The evil genius is at it again, and I agree with just about everything he has to say in this piece. Oh... and Thanks George!
Hey, Head Geek...
It started last week when I was tinkering with the date anchor on my time machine, trying to refine the system further. I was in the lower lab at the Moriarty complex when one of my henchmen burst in, breathless, excited.
"Boss! STAR WARS trailer! Tuesday!" Considering his limited brain capacity, this was a miraculously coherent declaration. I followed him back to the computer setup where he showed me the official theater list on www.starwars.com, where I saw Mann's Village Westwood listed for Los Angeles.
Within moments, I had dispatched another of my drones to secure tickets for the 7:20 show of THE SIEGE. As soon as he returned with a stack of them in hand, I began to call my friends and fellow evil geniuses, organizing a massive trip to experience the trailer together. The reactions ranged from "HOLY FUCKING SHIT!! WHERE?! WHEN!?" to "Oh, really? That sounds okay." Myself, I felt excited, but not excessively so. More than anything, I just wanted a glimpse at some footage to get an idea of what Lucas' work would look like.
As the days passed, I tried to stay immersed in my work and not think about what lay ahead. It was difficult, though. 15 years of waiting was finally drawing to a close, and old feelings were stirring in me, feelings I hadn't had in a while.
To explain, I'd have to go back to when I was just a baby genius. The summer of 1977, "Moriarty" was only six years old. Although I'd been to the theater to see some Disney films and a handful of other pictures, I really didn't like movies. In fact, I thought they were a bit of a pain. Sitting still for two hours, not talking, paying attention -- these were not a few of my favorite things. My birthday, the 26th of May, was getting close, and I had planned a large birthday party with my various friends. My parents went out on Friday night, the 25th, to see a movie, while I stayed home, my best friend staying over so we could start the celebration early.
The next morning, I woke up ready to get things started and was slapped with a profound disappointment. My parents had decided to cancel the party. Even worse, they were going to take my friends and I to see some stupid movie instead. I hated the idea and tried to talk them out of it. They wouldn't even tell me what the movie was that we were going to see or why I should care. They just herded us into the car, raced to pick up all my friends, and then headed out to the Clearwater 6 Theaters. When we arrived, there was already a line that stretched around the entire building.
We ended up missing that first show because of how many people were there. Didn't matter. My parents were determined to stand in line and get into the second show. I couldn't imagine any film that would be worth such an extraordinary effort, and I kept saying so, loudly. Nothing seemed to sway them, though, and we finally found ourselves heading into the theater.
Once inside, we picked our seats, dug into our popcorn and cokes, and waited. To my seven-year-old mind, it seemed to take forever before the lights went down and the film began. Well, the previews did, anyway. Almost five more minutes crept by before we were finally rewarded with the 20th Century Fox Cinemascope fanfare. As the opening scroll of the original STAR WARS crept by, I found myself interested despite my resentment. All thoughts of my party simply vanished from my head though as the Blockade Runner and the Star Destroyer rumbled by overhead. At that moment, in that theater, something inside me changed forever. All I really remember of that first viewing is the overwhelming feeling that the world wasn't what I had imagined up to that point. As we stumbled out after the show ended into the afternoon sunlight, I made my way to the poster and stared at it, stunned, feeling like I'd been hit.
My parents walked over to join me, and I looked up at them, wide-eyed, trying to make sense of what I'd just seen. "Mom... Dad... who did that?"
"Well," my dad said, "I guess that would be the writer and director." I checked the poster and found a name -- George Lucas. Sure enough, he was listed as the film's writer and director. Although I didn't know what those jobs entailed, I knew then and there what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I told my parents that whatever "writing and directing" was, I would do that. In the 21 years since then, I haven't changed my mind one bit.
Sure, I may have expanded my interests to include global domination and advanced evil science, but filmmaking remains one of the primary goals here at the Moriarty labs. It's because of the enormous impact that the first film had on me that I was trying to retain some sort of objectivity about the prequels. Finally, this afternoon, I tossed everyone into the car and we headed for Westwood.
When we arrived, there was a slight line already, over an hour before the show. We jumped in and started listening to everyone around us. There was a buzz, an energy to the line, and it wasn't like any line I've been in recently. Total strangers were chatting like old friends and old friends were practically dancing from joy as they lined up together. Once we got inside, that same energy was even more pronounced. I was doing my best to remain calm, but I could feel the calm slipping away from me. The minutes crept past... 30 to go... 20 to go... 10 to go... and then, finally, the lights went down.
I won't bother trying to describe the trailer. After all, you've seen it. Besides, I don't think I could. The footage didn't hit me like typical film footage. The analytical part of my brain just shut down and I was that same seven-year-old kid again, standing on his theater seat, screaming his brains out, astonished, amazed, and changed.
All around me, there were actual tears of joy. There was excited hollering. There were hugs, people laughing uncontrollably. As the haze passed and I realized there was a movie playing, one thing kept going through my head.
Thank you, George. Thank you, George. Thank you, George.
As I prepare to sleep now, visions of the prequel dance behind my eyes. I am exhausted, but I know sleep won't come easy. Now that the worst wait is over, the final stretch begins. Six months. I could do that standing on my head. Whatever we're going to see in those theaters next May, it's going to be something special. More importantly, the experience of seeing it with all of you will make it even more special. I am thankful I saw it with that crowd tonight. There was love pouring out of everyone in that theater. There was joy, pure and simple, over the viewing of the footage. I felt like I was among family.
It was a wonderful, magical night, the kind that keeps me going to the movies, and all I can say to sum it up is what I said before.
Thank you, George. Thank you, George. Thank you, George.