TSB Bank Arena
Sunday, March 11
I was looking forward to this – the nostalgia of the original Star Wars film (episode IV: A New Hope) with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra performing John Williams’ full score.
It started off just fine too. Quite exciting. A few Star Wars nerds in the crowd, a few casual fans, some NZSO fans too no doubt. And there was lights. And then action. First big cheer arrived with the NZSO, under conductor Hamish McKeich, performing the fanfare for 20th Century Fox – the visuals were on the big screen but it was the orchestra that offered the drum-rolls, trumpets and strings. Huge applause! And we’re in…
Many of the cues early on became immersive – the sense of the orchestra never quite overwhelming the film. It worked. It was good.
And then the boredom set in. For me that is. I realised what a fair-weather fan I am of Star Wars. How with time it’s grown more absurd and I’m far less interested in it than I ever was.
Also, oddly, the 1997 20th Anniversary print – now the staple – with its garish CGI additions (but soundtrack/audio improvements) seems, ironically, more dated now than the 1977 original cut. That footage of Jabba (pasted into the re-cut of the film) sticks out like Chewbacca’s balls (in a mankini).
The movie dragged on. Its first half so brutally slow. So toweringly uninteresting. And then just as it got to the bit I was most looking forward to – the Cantina Bar with its space-warped take on Klezmer music – it must have been paid-break time for the orchestra. They all sat on their chuffs and let the aliens do the work – playing their vape-styled clarinet-things. So, to clarify, the paid musicians took a break and sat on stage and one of the key pieces of music was trotted out in its original form. The music from the film. There’ll be an argument around not being able to faithfully cop it or re-arrange it. But such arguments shouldn’t exist when you’re charging people up to $100 a head.
Fuck that noise. Or rather – absence of noise. This is a small point but it brought home the absurdity of it all really. The pointlessness.
It wasn’t just me that thought this was garbage. My six year old wasn’t into it either. Okay, okay, so it was probably just me and him. And he’s been unduly influenced by me there. Sure. But still, a meandering afternoon amid a plodding, nonsense space-pirates film unearthed a proud dad moment for me.
So there’s new hope, certainly. And we walked off for ice-cream afters discussing just how great that 20th Century Fox fanfare had been.
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