As a non-Star Wars fan, there is one scene in The Last Jedi that completely won me over
That was my involuntary reaction to a particular scene in The Last Jedi, watching it in Savoy One, at what is likely to be the last ever premiere held in Dublin's famous big screen.
However, we'll get back to that. First, some background.
Star Wars wasn't my Star Wars. Jurassic Park was my Star Wars.
By which I mean, Jurassic Park was the jaw-dropping cinematic moment that made me fall in love with the movies, and cemented them as the primary love of my life.
The original Star Wars was re-released in cinemas on their 20th anniversaries, by which time Jurassic Park had been out a good few years, and the prequels were... well, they were the prequels. While I don't dislike Star Wars movies, I am certainly not a huge fan of them, but even I must admit that The Force Awakens was a huge amount of fun.
Looking back, there are some similarities between the two: three leads, one of which is a handsome rogue, one the well-equipped female, and one the slightly nerdy hero out of his depth, with a weird sexual dynamic between the three of them. There's the initially geeky setting - aliens and space / palaeontologists and dinosaurs - made cool, and there's the envelope pushing special effects, completely altering the future of movies from that point in time onwards. They also both have almost equal amounts good and bad entries into the franchise to date.
However, what I didn't know in 1992 when Jurassic Park was released, was that Laura Dern wasn't a blockbuster star.
I had no idea that the fantastic, Oscar-nominated actress was actually better known for playing super weird roles in David Lynch psychologically traumatising dramas, and following Jurassic Park again, Dern very rarely returned to the major limelight.
The reason I bring this up is because Laura Dern appears in The Last Jedi, and is responsible for (in my opinion, as a non-Star Wars fan) the single best scene in all of the Star Wars movies to date.
Dern plays Vice Admiral Holdo, a character who is forced into a position of leadership within the rebel alliance, and the future of the entire uprising against the First Order is left on her shoulders.
While watching The Force Awakens two years ago, we are naturally on-side with the charming, shoot-first ask-questions-later approach of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), but his way of dealing with problems clashes with the three-steps-ahead thinking of Holdo, so much so that we begin to question whether or not Holdo is capable of maintaining her position of power.
To take things back to Jurassic Park, and a scene which may have bored me as a child but is hugely ballsy now as an adult, features all of the leads sitting around a conference table, discussing the ethics of bringing dinosaurs back to life. Every side of the argument is presented clearly, intelligently, and the film never picks a side, merely presents the opinions of the characters and lets the audience decide for themselves.
In The Last Jedi, there are several ballsy scenes like this, where after getting caught up in the excitement of the situation, the film stops to shade in the gaps between the dark and the light.
As mentioned in our review, every character is given layers to work with, with the previously established dichotomy of the Star Wars universe filled with Good Guys and Bad Guys pretty much gone. Now we are shown what was once two distinct circles of characters slowly becoming a more overlapping Venn Diagram.
However, just like Jurassic Park gave us an immaculate moment of catharsis after all the ethical debates with the T-Rex break-out attack, the same goes with The Last Jedi, and Laura Dern's character is almost solely responsible for it.
We won't go into details here - once you see the movie, you'll know exactly what scene we're talking about - but it is such an immediately iconic scene of breathtaking visual beauty and awe-inspiring emotion, you can't help but get goosebumps and find yourself involuntarily gasping, well, "Oh, fuck!"
And, as a non-Star Wars fan, that is about as big a compliment as I can give.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in cinemas now.
Clip via Star Wars