Saturday, December 26, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Has Never Awoken In This One

I feel compelled to begin this blog entry by saying that I DO NOT hate the Star Wars movies. I don’t even dislike them, for the most part. But my horrible confession—the shadowy burden I must release from my soul, is that I just think they’re okay; not amazing or stupendous or life-changing, but just pretty good.

I’m not saying this to offend anybody or to say that I think the gazillion people who do find Star Wars amazing, stupendous or life-changing are wrong, because I don’t; but rather I make this admission to come clean, so I can walk in the light of day without people thinking I am something that I am not.

Indeed, admitting this is difficult, because when people find out that I don’t share their unbridled passion for Star Wars, they often look at me differently—like I’m a cute puppy with really bad halitosis. Okay from a distance, but you don’t want to get too close.

The original Star Wars (I refuse to call it Episode IV or A New Hope, or whatever other ridiculous moniker it has since accrued) came out when I was seven. I saw the movie with my family a couple of months after it came out when the hype surrounding it was at its height. I remember thinking it was okay, but I also remember dozing off at some point during the film and being startled awake by the baleful wailing of a giant furry creature trapped in a garbage disposal. Mostly I remember wondering why all my friends were going bonkers about this movie. It wasn’t bad (although even at seven I recognized some of the acting was) but it certainly wasn’t rocking my world.

Indeed, the sensation that Star Wars caused was a mystery to me. My friends were acquiring Star Wars toys and paraphernalia at an alarming rate—action figures, model kits, lunch boxes, pajamas, and of course the light saber. I will admit that I did want and got a light saber, but not because it had anything to do with Star Wars. I got it because every other kid my age had it and that made me want it. If every other kid played with a neon green, rubber cow I would have wanted that too.

When The Empire Strikes Back came out three years later and Return of the Jedi came out three years after that, I saw them and had more or less the same reaction as I did to the original. Did I enjoy them? Sure. Did I feel compelled to see them over and over and over again until I memorized every line? Surely, not. (Indeed, the only movie from that timeframe that I felt that way about was Airplane!)

When the next trio of Star Wars flicks came out from 1999 through 2005, I eventually got around to seeing all of those in the theater as well. While they each had their moments, these were nothing more than mediocre in my mind. A decade or so later I don’t remember much about this grouping of movies other than the fact that Darth Maul was a badass and, had Jar Jar Binks been crushed under foot by an AT-AT walker in the first five minutes of the first film, it would have made the rest of the series infinitely better.

And that brings us to 2015 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which, as far as I can tell, everybody on the planet who does not live in my household has seen. In the past nine days since the movie has opened I have been asked by many friends and coworkers when I plan on seeing the film, to which I respond, “I don’t know, maybe March or April when the crowds start to die down a bit.” Sometimes I get a chuckle in response (although I’m not saying it to be funny) and sometimes I get a nasty or incredulous look conveying the unspoken “What the hell is wrong with you?”

The truth is I do want to see it. I’ve heard great things about the new movie and my hunch is that when I finally get around to seeing it, I’ll think it’s okay. And okay isn’t bad. Of course if Airplane! suddenly had a reboot and a new movie hit the theaters I’d be first in line for the midnight showing. Surely I can’t be serious, you say? I am serious! And don’t call me Shirley!