Fate and Sith (entirely SPOILER-FREE)
Although I don't believe in the axiom that 'everything happens for a reason', what at first appeared to be a tragedy turned out to be just the thing I needed. As I mentioned a couple days ago, I was planning to see Revenge of the Sith twice before it premiered today. The first was to be a screening by a manager of a multiplex who was going to watch the film before actually releasing it at midnight a day later. Turns out that Lucasfilm thwarted our devious plans by refusing to deliver the movie until Wednesday. In the email words of my cohort who was hosting the event: "roger that on the HATE LUCAS IM NOT SENDING THE FILM OUT TIL WEN. :( what a fag. Or he might be the genius that we both know he is." So, slightly perturbed, I hoped that other unseen cosmic events wouldn't prevent me from seeing it at DC's Uptown theater at a 7pm Wednesday screening, the same venue that hosted a charity premiere with Carrie Fisher the week prior.

Arriving on the scene with my gracious radio-station winning benefactor (an equally enthusiastic fan), we claimed our tickets and walked down the street to the end of the line, passing by the people camped out on the sidewalk for the midnight show. Fans were dressed in all manner of Star Wars regalia, from Maul costumes to Imperial officers to Stormtroopers; even that bald assistant to Lando with the electronic gear around his head. (His name escapes me right now. No prize to the first person to get it. However, I should note that I found it odd that he dressed up as an obscure character. Probably he is the elitist-type fan -- unlike myself.) One campsite (no other words to describe it) actually had a TV and VCR hook-up where several fans were hunched over fervently watching the teleplay. Not suprisingly, it was a tape of "A New Hope". Truly to be expected, but I found the level of focus that these campers displayed watching this film they had all seen many times before to be a little weird. I mean, I know they are fanatics, but do you really have to pay attention in case you miss something from the film? Admittedly, this is coming from someone who tends to pop in an episode when I get home from a night out and view it as if my life depended on it, but certainly not in broad daylight. And not with TV cameras and children around. I also saw the most morbidly obese Princess Leia (in A New Hope gear) imaginable. If she had busted out the gold bikini I think I would have tried to catch a matinee of Monster-In-Law instead.

In any event, and I am coming to my point in case you're wondering (at least, I was wondering, since I typed it -- okay now I am in FULL digression...). Sith provoked the most powerful emotional reaction I've ever experienced from a movie. My eyes welled up with tears several times during the course of the film, and I did have to blow my nose when it was all over. In a nutshell, the movie went beyond all expectations and blew me away. I left the theater emotionally shaken, unable to really talk about the movie. The only other film that affected me that powerfully was when I saw Saving Private Ryan in the theater. When I exited that movie, I went to a bar and got a drink and just sat there for about two hours, stunned. The same happened in this case; I went out for a while with my equally shattered friend and we just tried to take it all in.

Some friends came up and everyone asked how I liked the film. My responses either elicited laughter or aghastment. When I mentioned that I cried a few times in the movie, one female looked at me with horror and said, "You cried at a Star Wars movie?!?" Another patron asked me if I knew that it was all make-believe. It's difficult to talk to your average film-goer and relate the power, drama, and intensity of this masterful addition to the series when all they want to know is, "How were the special effects?" My answer is, "Brilliant. And welcome. To be honest, I needed a break from all the drama. The lightsaber duels were my down time." That's how I feel about the plot and delivery -- the special effects were just window dressing.

Just a few notes of comment -- I'll go into a SPOILER analysis at a later date when I've seen it a few more times. It's too soon to say, but I think this may be the best of the entire series. It carries an emotional punch only rivaled by Empire. The most intriguing scene to me was at the Opera House -- the speech by the Emperor to Anakin will be debated about for quite some time for its startling revelations. The most emotional scene (and there are a few) has to be right before Obi-Wan and Anakin draw sabers at the end. Scary, sad, riveting, and revealing without a doubt what Vader's intentions were when he was trying to seduce Luke in Cloud City. There's plenty more to gab about, but I'll save that for another time.

Notably, Jaquandor had a similar reaction, the eruditic fan he is. He's not just some fanatical liberal after all. Or maybe he's trying to trick me...

And finally, my point. I don't think I'm ready to see the film again for a while. It was so emotionally draining that I don't think I could take seeing it twice in 24 hours. So, Lucasfilm in the end knew what was best for me. I thank him and his genius, yet again.

UPDATE: My friend who had not been able to furnish the clandestine premiere furnished me with a perfect clarity downloaded version on DVD. I'm watching it now. BE JEALOUS.

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