Star Wars Marathon
Not so long ago in a theater not that far away, SFUAD students gathered to watch a Star Wars marathon at The Screen. Organized by Film Junior Omar Hilario, the marathon began Dec. 6 with Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and for the past week has been showing one movie from the franchise each night. The marathon has been a big success so far, with long time fans and novices alike attending the screenings. All of this is leading up to the release of the newest Star Wars movie Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which opens Dec. 18.
“It’s the perfect time to start binge watching all of the Star Wars movies,” said Hilario just before screening Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Hilario has been a fan of the franchise since the age of four, when his father insisted he watch the original trilogy before the prequel Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace came out in 1999. “It’s a cross-generational film. When I have a son, I’ll show it to him, too,” Hilario went on to say. His favorite film in the franchise is Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
“The original plan wasn’t even to reserve The Screen,” Hilario explains. He was initially just going to watch the entire franchise in one sitting with a couple of friends. “But then when I was talking to Charlotte [Martinez] who runs The Screen, she mentioned the idea of ‘Hey, what if we show it at The Screen!’ ” he said.
Many attendees had never seen the entire franchise in sequence. “I didn’t remember the prequels very well because I haven’t seen them since I was a little kid,” sophomore Film major Haley Joy Porter said. “I know the original trilogy super well, so having the context of the prequels in this order is really interesting.” Porter has also been attending the marathon each day. When asked why Star Wars is special, Porter responded with “It’s just super significant in the history of film and it’s [also] really significant in a lot of people’s childhoods. A lot of people remember Star Wars as the first film they really remember watching.”
One unique facet about the marathon is the editions of the trilogy that Hilario has decided to show. “That’s a big thing in the Star Wars culture, which version of the original trilogy you show. [Do you show] the original DVD-quality version or the HD Blu-Ray CGI version, which a lot of fans don’t like? A lot of fans also don’t like the original versions because they’re such poor quality.” Instead deciding between the original or the controversial CGI enhanced (or “dehanced” if you talk to most fans) special editions, Hilario had a different idea. He teamed up with Star Wars superfan– simply known on the internet as Harmy– to show the fan restorations titled “The Star Wars Trilogy Despecialized Editions.” In fact, on Dec 11, The Screen will be one of the first theaters to screen Harmy’s most recent cut of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. In these restorations, the CGI is cut in favor of the original Academy Award winning special effects, the music is restored to its original scoring, and to the delight of fans everywhere, Han shoots first. SFUAD students erupted into a roar of applause during the latter scene at Dec. 10 night’s showing. “It’s a Frankenstein’s monster of the Star Wars films,” Hilario said just before showing Episode IV. “It’s as close as you can get to sitting in that theatre in 1977.”
For some fans, the marathon was their first time seeing Star Wars. “At the end, I couldn’t breathe. It was so good. It was so cool to see it the way it was originally shown,” Creative Writing Sophomore Anna Holland said after viewing Episode IV. Holland reported that she was tired before watching the film, but afterwards feared she wouldn’t be able to get any sleep that night due to excitement. Other fans crowded in The Screen lobby afterwards to talk enthusiastically about the movie. Employees of the theater was forced to ask people to leave, there were so many excited fans lingering around to talk.
The marathon will continue until Dec. 11 where it will wrap up with Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Dec. 10, The Screen with show Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Showings begin at 10 p.m., but it is suggested that attendees should plan to line up at least an hour early in order to secure a seat. May the force be with you if you show up any later than 9 p.m.