There was a time when the simplest delights would amuse me. I ran around with a Millennium Falcon and pretended to smuggle space cocaine. I played with Han Solo and his fun, quirky, semi-automatic, large-caliber laser pistol. I was convinced that my cousin had figured out how to make a real lightsaber, because he told me that, and I was eager to slice people. I had a developing vocabulary and still sucked my thumb, because I was four.
But as I aged, I outgrew my innocent enthusiasm for immensely destructive galactic warfare. I began to appreciate the works of Twain and the subtleties of Der Blaue Ritter; I dabbled in poetry and watching old Star Treks. I considered myself beyond juvenile tastes and simplistic tales of the tragic, massive loss of human life. Then The Phantom Menace came out and I drunkenly tattooed my face like Darth Maul. Fortunately, it was only an iron-on, because he died in that movie and all of the prequels sucked.
In protest, I vowed never to go to a movie theater again. I committed myself to this pledge by having twins who proved incapable of babysitting each other while my wife and I went out. All my motion picture viewing would come from once-a-week half-hour increments of recorded network premieres, which would permit me to watch about eight movies a year, given interruptions for holidays and putting the children to bed over and over again. I’ve now lived three years in the entertainment past for the past five years.
However, I may be finally ready to return to the theaters. For one thing, the twins can now use a cell phone to take pictures of what the other one is doing and show it to us later. But the more important reason for my foray into the modern world of really, really special effects is the return to cinema of the central mythology of our times: Pitch Perfect 2. Wait, it’s already out of theaters? Dang. I just saw the first one.
Regardless, in watching Anna Kendrick’s teaser trailers for Pitch Perfect 2 in thirty-second segments on YouTube, I discovered that there’s also going to be a new Star Wars movie. It’s called Star Wars: The Force Awakens And Has Trouble Getting Up (Japanese-release title). And I’ve discovered that it is a road to nirvana.
I had been loosely aware of this upcoming mega-event via cultural osmosis (drooling on my cell phone). I had seen the posters and the teaser trailer and the teaser for another teaser trailer. I was concerned about what I was seeing, however, because where I come from, “teaser trailer” has another much more vivid and disreputable meaning. In addition, I watched the most recent Star Trek movies and was worried about director J. J. Abrams’s tendency to simply remake old versions of existing movies that someone else already made. The fact that Star Wars: Forgot to Set Alarm seems to recycle many elements from previous versions confirms my suspicions: there’s the desert planet and pleated khaki outfits; a massive planetary super-weapon with a monocle; the requisite masked evil guy wearing slimming black; and an armor-clad badass with a dippy name (Captain Phasma will turn out to be Boba Fett’s grandclonedaughter). They’re even recycling some of the same characters, using the original actors. Not a good sign!
That was my attitude, anyway, before my recent conversion. What changed? From whence or possibly hence comes my state of inner calm and peacefulness? It’s simple, really: I have seen the official trailer.
Star Wars is going to be awesome. So screw Star Trek.
I could still be wrong, I realize. Although years of watching teaser trailers on my cell phone before I go to bed have given me an acute ability to predict the quality of an entire movie, I am occasionally wrong and caught by my wife. For example, I was very wrong about Pitch Perfect, which apparently was a comedy, not a documentary. It actually makes fun of collegiate a capella, yet brings you close to its spunkdorable heart. But this time, I think I know I’m right. I have willingly committed myself to being greatly entertained by Star Wars: Lucid Dreamstate, or, alternatively, being thrust into a massive spiral of depression from which only a newfound appreciation of William Shatner could heal me.
But the process of being converted from a Star Wars: Hypnogogia apostate to a born-again Star Warsian involved serious struggle. I don’t recommend it for everyone, particularly for Generations Me, Y, Z, or millennials, none of whom were alive at the crucial moment in their developmental trajectory when lightsabers gave you the confidence to stop sucking your thumb. But if you are, like me, tantalized by the prospect of the reinvigoration of America’s very own Niebelungenlied, then you must consider taking the necessary steps to purge yourself of doubt. You must recover your silly love for telekinetic violence and incredibly hot hand-poles. You must be ready to thrill at the sight of entire species perishing in planetary explosions, and advanced robots speaking in beeps for some reason. You must prepare to be amazed.
So purify yourself for Star Wars: The Force Puts On Pants. Join me in this journey, and you won’t be disappointed until you see it in theaters. Follow my noble fivefold path to dedicate yourself to joy:
- First, develop selective memory loss pertaining to the years 1999 – 2005, when nothing happened or was released nationwide.
- Second, ignore the fact that Kylo Ren looks like a duck.
- Third, place an order for this year’s hottest toy, the adorable BB-8 droid. Or just stick a soccer ball up a Roomba’s dung hole and tell your child that the batteries have run down.
- Fourth, convert to Buddhism, learn fencing, and then invent a real lightsaber, please.
- Fifth, don’t give in to fear. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Suffering leads to a teaser trailer. A teaser trailer leads to the Dark Side, which is delirious hope for this movie.