Star Wars: 12 Homages To Classic Cinema In The Last Jedi
Made by cinephiles for cinephiles.
Dating all the way back to May of 1977, Star Wars has been a franchise founded on an undying love of cinema. George Lucas' original, Kurosawa-indebted film was the culmination of all of his greatest loves, intertwining to create something entirely new. The film wore its love on its sleeve and acted as though its homages were badges of honor.
Forty years later, Rian Johnson has delivered an installment that accomplishes a similar feat. While Johnson makes a huge point of referencing and subverting expectations brought on by prior Star Wars films, he also packs the film to the brim with homages to cinematic classics.
This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Johnson's work. His debut film, Brick, was a giddy film-noir homage with a high school setting. Johnson demonstrated an incredibly adept ability to weave genres early on, and this ability only grew in power. By the time he was making Looper, he was able to seamlessly weave together the tales of open-world sci-fi and intimate western into one incredibly affecting, cohesive product.
This strength and his love of cinema carries over into his take on Star Wars. The result is the most brazenly original installment in the franchise, that is absolutely not afraid to wear its homages proudly.
Let's take a look at some of the films that most inspired Johnson, and exactly how he repaid them.
12. Twelve O'Clock High
This classic WWII film tells the story of a select group of fighter pilots. Its style and cinematography played a huge role in inspiring the opening space battle above D'Qar. The film centers heavily around bombers and their use in the war.
Johnson has spoken publicly about this film and the impact it had on him when crafting the film but prior to release, few would have expected just how prevalent said impact is.
The Battle of D'qar features the use of the newly-incorporated Resistance Bombers and tells the tale of Poe Dameron's ragtag team of Resistance fighters taking on a gargantuan foe. The Resistance Bombers are slow-moving and unable to truly defend themselves, instead relying on the use of smaller crafts to help lead them to their goal, which is exactly how the pilots operated in Twelve O'clock High.
Even once the film focuses in on the individual struggle of Paige Tico as she attempts to drop the payload, the entire affair could not feel more like a WWII film. It chronicles the struggle of the pilots as a team in trying to deliver the payload, as well as playing up the impact of the choices and fears experienced by each individual.
It is a powerful opening sequence, made all the more affecting for just how harrowing and real it feels as a result.