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First take/Star Wars

In 1977 I walked into a movie theater to watch Star Wars, a few weeks after its release, to check out the movie the world seemed to be talking about. I liked it, as many did, not as passionately as some viewers did. But I liked it enough to turn up at a theater, in another city, when its successor, The Empire Strikes Back, was released.

Since then it’s become a pattern, and for me an unusual one. Few things will pull me into a movie theatre these days. Viewing at home is a strong enough technical marvel that I don’t miss the bigger screen. The high cost of “going to the movies,” so much higher than in years past, is a disincentive. But so are so many of the movies: Some years ago I passed my fill of movies based, one way or another, on comic books. When I went to a theater for the first time in a couple of years (then, to see the terrific Lincoln), I sat through five previews, three of which were comics-based. Yawn. And another was an animation, which actually looked like the best of the lot, but which I’d be happy to watch at home.

Somehow, though, the new Star Wars movie had to be watched in theater. It wasn’t just that I’ve established a routine through its six predecessors, which were of varying quality. It was also that I sensed I wouldn’t be giving it a fair shot at entertaining me, in the way I was entertained before, if I didn’t see it in that context. So I walked in, so as not to battle crowds, on a weekday afternoon.

And it was enjoyable. It was one of the better pieces in the series. And I look forward to watching the next one. In a theater.

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