Day 332: Twenty Two

Carrie, Mark, and Harrison.

Carrie, Mark, and Harrison.

Twenty two.

That’s the number of times I saw the original Star Wars in a movie theater.

Somehow I convinced my parents to let me go every time the opportunity presented itself. Whether it was with my cousins or classmates, I was not going to miss out on seeing the movie set in a galaxy far, far away.

I saw it at the Pasadena Academy, a huge palace of a theater that now houses a multiplex. I saw it at the General Cinema in the mall, where my brothers and I always giggled at the opening music. I saw it at the drive-in.

I even saw an early bootleg copy on my uncle’s Betamax.

With The Force Awakens less than a month away, I’m curious to see how many times I end up seeing it. The last movie I saw twice in a theater was Avatar, thanks to the game-changing 3-D effects.

My wife and I have had our tickets for opening night for months (thanks to our local comic book store, which is hosting an early private screening) and I’m assuming that we’ll take our niece and nephew when they visit for the holidays. So that’s at least two times I’ll be in the theater. Of course, I’ll have to see it in IMAX, so that’s a third viewing.

But I don’t think I have the desire to see any movie 22 times in a theater. I’ll probably stop after the IMAX version. Of course, that won’t stop me from watching it at home several times after the Blu-Ray release … as long as J.J. Abrams doesn’t pull a George Lucas by adding a bunch of unnecessary CGI to everything.

In fact, can we start a petition for the Blu-Ray release to have FEWER lens flares? I’ve seen one in the trailers so far, but I’m sure there will be plenty more.

Note: This entry was inspired by this excellent article. If you lived through childhood during the 70s and 80s, you’ll appreciate it. 

Day 324: Less Than A Month

We’re less than a month away from the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We’ve scoured the Internet for any kind of Star Wars news. We’ve seen two teasers, a behind-the-scenes short, trailers for various parts of the world, and now TV spots. We’ve had merchandise shoved down our throats on Force Friday.

I’m not sure why, but I’m not tired of any of it.

In fact, things are just getting better. Sure, I probably don’t need another meme featuring that lightsaber, but the spoof above makes it worth wading through the mediocre stuff.

Day 306: Crossing Streams

Beam Me Up, Scotty by James Doohan

Beam Me Up, Scotty by James Doohan

With today’s announcement that CBS is launching a new Star Trek series in 2017, I thought it was a good time to start reading James Doohan’s memoir, Beam Me Up Scotty.  I scored a used copy last year and it’s been on my to-read shelf ever since.

As you can see in the photo above, I’m using my Star Wars bookmark. What you can’t hear in the photo is the Game of Thrones soundtrack.

I know my geekdom is crossing streams here, but it’s a risk I’ll take for a good read. As you can tell, I also like to live dangerously.

Day 302: Rewatchable

Most Rewatchable Movie of All Time? Star Wars.

Most Rewatchable Movie of All Time? Star Wars.

After I posted my progress on my 2015 Goals list yesterday, I thought about why I haven’t been motivated to complete my goal of watching all 100 of AFI’s Greatest Films. I love watching movies and a lot of those on that list are classics. I should’ve been able to finish that list with no problem, right?

Well, I’ve tried to watch a few of them and either fall asleep or start doing something else. By the time I wake up or focus my attention back on the film, I’ve missed enough that I’d have to start over, so I just end up shutting it off.

Perhaps I should revise my goal to watch all of FiveThirtyEight’s 25 Most Rewatchable Movies of All Time. I’ve seen 24 of the 25 (Pride & Prejudice being the one I haven’t seen), so it’d be no sweat.

Of course, I’d probably get stuck on No. 1. Maybe I should just watch that 25 times? I’d reach that goal in no time.

Day 295: Expectations

I was talking to a few of my buddies last night about the Star Wars movie when I realized that the only way The Force Awakens is going to live up to the hype is if it blows everybody away.

I contained my excitement before giving in to it when the trailer was released, but after a few days I’m back to I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it mode. What pulled me back?

I recalled the anticipation for Episode I was just as high (or at least as high as it could be in a pre-social-media world). People were going to the movie theaters, buying tickets for the main feature, and leaving after the Star Wars trailer.

Yes, this actually happened.

Thankfully, now we can avoid paying admission to see a two-minute clip, instead watching it endlessly on youtube in the comfort of our own homes. The Force Awakens trailer is perfect in that it gives us just enough to quell our Star Wars cravings without giving too much away. We’re introduced to the main characters, our nostalgia is sated with the appearances of the Millennium Falcon, Han, Leia, and Chewie, and it’s all beautifully tied together with the always brilliant score from John Williams.

The other day I mentioned how I hope director J.J. Abrams and writer Lawrence Kasdan don’t rehash too much in order to satisfy the audience’s appetite for the original trilogy. In the poster and the trailer we get glimpses of a Death-Star-like orb and a long trench in the snow.

