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Movie Night Preview: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

April 12, 2016

written by Brian Shesko

This very well could be the most excited Student Activities has ever been for a Movie Night. Join us on Saturday, April 16 on the lawn outside the Vines Center starting at 9 PM (or “the darkside” of the day) for a one-time-only showing of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

In one sense, you have to be at least 39 years old to truly say that you grew up with Star Wars. A New Hope was released in May, 1977, and presumably not many infants were there to see it, so you probably need to be a little older than that. Since Star Wars was an instant and massive success, its lasting influence was nearly guaranteed, especially compared to some of the other successful sci-fi movies that were around in the late 70’s. Planet of the Apes’ sequels, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Logan’s Run were all pretty big at about the same time Star Wars was released. But which of these did your older siblings or parents anxiously wait to watch with you, becoming not so much a fun movie night as much as a rite of passage? Which of these movies, or any other movies for that matter, continue to grip audiences the way Star Wars has since the very beginning?

This is why anyone who loves Star Wars, regardless of the generation, feels like they grew up with it. Despite nearly 40 years of distance since the original release, despite all of the weird, George Lucas, “Special Edition” edits to the original movies, and even despite Jar Jar Binks, there is something about Star Wars that captures a viewer’s attention and imagination from the moment the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” appear on the screen and the John Williams theme blasts into space.

The Force Awakens builds a near-perfect bridge from the original trilogy to what will eventually be Episodes 7, 8, and 9. As one critic described it, J.J. Abrams’ touch on Star Wars is perfectly depicted in the scene with Finn & Rey as they escape Jakku in the Millennium Falcon: with his new cast flying away from TIE fighters through the wreckage of star destroyers on a Tatooine-like desert planet, it is as though J.J. Abrams is joyriding through the amazing history of the Star Wars universe. The Force Awakens is both familiar and novel, with Abrams adding all of the obligatory throwbacks that long-time fans would want while simultaneously making the movie his own and setting everything up for Episodes 8 and 9. It was the movie event of 2015, and it further reinforces Star Wars as the premier, cross-generational movie franchise. As critic Matt Zoller Seitz said of it, “These films are a part of American history, cinema history, and our personal history, all at once.”

As usual, our Movie Night is free to attend, we provide free popcorn, and other concessions are available for purchase. Please contact us with any questions or concerns, and be sure to check out our website for more information about our upcoming Movie Nights and other events.