Star Wars mania and the powerful desire to be first


I just do not understand the desire that some people have to be the first to get or do something that seems so trivial, and even if that lead is so fleeting and intangible. For example, the people lining up for days in advance, or paying others to do so, just for the privilege of getting a new iPhone on the day it is released, when you could wait a few days and get it at your leisure. But it seems to matter greatly to some to be the first.

But even more ridiculous is that people are apparently willing to pay up to about UK £1,000 to get opening night tickets to see the new Star Wars film.

What’s the point? What would be lost by waiting a few days or even a week? Who would be impressed by this? Do they think their grandchildren will be awe-struck when they recount that they saw the film on the first day of release? Does it confer some bragging rights that they cannot do without? If someone bragged to me about this, I would secretly think that the person was a sucker for shelling out so much for something he could have got much cheaper the next day.

I saw the first three films (episodes 4,5,6) and thought they were pretty good. I then saw #1 and hated it so much that I skipped 2 and 3. I don’t know if I will watch the new release.

Here’s a joke I came across for aficionados of the series.

Q: Why were Star Wars Episodes 4, 5, and 6 released before 1, 2, and 3?
A: Because in charge of scheduling, Yoda was.

But there is no question that the Star Wars saga inspires a level of passion in some fans that is inexplicable to others.

Comments

  1. kyoseki says

    The Phantom Menace was bloody awful, the generally accepted viewing order for the movies amongst fans has come to be known as “Machete Order”;
    4,5,2,3,6

    2&3 effectively become extended flashbacks on the rise of Darth Vader without spoiling the big reveal in ESB, then you have Jedi to finish it out.

    I won’t be lining up opening night or paying extortionate amounts of money to see it as I’m going to a screening 2 days before it releases.

    … which is one advantage to having worked on it 🙂

  2. says

    I have never understood either obsession.

    I saw the three as a kid when they were in theatres (1977, 1980, 1983) and was impressed, though fading memory let me forget much of the predictable plot and terrible dialogue. I tried watching them again in the 1990s when they were released on video and thought, “Is this what people are so obsessed with?” I couldn’t finish watching the first one, never mind renting the other two. I finally understood the quote about the script attributed to Harrison Ford.

    I also don’t get the obsession with seeing movies in theatres. I’m not snooty or proud when I say I haven’t been to a movie theatre since Resident Evil 3 (2007). I stopped going because theatres have gotten far too loud for my ears, and too many people talk and use cell phones. Waiting six months for a movie to come out on cable or video rental is no hardship. If it’s good, I’ll be able to rent it, and if it’s crap, I haven’t wasted my money. Everything gets released on video eventually.

  3. laurentweppe says

    I watched Attacks of the Clones the day of its premiere.
    I’ll NEVER watch a Star Wars movie the day of its premiere ever again.
    The person sitting next to me started masturbating during the Yoda-Dokuu duel.
    And no, the fact that said person was a young woman in her early twenties did not make it any less uncomfortable.

    That day I learned that
    1. I’m not a hard-core fan of the series
    2. I don’t want to hang out with that crowd.

  4. StevoR says

    @3. left0ver1under : “I also don’t get the obsession with seeing movies in theatres. “

    Not a huge movies buff either but some obvious answers among other things –

    1) The Big Screen Experience i.e. really large screen for viewing and immersion being better than just Tv at home especially for a lot of folks whose TVs might not be that great.

    2) Avoiding spoilers -getting to see things first at the cinema means you’re going to be avoiding the spoilers of plot that that can ruin movies if you don’t see them early on in movie theatres. You also pick up the ability to spoil things for others if you so choose (hence social power) and you get the popular references and lines that movies produce. Its providing a knowledge and information (& experiential) power advantage essentially.

    3) Social experience going with someone or a group of people, an enjoyable social event and setting for bonding over a shared experience for many.

    So that’s why or parts of the why anyhow I reckon.

    @4. laurentweppe : Wow, that’s pretty weird. I love Star Wars but certainly not that! Never seen that happen. Of all the scenes to masturbate too that also strikes me as one of the less likely. (Rule 34 (?) and all that I know but still.

    @2. kyoseki : That viewing order is new to me – thanks. Makes sense. Its’ not often that I do see movies first or early on even but I did see The Phantom Menace either on opening night or early on – & Contact – the Carl Sagan movie too. Very different types of movies really and each had its moments. Y’sorta have to know and like each for what it is. Expectation disappointment played a big role with Episode I I think and over hyping beforehand & during too but yeah, its definitely the weakest in the Star Wars series.

  5. Mano Singham says

    kyoseki,

    So you undoubtedly get bragging rights over all those people who either line up for hours (days?) or pay exorbitant sums! I was curious if they make you sign a non-disclosure type of thing for the privilege of the early viewing.

    #1 is missing from you list which I assume is intentional and is meant to imply that one should avoid it at all costs.

  6. Sunday Afternoon says

    @Mano,

    I just looked it up – we’re still 2 f$#@{_g weeks away from Episode VII opening. I thought it was opening this weekend due to all the hype.

    I have to admit to seeing Episode I on opening afternoon, but I did not queue for hours and I paid the going rate for movie tickets (I had the opportunity to join a group that had purchased a block of tickets, so I took it). “Avoid at all costs?”, no, but it is easily the worst of the prequels. The plot of Ep III isn’t too bad – you know what the result is going to be so the plot is almost a classical tragedy. But the acting?, oh dear…

    @4 (laurentweppe):
    I can promise that I didn’t masturbate to the Yoda/Dooku duel. Like the rest of the audience, I erupted in howls of laughter…

  7. smrnda says

    I’m wondering if part of this could be a cognitive bias; do people react to anything with enough hype and popularity as if the commodity is therefore obviously scarce, or perhaps not able to meet demand, and failing to queue up early enough will result in going home empty? That might work for bread, but maybe not for a film which, in the end, will be playing in theaters as long as it’s expected to make money there since it’s not a resource which can really be depleted.

  8. kyoseki says

    So you undoubtedly get bragging rights over all those people who either line up for hours (days?) or pay exorbitant sums! I was curious if they make you sign a non-disclosure type of thing for the privilege of the early viewing.

    Well, I’m under NDA from working on the movie, so I already know all kinds of things that would end up spoiling it for people – and I’m quite sure there’ll be a lot of douchebags doing that kind of thing online hours after it opens.

    I will say it feels a lot more like the original trilogy than any of the prequels, a lot of us here are pretty happy to have our names on it.

    #1 is missing from you list which I assume is intentional and is meant to imply that one should avoid it at all costs.

    Yep, complete waste of a film, it serves absolutely no purpose.

    Honestly, 2&3 aren’t really worth watching either, the original trilogy stands fine on it’s own as campy space opera.

  9. kyoseki says

    That might work for bread, but maybe not for a film which, in the end, will be playing in theaters as long as it’s expected to make money there since it’s not a resource which can really be depleted.

    Works for guns 😐

  10. starskeptic says

    Being first is just a symptom for Star Wars Geeks – e.g. – that guy who obviously had seen The Empire Strikes Back before just so he could yell, “watch out for that hatch, Luke!” in the middle of a crowded theater…

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