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movies

A Good Mystery

I actually left the house yesterday for a morning out (celebrating the audiobook release and the start of writing a new book) to see the movie Knives Out. I’ve been wanting to see it and I was afraid it would leave theaters soon (though the Oscar nomination for screenplay may help keep it around longer — I saw a 9:30 a.m. show and while the theater wasn’t full, there were more people than I usually see in morning screenings). I thought it was apt for something to watch before starting to write another mystery novel.

Though I’m not sure if it was inspiring or intimidating. It was nice and twisty, though I did figure out the final twist ahead of time (to be fair, I had three candidates for what it might be, and I was right about one of them), but I think it was as much of a character study as it was a mystery, though it did feel like a modern take of the classic Agatha Christie-style mystery. It was set in a somewhat spooky grand mansion (the home of a successful mystery novelist, so it was full of props you might expect to go with that), with the novelist’s various family members gathered for his birthday party, and all of them had motives for murder. And then the brilliant outsider detective shows up to investigate the crime. If there was a crime. It was a really tight script, and I can see how it got an Oscar nomination. I kind of want to see it again now that I know what was really going on to see how it was all set up.

I can’t say too much more without giving away the twists, but it ended up being a lot more hopeful and uplifting than you expect from a murder mystery. It was also really funny in places. The cast seemed to be having an absolute blast and really inhabited their characters.

If you like stories like And Then There Were None, then you’ll want to catch this one. I don’t know if it’s an absolute big screen must-see since it’s more about characters than spectacle, but I think there are little details that will be lost on a smaller screen that do make a difference in how you see things. Plus, it’s absolutely gorgeous. They did something with the photography that saturated all the colors, so it looks really rich.

I guess I wasn’t too intimidated because I came home and wrote the first chapter in a new mystery novel.

movies

Looking Back at Star Wars

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been rewatching all the Star Wars movies. It’s been an interesting experience, since I hadn’t rewatched most of them in ages. I hadn’t watched the original trilogy since the prequels came out, and I hadn’t watched the prequels since their original release era. That meant I hadn’t really looked at the originals in terms of what was revealed in the prequels, and I hadn’t considered any of them in light of the newer films.

I have to say that while the first movie still holds up really well, the rest of the original trilogy doesn’t. Some of that is because Lucas undermined himself with some decisions he made in the prequels. For instance, all the “Luke is our last hope, no, wait, there’s another Skywalker” drama. Well, the Jedi were supposed to have been celibate. They weren’t allowed to marry and have families. There’s only a Skywalker bloodline because Anakin broke the rules and married. That means the Force-sensitive people who were Jedi candidates had to have just randomly appeared all along. If it was strictly a genetic trait, then making the people who had that trait be celibate would have led to it dying out. Where did the Jedi find their candidates all along? Wherever that was, couldn’t they have found those kinds of people again now? The galaxy should have been full of “hopes” who had just as much potential as the Skywalker kids, maybe even without so much Dark Side potential.

In fact, why were they waiting around for Anakin’s kid to grow up, with no effort to train him? They had twenty years to prepare. They didn’t find Force-sensitive people and get them to Dagobah? What would have happened if Jyn Erso and the Rogue One crew hadn’t defied orders to get the Death Star plans, which led to the droids ending up on Tatooine and bringing Luke into the fray?

I know a lot of people were really distressed by the revelation in The Last Jedi that Rey was nobody, that her parents were nobody. While I’m not sure I believe that, since Kylo Ren was trying to manipulate her at the time, where did they think the Jedi came from during the glory days? They were all nobodies. There was no noble line of Jedi families because the Jedi were celibate.

The Empire Strikes Back is often considered the best movie in the series, but I’ve never liked it that much. Some of that was because nothing could have lived up to the anticipation, some because I was so thoroughly spoiled from reading the novelization so many times before I saw it that I had the movie memorized before I saw it. But analyzing it from a story perspective, I think it’s pretty weak, mostly because the stakes are actually pretty low. After the opening battle and escape from Hoth, the Rebellion no longer matters. Everything becomes entirely personal — will Han and Leia manage to escape, will Luke be able to train as a Jedi, will Darth Vader catch Luke. Personal stakes aren’t necessarily bad, but in something that’s supposed to be epic, you need a bigger story question than “will they repair the ship?” And we have more undermining from the prequels — there, becoming a Jedi is a lifetime thing, with children taken away from their parents at an early age, then going through an extensive program of training, followed by apprenticeship. Luke can’t have been on Dagobah more than a few days, and yet he’s declared fully a Jedi. I guess the other Jedi wasted a lot of time. And how did he learn to build his own lightsaber? Did he find a YouTube video?

