Why A Winter’s Night Will Change Your Life

The theatrical release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is two months away and today is Force Friday, a retail shopping day for Star Wars fans.

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Photographer: Matt Moloney

The Rise of Skywalker is one of the biggest film releases of 2019, as you probably know. Movie director J. J. Abrams has returned, who in 2015 helmed Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Force Awakens resumes after the original trilogy in 1977, 1980, and 1983, and the Star Wars prequel trilogy, in 1999, 2002, and 2005.

While this is familiar film history, what’s striking is that the Disney company, which now owns the brand, is launching Disney+ in November, when Star Wars will again be newly available. Disney+ is an offering of classic animated features, as well as reboots and the Avengers franchise. Both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi were tremendous hits, but the box office failure of the expensive one-off Solo: A Star Wars Story diminished the profitability of the franchise for Disney, and the success of Disney+ would surely benefit from the continued success of Star Wars.

Disney+ will have much better chances of lasting if Star Wars is reinvigorated by another blockbuster film. There isn’t much question that Star Wars: The Last Jedi divided the fan base. Last Jedi director Rian Johnson dispelled some of the magic of Star Wars by reinventing Mark Hamill’s character of Luke as an old cynical hermit, rather than staying true to the bold Jedi warrior hero who defeats the Empire in Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars fans turned out for Mark Hamill’s reprise of Luke Skywalker after what happened in the original Star Wars trilogy, and instead, Luke in The Last Jedi nearly couldn’t be roused to continue the fight against the Dark Side of the Force.

YouTube’s Looper has tapped into a mega-spoiler: by their account, actor Harrison Ford has returned as Han Solo for a scene in The Rise of Skywalker. It’s understood that Ford had been reluctant to return to Star Wars without a movie script handling his character adequately, as the actor was absent from the cast of The Last Jedi.

There have been announcements about Star Wars that fans ate up. Prequels actor Ewan McGregor will be in the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, not for The Rise of Skywalker, but a Disney+ series picking up after the events of the prequels.

Disney has also announced that Kevin Feige will do a Star Wars film. Feige’s involvement is good news for people who believe in Star Wars, as the Avengers films largely speak for themselves in terms of popularity and quality. With the promise of a bang-on Star Wars film after the Skywalker Saga, there is more reason to believe that Star Wars will again succeed, and if it does, a future with Disney+ is all the more likely.

The other spoiler from Looper is that, contrary to expectations, at least expectations I had, the Force will redeem the character of Kylo Ren when he gives up his allegiance to the Dark Side. Based on the love-hate intensity of their relationship, I held the impression that in The Rise of Skywalker Rey will defeat Kylo Ren and destroy him. The trailer for The Rise of Skywalker seems clear that the final battle will be highly personal.

If instead Kylo Ren changes his allegiance, it will make for a different future in Star Wars. Although audiences believe that the Light Side of the Force triumphs in Return of the Jedi, this time, in 2019, it is possible to think, the Light Side will, at last, have victory.

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Photographer: Leeroy

If you have the opportunity to enjoy The Rise of Skywalker, I hope you have one of the best nights you have ever had in the company of Star Wars’ villains and heroes. It should be a wonderful occasion. I appreciate you very much thinking about it with me. Maybe I’ll see you again come wintertime as momentum for The Rise of Skywalker continues to build.

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Passionate Ice; A Boy Desiring What Others Did Not So Much

Bruce Wayne decided as a boy that he would honour the memory of his mother and father by inventing himself as Batman and challenging many criminals in Gotham City.

I watched Justice League when it went to Netflix this month and I enjoyed it. The camaraderie between the members of the Justice League comes off as solid and the plot of the film is enjoyable. It is curious to see Superman return to life.

Some of the cool moments from my life were opportunities to see films, in movie theaters.  In 1989, cinema fans filled movie houses to see the DC superhero Batman on the silver screen.

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Photographer: Bruce Mars

I had a good time.  Actor Michael Keaton’s role as Bruce Wayne, with its heroism, detachment from wealth, and indifference to romance makes the character of Batman a reinvention.  I suppose Keaton was a surprise star turn, and the subplot of Gotham City TV news anchors unable to appear beautiful on television, owing to poison in beauty products deliverered by The Joker, is clever.

Jack Napier’s transition to The Joker is memorable.  In other scenes from Batman, Billy Dee Williams of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and subsequently in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, appears as Harvey Dent.

The climactic confrontation of the film, at the Gotham City parade beneath a cathedral with the height of a skyscraper, is wonderful.

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Photographer: Yi Ling Tan

When the creepy little video store in the shopping plaza near my home began renting to customers Batman, the store displayed tapes of the film like a phenomenon.  Shelf after shelf were full of the Batman video.  The format was VHS, the cassette for running a film with a VHS player.

I’d been to see it, but I wanted that VHS.  Christmas came, and family placed hand-wrapped videotape-shaped objects under the holiday tree.

They were VHS tapes, but what titles were they?  Us kids wouldn’t know until Christmas morning.  At the appointed time, I opened mine, and to my delight, the tape inside was Batman.

As the family opened our presents, a second tape of Batman under the Christmas tree emerged.  My mother’s brother and his wife had arranged for the gift of the movie Batman as well.  Two VHS tapes of the same film–a double.

What did my dear mother decide, you might ask?  This was a bummer.  She would quietly return a copy of the film to its retail store.

As a twelve-year-old, the price of a brand-new edition of a blockbuster film must be extravagant, I reasoned.  The VHS copy of Batman we had would belong to us all.

I suppose that taught me a lesson, like not to count your chickens before they hatch.  It was as if my uncle and aunt had felt I deserved my own copy of Batman, and Santa Claus did not.  The VHS tape of Batman was a gift, what I wanted and what I was losing.

In 1989, fate unfolded for Batman mobster Jack Napier.  The criminal mastermind falls into a vat of burning acid.  He loses the pigment of his skin and becomes molded with a permanent smile on his face.

I hadn’t earned my own copy of Batman, and I suppose the real lesson was that I should share.  It is a state of becoming tantalized by the promise of something gold and being humbled by the requirement to give it up.  Maybe we didn’t know that doubles of the Batman film were under the tree, but no contingency plan was in place.

I was cheesed.

Batman fans typically embrace the trilogy of Batman movies years later directed by Christopher Nolan, but I didn’t get interested in them.

You’re welcome to like, comment, or follow if my recollection of dealing with a hot trendy thing like the above resonates with you.