‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ brings a return of the Jedi, but plenty of …

13 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Star Wars': The meaning, magic and marketing mojo.

It was a “Phantom Menace” advance screening in Manhattan in 1999. Star Wars is a beloved franchise, but the buzz surrounding the impending release of the seventh instalment, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is almost tangible in Los Angeles, where the long-awaited premiere will take place this week. Ever since the first Star Wars film began its journey in 1977 at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, LA has had a special relationship with Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. I’d been sent from San Jose, Calif., the center of the budding online universe, to weigh in on the return of the George Lucas franchise revered by techies.

Further research forced me to admit the culprit was someone sending an anonymous post on a Usenet newsgroup, which couldn’t have been me because I still don’t know what Usenet was (or is, if it still exists). The dedicated group – who have called their efforts “the line awakens” – currently has more than 130 people participating, with more likely to join in the coming days. Born Daisy Jazz Isobel Ridley in London in 1992, the budding starlet trained at the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts before going on to make TV appearances in Casualty, Silent Witness and Mr Selfridge. My review admitted the powerlessness of giving a negative opinion. “When ‘Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace’ opens on Wednesday, it won’t matter what any critic says,” I wrote. “You’ll want to see it, even if you read here that Jar Jar Binks spends the entire two hours reciting the intergalactic Yellow Pages.” Now, 16 years later, the anticipation is happening again. The ordeal was planned by liningup.net, a motley group of Star Wars fanatics who staged previously successful lines for the franchise’s prequels at the same venue.

Fast fact Never mind acting with original Star Wars leads Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill – Daisy was particularly starstruck when she and co-star John Boyega bumped into Bake Off queen Mary Berry while filming at Pinewood Studios. I don’t need a great story this time because, let’s be honest, none of the Star Wars films have been great stories. (“The Empire Strikes Back” is great melodrama, but that doesn’t make it a great story such as “L.A. The feeling may not have been mutual… ‘She had no idea who we were,’ Daisy admitted recently. ‘She asked John if he could fix her radiator!’ Plan B Daisy has been taking courses towards a degree in psychology – plus she’s a talented jazz singer. Money raised goes to Starlight Children’s Foundation, reportedly one of the first charities that Mark Hamill contributed to when Star Wars made him a household name.

But it can accomplish that only by honoring the past and recapturing the mojo of 1977’s “Star Wars.” Somehow, Abrams must tap into the psyche of an age defined by both miraculous means of connecting through social media and deadly hatreds that, even given human progress, are much the same as they ever were. The epic story of Luke Skywalker and his crossing of paths with the noble Princess Leia and the sarcastic, yet fiercely loyal Han Solo debuted nearly 40 years ago to an America that was melancholy and searching. It was the year a good man, Jimmy Carter, began a presidency that too often painted him as a disapproving preacher out to squash the post-Watergate return of optimism. New shows “The Love Boat” and “Three’s Company” brought cheesy distraction to TV, while the excellent, aspirational drama “Saturday Night Fever” was overshadowed by its own disco fever. For her big day, Ritter says she will don a classic white dress, with “handmade crystal x-wing starfighters on it”. “We just wanted to do something unique and fun, and engage the fans,” said the president of Grauman’s, Alwyn Hight Kushner, who said that Ritter would be escorted down the aisle by Darth Vader himself.

A number of sponsors have come on board to help with the nuptials: Dunkin’ Donuts will provide the campers with donuts on the morning of the wedding, while Baskin-Robbins has agreed to provide the happy couple with a Star Wars-themed wedding cake. Right off the bat, Vincent Canby of the New York Times sensed the genius of the sci-fi effort from director Lucas, best known for the nostalgic “American Graffiti.” Calling it “the most elaborate, most expensive, most beautiful movie serial ever made,” he cited the “Flash Gordon” serials, “Superman,” the Gospel According to St. In the era of reserved seating, when queueing is not actually necessary, the lengthening lines are a testament to the intensity of franchise fandom. “We’ve had reserved seating for a couple years so people don’t line up the way they used to,” said Kushner. “But [Star Wars] is a whole other animal.

Yet Canby glossed over the depth of the narrative. “The way definitely not to approach ‘Star Wars,’ though, is to expect a film of cosmic implications or to footnote it with so many references that one anticipates it as if it were a literary duty,” he stressed. “It’s fun and funny.” Fun and funny, yes, but it remains impossible to ignore the highbrow cosmic implications. It’s not about getting into the theatre first because they have their ticket – it’s about sharing the passion for the film with their comrades.” Nathan Clukey, who had driven over from Detroit, agreed: “We line up because we used to have to line up: it’s become tradition. And if you want to read better words, stronger sentences and more clever thoughts about sports — or need a gift for another worthy reader — get “The Best American Sports Writing — 2015,” edited by ESPN’s Wright Thompson.