The Last Jedi follows a similar story arc and pattern to The Empire Strikes Back, but the stakes are much higher — the survival of the Resistance. It’s not just whether one ship can escape, but whether any of them can. Rey isn’t meant to have had a full Jedi training while with Luke. She gets a crash course in connecting with the Force, but there’s no “you’re a full Jedi now, I have nothing more to teach you.” The bit about Rey already having everything contained in the sacred Jedi texts wasn’t because she’d learned it all but because she’d already stolen the texts.

I found the newer movies a lot more engaging than everything but the first one. I have a lot more thoughts about the views of heroism and all that, but this is getting long and I need to think more.

movies

Last Christmas

I took a day off yesterday for a Grand Day Out. I did some Christmas shopping, got groceries, ran some errands, then went to the mall, did some me shopping (some things I should have bought ages ago but didn’t want to deal with the mall), and saw Last Christmas. I was glad it was still in theaters because I wanted to see it, but they released it in early November, when I was so not in the mood for Christmas stuff.

I’d heard that the marketing was misleading and that it isn’t the romantic comedy it looks like, and I think it helped knowing that going in. I might have still figured it out at about the 3/4 mark. I actually didn’t mind that it wasn’t really a romance. It’s nice to see that a romantic relationship isn’t the only kind of happy ending. I enjoyed the movie a lot. It’s fun and fluffy but also has some depth to it. You can tell Emma Thompson wrote the screenplay because the dialogue is very sharp and witty. I laughed a bit and had a good cry, so it was just what I was looking for. I don’t know if this is the sort of thing that I want to get on DVD and make an annual tradition out of watching, but it makes for a good antidote to the bland, cookie-cutter Hallmark movie if you want something that feels seasonal and very Christmassy without being the same old thing.

The ads make it look like one of those TV Christmas movies, and it very much isn’t. I’d say it’s kind of like the Kate Winslet side of The Holiday (more focused on personal growth than on romance) crossed with something like It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Carol, but done as though it was one of the story threads from Love Actually (London at Christmas).

Now I have to buckle down for the crazy weekend. I need to bake cookies today for the church cookie sale. Tomorrow I have a big choir rehearsal, then a party tomorrow night, then my children’s choir is singing Sunday morning, and I’ve got two Christmas concerts on Sunday that I’m singing in. I also have a party Monday night, but I hope to get some rest on Monday. Tuesday is supposed to be cold and rainy, and I’m planning a day in my pajamas, watching Christmas movies.

movies

Spooky Stories

The neighborhood association had to postpone the movie night in the park because it got awfully chilly and there were high winds that would have been bad with a movie screen, so I stayed in and watched a BBC adaptation of “The Turn of the Screw.” I’d read the story when I was researching Rebel Mechanics, since it was about a governess and in my very early preparation I was thinking of doing something more gothic (that didn’t last long because Lord Henry refused to be a brooding gothic hero type).

I don’t like horror, but I do love a good ghost story, especially an ambiguous ghost story — is it a ghost or is she nuts, or is something else going on? I guess you could say I like gothic, not horror. I’m all about the atmosphere. Give me windswept moors, old houses with secrets, creaking staircases, dense fog, mysterious men you’re not sure you can trust. I’m a sucker for those old books with women in floaty nightgowns fleeing spooky castles. In fact, my favorite nightgown is made from a pattern for a Halloween costume for a gothic heroine. When I wear it, I feel like I need to be running from a castle on a foggy night.

This version of “The Turn of the Screw” was interesting in part because it was essentially a Downton Abbey prequel. It was made a couple of years before Downton Abbey, and the main character — the governess — was played by Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary). There was a framing story in which the governess is in an asylum and telling her story, and the curious psychiatrist who was trying to get the story out of her was played by Dan Stevens (Matthew). They had a really nice chemistry in their scenes, so I wonder if this film had anything to do with the Downton Abbey casting.

The story is about a governess who comes to work at a spooky old house, where she’s in charge of a couple of really creepy kids. Are the kids in danger from some outside force, or are the kids just evil?

