Thursday, December 24, 2015

Can the Force Be With Us?

I have seen the new Star Wars movie, and I will write a post that contains no spoilers.  I will also assume that we're familiar with the older movies, and that I'm not spoiling anything if I say that the new movie carries on with the familiar themes of light and dark, of duty, of right and wrong.

I knew I wouldn't see the movie on the opening week-end, and I thought it might be weeks before I actually saw it.  But I read this article by Linda Holmes that made me want to see it sooner rather than later.

Then a friend who had already seen it wrote to me asking to come along if I went to see it as she thought I had planned to do.  In fact, I thought about seeing Sisters instead, and those were the possible plans she remembered.  But her enthusiasm and my shifting schedule--and her willingness to be flexible in the face of my shifting schedule--helped me find a hole into which we inserted a Star Wars opening.

I wondered if we should buy our tickets in advance, but because of my shifting schedule, I didn't want to do that.  I worried that we might get to the theatre to find long lines and a sold out show.  Happily, we walked right up and got right in.

The theatre was full, which could have been a problem, but everyone behaved (I worried about lots of ambient light from cell phones).  We did have one strange incident.  I heard a strange sound, a moaning grunt, followed by a thump-thump-thump.  Someone had fallen down the stairs in the stadium theatre seating set up.

I was impressed by how quickly everyone came to the person's assistance and seemed to know basic first aid and the questions to ask.  I heard someone say, "He's breathing," and since 8 people were assisting, I stayed seated.  Several big guys helped the frail looking man to his feet, and one helped him make his way out of the theatre.

So, I missed part of a big scene--I didn't totally miss it, but should I get a chance to see the movie again, I'll be interested to see what happened during that time when the man fell down the stairs at the showing I attended.

I rarely see movies these days, and often I see more movies at Christmas, when I have more downtime, more away from school time.  I thought about how this new Star Wars movie is in many ways a typical holiday movie in terms of its splashyness.

It's also an interesting movie to be seeing as Christmas approaches, with Advent texts ringing in my head.  The movie does interesting things with light and dark--nothing unexpected for me, nothing that surprised me--but it did delight me.

Because I am an English major and an amateur theologian, I found all the symbolic stuff irresistible.  As I always do, I think about the larger message.  Is it a movie about God?  Do we see a Christ figure?  I love the intersections of pop culture and religion.

If you do too, don't miss this series at the Sojourners site.  And I wrote about the theology of Star Wars, avoiding spoilers, in this blog post on my theology blog.

I also spent some time thinking about how long it's been since I first saw the first Star Wars, by which I mean the one that came out in 1977, not the chronological first.  It was the first PG movie that I ever saw.  I thought about the life spans of characters, the timelessness of certain plots, and my wish to be part of a graduate class where we could spend several sessions analyzing it all.

I did some of that analyzing with my friend on our way home--but she remembers far more of the earlier 6 movies than I do, and she's seen TV shows and read books.  Clearly I have not kept up, and until I have a long stretch of retirement/unemployment will not be catching up.

Yesterday was an up and down day--there was the happiness of seeing the movie, followed by the irritation of traffic.  There were several trips to see my friend in the hospital; she's doing better, but her recovery is slower than any of us would like.  I went to the insanity that is the grocery store these days--they had what I wanted, so at least the trip wasn't in vain.

I always have this vision of the winter time between school terms as a broad vista of time off--and then I'm shocked at how many chores seem to rush in to fill the space.  Didn't I just put herbicide on the weeds poking through the paver bricks?  Why are we preparing all this food?  If I'm going to be overscheduled, how can I add more fun stuff?

Clearly these aren't quite the right questions.  Clearly I have some work to do in mastering the forces that swirl around my universe.

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