Given recent reports of Yoda’s return in Star Wars Episode IX, I thought now would be a good time to review the most nostalgic scene in the new film. While many fans were pleased to see the little green Jedi appear once again, there were certain aspects of Luke’s exchange with his former master that rubbed me the wrong way. Here are five reasons why Yoda’s cameo in The Last Jedi didn’t work for me:
5) Jarring Special Effects
Like the original trilogy, The Last Jedi features a Yoda puppet rather than a CGI rendition of the character. As a fan of practical effects, I certainly prefer the “classic” Yoda look over the updated version from the prequel films. In a movie where every other creature is either composed of or enhanced by computer graphics, however, a “puppet” alien seems a tad incongruous without prior context—similar to The Phantom Menace, which originally showcased a Yoda puppet instead of a CGI model.
4) Cringe-Worthy Lines
After burning the ancient Jedi texts, Yoda asks Luke if he had ever bothered to read them. Luke struggles to respond, prompting Yoda to elaborate. “Page-turners they were not,” Yoda explains in his own unique syntax, instructing Luke to look past “old books” and become the teacher that Rey needs.
Similar to Poe Dameron’s “yo momma” quips directed at General Hux, Yoda’s flippant remarks about the Jedi texts offer a cheap laugh at the expense of narrative realism. The one-liners in this scene also demonstrate a lack of respect for the Star Wars universe, which, prior to The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens, never relied on contemporary humor in order to amuse the audience.
3) Character Antics
Appearing as a Force ghost, Yoda reverts to the playful, mischievous behavior that defined his character in The Empire Strikes Back. In that film, however, Yoda only feigns senility in order to test Skywalker’s patience—not because he lacked the gravitas of a seasoned Jedi. By having Yoda bounce around, laugh hysterically, and prod Luke with his cane, the writers of The Last Jedi reveal their lack of understanding for the original character.
2) Force Lightning
Calling on the forces of nature, Yoda summons a lightning bolt to burn the Jedi artifacts on Ahch-To. Though a powerful display, Yoda’s burning of the tree is problematic for one reason. In prior installments of the Star Wars saga, Obi-Wan Kenobi—when appearing to Luke as a Force ghost—made explicitly clear that in no way could he interfere with Skywalker’s quest to oppose/redeem Darth Vader. If, as indicated in The Last Jedi, a Force ghost can interact with the physical properties of the universe, however, fans may question why Kenobi fails to rescue Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, wherein the young Jedi calls on Ben for assistance after losing a hand to Vader’s lightsaber.
1) Nonsensical Advice
To justify his destruction of the ancient Jedi materials, Yoda informs Luke that he need not worry, for the texts contained nothing that Rey did not already possess. With this line, Yoda seems to imply that Rey requires no further instruction from Luke, the ancient texts, or any other Jedi.
In the following scenes, however, Rey is captured, tortured, and nearly killed by Supreme Leader Snoke before Kylo Ren intervenes. Obviously, Rey should have spent some time studying the documents that pertain to Sith Lords and the dark side in general—much in contrast to Yoda’s ill-founded opinion on the matter. By contradicting Yoda and undermining his only logical reason for appearing in The Last Jedi, the writers of this film do a great disservice to the wisest and most iconic Jedi of all time.
What did you think of Yoda’s cameo in The Last Jedi? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
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