Friday, December 18, 2015

The Force Awakens

My breakfast on Saturday will consist of a giant tub of popcorn and a Dr Pepper large enough to sustain a camel for a trans-Saharan trek.  I will be attending an 8:00 AM screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens--the earliest time that my work/sports officiating schedule would allow me.  I am currently on a social media boycott in order not to have some jerk spoil all of the plotlines before I can get to the theater.

For most die-hard Star Wars fans, this has been a 32-year wait for the continuation of the Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia storyline.  While the three "prequel" movies put out in the early 2000's did give us the background story on the rise of Darth Vader, they were sadly disappointing in a number of ways.  George Lucas was admittedly hamstrung by the fact that we all knew how the prequels would end--but the production relied way too much on computer generated effects so that they lacked the "human element" of the original movies.  Add to that a very slow pace--like Lucas didn't really have enough story to fill out three movies--the introduction of some pointless characters (Jar Jar Binks) and stiff acting by pretty much everyone involved, and it was clear that some new blood needed to come in and resurrect the franchise.

Enter JJ Abrams--a self-described Star Wars nut--to take us 30-years farther along in our story.  Unrestricted by any set storyline, Abrams had incredible freedom to take The Force Awakens in whatever direction he thought was best.  And by all accounts, he has returned to what made the first three movies great--real sets, less CGI magic and more action. 

So why does a 43-year old guy (and millions just like me) get so excited about this stuff?  For the same reason our ancestors loved to sit around the fire at night and tell stories of demi-gods fighting multiple-headed monsters.  Star Wars is our modern mythology.  And who cannot relate to the internal struggle between good and evil--knowing that everyone has a little of both lying within them.  And the original trilogy was about my favorite plot line--redemption.  The hope that even in the worst villain, there is still some good that wins out in the end.

Now it's time to get your popcorn, put your feet up and get ready to enjoy a good story---one that we don't know the ending to this time.

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