The Force Awakens (No Spoilers)

Fear ye not, you shall find no spoilers here.  Furthermore, this is not a movie review blog.  You are safe.  Read on if you are so inclined.

So apparently along with much of the population, we Picts went to see ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ this weekend.  My husband – the biggest Star Wars nerd in the family by far – had been tempted to do the seven movie marathon at our local cinema but then saw sense so we were all able to go and see if for the first time together.  Tickets were pre-ordered, SW themed clothing was donned (except by me) and off we trotted to the cinema.

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We arrived an hour early but even then we had to join a lengthy queue to get into our screen.  We played Star Wars Top Trumps in the line in order to stave off any boredom and moaning.  The atmosphere was lovely.  Everyone was excited and was geeking out.  A trio of young men in front of us were doing wookiee impressions.  I loved that we were sharing this experience with our kids.  My husband and I saw the original triology in the cinema when we were wee (I did not see the A New Hope on its original release, of course, since I was actually too wee) and they were a set of movies that stuck with us our entire lives.  I loved the movies but am mostly a SW nerd by affiliation.  My husband is a SW nut.  Our kids were weaned onto SW at an early age.  I have video of my second son, as a baby, being able to name SW characters.  Of course, what we enthused about were the original triology.  The prequels were astoundingly dismal.  My husband and I still saw that trilogy in the cinema but we left disappointed every time.

I, therefore, went into the cinema feeling cynical about this new sequel but hopeful nevertheless; I left the cinema feeling relieved and entertained.  It was a rollocking fun movie with soundly defined characters, solid performances, great set pieces, and enough references, mirroring and echoes of the original movies to make it part of a cohesive sequel and to satiate the nerdom of we SW fans.  There was also an avoidance of exposition (something which made the prequels so snoresome) which in turn creates intrigue for the forthcoming movies.  All six of us found lots to dissect, discuss and analyse once we were back in our car (having taken a vow of silence in the cinema lest we accidentally spoil it for someone overhearing us).  Best of all, my concerns that my husband might need therapy if the new movie turned out to be rubbish were made irrelevant.  All six Pict movie nerds were happy.

 

Geeking Out at Comic Con

On Saturday, Mr Pict took the two middle-sized boys to Comic Con in Philadelphia.

One of the things that we considered in our relocation to America was that the particular area of Scotland in which we lived did not especially serve the needs of my geeky children.  With two certified nerds as parents, it was always likely to be the case that we would spawn geeky kids.  For years, the context in which we were rearing them worked perfectly.  Had they been into competitive sports, especially ones like football (soccer) or shinty, or into playing traditional music (brass band or bagpipes) or been passionately outdoorsy, then there would have been no real difficulty in continuing to raise them where we were.  However, they love movies and our closest cinema was an hour away – and it only reopened the year before we departed – and they also love museums and art galleries and comic book stores and shops selling items from cult TV stores and exhibitions of geekdom.  Every time we wanted to take them to something like that, it was at least a 180 mile round trip.  Furthermore, that trip was on roads that wiggled through mountains and glens and around the crinkly coast line of sea lochs.  Given that two of our children (oldest and youngest – boaking bookends) get very travel sick, it could all be a bit tiresome.  Therefore, while it in no way was even among our top priority reasons for relocating and, indeed, emigrating, being a whole lot closer to accessing such things is a very welcome benefit.

I have shared before that my middle two sons are comic book fanatics.  The other two also like comic books but with nothing like the zeal of their brothers.  Those two love anything DC or Marvel in particular and have now read so many books on the subject that they are geeky wee encyclopedias of knowledge of different heroes and villains, even obscure ones.  They were overjoyed to learn that we were going to be living just a very short car journey from a great comic book store.  They, therefore, just about exploded with excitement when Mr Pict told them that Philadelphia was one of the cities that hosts Comic Con.

They wanted to dress up in costume to go but opted not to go over the top.  The 7 year old wore the accessories from his Batman costume and the 8 year old dressed as Finn from ‘Adventure Time’.  One of the things they really enjoyed about their day at Comic Con was seeing all of the cosplayers in their top notch outfits.  Mr Pict told me that they were reacting as if these people were the actual characters or actors from the movies.  Their mouths were apparently agape when they saw one guy dressed as Deathstroke.

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The highlights of their days were going to a Q&A with Sean Astin – especially when he stated he thought the “Truffle Shuffle” was mean and did an impression of Gollum – and a Q&A with Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie from ‘Captain America – The Winter Soldier’.  The kids love the way all the movies in the Marvel universe tie together so they were geeking out getting to see two of the main characters from that movie.  They also got to sit in a Batmobile, see displays of art work, buy minifigures from a stall selling custom lego, shoot zombie targets with a BB gun, root around stalls selling all sorts of toys and memorabilia and had their photos taken against a bluescreen which put them in the line up with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

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(Photos taken by Mr Pict on his phone.)

Suffice to say that they came home exhausted, exhilarated and entirely geeked out.  They want to go next year too.