Posts Tagged ‘Empire Strikes Back’

Movie Memories

November 24, 2010

Since this is my blog, occasionally I like to write about things from my life related to the blog’s focus. This will be one of those entries. Specifically, this entry will be about memorable movie watching experiences.  What made them so memorable? Read this entry and find out.

Snow White
I saw this in a movie theater on Christmas with my older brother when I was six. We went to church, opened the presents, ate dinner and there was nothing else to do. So, my brother and I went to see a movie. The movie theater wasn’t far so, we walked and Mom would pick us up afterwards. Mom being a good Italian Mom, packed a bag of pizzelles (waffle cookies) for us to eat during the movie. Me, the bratty younger sister, ate them all, much to the displeasure of my brother. (i.e. “You ate all the pizzelles and you didn’t give me one!”) As for the movie, I liked it.

Return of the Jedi
This movie opened in May 1983, on a Wednesday, and I along with a friend saw it that Saturday. Since this was the “last” film in the Star Wars trilogy, lines were around the movie theater at every movie theater in the country that showed this film. The theater we attended was no exception. I had seen the Star Wars films many, many times. (If you must know 8 for Star Wars, 6 for the Empire Strikes Back and 3 for Return of the Jedi and those are the number for the theatrical release of those films before George Lucas released updated versions in the late 1990’s.) My friend didn’t, so I brought her up to speed on the story while we waited for the movie. Then the movie started and I enjoyed the show, especially toward the end when the emperor was zapping Luke Skywalker and Luke cried out to Darth Vader “Father!”  I said aloud in the movie theater, “Do something!” At which point, Darth Vader picked up the emperor and threw him over a ledge. The whole theater cheered when that happened. That wasn’t just a movie I saw. It was a movie I experienced.

Lion King
This animated Disney movie came out in the summer of 1994. The movie got a lot of press for various reasons. One, it was a Disney animated film and that alone guaranteed it press. Two, it was part of the Disney animation renaissance of the 1990’s. Three, there was talk that the movie was a racist/imperialistic fantasy, since Simba was being groomed to be a King and the hyenas (the bad guys in the story) lived on the fringes of the grassland. All of this piqued my interest and I decided to see the movie to learn if any of the controversy was true. Once the movie started I was amazed. The animation was beautiful and I found the story of Simba, the happy go lucky lion who learned what it meant to be responsible adult, very touching. When the movie finished, the glow from the animation and story overshadowed the controversy. Of course, that’s why Disney is synonymous with animated movie.

While these are just my memories, these vignettes show that going to see a movie isn’t always a passive one-way experience. The viewer brings with him or her all sorts of expectations and life experiences when seeing a film. So, in the end, the viewer gives just as much as he or she receives.

Darth Vader’s Costume & Other Ephemera

November 4, 2010

Christie’s Auctions in London will be selling a complete Darth Vader costume from the Empire Strikes Back at a sale on November 25, 2010 of pop culture items. The costume is expected to sell for between $250,000 and $365,000. The previous owner is identified as an American collector and no reason was given as to why the collector wanted to sell this item.

Wait there’s more the Syfy Channel will be airing a new reality show called Hollywood Treasure.  The show deals with the work of Joe Maddalena, the owner of Profiles in History, a dealer of autographs, documents, photographs and Hollywood memorabilia.  Maddelena appeared on NBC’s Today Show and he talked about a few items that will appear in the show. These items include a golden ticket from the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that came from one of the actors in the film, a sketch by Tim Burton for the Nightmare Before Christmas and the Holy Grail of pop culture collectibles, an Action Comic #1, the comic book that introduced the world to Superman.

Yet, the crank in me says “Wait a minute, don’t we have too much junk in our lives?” Shows like Hollywood Treasure encourage people to think that their ephemera is worth something, when chances are the do-dads are only worth what the person paid for them in 1990. As for the Darth Vader costume, other than using it as a Halloween costume, what will the winner of the auction do with it? A costume of one of the most famous villains in film history isn’t exactly an item you display in your living room. That is, unless your home is a shrine to all things Star Wars, then having it in your living room might work.

Then the pop culture aficionado in me says “Shut up crank!” Superman and Star Wars are as much a part of our culture as Huckleberry Finn and The Great Gadsby.  They aren’t just kids stuff. Items of pop culture are both a snapshot of their time and they look forward to the future. They deal with dreams, dealing with loss and finding your place in the world. So, is any wonder that there are people who are willing to spend lots of money to get their hands on an Action Comic #1 or a Darth Vader costume.

Take that crank!

Note: Any mention of auction houses or dealers of collectibles are mentioned for informational purposes only. They are not to be taken as an endorsement.

Sources:
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/39867573/ns/today-entertainment/?gt1=43001

http://www.ology.com/screen/hollywood-treasure-review

http://www.profilesinhistory.com/profiles-in-history.html