Another good “creepy house” movie is The Others, about a woman and her children in an old manor on the Channel Islands just after the Nazi occupation. I can’t say much about it without giving away the twist, but the atmosphere is really spooky. I have to admit that I still enjoy the Disney cartoon version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Or there’s the ghostly romantic comedy The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

In a way, spooky ghost stories are more appropriate to Halloween than all the monsters and mayhem, since Halloween is “All Hallows Eve,” which is a time when supposedly the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead becomes thin. In the church, All Hallows (or All Saints) is the day to honor the members who came before us and who have died in the past year. It’s a time for metaphorical hauntings, even if you’re not into the literal kind.

And I think I’ve just added an item to my literary bucket list. I need to write a spooky house story.

movies

Revisiting When Harry Met Sally

I was reminded this summer that it was the 30th anniversary of When Harry Met Sally …, which is one of my all-time favorite movies. I remember it having a huge impact on me when I first saw it. It was the summer just before my senior year of college, so I wasn’t too far from the experience of leaving college to start a new adult life, I was planning to be a journalist, like Sally, and I was trying to imagine what my adult life would look like. That summer, I had heard from a high school friend who’d tracked me down, so I think I had fantasies brewing about a Harry and Sally thing happening (it didn’t — I never heard from him after that, other than running into him at a class reunion).

I hadn’t rewatched the movie in a long time, and I was in the mood for that sort of thing, so I watched it last weekend. It’s interesting how much my perspective has changed since I’m now a lot older than the characters. The friends-to-lovers thing was one of my romantic fantasies when I was younger and is still a favorite in romantic books, but I’m not sure how well it actually works in real life. Even in the books, there’s an element of attraction from the start in the friendship, or else there’s a time gap and the element of attraction hits when they’re reunited. In reality, it can be really awkward to try to make that transition, and it’s even more awkward when the feelings aren’t mutual — and if you’ve managed to remain platonic friends for a long time, the feelings probably aren’t mutual. One person may develop feelings, but the other is going along in platonic mode, either utterly oblivious or pretending to be.

Even with Harry and Sally, while they’d met earlier with zero interest, so they’d known each other a long time, it was only a little more than a year between them becoming friends and the big kiss at the end, and there were hints of sexual tension and attraction brewing long before that. It was more of a slow burn starting in friendship mode than a longtime friends into lovers situation. Realizing that has made me really rethink how that fantasy plays out in fiction and makes me feel better about the times when a friend became interested in me and it really freaked me out and made me uncomfortable. All those times I had my own Harry and Sally fantasy, it involved someone I was already interested in and wished would see me a different way, but when the shoe was on the other foot, I wasn’t all that keen, which makes me glad I didn’t make any moves on the people I was interested in who clearly didn’t see me that way.

But mostly I enjoy that movie now for the settings, especially all the gorgeous fall scenes, the jazz music, and the group of friends. Princess Leia may be one of my role models, but this is my favorite Carrie Fisher role because it allowed her to unleash the snark and be funny. I love how her character goes from being the one who’s a real mess at the beginning to being the one who’s sane and settled and dealing with her friend who’s a mess at the end.

It’s also a little alarming seeing how much of my wardrobe my senior year of college resembled Sally’s wardrobe in the movie. I’m not sure if I was trying to copy that look or if that was just what was in style and available then. I remember a lot of menswear-influenced jackets, and I even had a hat. Unfortunately, I was living in Austin at the time, so we didn’t really get the kind of fall weather that made that sort of thing very comfortable.

I wish we could get more films like that now, with actual grown-ups in a romantic comedy with sharp dialogue and fleshed-out characters. So many of the scenes, I felt like I was eavesdropping on actual conversations rather than watching a “scene,” which made the movie feel more real, not as artificial as so many romantic comedies can be.

movies

Steampunk at the Movies

When I first had the idea for the book that became Rebel Mechanics, I started preparing to write it by reading every steampunk book I could find, just to see what the genre was like and what had been done with it. I determined that there were three primary approaches to a steampunk world.

One was alternate history — it was our world and our Victorian era, but technological development, and sometimes other factors, had gone a different way so that the steampunky elements and retrofuturistic technology existed.

The other was secondary world — it’s a fantasy world (like Narnia, Middle Earth, Westeros, etc.) that looks a bit like our Victorian era, but with stempunky twists.

