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Movie News For Those Under A Rock

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on May 16, 2005 3:55PM

2005_05_16_hayden.jpgThe films that make up the Star Wars franchise have never been the “sleeper hit” of any summer. But we were still surprised to see Hayden Christansen’s pouty face adorning the front page of the Sun-Times this morning. Man, that Revenge of the Sith hype machine is something. Ebert gave it a rave review as did Michael Wilmington in the Tribune.

Their accolades aren’t entirely surprising. Reviews of early screenings (most notably Kevin Smith’s review last month) have already popped up on the ‘Net and they’ve been quite fawning. From all the hype, you might assume that the reviews have been universally positive. Well, almost. Peter Travers at Rolling Stone panned it (though somehow he found worth in Monster-In-Law) as did Anthony Lane with the New Yorker. But the two previous films (along with countless other summer spectacles) were critic-proof anyway so the fawning might only be seen as vindication of Lucas’s “vision.” If the film is universally acclaimed by audiences and critics then watch for revisionist history to take over on the first two installments.

Chicagoist has conflicting feelings about this latest installment. We listen obsessively for personal parallels in the lyrics of Weezer, live in homes stacked to the ceiling with books and carry Sharpies to correct grammatical errors on signage in our neighborhood. In short, we’re big nerds. We saw both Menace and Clones at midnight screenings that had been planned far in advance. But whether it’s our advancing age or not wanting to feel like a chump for getting pysched up for a disappointing experience, we’ll be getting a good night’s sleep on Wednesday night instead of watchinng the end of the Jedi.

But don’t let our sour grapes dissuade you! There are several theaters all over the city with midnight screenings with others holding screenings at 12:03, 12:06, and 12:09. AMC River East looks as if they’re showing the film continuously for at least the first day.

Also, if you’re nerdy but social, you can catch a screening of the original Star Wars film at Cans tonight where the cheap beer specials demand the use of the Star Wars drinking game. If that’s not enough to help you build up anticipation then head over to your local Chicago Public Library and check out Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces. You can then point out all the similarities between Lucas's epic and classic mythology while you’re poli sci friends blather on about the supposed connections to current American foreign policy.