Ever-striving to be a part of all truly seminal moments in human existence, I was there last night, in Times Square, dressed in blue long johns, matching blue ski mask and my authentic 1989 Reebok Pumps, waiting patiently in a three-hour line for the 12:01 premier showing of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
(My costume either "blue screen technology," "space" or "a blue lightsaber blade" to speculating Star Wars dorks; "The Tooth" to any associates who know of my super hero alter-ego was worn to outshine fellow line-waiters The British Kid, who had dressed in a flawless Jedi robe-ensemble, and Bobby, who was wearing . . . a mullet wig. The outfits inadvertently landed us an interview by an international documentary filmmaker, to whom I claimed on camera to be Princess Leah. It also landed me the comment, "I bet you were popular in high school," which ironically came from a 14 year old wearing a "Yoda: Justice" t-shirt and who had, in the past half hour, attacked three passers-by with his glowing lightsaber spin move.)
Yes, I was there last night, just as I have been for the opening-night of every Star Wars film released since . . . well, since the production of my Pumps. And, despite the condescending middle-schoolers and video documentation of my unabashed dorkiness, it was once again a thrilling event. That's not because the movie was so groundbreaking (though it was, by all accounts, better than the previous two 'digital-generation' Star Wars movies). Rather, it's because you always learn something at events such as these. Whether it's from the eclectic crowd or the philosophy-laden flicks themselves, new knowledge and experiences float around like midi-chlorians, ready to empower and enlighten us all (oooof). "Revenge of the Sith" was no different, and that's why I'd like to share some of these new lessons with you.
(Fair warning: reading on from this point is like leaving the "Revenge of the Sith" refrigerator open: it will spoil the contents.)
We quickly find out that Padme (Natalie Portman, for the rest of the fans out there who had forgotten the absolutely-forgettable name "Padme") is knocked up with Anakin's child; soon thereafter, we find out that Anakin's wildly erratic powers have revealed to him that Padme will die during childbirth. Wanting to protect his wife, Anakin allies himself with the Emporer in exchange for dark side powers that will allow him to prevent Padme's death. This leads the An'ster to kill a gaggle of young Jedi kids, choke the wife he was trying to protect and ultimately turn into Darth Vader. Lesson learned: children truly do change everything.
Though he participates in no fewer than three major battles during the course of the film, Obi-Wan's neatly styled coiffure never moves. Doesn't even shift slightly. Didn't matter if he was fighting a giant robot Sith lord in some weird crater, or his apprentice-turned-Mariah-Carey-esque nutjob in a lava field, Master Kenobi's hair remained stiffer than Tara Reid's drinks. Standard Hollywood fare? Or a greater power at work? Lesson learned: the Force can hold hair in place a lot better than the $1.99 can of Rage 4X Mega Hold hairspray that I don't use.
In Episode II, we got to see a glimpse of Yoda throwing down his cane and wiling out on Count Dooku. In episode III, Yoda not only tosses the walker aside, but he also disrobes and takes the Emperor on mano a mano. The ensuing battle features Yoda bouncing around like a super-ball on speed, hurling lightsabers, electricity and stadium seating at the Emperor with reckless (yet thoughtful, Jedi-planned) abandon. Though the battle ends a draw, and Yoda exiles himself for the time being, it does make one thing absolutely clear: that wrinkled little sum'bitch needs a walking cane about as much as I don't need a shower. Lesson learned: until midgets get jetpacks, 'agile Yoda' is officially the coolest (term used relatively, mind you) sub-four-foot entertainment in the world.
At the end of an intense, angst-fueled climactic battle on some wild volcanic planet, a really salty Anakin tries to jump over Obi-Wan's head and . . . well, we never find out what he had in mind, because Obi-Wan takes a few choice swipes with his lightsaber and airborne Anakin lands on the ground sans a few body parts. A heart-wrenching exchange then takes place before Obi-Wan, with a heavy heart, leaves Anakin for dead. Sure, the Emperor skulks on in, grabs Anakin the mannequin and turns him into Darth Vader, but that doesn't change the fact that the elder Skywalker wasn't doing much walking for a hell of a long time. Lesson learned: on the long list of awful ways to die, having three limbs cut off and catching fire on the banks of a molten planet . . . well, that's gotta be up there.
Finally, after being condemned to the life-sustaining Darth Vader outfit for the rest of his life, Anakin awakens and asks the Emperor what happened to Padme. When the Emperor reveals that Anakin himself killed Padme (a load of horseshit, that scoundrel), Anakin "force-fully" flips out on everyone in the room before spreading his arms wide and howling, "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" That's Darth Vader's last line in the film. Lesson learned: even the most bad-ass villain in the known history of villainy can't make an over-wrought "nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" yell seem credible. Has there ever been an actual living person who screamed that in a moment of tragedy? My guess?