The Money Awakens

I am conflicted.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released a few days ago.  As I write this it would seem that I am one of the few who have yet to see the movie.  During it’s opening weekend fans all over the U.S. spent an estimated  $238 MILLION to watch this movie!  That’s not including the money that was spent on food and drinks consumed while watching the movie.  According to news sources the estimated budget needed to make the movie was approximately  $200 MILLION!   And that figure does not include the millions that have and will be spent to promote the movie.

I am conflicted because I love the movie going experience, there is nothing quite like it.  Going to the theater, waiting in line, taking your seat, watching the trailers……and than that moment when the lights dim and the movie starts.  No home theater can replace that experience, or the collection energy and emotion of a crowd while the movie is playing.  At the end of the day, for me anyway, the whole experience is about entertainment and escapism.  Here is where the conflict comes in.  We as a culture spend A LOT of money on entertainment and escapism, and for this example I am referring just to movies.  It is not uncommon for movies to have budgets of $100 to $200 million.   And than we turn around and spend upwards of $500 to $600 million, just to watch one movie!

I am conflicted because, like so many others, I love going to see big budget movies. like.  But sometimes, just sometimes, I think to myself, couldn’t all of that money be spent more wisely?  Billions of dollars spent each year in this country, just to watch movies!  With that kind of money we could help so many people in need, shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, increase the quality of education, reduce the national debt, etc, etc, etc.

So as I prepare to see the new Star Wars movie this week, and look forward to 2016 and the release of more big budget movies, I am conflicted.

I Have A Bad Feeling About This

I may be the only Star Wars fan in the world NOT excited about the impending release of the newest movie in the franchise. Let me just say that I am a HUGE fan of the Star Wars movies. Like many young boys in 1977, seeing Star Wars changed my life. For a long time the original series was my favorite trilogy of all time. The Lord of the Rings had since taken the top spot, but there is no shame in being second.

On paper The Force Awakens sounds like a winner, J. J. Abrams directing, (his reboot of Star Trek a few years back stands as one of the best sci fi movies in a long time), and the return of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. However, with each trailer that I have seen I have become less and less excited. The new characters hold no appeal, the new R2 unit, or whatever it is, looks silly. Although it may be cool to see Han, Luke, Leia and Chewbacca at least one more time, the trailers leave me cold. I would rather see an all new cast of characters. There have to be thousands of stories to tell in the Star Wars universe that do not include characters from the first six movies.

So, will I be going to see The Force Awakens?  Yes, I will, but my expections will be extremely low. The original Star Wars eventually became known as A New Hope, well I hope that the force is strong with this one.