Warning: This column contains spoilers about Star Wars III right from the start, if you want to keep a pure viewing, then wait for next week's column. May also contain Nuts.
Star Wars: Episode Three.
What do we know about it? It's called Revenge of The Sith, released on May 19th 2005. It stars Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen who play Obi Wan and Anakin Skywalker respectively. Peter Mayhew will reprise his role as Chewbacca in a battle scene around the invasion of Kashyyyk. Anakin will turn to the dark side under the tuition of The Emperor, spectacularly kill Mace Windu whilst protecting his new master (a scene set as Samuel L Jackson insisted he go out with a bang) and after falling into molten lava at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi, will ultimately be reconstructed as Darth Vader in a suit that George Lucas made especially for Christensen after his protestations that a taller actor would likely wear the original and he'd miss out.
"every scene was a surprise, every twist a shock and every ending emotive leaving you hankering for (or maybe ragingly against) a sequel"
I've told you nothing new, like any Star Wars fan not only did you all have access to this information, but you knew it quite a while ago and it's clear you know more about the film now than you could have ever known about a similar film fifteen years ago. Back then I could of told you potentially... um, who was in it?
When I was an avid cinema goer in my early teens I had maybe two or three avenues open to me to find out about new releases in the flicks. There was the TV obviously, but even back then TV trailers for films weren't strikingly common and they were generally limited to the Cinema themselves. Aside from billboard posters, which are obviously still a key way of promoting films today, you had a few interest magazines where they may have got some exclusive stills and interviews with the cast or production team, yet still few enough little shards of information to leave you wanting more and more. You'd be positively bristling and go to see the film with a handful of mental snapshots, barely enough to give you anything more than slight glimpse into what you were about to see. Aside from the fact you might have the jump on your mates as to what was about to happen, you knew little; every scene was a surprise, every twist a shock and every ending emotive leaving you hankering for (or maybe ragingly against) a sequel.
It's the information age these days which is a double edged lightsabre for the Televisual Train Spotter. You can find out everything about a film well before release and not just the things you can see in the trailer, I mean things which I don't even think I would want
to know back in the early years. Granted, we're close to release of Star Wars and it's only natural for the studio to be ramping up the hype somewhat (er, like they need to?), but I now have an almost prophetic awareness of the upcoming film. I know who's in it, I know bits of the script, I know who dies, how they die, who double-crosses whom, what they wear, where they go, what the sets look like, what the cool robots do, amongst a plethora of other things.
I can still-frame through the ultra-high resolution trailer (one, of course, of many) and study the intricate details of the film I've been looking forward to. I'm going to go to that film waiting for things to happen I've already seen, not being surprised when they do.
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One of the greatest questions I was itching to have answered as a child was how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Now I know, and I know exactly why he needs his mechanical armour and the situation in which it arises. Basically all Lucasfilm is doing for me is putting on some pretty effects and dramatic music. I'll walk out of the cinema thinking "That was cool." Instead of "This looks a bad place to fight, I hope someone doesn't fall in." during it.
The Internet has taken the surprise out of an alarmingly high proportion of people's lives and I do miss the thrill of wondering if they'll make a sequel to a film I like, if they do who will be cast and would they use the things I thought would make it cool? Will I ever look at a movie poster again and think, "That is going to be AMAZING when I see it!"?
Unless I can control my lust for knowledge, (which to the human race is addictive as oxygen and iPods) all the cinemas are doing is reaffirming the scenes for me my imagination has played out several times from filling in the gaps between trailers, script snippets, behind-the-scenes footage and cast interviews.
"I'm going to go to that film waiting for things to happen I've already seen, not being surprised when they do."
It's not limited to films either, predicting the future now extends to technology, cars, television, you name it. I know what the latest emerging hardware is going to be, next years must have clothing, what games are coming up, new albums from unsigned artists (complete with lyrics) and what car people will be buying this summer.
With the looming reality of becoming a father in a month, I know my baby is safe from several potential illnesses, something that this information overload is obviously useful for. Additionally I also know it has the requisite number of limbs, can find out the sex and listen to a healthy, regular heartbeat; I even have a photo. (The ironic thing is that I actually don't
know the sex due to the little bugger having its legs in the way of the scanner, so at least one thing in my life is going to be a pleasant surprise.)
Quite frankly don't you think the Internet is simply taking all the fun out of things? Looking forward to something now isn't about suspense and anticipation, it's about having your knowledge reaffirmed and critiquing the remainder of the parts you don't know about (which usually amounts to very little). Sure you can say, "Well don't look then." but like a child at Xmas who finds his presents hidden in the wardrobe, you can't help but crumple, fondle and shake until you're certain of what's in the package. Even if you got exactly what you wanted, you still have to feign excitement on the day.
I don't need to know how Mace Windu dies; but I'd love to know whether to buy a pink or a blue babygrow...