Saturday, December 19, 2015


Well, it's Doctor Who Day but I still want to talk about Star Wars. I was lucky to get a ticket for December 17th, the day before the official opening day. I bought one the moment it was announced tickets were going on presale so I managed to get a ticket for an 8:20pm showing at Parkway Plaza mall, a place where I've gone to see many other big event movies, including The Fellowship of the Ring way back in 2001. It worked the same on Thursday as it did fourteen years ago--the theatres showing the film were on the second storey in the cinema in the middle of the mall so people were put in queues in a long, broad corridor normally used for freight loading. I showed up two hours before the movie time on Thursday but the people for my theatre had already been let in. All the middle seats were taken but I was happy getting a seat at the very back of the room, on the side but distance from the screen meant that the image wouldn't be distorted.

I brought my purse with me--really a laptop case I use to carry odds and ends. I thought maybe I shouldn't because of all the scary things that have gone down in movie theatres lately and me carrying a bag might look suspicious. But on the other hand, if I was going to be sitting there for two hours before the movie I wanted to have at least a book and a bottle of water, awkward things to carry by themselves and I wasn't about to buy an overpriced and salted Dasani.

Well, things went fine for those two hours. I read from a paperback book I had with me (Pirates of New Spain, recommended to me by my pre-colonial and colonial Latin America professor) and from books on my Kindle, some of Thomas Malory's L'Morte d'Arthur, John Milton's De Doctrina Christiana, and a pulp novel from the 50s by Ann Bannon about lesbians called Odd Girl Out. I don't normally switch books so much in one sitting but my lack of sleep most nights this week due to school finals made me oddly restless. When Maria Menounos came onscreen to peddle bullshit USA series I couldn't concentrate on reading at all.

When this first round of cheap trailers ended and the the real trailers started at 8:20, a woman suddenly sat down next to me. Wearing black with a gold name tag, she told me I looked like a perfectly reasonable gentlemen and she wasn't afraid of me but, she said, several people had reported me and she felt it was necessary to take my bag. Either that or I was welcome to take the bag to my car and I would be readmitted and would be reimbursed for having missed the trailers.

Okay, as I told her, I fully understand why people would be apprehensive in this day and age of multiple shootings in movie theatres. I get it. What I don't get was why I wasn't approached in the two hours before the trailers started, time when I could have taken my bag to my car and have come back without missing the trailers. Well, I decided to let her take my bag but I asked her if I could keep my Kindle with me. She said this was fine and pointed a flashlight into my bag--incidentally seeing everything I had in there--while I rummaged around for it.

She assured me again that I struck her as a completely decent person. Though I couldn't help thinking about the fact that multiple people had reported me. It's true, I was wearing a lot of black--black slacks, black frock coat, black fedora, black waistcoat with pocket watch. I was wearing my black and white spectator shoes, white shirt, and red plaid bow tie, though, and I think some part of me thought, "Mass shooters never wear bow ties." These mass shooters actually, to be honest, always dress like shit. Even the guys who thought they were the Joker couldn't dress as nice as the Joker.

So I did get to see the trailers, one for some entertaining CGI movie about sloths working at a DMV, an unremarkable looking Harry Potter spin-off movie that nonetheless drew a lot of applause, the X-Men: Apocolypse trailer I saw online a few days ago. I must have seen at least one other trailer but I can't remember it now.

You know, it's a good thing J.J. Abrams was granted autonomy by Disney. I listened to him interviewed on the The Howard Stern Show recently and he talked about how wonderfully hands off the Disney execs were. If anyone's wondering what the movie would have looked like otherwise, I'd say you'd need to look no further than Star Wars: Rebels, which is basically the homogenised version of A New Hope that some critics are accusing Force Awakens of being. If you really want to see the dime store version of Luke Skywalker, see Ezra Bridger in Rebels.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Rian Johnson handles Rey in Episode VIII. Even after the outrage at the lack of Princess Leia toys and the fact that Ahsoka Tano was the most popular character from Clone Wars, Disney still didn't take the hint--people want female protagonists. From sheer popular momentum, Rey had already 40% succeeded. Abrams took it the rest of the way.

It occurred to me, hearing how sort of wistful and sad George Lucas has sounded in interviews lately, Lucas kind of has what we might call King Lear Syndrome. I guess the "daughters" would be Kathleen Kennedy, Rey, and Ahsoka Tano. Since Ahsoka has been kind of sidelined--and she was actually created by Lucas and inspired by his daughter--she would be Cordelia. I'd really like to hear what his plans were for the sequel trilogy one day.

I also heard Quentin Tarantino on The Howard Stern Show. At the end of the interview he brought up, sounding genuinely upset, how Disney had extorted the Cinarama Dome in Los Angeles into breaking a contract with Tarantino's company in order to not show The Hateful 8, to show Force Awakens instead. Originally Force Awakens was to have played at the Dome for several days and then The Hateful 8 would play there. Now Disney has pushed Hateful 8 out, which sounds like a pretty shitty move, as Tarantino pointed out, considering it's not like Star Wars is exactly hurting for ticket sales. Tarantino stressed he had nothing against Abrams for whom he worked on several episodes of Alias. Stern, whose friendship with Abrams goes back to Felicity, said he would speak to Abrams himself, and Bob Igor, head of Disney. So far there's been no public comment from Disney or Abrams on the subject.

See, I was colouring comics pages this past week so I had time to do a lot of listening, Howard Stern and, yes, I did listen to a Doctor Who audio play, an Eighth Doctor story from 2006 called Time Works. It's a story about a world that parcels out time like currency, its rulers living in some kind of time locked citadel and using "tick tock men" as enforcers. A solid, classic feeling Who story with a lot of elements that, as is so often the case, feel like they inspired later episodes of the television series.

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