A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, a little science fiction film was made.
There was action, exotic locations, spaceships and a love story. It featured a clear “good versus evil” story line and enraptured the mind of every kid who saw it, myself included.
I wasn’t born in time to see A New Hope in the cinema, nor Empire. I was only 3 when Jedi was released and although I don’t remember it, my dad tells me it was the first film I ever saw on the big screen. All I can say is that it must have made an impression because I, like millions of others, am a huge Star Wars fan.
I was in high school when episodes IV, V and VI were re-released to theaters and I convinced a group of friends to skip classes to catch the first showings. When the prequels were made, I was first in line.
When Revenge of the Sith was released in 2005, it was bittersweet: Lucas still owned all the rights and as far as anyone knew, that was the end of the Star Wars movies. The story had been told. But then in stepped Disney …
I was nervous when Disney acquired Star Wars from Lucas for a cool $4 billion. That’s billion … with a “B.” After all, Disney has a bad habit of running decent movie franchises into the ground, bleeding them dry, determined to squeeze every last monetary drop out of the flood of related merchandise.
Don’t believe me? Did you see the last Pirates of the Caribbean? The one with the mermaid? No. No one did. Did that stop the Disney “powers that be” from slapping Johnny Depp’s face on every possible object with a flat surface that was for sale? No. And they continued to make insane amounts of money off it.
As soon as it was announced that more Star Wars movies were in the works, the merchandise began creeping into the stores and onto the shelves. First it was little things: action figures, light sabers and maybe a puzzle or a set of bed sheets. But then, as the release date of The Force Awakens drew closer, it exploded and Star Wars was everywhere.
Breakfast cereal, trading cards, stickers and lawn chairs; T-shirts, party balloons, bath robes and fruit snacks — even bottled water (now with added Force!).
Nothing is immune. I’ve seen Star Wars toothbrushes, Band-aids and socks — perfect to go with your Star Wars complete Blu Ray special ultimate platinum digitally remastered diamond edition! (Complete with digital copy.)
Even minor characters get the star treatment. Boba Fett, perhaps the most overrated character in the entire series, has his own coffee mugs and lunch boxes. And really, the only interesting thing he ever did was get knocked into the Sarlacc pit to be slowly digested over a thousand years …
The anticipation for the new film had been built up so much, I felt sure there was no possible way for Episode VII to come close to my expectations. It was going to suck and I was going to be devastated.
Opening night, my husband and I carefully selected our seats by triangulating speaker location combined with screen size ratio and exit location. No detail was overlooked. We settled into position and prepared to be entirely still and silent for the next 136 minutes.
Then the kid behind me pulled out his cell phone …
Whether it was by my evil death stare or drawing a finger dramatically across my throat, the kid got the message and the phone disappeared pretty quickly.
In retrospect, I should have simply gently waved my hand in front of his face and said “You will put the phone away,” in my best Obi Wan voice. If he didn’t get it, then he had no business being at the premier. Everyone knows Jedi mind tricks only work on the weak-minded …
From the classic scrolling text in the first scenes to the final credits, I was captivated. I loved it. It was everything I hoped for and more. In my humble nerd opinion, it was the best since The Empire Strikes Back. And as my fellow geeks will know, that’s saying something.
The Force was strong with this one.
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at [email protected] Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.