Finally! Fans turn out for ‘The Force Awakens’ debut

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Before ‘The Force Awakens,’ here’s how to bury the hatchet with the Star Wars prequels.

The 73-year-old gained worldwide fame as Han Solo in George Lucas’s original Star Wars movie back in 1977, a role he has revived for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. “I don’t think of Star Wars as science fiction, really. HOMESTEAD (KDKA) — Fans have waited months to see the latest installment in the Star Wars series, and the die-hard fans are stopping at nothing to be among the first in the theater for the big event.Interviewing the Spectre star in London this summer, I had run through my questions for an EW cover story focused around him reprising his role as 007 in the 24th James Bond installment that hit theaters last month.

What I understood about it was from the context of the characters, that I was one of a kind of fairy-tale setting,” he stated. “You had a wise old warrior in Alec Guinness (as Obi-Wan Kenobi), you had the callow youth in Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and the beautiful princess, Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), and the smart ass.” “It gave me a career I have enjoyed and all the opportunities that have preceded from that attachment to Star Wars, so when George called and asked if I might be interested in coming back, I said, ‘Yes, why not?’ “They are terrific. Fans were streaming in Thursday night for the first showings of “The Force Awakens.” Some fans in Homestead even came in Wednesday night for a marathon of the first six Star Wars movies.

A smaller, more roly-poly version of R2-D2, the droid is in possession of a map that may ultimately help undermine an evil, intergalactic empire called the First Order. John Boyega and Daisy Ridley are fantastic actors and are going to be around in your lives for a long time,” he told host Jonathan Ross. “We’re working on it.

Not only did the star vehemently deny it at that time, he responded to my query with barely suppressed rage. “Why would I ever bother doing something like that?” Craig sputtered. “F—ing hell! Her commitment to upholding peace in the universe goes back to the days when she fought alongside her Jedi Knight brother, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and the rascally but dependable Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Which means that we can finally bury the hatchet with George Lucas’ Episodes I, II and III, released between 1999 and 2005 and commonly known as the prequels. Play an extra in another movie.” Having visited the Spectre set at England’s Pinewood Studios two months earlier, I might have pressed the issue by pointing out the relative ease with which he could have sneaked in such a performance beneath the stormtrooper’s synthetic armor. Dameron has an unexpected ally in Finn (John Boyega), a former First Order Stormtrooper who’s on the run — and in danger of being killed by one of the dark side’s most merciless warriors, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

Plenty of moviegoers liked the prequels — hey, someone was buying all those tickets. (Unadjusted for inflation, the prequel trilogy brought in $2.5 billion at the box office worldwide, outselling the original trilogy.) Plenty more really, really did not like them. And you can bet that before the story is over — at least for this installment — there’ll be plenty of lightsaber duels, battles between spacecraft and, of course, jokes.

Fan reactions after the earlier screenings of the movie were positive, with fans saying it went beyond their expectations and brought back feelings of the original trilogy. Plinkett was the creation of a Milwaukee-based filmmaker called Mike Stoklasa, and his videos have racked up nearly 50 million views over the last 6 years. And considering that the original “Star Wars” film (now known as “Star Wars: A New Hope”) is almost four decades old, that’s all the more impressive. And the sequence prompted shouts of joyful recognition in the pre-release screening I attended earlier this week. “I’ll tighten those restraints, scavenger scum,” Craig’s character responds, although few in the audience can be expected to register that it’s him. No doubt longtime fans of the series will be happy to catch up with the characters introduced so long ago in “A New Hope.” And indeed, it’s good to see Ford, Fisher and Hamill back in the roles that brought them universal fame.

But Ridley, Boyega and Isaac (“Inside Llewyn Davis”) make equally charismatic heroes, and Driver (“Girls”) is surprisingly effective as the sinister Ren. It reminded him of the disappointment he and his friends had experienced at the age of 12, when the original Phantom Menace was released (so much for George Lucas’ frequent claim that “kids love the prequels”). In 12 minutes, the effusive Barryte goes through the script of the film and suggests simple changes — the removal of Jar Jar, the aging of Anakin, the survival of Darth Maul, other small tweaks that turn Obi-Wan into the hero, and an inspired take on what to do with Senator Palpatine. The result, “What if Episode II Were Good?” got another million views in the space of a week, and Barryte began to be bombarded with emails from fans with their own alternate script ideas. “I unknowingly swatted the biggest hornet’s nest in fandom,” he says.

As genius as the Creepio plot twist is, the highlight is the music: the thumping techno remix of the Darth Maul-Jedi duel called “Dance of the Fates”; the perfect 1980s big hair video “In the Friend Zone”; Anakin and Obi-Wan jamming along to “Mama Said Knock You Out” before their final dance fight on Mustafar. And here’s a bonus: the Auralnauts recently continued the story with their epic take on Episode IV, “Laser Moon Awakens.” It might help you get over your prequel pain by showing how dumb a lot of scenes in the original movie can seem, too — from a certain point of view.

His message to the fans was clear: stop analyzing. “Star Wars is just a movie,” he told the readers of science fiction magazine Starlog. “The people who are saying ‘It’s nothing, it’s junk food for the mind’ are reacting to the people saying ‘This is the greatest thing since popcorn!’ “Both of them are wrong. You just say ‘hey, that was great.’” Conversely, if you don’t like a Lucas movie, you can just say “hey, that sucked.” There doesn’t have to be any greater significance.

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