You may or may not have heard this, but a new Star Wars movie comes out this week. It seems like its kind of a big deal, just a little less anticipated than the second coming of Christ (Jesus Christ II: The Rapturing, coming soon to a planet near you).
Typically when a much anticipated film is about to be released, there are news reports of fans (a.k.a. lifeless losers) camping out for days ahead of time to be among the first to see the film. (I really don’t understand this. Does it really matter that you saw a film on the first day it came out? I may be wrong, but it’s the same movie a month later, or a year later, right?) In the case of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (a better title than the first choice, Star Wars VII: The Revenge of Walt Disney) I think there have been people camping out since the film went into production. It is anticipated that the film may become the first to take in $100 million in its first two days. Put another way, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will take in more in its first day — maybe in its first showing — than that Johnny Depp movie Mordecai made in its entire run. (Never heard of Mordecai? Clearly, you are not alone.)
I think I’ll avoid the crowds and wait for the excitement to die down. And by die down, I mean I think I’ll wait until it comes out on Netflix. And only then if there’s no new Bojack Horseman to watch.
I am not excited by the new Star Wars movie. This is odd, in that I am the prime demographic for Star Wars mania. I’m a white male, which pretty well covers every person who is waiting in line right now. I’m just a little too old to be one of those guys with collector Star Wars figurines/dolls in their boxes (who does that?), but I should be excited by the new film. It’s a new cliche amongst TV late night talk show hosts to geek out over Star Wars (or, in the case of Stephen Colbert, The Lord of the Rings).
But I’m not. Is there something wrong with me (aside from the obvious, I mean)?
I saw the first Star Wars movie (which, as I understand it, is now Star Wars VI: This is So Confusing) when it was released in 1977 (yes, I’m that old). There was tremendous excitement over the film. It took in some $460 million at the North American box office, which is quite a lot when you consider it only cost 15 cents to go to a movie back then, and you got a cartoon, a newsreel, and a Little Rascals short. I may be mixing up my memories with my dad’s here.
My lasting memory of seeing Star Wars at a theatre was … m’eh. I mean, it was OK, I guess. I don’t really remember much of the story. I think it was something about some kid named Luke and some girl with cinnamon buns on the side of her head. I think her name was Laura, and they became a famous couple named Luke and Laura. I know Harrison Ford was in in, and I remember thinking, gee, what a lousy actor this guy is. There were a lot explosions, and a bad guy who apparently had very bad asthma. And that’s about it. It left almost no impression on me at all.
Now, Rocky, released in 1976, has stayed with me for years. I remember in the climactic match at the end of the movie where (very spoiled spoiler alert coming up) Rocky doesn’t win the championship, I was almost jumping out of my chair. There was a low-level pandemonium in the theatre (or maybe it was just me). It was thrilling, and one of my favourite movie theatre memories. Maybe that’s why Star Wars didn’t do it for me. The memory of the excitement of Rocky was just too vivid.
Or maybe, just maybe (heresy coming up) Star Wars isn’t really that good of a movie. I mean, it was fun in a low level kind of way, a mild diversion. But was it worthy of becoming the Rosetta stone of the greatest movie cult in history? I guess so, since it is. I haven’t seen all the other movies in the series — I know I saw maybe one or two of them, perhaps even that one with Jar Jar Binks in it — but I honestly can’t say that I recall.
I wish, to be honest, that I enjoyed Star Wars as much as so many millions of others have. Maybe I’ll go back and watch Star Wars again, under whatever its new title is, just so I can see what I might have missed, and then watch all of the others. So, until I get through all six (seven? eight?) previous Star Wars movies … please, no spoilers.