to embrace.

As a student of the humanities, being proved wrong is an opportunity for me to grow. If I read a movie differently from the way you do, therein lies a chance for me to consider someone else’s worldview, which can only make me a more empathetic person. The same applies to my political and social life. I am glad to say that my time at UC Berkeley has offered me many chances to be proved wrong and to grow.

“The Last Jedi” packages this spirit through the best filmmaking that “Star Wars” has ever seen. Rian Johnson’s close-ups kill me every time, especially the ones that let Carrie Fisher and Hamill capital-“A” Act. It’s funny, heartbreaking and rousing all at once — a movie I’ll always return to.

Contact Harrison Tunggal at [email protected].