‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ starts with $14.1 million overseas after debut …

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

“Episode VThomas Atkinson stands in just one of the rooms filled with Star Wars memorabilia in his Linthicum home. In 2015, people across the world are divided over gun control, terrorism, immigration, and whether the term “Christmas” should come with a trigger warning.If a critic had any doubt about the power of the “Force,” a recent screening of “The Empire Strikes Back” — the sequel to “Star Wars” — proved conclusively that any review of the film is an exercise in futility.

If you’re not yet overstimulated from all the Star Wars news ahead of the movie’s release on December 18, then you’ll probably enjoy the Force Awakens cast’s a cappella medley of the movie’s infamous theme. There are millions of people out there who have waited for three years for this movie and nothing will stop them from seeing it or, for that matter, from applauding as familiar pieces of hardware and comic strip characters appear on the giant screen for yet another chapter of George Lucas’ galactic odyssey. “Empire” is the second of a planned nine-part series of films, based on a huge script by Lucas. “Star Wars” was episode IV and “Empire” is numbered V — so it is clear they won’t be in chronological order. The cast joined forces on Wednesday’s Tonight Show to perform John Williams’ iconic Star Wars music sung in the style of a cappella, with help from Fallon himself and The Roots. 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.

The young filmmaker who told Time magazine “I want to make entertainment and I’ll let others make significant movies,” should find his credibility soaring with “Empire” — along with box-office receipts. “Star Wars” broke all box-office records in becoming film history’s most successful film (some $400 million) and “Empire” might well match or even surpass that record. Those featured include Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Gwendoline Christie, Adam Driver and, of course, Chewbacca. 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. Much as the special effects inventions in “Star Wars” were copied by other movies, the sequel has more phantasmagoria per frame than lesser films will ever aspire to in their entirety. For some, all it takes is a sound: the machine-like breathing of a Sith Lord; the ignition of a lightsaber; a TIE fighter’s booming passage; an R2 droid’s beeping; or a Wookiee’s roar.

Although familiarity with characters and anticipation of the next twist in the storytelling work for “Empire,” there is no denying that initial magic of seeing “Star Wars” cannot be duplicated. Tom Atkinson, curator of the Star Toys Museum in Linthicum (which he runs out of his house, tours by appointment), plans to show up in his Jedi robes (the same ones he wore for an MPT piece about his awesome collection of “Star Wars” toys that aired a few years back). 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. The wooden princess and her equally one-dimensional suitors representing the force of absolute good versus Darth Vader’s heart of darkness and personification of evil were a simple and refreshing change from the complications and subtleties of reality. I am your father.” “I have a bad feeling about this.” “It’s a trap!” “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” “Fear is the path to the dark side.” “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” We loved “Star Wars” so much that we got all excited when “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” came out in 1999 and overlooked the fact it was a terrible movie. “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” stands to beguile an entirely new generation of fans, in the process redefining the legacy of what may just be the greatest franchise, not just in science fiction but in all of film history. “My family loves ‘Star Wars.’ We watched the previous films in the cinemas multiple times, we even have DVDs of the original trilogy.

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. Not only is he a presence to be reckoned with on screen — what with the fact one actor (David Prowse) provides his body while another (James Earl Jones) gives him his haunting voice from some terrifying abyss — he also is more fascinating.

It doesn’t help, either, when the film makers go out of their way to protect the good guys from lethal laser beams and sophisticated weapons that could easily have done in an army. 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. Director Kirshner has maintained a frenzied pace throughout the film — something which, in itself, will invite repeat visits just to figure out what is really going on.

He also has attempted to breathe some life into the human characters which results in a subtextual battle of humans and hardware as to who will get the better lines and more closeups. In some ways, “Empire” can be regarded as the most expensive, elaborate and well-done two-hour teaser for for the next episode to come in a couple years or so. 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. Isaac’s inclusion in “Star Wars” is notable given how few Latinos were represented in Hollywood movies this year. (Also largely missing: Asians and Muslims.) The casting of Mr.

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. Let’s say Carrie Fisher returns as Princess Leia; Mark Hamil is Luke Skywalker (he probably gets his last name from the fact he isn’t the best of pilots) and Harrison Ford is Han Solo. 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. No film series has a more devoted fan base, as the long lines of people waiting this weekend to see a movie they know precious little about will attest. “These things transcend being an individual film or TV show,” says Arnold Blumberg, who teaches courses on popular culture (including classes on zombies and the Marvel universe) at the University of Baltimore. “They’re more than just another piece of entertainment or storytelling.” With a franchise as big and as successful as “Star Wars,” the fan base becomes its own community, Blumberg, 44, says.

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. 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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