May you live in interesting times is often misattributed to the Chinese in terms of origin, but as Chinese scholars are perplexed (having first heard the phrase from Americans), its actual root probably comes from a 1950 science fiction story called "U-Turn" by Duncan H. Munro, a pseudonym for Eric Frank Russell. Science fiction indeed has some interesting times.
Last night, after spending the bulk of the day retching my guts out through all natural routes of expulsion, it dawned on me that Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was out in theaters. I had originally conceptualized myself seeing it at 12:01AM on Thursday morning, the soonest possible chance to see the last piece of this epic story.
But, then, I rationalized that my relationship with George Lucas has ever been one of an abusive relationship ("He beats me because he loves me,") and I didn't think I could glorify this final chapter with the last ounce of my strength on a night that immediately preceded a long work day. I decided I'd see it once the throngs of nerds passed by, and weren't hanging outside the theater in long lines, tweekers looking for the last pinch of coke.
But having spent the whole day in the pits of digestive despair, I lent myself a certain level of freedom from my own emotions. And I hopped on fandango.com and picked up a pair of tickets for myself and my best friend cum neighbor. And off we dashed to see the final episode, dread in our hearts, excitement in our veins, and desperately interested in not being disappointed. Again.
What followed was two and a half hours of nearly uninterrupted bliss. Lucas apparently remembered what made his first trilogy so very unique and cherished: People on a screen who seem real dealing with what seem like real problems in what could be a real universe. The first prequels had us questioning his sanity, as he ripped through "our" universe with reckless abandon, spending 90% on glitz, and 10% on story. In this movie, however a special effects extravaganza unrivaled by any movie to this point it was, Lucas told a story. A story in which you could very nearly feel bad for the bad guy.
Maybe it's just me, but I almost saw myself in Darth Vader's fall; Misled by an Evil Emperor into doing wicked things that end up hurting the people we love. And even if I didn't see myself in that dark character, I was totally wrapped up in every single scene.
Except those scenes with Natalie Portman. She fell asleep at the wheel. Even Hayden out shined her in displayed acting talent. But, c'est la vie.
May you live in interesting times, compadres.