Tag Archives: John Williams

The ‘Force Awakens’ Wait is Almost Over! Let’s Do This Thing

About a week ago, I realized that all this waiting for “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens” has become almost second nature.

For a long time, I felt like we would just wait and wait and wait for this new chapter in the Star Wars saga. It’s been a pleasure unto itself, all this waiting, the anticipation. And then, I realized.

We are actually going to see it. The day we have waited for is going to happen.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 14: Stormtroopers attend the World Premiere of ?Star Wars: The Force Awakens? at the Dolby, El Capitan, and TCL Theatres on December 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Stormtroopers march at the world premiere of ‘The Force Awakens’ at the Dolby, El Capitan, and TCL Theatres Dec. 14 in Hollywood. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

For many of you, that day is tomorrow. You’ll be standing in line with your fellow fans to get your seats for evening or midnight shows. Soon you’ll know if all this waiting was worth it.

The rest of us will find out on Friday when “The Force Awakens” is officially released. (If you don’t see it in the first few days of release, well, that’s just a tragedy.)

“The Force Awakens” is about to become a reality, not just a hope. Our countdown is winding down.

I think even if I end up hating what J.J. Abrams has done with the franchise, I won’t regret this time we’ve spent obsessing together over Star Wars. There truly has been an awakening of the Force and it has been nerdy, silly, hysterical, joyful, more than a little insane, and magnificent.

My only regret is that I can’t travel back in time to grab my junior high self — the one who pretended to be an X-Wing pilot in the backseat on long car trips and pored over copies of Lucasfilm Magazine to see how it all worked — and bring her to 2015 so she can witness this moment. She’d never believe it otherwise.

But I know this would create a giant rift of some kind in the space-time continuum and maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe that junior high girl is still here, after all, loving all this crazy adoration of the thing she loved crazily so many years ago.

Early indications are that Abrams has  not failed to revitalize George Lucas’ beloved, slightly tarnished legacy. As I scrolled through Twitter last night, I saw a litany of early reviews. Judging by the headlines, all but one of them was positive. “The Force Awakens” currently has a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

I’m not going to read any of the reviews until I’ve seen “The Force Awakens” for myself, but I’m posting some links here, if you’re inclined to look at them.

Many of them claim to be spoiler-free, but proceed at your own risk:

New York Times review
L.A. Times
Variety
Hollywood Reporter
Chicago Tribune

Time will tell, as it did with the prequels, whether the critics are correct in their very early, mostly enthusiastic assessment of this new generation of Star Wars lore.

Now’s not the time to worry about that though. As you head to the theater to hang out with some of the most fascinating and fun fans you’ll ever meet, to finally see this thing we’ve all been waiting for, I hope it’s a night to remember.

This shared experience proves once again, as Yoda said:

“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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P.S.

This is the best thing on the Internet right now.

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My 2-year-old daughter and I have watched the Jimmy Fallon video I don’t know how many times today. And we spent the rest of the day humming the John Williams theme around the house.

What a score that is! It never fails to evoke a powerful emotional response. It just stirs you.

Let’s hum it all the way to the theater and back.

Photos: moviepilot.com, http://www.starwars.com, http://www.youtube.com.

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Inside Disneyland’s Star Wars: Season of the Force, Part 2

Photos by FAWN KEMBLE
Text by LAVENDER VROMAN

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a two-part post exploring Star Wars: Season of the Force at the Disneyland theme park. Read the first post here

SPOILER ALERT: If you’re planning to visit Disneyland and want to be surprised when you experience Season of the Force, you may want to skip this post for now. 

I was skeptical about the idea of Star Wars: Season of the Force, just as I am skeptical about every new element Disney introduces to its Southern California theme park.

What can I say? I’m a traditionalist. I’m nostalgic. I’m slow to accept change.

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As almost always happens, however, I was impressed with this new addition to Disneyland, an appetizer designed to tide us over until the future Star Wars land materializes.