The third was post-apocalyptic — in the future, society has been destroyed and has rebuilt to approximately a Victorian level of technology/culture, with twists that make it steampunky rather than the way our Victorian era was.

I obviously went with alternate history, but one of the steampunk series I liked the best took the post-apocalyptic approach — the Hungry Cities series by Philip Reeve, starting with the book Mortal Engines.

I was pleased and hopeful when I heard that they were making a movie out of that first book because if it did well, it might open the door to movie interest for the Rebel Mechanics books. Alas, the movie was rather a bomb, in spite of having Peter Jackson (of the Lord of the Rings movies) involved. I didn’t get around to seeing it at the theater, but out of curiosity I checked the DVD out of the library.

And ouch. It’s been about ten years since I read the books, so I don’t remember a lot of plot details, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t basically Star Wars. Some of the imagery was wonderful, bringing to life this weird world where the cities are mobile, on giant tank-like treads, scouring the earth for resources, and with some of the larger cities preying on smaller, less powerful cities. But so much of it also looked like a cheap Disney Channel production, especially when any characters were talking. And yet it didn’t seem like the movie was aimed at teens because the characters were significantly aged up (they’re 17 in the book, but one of the actors was pushing 30 when it was made, and the characters seemed to be treated like they were 20-something). I felt like the movie skipped on explaining anything that was going on, and like I said, the end sequence was basically the battle against the Death Star from Star Wars (or possibly the similar sequence from The Force Awakens).

The worse thing was, it was rather boring. Midway through the movie, I ended up looking up the entire cast and their histories on IMDB, and then got sidetracked in random web surfing. That’s a bad sign.

I had thought while reading the books that there was no way this would be filmable. It turns out that the stuff I thought would be impossible to film worked out rather well. But somehow they managed to miss the point of the books while writing the script and turned interesting characters into generic tropes. Great visuals can’t compensate for that.

So, if you love steampunk and were looking for a good steampunk movie, this isn’t it, and I’m afraid this movie might have killed steampunk on film, for a while, at least.

movies

Ghost in the House

Since I needed to amp up the romance in the book I’m working on, I decided to watch a romantic movie last weekend to try to get more in the mood. I pulled one off my shelf that kind of fit into the same general category of contemporary fantasy, Just Like Heaven. I’d seen it at the theater when it came out, and I’d read the book it was based on. I have the DVD from when the local Blockbuster went out of business and sold off its stock, but I hadn’t actually watched it since I bought it.

This is an interesting premise for a romantic comedy. A widower has subleased a nice San Francisco apartment and wants to do nothing more than sit on the sofa, drink beer, watch his wedding video, and be left alone when a strange woman shows up in the apartment, acting like it’s her apartment and he’s an intruder — except when she goes to call the police, she can’t pick up the phone. She seems to be a ghost, though she insists she’s still alive, but nothing he tries that’s supposed to get rid of a ghost works, and she delights in tormenting him. But their relationship begins to change when he decides to help her figure out who she is, what happened to her, and what’s going on with her. Once they learn all that, they realize they’re running out of time to save her.

The fact that they can’t physically touch for most of the movie makes this almost like one of the old romantic comedies from the days of the production code. The whole relationship has to be developed emotionally rather than relying on shortcuts like sex scenes, and they have to build the sexual tension from proximity and awareness. Reese Witherspoon has way too much fun as the sassy, obnoxious ghost, and Mark Ruffalo does the baffled Everyman thing well. The only thing that would have kept this movie from being made in the 1940s is the technology, which may be why I like it.

It’s also a rare example of a movie being better than the book it’s based on. The book is extremely creepy in ways I can’t describe without spoiling the movie. Let’s just say that an event that’s just one quick sequence in the movie is an extended part of the book, and by extending it more than a few minutes, it gets icky.

It looks like this one is only streaming on Vudu as part of a service, but it’s a rental stream at most of the other outlets. I’m not sure I’d pay to rent it, but it is a nice, sweet romantic comedy of the sort they don’t make anymore. It kind of shows where I stand on romance at the moment that I was mostly sighing over the fabulous San Francisco apartment. That aspect of the movie has to have been pure fantasy, even back in 2005. You’d have to be a multimillionaire to afford a place like that.

movies

Superhero Movies

This week’s movie/sermon combo was Captain America. This was one of the two Marvel Cinematic Universe movies I’d seen (the first Guardians of the Galaxy was the other). I watched it when it was on cable while Agent Carter was running, since I wanted to get her backstory. I checked the DVD out of the library to watch it again to refresh myself before the sermon.

