Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: 91 previous entries on this site bear a “Star Wars” tag, signifying that George Lucas’ beloved universe has been a major part of our entire lives, from the films to the books to the music to the fanfic to the conventions, including our all-time greatest celebrity encounter, which in turn led to that time Star Wars got me interviewed on local TV. Star Wars has been kind of a big deal in our household.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last spring my wife and I had the sincere pleasure of watching the first full-length trailer Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker in its premiere airing at Star Wars Celebration Chicago, surrounded by thousands of fellow fans:
The crowd watched as one. We cheered as one. We whooped and hollered as one. Together we held our breath in the seconds before the subtitle was revealed to the entire world at that very moment after years of speculation. Together we got it. Tens of thousands of voices cried out in Chicago with the interjections and expletives of their choosing. To say nothing of the reactions of the Viewers at Home.
Whether the setting is a state-of-the-art theater or an extra-large flea market, there’s something about a geek harmonic convergence that convention showrunner fiat and any number of internet trolls can’t blast away.
There was no convention to attend for the new trailer’s premiere tonight during Monday Night Football halftime, unless you count the game itself. I doubt they showed the trailer live at the stadium, but who knows. No, for this event I was at home at the same time as millions of other viewers, online and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. It wasn’t nearly the same kind of experience as the previous trailer, especially since I was trying to watch Black Lightning when it finally premiered around 9:50 pm EDT, give or take a few minutes, right in the middle of a key development with the Pierce family.
I have no current plans to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens six times as I did with one of its predecessors, but my son and I caught an encore for fun at one of the local IMAX theaters to see if the 3-D made any difference. It’s something we try maybe once every 2-3 years, not a regular part of our movie-going diet. I confess I dig IMAX screens more for their super-sized speaker systems than for any picture enlargement. In both TV and movies, JJ Abrams tends to be one of those directors who coach their sound effects team to deliver a booming, raucous performance in which you can feel the depth and the weight of every noise great and small. As a guy with lousy hearing who watches most TV shows with the captioning turned on just in case, I love a heavy hand at the soundboards.
After seeing the same scenes twice, I noticed slight shifts in a few of my opinions, along with a few other random observations beyond what I previously wrote over here and over there. I talked to a few relatives at Christmas gatherings today who still haven’t seen TFA, so I’m not the sort of elitist to assume that anyone who hasn’t seen it yet deserves spoilers as their punishment. If you’re like them and haven’t had the time or funds, please enjoy this courtesy SPOILER ALERT telling you politely to go away for now and save this entry for later.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens! The previous entry was the requisite MCC review-not-review, but lighter on details this time for the benefit of those fans who want a fighting change to see the movie with as few surprises spoiled as possible. According to my son, some deranged Expanded Universe fans were invading random YouTube comments sections for videos that had absolutely nothing to do with Star Wars and were posting major TFA spoilers because they are bitter and they are twelve. Between the heavily armed loner gunmen we fear are waiting at the crowded theater lobbies and the entitled trolls waiting to type furiously at innocents at home, the cinema experience is strangely more challenging and less fun than ever.
That didn’t stop us, though. We had thoughts and I remembered to write down many of them. Here’s a COURTESY SPOILER WARNING in case you somehow overlooked the title.
Still hiding out from rampant internet spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens?
Never fear! We here at Midlife Crisis Crossover know your fears. I spent part of Thursday and all of Friday hiding out from social media, shunning all peer contact, and busying myself around the house until it was our turn to see it Saturday afternoon. At last I can rejoin the cool kids’ kaffeeklatsch, already in progress.
But that doesn’t mean I have to ruin it for anyone else. Thus I’ve split my thoughts into (at least) two entries. First up: the light summary of impressions from my first showing, written in a manner that hopefully doesn’t compromise your own first screening.
Every Star Wars fan, whether casual or hardcore, has their mental wish list of stuff they’re hoping Star Wars: The Force Awakens should contain in order to become the greatest Star Wars film of all time. With a modest running time of 136 minutes, J.J. Abrams and company can’t possibly satisfy every single fan on Earth, but it goes without saying that my checklist is the wisest and grandest of them all.
In the past 24 hours eight hundred million other internet users have posted their thoughts on the all-new Official Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer that premiered Monday night during ESPN’s Monday Night Football and was released online seconds later for those of us who don’t do sports. Hardcore fans have devoted every hour since then freezing every frame, enhancing every pixel, scrutinizing every living being or moving object, collating the data, and sharing results in hopes of extrapolating the plots of the next six Star Wars films, or at least guessing which toys they’ll buy next.
Now…it’s my turn.
(As a side experiment along this vein, I’m experimenting here with a timed entry. I have sixty minutes to crank out this entry from start to finish, and whatever state it’s in when minute #60 strikes, I hit “Publish” and there will be an entry about this subject no matter what. Fortunately my special effects needs are minimal and rarely outsourced.)
I found merit in the three theatrical releases that Abrams directed so far. (In order I’d rank Trek first, MI:III second, and Super 8 irksome but not terrible.) I bear him no ill will and wish his fourth film, Star Trek: Into Darkness starring man’s-man Benedict Cumberbatch and some other guys, were in theaters exactly now. I’ve seen all six Star Wars films several times apiece; follow the Clone Wars animated series; have partaken of several Dark Horse Comics SW projects; once read an entire Star Wars Expanded Universe novel; and am married to a wondrous woman whose encyclopedic knowledge of SW EU doesn’t frighten or alienate me. No matter who directs Episode VII: the Cash Cow Cavalry of Corellia, I expect to see it at least once.
All that being said: today’s announcement does nothing for me.