As much as I hated all of the CGI in the prequel trilogy, this was Lucas at his best: pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with special effects. After the prequels were released it seemed as if the entire movie industry’s special effects departments had grown by leaps and bounds. The biggest benefactors were all of the my favorite superheroes that could finally get on the big screen, thanks to CGI.

Ultimately it was the weak stories of the prequel that doomed them. No amount of political intrigue, midichlorians, or tragic love story was going to get the audience to enjoy what amounted to a special effects show.

Abrams has said that he wants to capture that sense of awe from the original trilogy. He’s using more practical effects and less CGI.  Sure, he’ll still have his trademark lens flares, but that’s fine with me.

This is my (guarded) hope with The Force Awakens: that Abrams lives up to half of what he’s said and shown so far. I can’t expect him to pull an Empire Strikes Back right out of the gate, can I?

Something that my buddies reminded me about was how much we all loved Abrams’ Star Trek movies. He’s used to dealing with unrealistic expectations from a diehard fanbase. Since I’ve already enjoyed the Star Wars teasers and trailer more than the prequel trilogy, though, I’d say he’s halfway home to meeting those crazy expectations.

Day 293: Full Geek Mode

Full Geek Mode

Full Geek Mode

I’m in full geek mode right now. After the Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer debuted last night, I read a handful of Star Wars articles and watched youtube videos (and, yes, I watched the trailer dozens of times).

One thing that I stumbled upon that I absolutely loved was this quote from Felicia Day: “Geekdom is the joy of connecting about things you love without fear of judgment.”

I’ve been connecting with Star Wars for the last 24 hours, but I’m not forgetting about my other geekdom joys. I’m finishing (finally!) A Clash of Kings, I’m all caught up with The Walking Dead, and I just started James Doohan’s memoir, Beam Me Up Scotty.

The only thing I didn’t geek out on tonight was Fresh Off the Boat, since it was off the air this week. This is probably a good thing or else I might start getting my geekdom worlds mixed up.

Day 292: Bingo and BB-8

Star Wars The Force Awakens.

Star Wars The Force Awakens.

My wife and I were out with friends tonight, enjoying drinks, appetizers, and a hilarious game of bingo at a local restaurant. We wouldn’t be watching the Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer “live,” but we could watch it at home. The bingo game was a blast and my wife won a prize! We were excited because neither of us had won at bingo yet.

Of course, the prize for me was waiting at home: the Star Wars youtube channel. I fired up the trailer and we watched it.

And watched it again.

And again.

Wow. We got more of the story this time. We got more action shots. We got glimpses of Han and Leia.

Two teasers, a behind-the-scenes preview, and tonight’s trailer. That’s four times I’ve been reduced to a babbling idiot, excited like it was 1977 all over again.

 

Day 291: The Force Awakens

Star Wars The Force Awakens

Star Wars The Force Awakens

Wasn’t I just talking about Star Wars?

As much as I’ve tried to contain my excitement about The Force Awakens, I find myself not doing a good job of it. I watched and live tweeted the original film for the umpteenth time. I finished reading the famous Thrawn trilogy.  I started playing the tabletop miniatures game.

And thanks to my local comic book store, I bought my tickets to an early screening of Episode VII.

Two months ago.

I’ve stopped trying to play it cool, so I was fired up to see the new poster for The Force Awakens today, even if I was disappointed in two things:

  1. No Luke. Is he doing an Obi-Wan-like sacrifice? Or is he already gone and only appearing in flashbacks?
  2. A new Death Star. Or what looks like one.

I don’t mind No. 1 at all. The nostalgia of the original cast is great, as is all of the practical and non-CGI effects, but the story needs to move forward as it pays tribute to its past.

It’s the new-ish Death Star that bothers me. Perhaps it’s a small part of a larger weapon or ship or I don’t know what. I know J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, et al, were smart enough not to rehash a tired gimmick, right? I guess it’s a minor quibble. Give me Death Star 3.0 over Jar Jar Binks 2.0 (or 1.0) any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

On a positive note, Kylo Ren continues to look cool and menacing and … well, I’ll quit while I’m ahead.  I said the same things about Darth Maul and we all know how that turned out.

Day 290: Star Wars Comic

Bigfoot, er, Chewbacca.

Bigfoot, er, Chewbacca.

Today at the library I came across the reissue of the Star Wars comic from 1977. As a kid I wore out my oversized copy after numerous readings, even though I didn’t think the characters looked like the movie stars. I was so Star Wars-obsessed that it didn’t matter that Chewbacca looked like Bigfoot, Luke and Obi-Wan seemed more muscular, or that there were scenes that weren’t in the film.

The reissue of the first six issues in this hardback edition covers all of the Episode IV movie and features new coloring. I got through half of the book and two things stand out: Chewie still looks like Bigfoot (seen above) and the Special Edition scene with Jabba the Hutt is here, but with an entirely different take on the crime lord (seen below).

Also worth noting: there’s an early scene with Biggs and Luke talking about joining the Rebellion and Luke’s comment about the Tosche Station isn’t whiny at all.

Jabba the Hutt, the 1977 comic book version.

Jabba the Hutt, the 1977 comic book version.