I don’t know if it will continue, but as long as there are people like this we’ll do it.” For Clukey, who sports long brown dreadlocks, this marked his fourth time lining up outside Grauman’s. It’s now familiar lore that Lucas was influenced by the works of mythology expert Joseph Campbell, including his well-known book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.” With his ability to condense and connect the stories told over the course of mankind to grapple with the meaning of life, Campbell shed light on the thoughts, dreams and fears that are universal to humanity. I keep coming back to pay tribute to the original Star Wars.” Unlike his fellow campers, Clukey had not made use of the group’s new policy, which allows fans to leave the line by signing out in order to go to work, take a shower, or sleep elsewhere. “The theatre lets us use their facilities around the clock,” he said. “In the past, for the six-week lines, we’d all rent a motel room to go in and shower; this is only for 12 days, so I don’t need that luxury. In the 1988 TV series “The Power of Myth,” host Bill Moyers and Campbell — in some sessions taped at Lucas headquarters, Skywalker Ranch — talked about a range of big ideas, including how “Star Wars” fits into enduring human storytelling. ”It’s not (a) simple morality play. It has to do with the powers of life and their inflection through the action of man,” said Campbell during the show, noting the bond between elements like sage adviser Obi wan-Kenobi and Japanese sword masters.

LAST WEEK: Unlucky Week 13 struck hard as I stumbled home with a bloody 7-9 straight up (120-72 for season) and even worse 6-10 against the spread to dip below .500 (93-94-5 for season). This was moviemaking at its coolest, and an early example of the comic-book superhero, CGI things to come. “Star Wars” could be enjoyed purely on a technical level. The virtuosity of its special effects left previous outer space movies in its dust (with perhaps the exception of Stanley Kubrick’s amazing, but action-lacking “2001: A Space Odyssey”).

Steelers’ multi-dimensional offense has averaged nearly 36 in the last four games, while Bengals’ brutal defense has allowed less the 12 per game in last four. After the introduction of lightsabers, the Millennium Falcon and a holographic Leia, action-adventure movies would never be the same. “Star Wars” also was a romance, as everyone who yearned to verbally spar with Harrison Ford’s Han Solo instantly understood. There was comedy (the cantina scene), horror (Darth Vader), a bromance (C-3PO and R2-D2), and on and on, ensuring that the whole family could find something to take away from the experience.

Whether done with a straight face or ironically, buying a “Star Wars” souvenir is a way to be part of the experience — not the best way, certainly, but that desire for connection makes sense to the inner child turned grown-up credit card holder in us all. It ran for one night in the time slot, appropriately enough, of two series that also were precursors of trends to come, “The Incredible Hulk” and “Wonder Woman.” There were songs, dance numbers, skits and cameos by everyone from Jefferson Starship to Bea Arthur.

The league’s youngest head coach in Miami’s Dan Campbell, 39, a former Giants tight end, and the league’s oldest coach, Tom “Pops” Coughlin, 69, duke it out with both fighting to keep their jobs. Jerry also likes: Baltimore (!) (+11.5) over Seattle by 4; Buffalo (Pick ’em) over Philadelphia by 4; Carolina (-8.5) over Atlanta by just 5; San Francisco (+1.5) over Cleveland by 13; Chicago (-3.5) over Washington by 20; Detroit (-3) over St. Louis by 10; Kansas City (10.5) over San Diego by 31; East Rutherford Jets (-7) over Tennessee by 13; Denver (-7.5) over Oakland by 10; Green Bay (-7) over Dallas by 14; Thursday: St. Abrams, who got the job in early 2013, has taken over the reins from Lucas with humility. “The spirit of what he wrote is everything that this movie is built upon,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “We are standing on the shoulder of Episodes I through VI.” This “Star Wars” arrives on the heels of so much in the news that is troubling, including continuing terrorist attacks by ISIS; the bloviating of a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who suggests a religious test for entering the U.S.; racial prejudices and social and economic inequalities that betray the American dream; and an international climate change conference that’s another indication the only thing more dangerous than hate and violence could be our casual misuse of the planet. Jerry celebrates if he can play any video game 60 seconds without “dying,” although he’s proud of his slaying skills in “Plants vs Zombies.” All kinds of games are topics when Jerry frequently appears on The Beat of Sports, hosted by Marc Daniels weekdays from 9 a.m. ’til noon on FM 96.9 The Game.

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