Season of the Force essentially transforms the generically sci-fi themed Tomorrowland into a temporary Star Wars land, complete with ambiance, attractions, “character experiences,” food and enough merchandise to make your head explode.

This event boasts Disney’s signature attention to detail. It’s fun to explore and discover new things.

The Ambiance

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Immediately upon entering Tomorrowland you’ll notice the Star Wars makeover. John Williams’ signature score plays throughout the area and you’ll find interesting touches everywhere.

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Visiting Tomorrowland at night is a must if you want to really appreciate the ambiance. The area is divided into the Dark Side and the Light Side with creative lighting effects and banners featuring characters from the franchise’s many incarnations.

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The Rebel Alliance insignia is projected onto the side of Star Tours. Apparently, the attraction already features a new destination from “The Force Awakens.”

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The Galactic Empire’s logo is projected across one of Tomorrowland’s murals.

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Beams evocative of lightsabers shoot into the night sky.

Hyperspace Mountain

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Disney has transformed its classic Space Mountain roller coaster into Hyperspace Mountain. The wait for the ride was two and a half to three hours long, but FastPasses were available at the beginning of the day.

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The queue for Hyperspace Mountain features added Star Wars graphics. Admiral Ackbar addresses those waiting, informing them they are about to participate in a battle as part of the Rebel Alliance’s Blue Squadron. I won’t spoil what happens inside the ride. Suffice it to say, it features great use of John William’s famous opening trumpet burst.

Path of the Jedi

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I opted not to check out Path of the Jedi, a new show in the Tomorrowland Theater that features “favorite scenes” in a “celebration of the entire Star Wars saga,” according to Disney.

The Food

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Season of the Force’s hottest food item is the BB-8 Sipper, the cutest sippy cup you’ll ever slurp soda from. It retails for $13.99 and is available at the PizzaPort restaurant. Some enterprising people are already selling it on eBay for upwards of $20.

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See, you can’t resist him.

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The Galactic Grill features an all-Star Wars menu, which includes the Han Burger, The Pastry Menace, Darth By Chocolate, the Cheese-3PO Burger and Wicket’s Wicked Veggie Sandwich. The grill continues to host the former Jedi Training Academy, now dubbed Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. If your kid wants to participate, you now must “preregister” him or her at a kiosk at the Star Wars Launch Bay.

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The Merch

It wouldn’t be Disneyland without a gift shop around every corner and copious amounts of merchandise tempting you to open your rapidly thinning wallet, now would it? The sheer scope of the Star Wars items available in Tomorrowland and throughout the park, as well as Downtown Disney, is almost impossible to comprehend.

So much Star Wars stuff! So much!

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One of the best new items can be found in a little shop across from the Star Wars Launch Bay. There you can pick out a unique faux leather bracelet and have it personalized with your name or text of your choice in Aurebesh, the Star Wars basic language.

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The Star Trader used to feature general Disney merchandise, along with items from Star Wars and Star Tours. It is now exclusively dedicated to a dizzying array of Star Wars stuff.

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One exciting development is that Disneyland now carries awesome clothing and accessories from Her Universe …

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… including the coveted lightsaber skirt …

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… and the most hideous shoes ever invented.

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Make sure to spend as much as you can. The Evil Galactic Empire is watching you!

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Outside the Park

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If you can’t find what you’re looking for inside Disneyland, you’ll certainly find it in the Downtown Disney shopping area.

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The World of Disney store has a whole section dedicated to Star Wars and it features a surprising amount of items dedicated to Rey.

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The Sanuk shop features these knee socks, which will go beautifully with your Her Universe lightsaber skirt.

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Build-A-Bear Workshop features customizable Star Wars teddies.

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WonderGround Gallery has a Star Wars collection.

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Of course, the Lego store is in on the Star Wars action, as well. (Check out that tiny Han Solo in Carbonite.)

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Just in case you forgot something, this Christmas kiosk is fully stocked with everything Star Wars, too.

Happy shopping.