It’s the darkest Star Wars movie yet: Should you take the kids to see The …

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Star Wars’ fans are a Force all their own in Baltimore.

LOS ANGELES — Harrison Ford has offered no meaningful advice to his young co-stars in Star Wars: The Force Awakens because everyone’s burst into stardom is so different. “I’m not going to tell them how to navigate this personal space,” the wily Hollywood veteran tells a Star Wars press conference. “But they’re in for a big ride, and they know it, I think.Star Wars fans Caroline Ritter and Andrew Porters have set up camp at the front of the line outside the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, where they’ve been sitting for the past 12 days.

Pastor Tim Lucas — no relation to George — delivers a sermon that weaves Biblical concepts with the story of Star Wars at the Liquid Church, based in Morristown.In 2015, people across the world are divided over gun control, terrorism, immigration, and whether the term “Christmas” should come with a trigger warning.It’s not uncommon to be teased by my co-workers for not having seen most movies, but when our managing editor announced in a meeting that I had never seen “Star Wars,” jaws dropped.

In “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” we find out Anakin Skywalker and his mother are human slaves on the desert world of Tatooine–but visiting Jedi warriors don’t lift a finger (or a lightsaber) to try to end slavery on the planet. Abrams, a director who’s already breathed welcome new life into what had been a stalling “Star Trek” franchise, star warriors the world over have been awaiting this latest chapter (the seventh, for those counting) in the continuing saga of the Force and all those affected by it.

He then hooks up with the heroine Rey — who is played by 23-year-old Daisy Ridley — and ends up in the orbit of Han Solo, with Ford reprising his most famous role. Throughout the series, and in the latest installment, intelligent robots are treated as property–but the enslavement of thinking beings doesn’t seem to be a pressing concern for anyone. The long-engaged couple were already planning to travel to Los Angeles for the premiere, and when they heard that the Chinese Theatre was considering hosting a Star Wars-themed wedding, they immediately signed on. MORRISTOWN — Pastor Tim Lucas was 6 years old when the first Star Wars movie came out, and he remembers, in the Christmases that followed, replacing the tiny figures in his mother’s Nativity scene with Han Solo, Princess Leia and R2D2.

The popularity of “The Force Awakens”– ticket pre-sales are $100 million in the US alone – arises from a desire to revisit some old friends (and meet some new ones) in a galaxy far, far away. Yes, “Star Wars” is just a space opera, and we shouldn’t take too seriously any movie franchise that once featured a character like Jar Jar Binks. Studio Movie Grill, for example, is planning to boost its workforce by 40% through the holiday season, said Chief Executive Brian Schultz. “We started calling back all of our college students on break,” he said. But a core appeal of “Star Wars” may lie in its universal themes and inclusiveness. “There a lot of entry points into the series,” observes Alyssa Rosenberg, an obsessive “Star Wars” fan who blogs about pop culture for The Washington Post. “If you’re a teenager, Luke Skywalker may be your point of identification.

As for Boyega, his character sheds his impersonal Stormtrooper designation, FN-2187, and becomes known as Finn while getting involved with the Resistance in the early scenes. But many artificial intelligence experts believe that in the coming decades it’s not an outlandish proposition that thinking machines could become a reality. One high school teaching “Star Wars” mythology is taking an entire class to see the film, said Schultz, and several companies have bought out entire screenings for tickets for their employees, including every seat in the chain’s largest 365-seat auditorium.

Recent TV shows (“Humans”), movies (“Ex Machina”), comics (“Alex + Ada”) and scholarly nonfiction books (such as “The Technological Singularity” by robotics professor Murray Shanahan) have grappled with the possible moral consequences of thinking machines asserting their independence. And on Christmas Eve, Cosmic Christmas is culminating in a live, Star Wars-inspired live performance with costumed characters; at the end, instead of lighting candles, congregants will wield glow sticks shaped like light sabers. Dozens of theaters across the country are showing the movie around the clock on opening night — at least 36 AMC Theatres alone will be staffing early-morning screenings. The robots in the series–“droids” in “Star Wars” lingo–are portrayed to be at least as smart as humans, and they bond and form friendships with each other and with their human owners. Canada’s largest exhibitor, Cineplex Inc., added 50% more screens to its “Star Wars” footprint last week, amounting to 160 more showtimes for the movie.

It’s important to remember that it’s a movie where the three leads are a man of Hispanic descent, a black man, and a woman.” “The Force Awakens” bridges two generations of characters. I can’t even be sure if I would have read the Harry Potter books if a family friend from England hadn’t visited and showed me her copy of the Prisoner of Azkaban.

