Maddy and I went and experienced Star Wars In Concert last night at Key Arena, and it was very, very good...not exception or fantastic.
What was good, you ask?
John Williams' score is amazing, especially the music for the Original Trilogy. Lucas made a wise choice in Williams and opting for a classical score. The music from the OT is as iconic as the films themselves.
The entire spectacle was hosted by Anthony Daniels, the actor that portrayed C-3PO in all 6 movies, and he was outstanding. Daniels is there as a fan and his enthusiasm and love of the Star Wars movies is evident in his excellent narration.
SWIC is indeed a spectacle, a full-blown orchestra, choir, and three story HD LCD screen displaying action from all 6 movies...and fire effects! Maddy was enthralled with the setup, the size of Key Arena (bigger than a movie theater!), and the giant LCD screen.
I couldn't help getting swept up in all the pomp and circumstance when Key Arena went dark and the words, 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...' appeared on the big screen...followed by the timeless Star Wars logo and the symphony breaking into the Star Wars theme. I was seven years old again and mesmerized by the screen...and to experience that with my six year old daughter is something I'll always treasure.
The cantina scene music was just friggin' awesome. That tune, when listened to as a piece of music, just swings. The Star Wars orchestra brass section really tore into that one and played with some gusto. The percussion section, especially the hep cat on drums, popped as well...and the song has been stuck in my head ever since.
Best piece of the night? The Imperial March. If I ever become an MMA fighter, that's the music I enter the octagon to...while dressed in my Darth Vader underoos.
Best video of the night? The fall of Anakin Skywalker, which almost made up for George Lucas's ineptitude and incompetence as writer and director of the Prequel Trilogy. Lucas is an idea man, and his ideas for Vader were solid...it was the execution of his idea that was horrific. The clips and editing used last night almost erase Lucas's failures in handling the story of pre-Vader Anakin.
Lots and lots of kids dressed in Leia, Boba Fett, Jedi, and Clone Trooper costumes...that was great.
So, what didn't work?
The props and costumes on display were nothing really that special...I really could not care less about the costumes of C-List Jedi's and background characters. Plus, the setup was less than ideal. Each costume was encased in glass with a spotlight shining on it, so any photos you took got double glare...it's like someone attached a glaucoma lens to my camera...and that's if you got close enough to get a picture.
After a while, Maddy and I got tired of wading through a sea of pear shaped geeks, goofy gals in Leia outfits, and hipster doofus types. Little kids in Star Wars costumes are great...grown men wearing shirts made of their Star Wars sheets is just stupid.
The entire display area was a clusterfarg and disorderly...and it was the kids that suffered for it...seriously, kids were at a disadvantage due to their height so Maddy and countless others didn't get to see a lot of the displays...and it was the kids that really wanted to get in close to see Chewbacca, Ewoks, Padme's gowns, and what have you...
Some of the musical passages were low energy and sucked some of the air out of the flow...
The 20 minute intermission was kind of a kneecap job as well...
And my biggest bone to pick - interlacing Prequel footage into Original Trilogy music and sequences. I'm thinking this was LucasFilm meddling and another attempt to tie the middling Prequels into the far superior Original Trilogy.
Oh, and price...every bit of merchandise was overpriced by about 200%...programs were 30 bucks and the t-shirt I was going to buy Maddy was $45...luckily, she agreed that $45 dollars was too much for a t-shirt and told me she was just happy to be there.
I have the greatest 6 year old daughter in the world, and I'm glad we shared the experience together, flaws and all...and I'd still recommend Star Wars In Concert because everyone will take something different away from it and, at least for this reviewer, a new found appreciation for something familiar.
3 1/2 out of 5 Wookies awarded!
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