Thursday, November 29, 2018

Seeing Star Wars Anew Again

This article was originally published at the venerable Coffee With Kenobi

Attack of the Clones was on TBS the other day. I dutifully and joyfully put it on. This under-appreciated episode of the Saga is much maligned, and I think that is wrong. While viewing this visually stunning masterpiece, I realized that I was reciting all of the lines along with the movie. Like some people sing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Sweet Caroline” or “Frankenstein,” I find that speaking along with these movies is comforting and helps me to find new depth in them. So then the question arises: How can we see these movies for what they are, and not what we expect them to be? By this I mean an even more basic question. Can we ever see these movies new again?
For the past decade we have been treated to The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, each of which has offered new insights to Episode II (among other things); and I would say that it has made it an entirely different movie. So, I ask myself, can I see this movie fresh, or is it constantly going to be colored by preconceived notions that I, myself, bring to each viewing? What if I had seen Episode II after the various cartoon series? And if I had, what would have changed? Certainly not the cinematic output, but me. I would have changed with more insight, or having been at a different stage in my life.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Sympathy for Maul

Force and Faith: Sympathy for Maul 
Please allow me to introduce my subject.  He is a man of power and strength.  He’s been around for long, long years, and laid many a Jedi souls to waste.  Staring into our souls from every poster, every toy store peg and the merchandising for The Phantom Menace was this red devil instilling fear and unease.  His presence in the rise of the Sith is palpable, though his loss of usefulness caused his expulsion from the Sith.  But in the end, he is a cautionary tale for us who are buffeted by the pains of this world. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Royal Majesty Points to the New Hope

Force and Faith: The Royalty Majesty Points to the New Hope 
This past weekend saw a television and historical event that will be remembered for a generation or so — The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  And in our modern echo chamber, you either loved it, had disdain for it, or did not even notice that it happened.  I would like to offer that most of us missed the point of why it mattered.  And it mattered because the fate of the Galaxy hangs in the balance, though not for reasons you may be thinking.

For 40 years we have been following the exploits of a Princess – how she saved her rescuers, how she rallied a Rebellion against evil, and the life we followed in the Legends novels.  We were thrilled when her King and father appeared in the prequel trilogy (and later!).  These admirable examples are the scope through which royalty, monarchy and headship ought to be viewed.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Joy in the Force

We are quite blessed in this renaissance era of Star Wars creativity.  When once we suffered through dark times, we are now embarrassed by riches and opportunity and a wealth of material.  These things make us happy.  Usually.  And the happiness can be expressed in our homes through killer posters or sweet action figure displays.
But each of these things is topical.  Either that is the depth of the engagement for a fan, or there is a potential rebirth of the soul, a nurturing of mankind’s inherent creativity available through finding the joy in the contemplation of this great mythology.
This is the chasm between happiness and joy.  Ice cream makes us happy, Porgs make us happy, and so on.  But each of these moments is fleeting, and does not necessarily leave a lasting sense of joy in our souls.  To find joy in happiness, one must enter deeper into the mysteries and lessons of a thing.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Luke Returns to Life as One with the Force

All that I have learned in my line of work is this:  Wisdom is eternal, truths are unchanging, and yet they find their eternal expression in temporal ways that can only be perceived by the limitations of mere humans.

Throughout my life, all stages, I had looked to Luke for a way to understand some family dynamics and other personal concerns as well.  But then recently, I met this grizzled old-timer on a harsh island that threw something besides salt over his shoulder.  He threw out the legacy of the past, the weight of which was crushing.  Now what do I do?!  On the heels of major family upheaval both in my own home and in that of my close family members, what do we do now?  Look to the eternal, look to what is inherently good, while participating as well as we can, acting out of profound lessons borne of anguish and effort.  How will Luke be judged in his eremitic state?  For me, as with the entire movie (and saga), I am challenged, called beyond my myopic vision, disabused of prejudice.  His actions are more highly evolved than I have even had a chance to give words to.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Go See This: Baptism in The Last Jedi
This is a very enthusiastic recommendation.

Monthly Blogger Ryder Waldron, over at the ever venerable Coffee With Kenobi, posted this excellent piece today.  Did you ever think about all of the water and fire imagery in Star Wars?  How it purifies, refines, and gives purpose to the heroes and villians?  Let Ryder illuminate it all for you in his excellent piece, Baptism in The Last Jedi.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

We’ll Just Use the Force of Music: Review of How the Force Works
When I was a kid, I always went to sleep with the radio on.  Back then, it was the smooth sounds of an 80s synthesizer.  And today, quite often playing in the soundtrack of my routine, are the themes and motifs of Star Wars cinematic scores, of course.  When we were leaving The Force Awakens, I was absentmindedly humming Rey’s Theme, because it seemed unique and grabbed my attention.  And I am not educated in music at all. 

We are now blessed with Full of Sith's How the Force Works - Episodes I-III.  This highly recommended podcast miniseries, which breaks down the music of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is astonishingly powerful.  To come to a deeper understanding of the music, for several years we were treated to the likes of Rebel Force Radio's Star Wars Oxygen: The Music of John Williams.  And now, with the arrival of this new and wonderful miniseries of podcasts, the music of the great maestro and The Last Jedi is brought to life.