Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars Fandom: Is the Force Still Strong

Chad's tattoo
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter
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My intention for the first two installments of this blog series was to express how big of a Star Wars fan I am, or was. Since I wound up writing the blogs shortly before they got published, they were quickly written and lots of details were left out.  I failed to mention how because of my Star Wars fandom, I have a tattoo of Han Solo on a tauntaun among some other details that slipped through the cracks. That fandom though seems to be waning just as the next chapter in the Star Wars film series is set to take the world by storm. 

Scenes from the premiere sight
Tonight (12/17/2015), Episode VII: The Force Awakens opens in theaters around the world. In fact, by the time this is published, several friends in Australia have already seen it. It’s been two and a half years since the announcement JJ Abrams would be helming the latest installment. In that time my excitement has gone from high curiosity to mild trepidation. To be fair though, my interest in movies in general has gone pretty cold. Other than a screening Q&A of Electric Boogaloo: The story of Canon Films(available on Netflix and highly recommended), I have not seen a film since Ant Man

I have managed so far to avoid any spoilers for the film. I have not seen the trailer or any TV commercials for the actual film. My knowledge of the film is apparently the Empire uses Verizon for their communications needs and everyone has traded their spaceships in for Dodge cars and trucks. That’s actually an interesting development that I’m intrigued to see. 

Scenes from the premiere sight
I’ve tried to remain in the dark about The Force so as to not have any expectations. After the disappointment with the prequels, I figured it best to go with low expectations and be pleasantly surprised than to go in expecting to relive my childhood and walking out disappointed. While I’m curious to see what story JJ and the writers have crafted, there’s something missing this time around. 

Scenes from the premiere sight
I put that missing item mostly on me. I’ve grown up. Maybe I’ve become too much of a boring adult. Or maybe I’ve seen too many movies. I don’t remember the last time I’ve walked out of a theater feeling any pure excitement for what I just watched. To me, films these days are too much sizzle with little substance. I’m tired of CGI effects and singular action plots. I want a solid story to go along with the action. That’s actually a conversation Kevin and I had after NXT Takeover: London. More on that in a future My 1-2-3 Cents podcast. Maybe. 

Scenes from the premiere sight
In an attempt to drum up some interest in the Force, I went to Hollywood/Highland area on Sunday, the day before the premiere. I wanted to see the people who were camping out. What I saw was something that rivaled the normal set up for the Academy Awards. I had never seen a premiere set up that took up that much space. Granted, all I saw was a giant white tent but still. It was a pretty impressive tent.  I have not seen any footage from the premiere so I don’t know what was under the tent. Even seeing the tent with signage for the film, and seeing the group of people waiting to see the film, I still felt something missing. 

Scenes from the premiere sight
As I write this, my plan is to see the movie on Monday. I’m going on Internet black out for the next five days to avoid seeing any details of the film. I hope when I walk out of the theater, I will have the same excitement four year old me did when I saw the original Star Wars. I’ll settle for the euphoria I had after Phantom Menace. Would prefer I don’t have the bad aftertaste in my brain. Whatever my reaction, I’m sure in two and a half years when Episode VIII is released, I will be in the theater watching. No matter the level of interest, there will always be the communal experience in which to partake.

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