Column by Steve Bennett
Posted by Steve Bennett on December 30, 2015 @ 3:30 am CT
For the record, I finally did see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, on Christmas Day. I took a pass on the 3-D version but out of curiosity, I decided to give Regal Cinemas RPX (Regal Premium Experience) a try. It’s one of those deluxe movie delivery systems that a lot of big cinema chains have these days; Marcus Theatres has their Ultrascreens, Cinemark has XD screens, and AMC their ETX experience. For twice the price of a regular ticket RPX promises "crystal clear all-digital projection," "high impact giant screen," and "powerful uncompressed surround sound." These systems aren’t exactly new, but as previously established I don’t get around much anymore, so this was my first time seeing a movie that way. And I must admit it definitely improved my movie-going experience considerably.
Not that anyone out there is breathlessly waiting to get my take on the movie, but like just about everyone else I quite liked it. It was, well, good. As in, I immediately wanted to see it again good, and the last movie I felt that way about was 2012’s The Avengers. Wanting to see it again was also not a unique experience; as the headline of a piece by Bobby Finger that appeared on the Jezebel website put it, "The Secret of Star War's Record-Breaking Success: Repeat Viewers and Women." It made over $1 billion worldwide in just 10 days because it’s a good movie and people wanted to see it again, but also by reaching out to women and people of color. Which really seems to bug the hell out of certain people.
In certain circles, it's been dubbed "anti-white" or condemned for being a "Social Justice Propaganda" movie when of course it’s just business. If Disney is ever going to make back the $4 billion it paid for the franchise they're going to have to make Star Wars movies that everyone wants to see. And when I say everyone I mean everyone, Grandmas and Grandpas included, which sadly kind of includes me. I've got to confess, it was nice seeing saving the day wasn’t entirely left to the youngs. Harrison Ford managed to make a senior citizen Han Solo look remarkably effective, and Carrie Fisher brought some genuine gravitas to her General Organa.
Whether you like it or not, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a model for how popular culture is going to be made and marketed in today’s world. And clearly, it's a model that works, and one that’s applicable to the comic book industry.
There have of course been negative reviews of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but boy, do you have to look if you wanted to find them. There's "Here's Why This Vatican Newspaper Hates the New 'Star Wars' Movie" that appeared online on Latinos Post. Apparently the anonymous critic of The Holy See's "semi-official" newspaper L’Osservatore Romano thought that the film’s bad guys were pale imitators of the ones from the original trilogy.
But so far my favorite has been "Admit it 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' stinks -- and here's why" by Michael Hiltzik that appeared on the online Los Angeles Times. Mr. Hiltzik doesn’t pull any punches, arguing that the entire film is a tepid do-over of the original film, and while I disagree I do have to admit that I really, really wish that they hadn't set the movie’s opening action on yet another desert planet. Frankly, when it comes to Star Wars I’ve had just about as much sand as I can take.
And in my final word on the subject, recently a story appeared on the UK’s Independent website credited to Will Grice titled "Star Wars fans and video game geeks 'more likely to be narcissists,' study finds." It reported that according to a study conducted by the University of Georgia that those "who take part in 'geeky events' are more likely to have an ‘elevated grandiose’ level of narcissism." In this study:
"Psychologists examined the personality traits of those who turn to 'geek culture,' developing a Geek Culture Engagement Scale and a Geek Identity Scale to help quantify the figures. It was found that those who scored highly on both scales were more likely to (be) narcissists."
To which I can only say "No duh."
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
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