Wednesday, September 30, 2020



Monday night I ventured back out to an actual movie theater. I can't even remember the last time I was in a movie theater--was it for 1917, in the early part of this year?? Anyway, it felt like it had been the year 1917 since I last saw a film on the big screen. 

And what did I choose to watch? A movie that I've seen about a hundred times, a movie I own on different home video formats, a movie in which I know every camera shot and line of dialogue by heart--THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. 

So why pay to see it again?? Well, it is THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Whenever you have a chance to see any of the Original Sacred Trilogy on the big screen, you take it. (And yes, I'm fully aware it isn't the original theatrical version.) It also gave me a chance to go back to the theater--something that I've missed doing, even though the experience isn't nearly as enchanting as it used to be....and I'm talking about what it was like before the virus mess. 

There was only one other person at the showing I attended, which was fine with me. I sat in the exact center of the theater. Did I sneak in candy, like usual? You're damn right I did. 

There were some new trailers shown--one for a dopey "family comedy" with Robert DeNiro as the crotchety grandpa, and Uma Thurman as the mom (Why, Uma? Why??). There was also a trailer for the new Wonder Woman movie I had not seen before, and the more footage I see of this, the worse and worse it looks. 

As for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK--what more can I say? This viewing was just a reiteration of what I had already felt for years. It has by far the best visuals of any Star Wars film. What I mean by that is that it has the best production design, the best art direction, the best cinematography, and the best overall special effects. Combined with John Williams' exquisite music score and Ben Burtt's sound design, the result is a film that deserves to be seen in a real theater, with a proper sound system. 

The other thing that struck me while watching EMPIRE on the big screen again is how clean and uncluttered the storyline is. There's no fluff, no filler. The film has a very smooth flow to it, especially compared with movies today. I can't tell you how many times in the 21st Century I've sat in a movie theater and said to myself, "When is this going to end?" I've even said that during movies I've enjoyed. You don't ever say that during the Original Sacred Trilogy. This version of EMPIRE runs a little over two hours, and every modern filmmaker could learn something from that. 

So, essentially, my return to the movie theater wasn't particularly noteworthy, other than having to wear a mask--and you don't have to wear one when you're stuffing Resse's Pieces in your mouth. I know some people are hesitant about going back to see a movie on the big screen, but I'm not. I'll go again if there's something I want to see--but at the rate things are going, that may not be in a while. What theater chains need to do is re-release more classics--and I'm not talking about just generically popular stuff from the 1980s. It's a human trait to want to go out and do something, and get out of the house. No matter what setup you have in your own home, it's not going to match the experience of seeing a great or beloved film in an actual theater. 

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