So….who saw the last episode of Star Wars this weekend?
As we looked (on my phone) for tickets in a theater with recliners, cup holders, warm beverages, gourmet popcorn, and that had a matinee price we liked, and a showing we wouldn’t fall asleep to, we reminisced about 1977 and our first trip to see Star Wars. I was 18 yrs old, Bruce was 21. We hadn’t met each other, lived in different states. I was in Fremont CA, he in Portland OR. That first movie was defining for our generation. It ushered in an era of movie runs that no longer exists. If memory serves, Star Wars played in theaters in the Bay Area for up to a year. VHS and DVD hadn’t been invented, no one waited for it to come to television. People saw it in theaters so many times their bottoms were seat shaped by the end of that year.
I wasn’t interested in seeing the first movie, my dad dragged me to it. He and mom were avid moviegoers. They had a young family plus my 13 yr old sister and I. Getting out to a show was their comfort food. When they saw Star Wars dad was so taken by it that he pestered me to go. He finally offered to take me himself and I relented. Before I walked out of the theater I was hooked. I came away believing thatThe Force=The Holy Spirit.
At that time, Brother Andrew was smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, telling stories of guards who looked at but never saw his contraband. When Obi Wan said, “These are not the droids you are looking for” with a wave of his hand, those droids could have been Bibles and Obi Wan Brother Andrew.
When I moved to OR and lived with a roommate, we went to The Empire Strikes Back on Halloween one year in a group. Late night show (10pm) and a couple of our group in costumes because they’d served at the kids’ harvest party prior to the movie. One even asked for “Exploding kernels with grease” in a robotic voice, eyeglasses with blinking lights moving along with his words.
He’s now a grandpa with a Facebook page
Ultimately the Star Wars collection (which I predict will eventually sell in a full digital download or Blue Ray DVD set for $200+), are nothing more than Cowboys in Space. Good vs Evil. Underdogs against the mighty evil powers. John Wayne would have loved these, I’m sure they would have written a part for him. He might have even been able to swagger and use the word “Pardner”, tipping a well worn hat to the ladies.
All of the visuals lend themselves to this theme. Bad guys inhabit icy, barren lands with large weapons of mass destruction. Good guys live in jungles teeming with life and old, dilapidated vehicles, missing parts and paint. At times the Empire might as well have worn Swastikas, their uniforms, marches and leaders were so Reich-ish.
As Chandler would say “Could they BE anymore like the Nazis?”
Eventually those first 3 movies came out on VHS and we owned them. They were put to good use, Bruce showed them to our daughters. It doesn’t take much to hook your kids on what you love, he did it with Motown and Monty Python too. New additions came along and we saw them together, until they got too action packed for me. I’d nod off during all the battle scenes. Bruce and the girls and eventually their friends and husbands carried on the tradition. I saw them when they came to DVD. But this last installation was meant to be seen in the theaters.
Just so I could say I completed the journey
I won’t spoil anything for anyone. It’s a good movie, worth the ticket and time (2hrs and 22 minutes-my recliner demand was no joke). It might not be my favorite one, and I wouldn’t take small children to it, but it was fun and exciting. One thing remains consistent,
The bad guys have terrible aim
While the era has certainly changed, theaters have changed, culture has changed, effects and story lines evolve, you can count on Star Wars to deliver a consistent good vs evil story. One that leaves you feeling uplifted and relieved. They didn’t ruin the entire series with this movie-phew!
In my case, the best part was when our ticket agent sold us regular matinee seats at $.75 more pr ticket because she didn’t think we were seniors…
Best $1.50 I’ve spent in a long time!