Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Force is Strong in This One...

Team WestEnders rarely goes out to see movies. Don't get me wrong, we thoroughly enjoy the whole theater experience--the previews, the plush seats, the cupholders, the big screen...the snacks.Yep, give us (and by "us" I mean...well..."me", 'cuz I'm not sharing...get your own) a tub of popcorn with (super-bad-for-you, but what the heck?) liquid butter and a vat o'diet soda (also unhealthy, but did I mention how much I don't care in this case?), and we're in our own personal Cinema Heaven. (Right...did I mention we don't do this very often? So we're pretty easy to please...)

Anyway, a brand spankin' new theater opened in Chapel Hill, and it was marketed as being a very upscale, luxurious setting in which to view a film. And it just so happened that we hadn't managed to make it out as a family yet to catch the most recent Star Wars installment. (What can I say? Time flies...) Factoring in the ice-planet-Hoth-like temperatures this weekend, it seemed the perfect opportunity to kill two...AT ATs...with one stone. (See what I did, there? I'm soooo ready for this...)

So I purchased our tickets online--as the kids do these days--and found that times, they have a'changed. Similar to when you book with an airline, at the Silverspot you choose your own assigned seats. Okay, so far I'm down with this whole process. Then, just out of curiosity, I checked the menu listed for the venue. I'm sorry...BLT Lobster Roll? Dry-Aged Cheeseburger? BRUSSELS SPROUTS? What the WHAT? Suddenly I was less enthused and more...unnerved. Where's the good old fashioned popcorn? And, I see the page-long specialty beer and wine menu...but what if they don't have plain carbonated beverages? Gulp...we may have signed up for something a bit more...fancy schmancy...than we bargained for, my friends.

However, our fears were alleviated when we actually showed up in the lobby. There was a lovely, familiar concessions stand with all of the M&Ms and Twizzlers and other standard items prominently displayed (and the froufy ones on the sign as well, if you lean that way--no judgment, to each his own). Reassured, we ventured down the hall to our designated room, to find the auditorium itself somewhat of a revelation. Wide, ever-so-comfortably padded chairs with an abundance of footroom awaited us. I did wonder at the time why each armrest boasted not one, but two spaces for drinks; this was answered for me later when I spotted a couple, each of whom was carrying their own individual mini-bottle of wine...and plastic cup. (You need space for both of them, yeah? Genius! Also, I realized that I was clearly underutilizing the theater's amenities. Memo to Self: next time, order a grown-up libation...)

With all of the preliminaries taken care of, we settled into our designated places and prepared to be wowed. As far as the physical layout: the screen was enormous, the sound was good, the stadium setup was effective. Check, check, check on all the design details. As for the movie itself? (Which I recognize is a whole separate category--but this is my review, so I'll lump whatever the heck I want in here, okay?) Husband had remained at home, due to a migraine that prohibited him from being able to deal with thunderous explosions and bright lightsaber battles and....whatnot. But the other 3/4 of Team WestEnders...L-O-V-E-D it.

Of course, I grew up with Episodes 4-6 (which at the time were the ONLY ones, so we knew them exclusively by their original names); I adored them, and saw each one enough times to be able to quote lines accurately. The boys have also seen the first trilogy (the only group that really matters, according to their admittedly biased parents) so were up-to-speed on the plotline. What was amusing to me (and heartwarming, I'm not gonna lie) was that we all were able to catch references to the earlier stories, and pick up on parallel features between the old and the new movies. (Desert planet. Crashed spaceship. Renegade 'droid hiding secret message. Badass chick. Swashbuckling dude. Jedis. Good guy gone dark. Evil empire. Defiant rebels. Stuff blowing up. Harrowing high-speed aerial chases. Even a cantina scene, for crying out loud. And as if that weren't enough, already, the colossal bonus of Han and Leia and Luke, and even C3PO and R2D2 and the freakin' Millenium Falcon. Is it any wonder it was so doggone satisfying?)

So, we had a great time in the car on the way home discussing the ways in which this seemed to be essentially a reboot of the 70s films, for a new generation of fans...and listing the questions that were left unanswered to be explored in the next part. On the whole, we agreed that Force Awakens did the series proud...and that we're definitely psyched to see the follow-up...just, maybe at the regular-folks theater, instead!

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