From an e-mail to friends in May 2005.
I woke up the morning of May 19 calm and at peace. The nervous energy of the night before was gone. It was a dreary morning – cloudy, cool and periods of rain. Yardwork would have to wait so I spent the morning with my coffee, reading e-mail, watching the news on TV and listening to the radio.
Glenn Beck, a nationally syndicated radio host on WOWO, spent an hour talking about Revenge of the Sith. He went to a showing the night before and was taking calls from listeners who had also been to a midnight showing. Most of the callers liked the movie and talked about why they were Star Wars fans and why this movie is one of the best. Things were going smoothly until some idiot started talking about a crucial scene that revealed an answer to one of my questions. I couldn’t get to the radio fast enough to turn it off before I heard the entire diatribe.
I left the house around 10:30. The theater I was going to is on the city’s southwest side and it takes close to twenty minutes to get there. I gave myself plenty of time to get some lunch, stop at the credit union and visit Barnes & Noble before going to the theater. I purchased a couple of newspapers that did stories on the movie’s premiere and had reviews that I was interested in reading.
I finally went to the theater at noon for my 12:30 show. There were a few teenagers outside dressed in Jedi garb playing with lightsabers. Outwardly, I rolled my eyes at them. Inwardly, I envied them. Once inside, I bought my bladder-buster Coke and washtub of popcorn before heading to Theater 16, my shrine for the next six hours.
The theater was already near capacity when I walked in. There were a few goobs dressed up in costumes and wielding toy lightsabers, but for the most part the people were normals. There were a few little kids in attendance despite the warnings that this was a dark and graphic film, possibly too intense for kids their age.
The crowd only erupted a couple times during the showing. Once when the lights went down and once more when the “A long time ago…” opening line appeared. There were a few scenes that elicited some cheers but not the type of cheers that disrupted the movie.
The movie itself was great. I loved it. The beginning was the only thing I was mildly disappointed with. With all of the unbelievable things they can do with computer graphics, the space battle still wasn’t as exciting as what they achieved for Star Wars in 1977. Now that could just be my personal bias showing through, but I don’t think so. The rest of the movie was everything and more than I had hoped for. The ending, to me anyway, was nearly perfect. It was a nice transitional piece and had a tribute of sorts that, I freely admit, made my eyes well up a little bit.
Most of the questions I had were answered and all of the spoilers I had seen did nothing to take away from the movie. There are still a couple questions I have that went unanswered regarding the transition to the original trilogy. I came to realize that it was better that Lucas left them unanswered rather than concoct some lame answer that only serves as a distraction.
I had about an hour to kill before the next showing I was going to attend, so I went back to Barnes & Noble. Outside the theater there was another group of teens playing with lightsabers. One in particular caught my eye because he seemed to take it seriously, stalking and hacking at a girl who was backing away laughing at him. He had a look in his eye that screamed out “I abuse Ritalin!” The young girl was able to fend off his attacks until he tapped into the Dark Side and started swinging wildly at her. She took off running and laughing while their friends stood by laughing at the dork. He glared at them as if he were trying to put a Force choke hold on them. They laughed at him even harder, but it looked to me like he was taking it all seriously. I just shook my head and thanked God that I didn’t turn out like that dumbass kid.
The next day at work I was besieged with questions from my coworkers. How was it? (Great!) Did you like it? (I loved it.) Was it what you expected? (Heck yeah.) Who did you dress up as? (Ha ha. Yeah, that’s funny.) How many more times are you going to see it this weekend? (I’m going to wait.) Most of them were curious about the movie and told me they planned to go when the crowds died down. Some asked if it would be appropriate for their youngsters.
One rather neat thing was a couple people who told me they had seen the first movie years ago when they were kids and either skipped the rest of them or hadn’t watched them since they first came out years ago. In both cases they hadn’t seen either of the two new movies. They were inspired by the enthusiasm for the films shown by me and another coworker to rent all of the movies before watching Revenge of the Sith. That felt pretty good even though I wouldn’t get anything like a finder’s fee.
The movie has broken numerous box office records, taking in an incredible $158 million in its first weekend. Predictions are that it will take in more than $400 million by the end of its run. Judging by what I’ve heard and witnessed and what I know about Star Wars geeks, I think it will clear $500 million.
And so the tale has ended. In the words of Darth Vader, “The circle is now complete.” My twenty-eight year obsession is over and now I can look forward to other things. Like the new live-action Star Wars TV show. And the continued Clone Wars cartoon. Then there are the new Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Vader and Yoda busts that I’m still waiting on delivery of. And the DVD of Revenge of the Sith followed by the DVD collection of all six movies….
…and if leave right now I can make it to the noon showing at Coldwater Crossing.