Barack went to Pennsylvania for the bowling. Hillary went there for a beer and a shot. The Media followed along to make fun of them. But I, I went to Pennsylvania to see...
The exhibit seemed a little heavy on the imaginative, light on the scientific, the two meeting only in passing with an exchange of quick, friendly nods. There was a display devoted to the current state of the art of prosthetic limbs, inspired by Vader's missing arms and legs and Luke's severed hand. Another display, taking off from the planet Hoth, looked at the ways humans survive and work in the coldest places on Earth. Coruscant's tiers and tiers of heavy air traffic was the basis of an interactive computer model for future city planning and not yet invented mass transit systems. More stuff like that. The real draws, of course, were all the props, models, and costumes from the movies. I'm told it was all very interesting. I couldn't tell myself. I couldn't get close enough for a good look at any of it. All these Jawa-sized and Ewok-cute poeple kept getting in the way.
Naturally, there were a lot of parents who were there like us, pretending we'd come just for the kids' sakes. But I was surprised by how many kidless late twentysomethings and early thirtysomethings there were too.
If you were 10 when the last of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi, came out, you're 35 now. If you were 10 when the first of the prequels, The Phantom Menace, hit the screens, you're 19. Basically, for Star Wars to have been a formative part of your movie-going experience, you are most likely either between the ages of 35 and 45 (I realize that some fans fell under the spell when they were in college and are older than that), or between 10 and 19. So how did all these fans who were too young to go to the first set of movies and too old for the second set become one with the Force?
Whatever it is about Star Wars that captures the heart and soul of so many people doesn't need a big screen to do it, I guess.
But this is what really caught my attention. Many of these grown-up fans were couples. They went through the exhibit holding hands and stopped before the display cases leaning into each other as if they were strolling through Paris on their honeymoons. And a lot of them had their pictures taken in front of the displays. (One couple asked me to take theirs. I hope the picture came out.) They posed seriously too. No goofing around. They would stand in front of the Millennium Falcon or Luke's Landspeeder or Chewbacca or Darth Vader and smile shyly for the camera, as if it was the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame behind them.
Who'da thunk it? George Lucas, master of romance.