Movie Night


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What did we come here for? Movies! When do we want it? Now!

We went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens this evening, so this post is going to be all about that. I’ll avoid spoilers as much as humanly possible.

The screening was a full engagement experience, complete with 3D and Atmos sound. It certainly had all the trimmings to be a blockbuster spectacular experience… Everything except the bucket of popcorn, anyway. And there were a lot of things to like about it: plenty of nods to the original trilogy, a dedication to locations and physical sets instead of CGI, old characters we wanted to see again and new characters who were easy to root for.

But.

There’s always a but, isn’t there? I wanted to love the movie, I really did, but I somehow failed to connect with it in the same way that I connected to the original movies back in my formative years. I loved those movies when I first watched them ( at age 15… I came late to the party). They spoke to something visceral, deep down in me. I wanted to live in that world and be like the characters. I started running distance because it seemed like Jedi training. I committed to becoming a filmmaker on the vague, vain hope of someday having the chance of getting to work on a Star Wars film. These films meant a lot to me. I wanted this one to mean lot to me too, but I still failed to connect with it.

It would be easy to poke holes in the film with the pointed finger of blame, but I’m not convinced that it was the film that was the problem as much as me as the audience member. There was a lot being accomplished in this film and there were a lot of characters, which made it easy to divide focus. Still, the story held together ok and the characters grew a little bit and there’s plenty to come back for in episode VIII, IX, X, C, D, M etc.

So where’s the problem? Well, partly I’m not just an audience member anymore, now I’m a filmmaker too so I spend a lot of time looking at how the shot is being crafted instead of just getting lost in the story. And partly I’m not fifteen anymore so I have a lot more questions about the workings of the world, like why are the good guys still “the resistance” if the Empire is gone and why do the Jedi keep turning into weird legendary rumors even when they were public figures within living memory? It’s like having to explain that the Beatles really were real and that there are a few of them still out there in the world. And there’s this mushy grey area between good and evil that is probably a sign of our information-era times: where no one is truly evil, just manipulated and misunderstood and completely redeemable… you know, maybe not in this movie, but in the end.

I miss being able to just connect with a story that I love. I miss that feeling of being inspired to become something greater than myself- maybe “Jedi” is out of the question, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t become a better human being. It’s the inspiration that I miss. I think inspiration in general has fallen out of fashion: it’s considered trite and sentimental because it has been flogged so badly for so long by motivational speakers and self help books that there doesn’t seem to be much sincerity to it anymore, but why else would I bother to go to a movie theatre of not to be inspired and to feel something?

At any rate, it was a fun night out.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on December 19, 2015.

One Response to “Movie Night”

  1. I understand & can relate. Now granted I’m not in the film industry so I don’t have your training of behind the scenes movie magic debunked when watching movies, but Man of Steel for me was like Star Wars The Force Awakens for you – excited & pumped to see it (even in 3D IMAX glory) and slightly disappointed after it was over.

    A huge THANK YOU for not dishing on the ‘surprise at the end’. My husband has banned me from all things inter-webs until after we see the movie this weekend (shhh! He’s sleeping & doesn’t realize I read your blog religiously ;).

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