I guessed correctly what the pastor would discuss: the idea that it’s your heart that’s what’s important. The scripture used for the sermon was the story of how David was chosen to be king of Israel, with Samuel wanting to choose the handsome oldest brother and God telling him that He doesn’t see as men see, but looks at the heart. The movie clip used to illustrate the sermon was the part where Tommy Lee Jones’s character throws the grenade into the group of candidates, thinking he’s going to prove his point about the big, strong guy being the man for the super soldier program. Instead, that guy immediately ducks behind a car. It’s scrawny weakling Steve Rogers who throws himself on the grenade to save all his fellow soldiers (it turns out to have been a dummy grenade and a test).

The pastor didn’t mention it, but I thought there was also a good point in the follow-up scene when the scientist is talking to Steve the night before the treatment and talks about how people who are strong naturally may not really appreciate strength, while the weaker man would. That fits the spiritual message about knowing that what you have is a gift, and not the result of what you’ve done.

As for the movie, I love the characters, the casting was brilliant, and I can get on board with the concept, but I found the actual movie kind of boring. It’s a similar problem I have with most superhero movies (and why I’ve seen so few). I think it has to do with some of the same reasons I don’t really like comic books and graphic novels. I’m very verbal, and I don’t seem to process visual information well. If there aren’t any words, it doesn’t mean a lot to me. Anything with a lot of non-verbal action sequences, just fight-fight-fight, is a blur to me and I get bored. I noticed that while watching this movie. I was engaged when the characters were talking, but I’d zone out in the action sequences. I recall being the same way when seeing Wonder Woman. I liked the movie up to the last big action sequence, and then was bored.

There have been exceptions that I’ll have to analyze. For instance, WALL-E was practically a silent movie, but I was totally engaged, and I love The Terminator, which is one big chase scene. Maybe it’s just that I don’t like fight scenes, but then I loved the sword fight in The Princess Bride — but it was loaded with dialogue. There’s just something about superhero fight scenes that I find boring — usually two super-strong people punching each other and doing impossible stunts. I suspect I’m not the target audience for these things.

But if I were to get into a superhero, I think Captain America might be it. Steve Rogers is basically my type. I just wish they’d kept him in the WWII era longer because I find that more interesting, and I like the other characters from that era (which is why I loved the Agent Carter series). But I guess they had to move him to the present right away to do the Avengers movie. I’d be somewhat interested in seeing what they did with Captain America in the present, but that would require seeing the Avengers movies, which would require seeing all the others to get the backstory leading into the Avengers movie, and that’s getting to be just a bit too much homework to see what happens to one character. Maybe when they do the Disney streaming service and I can watch them all gradually I’ll give it a try.

The next movie they’re doing is We Bought a Zoo, which I know nothing about, so I guess I’ll go to the Friday-night screening.

movies

Twu Wuv

Last weekend, I watched The Princess Bride again for the first time in years. They’re doing a sermon series relating to movies this summer at my church, discussing some of the spiritual lessons we can learn from a group of movies chosen by the teens in the church, and they’re doing screenings of those movies at the church. I have The Princess Bride on DVD, but I thought it would be fun to watch it with a group, and there was popcorn, so I went to that showing.

Although this is one of my all-time favorite movies, I’ve never been overly thrilled with the romance part of it. I don’t even really see it as a romance, in spite of all the talk about True Love. I enjoy it mostly because it’s the rare thing that is both a hilarious spoof and a near-perfect example of the thing that it’s spoofing. It manages to make fun of the tropes of the fairytale fantasy adventure while actually carrying out the tropes brilliantly. I love the humor, the quotable lines, the swashbuckling, and the emotion in the more serious moments. The performances are all quite good. I’m still astonished that Cary Elwes never became a big-name leading man. He manages to pull off the tricky combination of snark and emotional sincerity, and there’s some quite amazing physical acting during the part when Westley is still not back to full strength and he doesn’t have a lot of control over his body. I suppose he’s done well enough in working steadily from his early 20s into his 50s, but aside from this and Men in Tights, he’s never really been a leading man (which could have been his choice — he may have wanted to be more of a character actor).