For them, life doesn’t get any better than when they’re transporting themselves to the “Star Wars” universe. “You’ve been waiting your entire life, for most people, to find out what happens,” says Kellie Hendley, a preschool teacher in her mid-30s who notes that, chronologically, the last to feature this narrative was “Return of the Jedi,” which came out in 1983. Darth Vader will walk the bride down the aisle to “The Imperial March,” and although Ritter will wear a classic white dress, her mother handmade a fur wrap for the occasion, which the bride then decked out in crystal X-wing fighters.

Lucas expects the live Christmas Eve performances to draw 7,000 people, a high water mark for the 8-year-old church. “People hear the name Liquid Church and assume they’re either a cult or a drinking fraternity,” Lucas said. “And of course they’re completely wrong on the first one.” The name, rather, is a nod to a church that is trying to be refreshing — the opposite of the dry services that might keep contemporary Americans from attending services, Lucas said. At iPic Entertainment, which operates 13 luxury theaters, about 15% of presale consumers have bought tickets to more than one showtime in the first ten days of release.

But the emphasis this time is on new, young characters—an attempt to draw in Millennial moviegoers. (Don’t worry, the yellow scrolling text at the start of the movie doesn’t include Emojis.) These main characters are also more diverse than the patrons of the Mos Eisley cantina. But playing Finn is an extraordinary opportunity. “I’m looking to be rich, like Harrison!” Boyega says with a laugh, enjoying the joke and trying to tease Ford, who is sitting nearby. “I’m trying to have planes and do all that stuff …” One journalist asks Boyega if he is ready for “the sainthood” that comes with Star Wars success.

It’s a nondenominational Christian church, and they welcome “Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Jedi knight — it doesn’t matter, they’re welcome at Liquid.” Boyega, who made his movie debut in the excellent British sci-fi comedy Attack the Block (2011), attacks the question with a giddy combination of humility and impish humour aimed. “I don’t know if I’m ready for this whole thing,” Boyega admits. “I just know that I’m just in it — and it’s going to come out, regardless. For him, the movies’ appeal is easy to pin down. “You have good guys and you have bad guys, it’s just that simple,” he says. “For me, that’s one of the things I had originally like about ‘Star Wars.’ There are good guys and there are bad guys.

Friends have to put a movie on while I’m there with them in order for me to watch big-name hits, and nobody has ever insisted I watch “Star Wars” until now. The conscious diversity of these characters is partly a response to the perceived racism of the “Star Wars” prequels. “The Phantom Menace” included black actor Samuel L. Once the editors picked their jaws up from the conference room table, I was given an assignment: watch all six movies in less than two weeks and write about it.

One impressive thing is how Boyega refuses to turn his casting into a race issue, with his black African heritage. “I don’t really care about the black Stormtrooper stuff. Last year, I was in the wedding party of one of my members.” (And no, he wasn’t in costume, “although I did have a small light saber in one of my pockets.”) “Star Wars” is far from the oldest movie franchise. Boyega and Mexican-Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o feels proactive during a time of widespread conversations about gender and race in the workplace, politics, and culture.

And it has an undertone and a message of courage, of friendship and loyalty.” That said, Boyega has been teased about his race, and his casting, by none other than Samuel L. Jackson, who played Jedi Master Mace Windu in George Lucas’ prequel trilogy. “I was at a party,” Boyega recalls, “and someone behind me tapped me on the shoulder and (said): ‘Yo, black Jedi!’ I turned around and it was Samuel Jackson. But no film series has been more successful than “Star Wars” — all told, the six movies (and their reissues/special editions) have brought in over $2.2 billion at the U.S. box office, according to Box Office Mojo, while the total franchise value (including merchandising, licensing and other sources of revenue) has been estimated at $37 billion. It’s a natural progression for a character whom, one imagines, could command Han Solo to wash up the dishes in the Millennium Falcon. “She’s a feminist icon,” says Sarah Seltzer, an editor-at-large at Flavorwire who frequently writes about feminism. “I went online yesterday to look for feminist odes to Princess Leia.

In a widely read 2015 essay, Jennifer Lawrence revealed her first-hand experience of the gender pay gap in Hollywood and how difficult it is for men in the industry to accept assertive women. Meanwhile, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently opened an investigation into alleged Hollywood discrimination against female directors. I get distracted easily (read: I’m a social media producer by day who can’t stop checking Facebook and Twitter when I’m home at night), so I had to rewind a lot. As a longtime devotee himself, the director not only tried to recapture the humor and fun of the original trilogy, but was also keen to focus on its underlying themes. “To me ‘Star Wars’ was never about science fiction – it was a spiritual story,” Abrams told “When I heard Obi-Wan say that the Force surrounds us and binds us all together, there was no judgment about who you were. Even though its principals were white (with the honorable exception of Billy Dee Williams), the tale of Darth Vader’s redemption spoke to the human condition.

People are not irredeemably lost to one side.” “One thing I noticed watching ‘The Force Awakens,’ is how often the characters hug each other,” says Ms.

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