Sunday, April 10, 2016

Whatever You Do, Don't Stare

I went into the grocery store this morning to get some coffee and creamer, and what did I see the second I walked in the door?

The end-cap where they display the latest big release, with a big-screen TV over shelves of whatever DVD they're showcasing.

And what image was on the screen?


The Falcon's belly gun getting stuck in the forward position during the ship-chase scene on Jakku.

I stopped and watched for a few seconds, then had to force myself to move on before I got stuck in the forward position too -- because I could easily have just stood there staring through the entire rest of the film. Luckily, the sound was either off or too low for me to hear from my position in the doorway, with the entire row of registers between me and the television. I'd have been sunk if the music and dialogue had gotten their hooks in me.

All the Star Wars films bear rewatching. Even the bottom half (which for me consists of I, III, and VI) have plenty of set pieces and performances that never grow old.

But The Force Awakens may be the most beautiful of the films to date. Not the best -- I still put Star Wars and Empire ahead of it. But Episode VII has forty years of cinematic advances on those movies, and the overall film-making in TFA matches or beats anything else in the series.

Tonight I'm going to a friend's house to watch the movie on video for the first time. I have my own copy of the blu-ray, and I watched the deleted scenes reel, but I've so far maintained the willpower to avoid putting the movie itself on and watching it over and over. In part, that's because I knew my wife would mock me ("Aren't you going to Rick's to watch that on Sunday?"), but in part it's because I've had a bunch of stuff that needed doing, and if I'd indulged in my copy of TFA, I wouldn't have gotten anything accomplished since Tuesday night. Yesterday alone, I caught myself four or five different times and held back from putting the disc in. If my kids hadn't hogged the TV at a couple of crucial moments, I'd have grabbed it and been mesmerized.

And damn if Rogue One doesn't look like it might be even better.

I'm probably too embarrassed to watch The Force Awakens today while my wife is around.

But maybe I'll think of something else I need from the grocery store.

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