Day 352: Action Figure

This figure is old. Must be worth a lot.

This figure is old. Must be worth a lot.

I’ve always wanted to take a picture in front of one of those backdrops made to look like a Star Wars action figure box. Last night I did, as I sported my Mace Windu haircut, Lando Calrissian mustache, and Chewbacca hoodie.

By the way, I’m still not posting anything about Star Wars: The Force Awakens until after Christmas. And, yes, I have a very patient wife, who’s had to listen to me go on about …

Day 351: We Saw It

Opening Night!

Opening Night!

As promised, no spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Pictured above: my wife and I before tonight’s 7:30pm showing. It’s been many years since I’ve seen a movie on opening night — forgot how much fun all of the extracurricular stuff is. I’ll talk about the movie next week.

Day 350: Star Wars Eve

The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens

I had a great time with my gaming group tonight, playing Carcassonne, Kingsburg, Forbidden Desert, and Roll for the Galaxy. It took me a while to “get” Roll for the Galaxy, but after I did, it’s been a blast.

Naturally, the conversation turned to The Force Awakens since a few of us are going to an early showing tomorrow night. Although Christmas is still a week away, it feels like this is my version of Christmas Eve; call it the Night Before Episode VII.

I’ve got my blinders on right now, trying not to catch any Internet spoilers. My state of mind can be summed up in two words:

So. Excited.

Day 345: Star Wars Piano

Star Wars Piano Medley

Star Wars Piano Medley

Although I’m now posting all of my Star Wars content to Lando’s ‘Stache, I couldn’t resist sharing the Ultimate Star Wars Medley here. It’s a brilliantly produced video featuring a supremely talented pianist covering five of the most popular Star Wars songs. The pianos themselves are also stars, as you’ll see in the video.

After watching this I was reminded of one thing: not everything in the prequels was awful, thanks to magic of John Williams’ music. Duel of the Fates is a classic Star Wars song and as arranged by Sonya Belousova, it fits perfectly into her medley below.

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 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.