Movie Write-Up (Loosely-Speaking): The Last Jedi

I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi yesterday.  To be honest, I do not have much to say about it.  If there was a point that stood out to me, it would be, to draw from the Gospel of John, that the Force “bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth” (John 3:8 KJV).  Of course, that John passage is about the Holy Spirit, not the Force, but the Star Wars movie seemed to be making a similar point about the Force.

In one scene, Luke Skywalker is teaching Rey about the Force.  Rey thinks that the Force is about moving objects with one’s mind, but Luke responds that the Force is not about that at all.  It is the balance that emanates from nature and binds it together.  And it is there, even if the Jedi cease to exist.  That, Luke said, is why it is arrogant for the Jedi to assume that they are so necessary, as if they have a monopoly on the Force.  That was an insightful scene, eclipsed by a lot of Luke’s self-pitying sentiments.

In another scene, Luke sees the spirit of Yoda.  Luke is thinking of burning down a Jedi Temple, which contains Jedi sacred books.  But Luke does not really mean it.  Yoda, however, spares him the trouble and destroys the Temple himself, as he calls down lightning.  Luke is shocked, and Yoda states that the books have a lot of wisdom, but page-turners they are not!  There have been Christians in history who have seen the Bible that way: it has wisdom, but the Spirit takes priority.  Indeed, God is not dependent on the Bible and exists and works in God’s own right.  Still, should not religion have some discipline and structure, which the Bible and institutions provide, rather than being utterly free-flowing?

At the end of the movie, there are children who are slaves on a Vegas-sort of planet.  We meet them earlier in the movie.  Luke has already died, and the children are telling each other the story of Luke Skywalker.  Their master angrily barges into the room and tells them to get to work, and a boy draws the broom towards his hand with the power of the Force.  He looks into the heavens, as dramatic Star Wars music plays, and the movie goes to the closing credits.  The Force continues and works, even if there are hardly any Jedi anymore.  That reminds me of I Kings 19:18.  The prophet Elijah believes that he is the one one left standing for Yahweh, but God tells him: “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (KJV).

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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