(A major spoiler in this blog if you haven’t seen the movie yet. Although I think I waited long enough to run this one)
I still have not seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I probably will wait until it’s on HBO in a couple of months. I’m a terrible person. I know it. What’s wrong with me? Don’t I want to sit there misty-eyed as Disney and JJ manipulate me with nostalgic symbols of my misspent youth? Don’t I want to cheer as the goodies beat the baddies and cry when a hero finally bites the dust? No. I don’t.
I guess what it is, is I had a traumatic experience in a movie theater when I was a little kid. It was the first movie my parents ever took me to see. “The Sands of Iwo Jima” with John Wayne and John Agar. I must have been about six or seven years old. I hardly remember anything about the picture, but I must have gotten very attached to Sgt. Stryker, the character the Duke played. I guess I thought he was a really neat guy. So at the end of the movie, when he gets killed I went into a total state of shock. I started bawling like you wouldn’t believe. My folks tried to get me to calm down but I just couldn’t stop crying. “He’s dead,” I wailed.”He’s dead.” “Why, why, why?”
My old man must have wanted to haul me out of there, but my mom was more sympathetic. She tried to explain he wasn’t really dead. He was just pretending. “Pretending?” Then my old man got the bright idea of staying for the next showing. In those days movies ran continuously. So it started up again and lo and behold there was John Wayne walking around, talking, shooting his M1. And finally I was convinced.
So now we have another movie where a beloved character bites the dust. Can anyone explain why Han Solo had to buy the farm? Huh? I’ll tell you why. So Disney could bring in a bunch of new action figures to put on the market. Can’t tell me there’s any other reason. People beat up on George Lucas but I like the way he just left us thinking old Han was still out there somewhere being the devilish rascal he always was.
So I’ll catch up with this installment of the series eventually, but I don’t plan to throw any money Disney’s way. And besides I don’t want to get embarrassed sitting in a theater when the lights come up, pretending I got something in my eye.