But the romance has never really worked for me, mostly because the “romance” part takes place largely offscreen in the prologue. Basically, she abuses him, he puts up with it, and they fall in love. I can maybe see what she sees in him, since he tolerates her abuse and follows her orders. We can see that he loves her, but we never get any indication as to why. We don’t know what he sees in her. We’re just told that it’s True Love. I think that’s part of the fairytale spoof, since that’s how it goes in the stories. They fall instantly in love for no apparent reason (usually in the stories, the guy falls so madly in love with one look at the girl that he’s willing to put his life on the line to win her), and that love is strong enough to be magical. The book is actually a little snarky about it and ends with the hint that things may not go so wonderfully after that one perfect kiss.

But I did kind of get it better after this weekend’s viewing and the sermon. Westley’s love for Buttercup is unconditional and unshakable. He has absolute faith in the power of True Love, and that’s what sustains him and even saves his life more than once. He’s spared by the Dread Pirate Roberts because of his declaration of true love, then he’s brought back from being mostly dead because true love is what earns his miracle. Meanwhile, Buttercup’s faith wavers. She gives up on Westley as dead when she gets word that his ship was attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts and becomes engaged to the prince. Then, in spite of seeing how skilled Westley is in being able to beat the swordsman, the giant, and the mastermind and survive all the dangers of the Fire Swamp, she bargains for their safety, agreeing to marry the prince in exchange for Westley’s life. It’s a sacrifice, but it’s also a lack of faith in him. It actually makes for a neat religious metaphor, with God’s unfailing love and humanity’s fickleness and loss of faith.

What matters in that story is the fact that Westley’s love is so deep and powerful that it sustains him through everything he experiences, in spite of Buttercup’s general uselessness. The depth of his love is what’s so romantic about the story.

Though, when it comes to romantic fantasy, Stardust is my preference.

This week, the sermon is on Captain America. I’ve seen it on TV, but I checked it out of the library to rewatch (they showed it Sunday night, since it’s a holiday this week, and I didn’t want to go out). The preacher’s been making Avengers references in his sermons for a while, so this should be interesting.

movies

Revisiting Star Wars

Since Saturday was Star Wars day (“May the Fourth be with you”), I rewatched the original movie for the first time in ages. I’m not sure how long it’s been. It holds up really well. I even think the somewhat more primitive special effects look pretty good because they look a lot more real than all the slick CGI stuff.

I have that movie more or less memorized, but I still got really tense during parts of it, as if I didn’t know what was going to happen. I guess that says something, when you can recite the lines along with the actors, but you still find yourself holding your breath about whether or not the good guys are going to win this time around. I’m not even sure how they did that. I suspect it has a lot to do with all the emotional subtext, with the music and the editing that trigger your brain to feel tense.

There’s a part of me that almost wishes it had been left with this little gem of a movie rather than building a whole mythology because the mythology doesn’t quite work for me. It made something that was just a lot of fun into something pseudo portentious. Plus, a lot of that mythology was added retroactively, and the series then had to try to make it fit, but it doesn’t always fit well. For instance, making Luke and Leia twin siblings. That was not originally intended (Alan Dean Foster wrote a romance into Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, and Lucas made changes to that book based on the idea that it would be the sequel if the first movie was successful, but he didn’t change the romance). The first movie is clearly setting up a romantic triangle and that revelation came totally out of the blue later. Then there’s the issue of “hiding” Luke from his father by giving him his father’s last name and taking him to live with his father’s stepbrother. They’re lucky that Vader apparently put home way behind him and never checked up on what was going on with those people and never seemed to have considered that Padme had her baby(s) before she died.

At the same time, there are moments that really seem to fit the overall continuity even though they couldn’t possibly have been planned, so it’s fun to look at them in that light. Like Ben’s reaction when Luke mentions that R2-D2 was looking for Obi Wan Kenobi. I guess they roll ‘droids off an assembly line, so there could have been others like R2, but Ben does a double take, looking at R2 again with a look of realization on his face, as though realizing that this actually is the R2 unit he once knew.

I think in the fall, before the next movie comes out, I’m going to have to watch the whole series chronologically. Although I haven’t written any space opera (well, not that’s come close to being publishable), this series has been a huge influence on my desire to write and tell stories, and it’s a fun universe to visit.