Originally Published: January 4, 2016 6 a.m.
I went to a galaxy (movie theater) far, far away, and with lightsaber (popcorn) in hand, had the Force (fun) awaken me.
Spoiler alert. Something bad happens near the end of "Star Wars" which just is so wrong and too dark for my small, hopeful mind to comprehend: A much beloved character is killed by his own son!
I enjoy watching violence, especially when it is surreal and has no relevance in the world we inhabit. Something about armies of Stormtroopers and evil men with masks and heroes with big hairy friends that makes me laugh. Blow up the Death Star! Find Luke! Kill the bad guys! Show us the macho Han Solo still looking good after 38 years has passed since he came into our boring world. Oh yeah, and let's not forget that girls can become Jedi fighters and droids are still adorable.
No, "Star Wars" does not scare me, but the nightly news does. Real people killing each other over trivial pursuits, rivers rising and spilling over the banks washing houses and lives away, wars raging, politicians screaming ... "Star Wars" looks pretty tame indeed.
"Star Wars" is a cultural phenomenon that created A New Hope in a universe plagued by darkness. It is the classic story of good versus evil, featuring strong and complex characters, lightsabers, dazzling weapons, fast vehicles, memorable quotes, strong female leads, and unimaginable creatures in a cool and weird universe. "Star Wars" shows us that evil lurks, nods to the dangers of Facism, highlights how greed can corrupt and power can be abused, and reminds us that for survival we need universal peace and harmony or destruction is certain.
Every culture has its folk tales. Heroes, monsters, prophets, love, betrayal, war, birth, death and hope are the basic ingredients that go into one great story. But it is the "good versus evil" thread that is at the heart of "Star Wars." It is the tale of how darkness can enter, take over and infect the hearts and souls of passive people. It reveals that there is strength in finding power in doing the right thing, at all costs, at your own peril. It shows that some things are worth dying for ... and life is just not worth living if it means joining the dark forces of brutality, tyranny and evil. Good guys don't always win. But goodness does.
Little girls (and mature women) all over the galaxy will be amazed and enlightened by Rey, the young woman who goes from lonely orphan to fierce fighter, ace pilot and natural leader. She might possibly be the strongest woman who has ever graced the big screen in recent years. No princess gowns required. She is not passive, not looking for a love-interest and can fly the Millennium Falcon better than Han Solo! She is like a female Yoda and a standout figure of power and wisdom.
But back in the real world, we the ordinary, get to eat our popcorn, sit back in a comfy theater chair and look at the spectacle of a universe that never really was, but maybe could have been. In our dreams. My grandson with autism said he would like to become a pilot. My daughter with cerebral palsy wants to hold a lightsaber. My 90-year old friend would like to travel to "someplace exotic." Kids everywhere want to build robots and adults long to walk into a bar that has creatures from outer space. Oh yeah, science fiction takes us to a whole new thought process. Oh, to have just one friend like Chewbacca.
Evil cannot sustain itself because it only breeds contempt, betrayal and despair. The kernel of truth is the light our heroes follow. And at the end of the day, we are all holding a lightsaber ... going to work, living our lives, helping our families, striving to do the right thing. And when we get worn out and feel a little frazzled, we can take something from the meaning of "Star Wars." Goodness prevails. It is always worth the fight. Until next week, Dear Readers, may the Force be with you.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at email@example.com.