Cinematic snack: Revenge of the Sith

"This part always makes me panic, when I realize the sound's terrible and the film quality's bad, and I have to remind myself that these are just the commercials and the trailers, and that the quality of the actual movie will be much better." The darkened theatre swallowed most of my smile and nod, so I added a quick verbal acknowledgement.

We drove, moderately hell-bent, perhaps just limbo-bent or purgatory-bent, from Athens toward the Hollywood 18, aiming ourselves for a 3:45 showing. Star Wars. The last one, sandwiched in the middle of events that had transpired both before and afterward; with the beginning and end already known, all that remained was to consume the center of the cookie and finish the cinematic snack.

Even though most of my childhood was passed in the 1980s, I somehow missed out on most of the mania surrounding the series, needing a shove from a friend in 1994 to finally rent and watch the 'first' three episodes (now the last three) of Star Wars. It didn't do for me what it did for my friends, and I don't know why; I think for most of my friends it is that the mythos of Star Wars permeated their lives so subtly, yet thoroughly, that they simply couldn't comprehend it not existing in a similar fashion for everyone else.

Star Wars … they weren't my movies. I enjoyed them, yes, but didn't share the overwhelming excitement around the release of Episode I. I watched both it, and Episode II, and felt a little cheated. I wanted the breathlessness, the excitement, the childlike joy that my friends got out of the movies. I was disappointed in the quality of I and II, but not nearly so much so as some of my friends, whose vitriol was … impressive.

The release of Episode III did not excite me much. I agreed with Jeff's assessment: to truly link the first two movies with the last three would require a cinematic bleakness that I did not believe George Lucas willing to express. So, when I got the call on Sunday asking if I was free at 3:45 Thursday afternoon, I agreed for a ticket to be bought for me, but didn't share in the excitement.

I saw Revenge of the Sith with a row full of new friends, and wondered if I was the only one in the row who gritted my teeth at the wooden dialogue, and the painful awkwardness of the 'romantic' portion of the story … but something began to happen, something which surprised the hell out of me and still does, even as I write this now: the story won out over the clunky dialogue. There was story, and I reveled in it. In the end, as I watched the mask being lowered onto Anakin's face for the first time, I realized something: I was holding my breath. Even though I knew the end of the story, both its end and its beginning, I found myself wishing that somehow, it was not going to be as I knew it must be.

Do you do that?

I asked Jeff that one time, and he shook his head no. I sometimes catch myself daydreaming in the midst of a previously-watched movie, half-wondering if my viewing changed the content of the movie. If perhaps this might be the one watching in which the tragedy didn't unfold, the hero didn't stumble, or the love fail at the most inopportune time. Even though I know it is set in stone, sometimes I catch myself casting an eye askance. Just in case.

I saw Revenge of the Sith, and you know what? I liked it, and I'm actually a little surprised.

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