Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Another Star Wars opening, this time with mates

For the third straight year, I’m going to know what happens in the latest Star Wars movie as many as 48 hours earlier than you will.

This time, some mates are joining me.

The “crazy scheme” – well, crazy for a 44-year-old with kids – of going to the first midnight showings of Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been cosigned by two friends who used to work with me. Then again, one of them isn’t working at all right now, and the other isn’t starting work the next day until 1 p.m. So I still “out-crazy” them.

If it’s possible, I am even more ignorant about this movie than I was with either of the previous two since Disney bought Star Wars. In those instances, I never saw a full trailer, but I did see snippets of footage here and there, due to the difficulty of fully avoiding that type of thing. This year, I somehow never found myself in front of any footage, never needed to avert my eyes. Even though I’ve been going to the theater at least once per week, and certainly haven’t been consciously avoiding the types of movies that might expose me to these trailers, I have not had to cover my eyes or plug my ears even once.

I wonder if it’s been easier to avoid temptation because this is the first of the recent Star Wars movies not to contain anything “new.” The Force Awakens had new characters, plus the first glimpses of what the old characters looked like at this age, in their familiar duds. Rogue One had an (almost) entirely new cast of characters. The Last Jedi would figure to involve mostly characters we met last time, and even though we didn’t get to see Luke in action, we did see him, so he’s not a huge novelty either.

On the other hand, I can’t believe the temptation hasn’t won me over simply because of how good I expect this to be.

You got the sense that Disney was confident in J.J. Abrams, and rightly so – he delivered a very satisfying Star Wars movie, one that was probably safe in some respects but actually quite risky in others. However, at that time, Abrams was not tasked with directing any other movies in the series. (He has since replaced Colin Trevorrow on Episode IX.)

With Rian Johnson, we have the recent announcement that he is going to be directing three more Star Wars movies. No creative personality other than George Lucas has been given this much control over the vision and trajectory of Star Wars. In fact, if all goes as planned, by the late 2020s Johnson will have directed as many Star Wars movies as Lucas did.

I hardly think that kind of commitment would be warranted if this movie weren’t fucking awesome.

Unfortunately, it’s also fucking long, the longest in the series to date. When you factor in trailers and commercials, the 152 minutes of The Last Jedi will be dumping me out on the street, blurry but hopefully giddy, at 2:53 a.m. And I need to be at work at 8:30.

You know, maybe I’ll skip that midnight viewing of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Either that or planned to be unemployed.

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