This week, Damon and Ben got to preview Star Wars – The Last Jedi, and they loved it. A few months ago, Ben was diagnosed with Arnold Chiari Malformation with a 4mm tonsillar dissension. This means his brain is being pushed into his spinal cord by 4mm. At 5mm you are considered surgical by almost all neurosurgeons, especially if you are symptomatic. I have/had Chiari and had brain surgery or decompression surgery in 2013. Technically I had no tonsillar dissension because my Chiari was caused by a skull malformation called hypoplastic posterior fossa. It is genetic, and several family members have it, including my son. Surgery saved my life, but so much damage had been done, that I will never be healthy, and am considered to have traumatic brain injury from high pressure in my brain. My pituitary failed, and several nerves were damaged, including my vagus nerve, which has led to dysautonomia. I have also started to have seizures now, which is thought to be a result of Chiari. In a sense, it never really gets better.
Ben is symptomatic. It started with just numbness in his legs, and has rapidly progressed to severe dizziness, blurred and double vision, migraine-like headaches, severe nerve pain, loss of hand control and others. It scares me. I hate that he may need surgery soon, and I fear the long-term consequences if we do not aggressively pursue a surgical solution.
So, where does Star Wars fit into this? I was invited to preview the latest installment a few weeks ago, and through the magic of Disney, and the wonderful people at Fingerpaint Marketing, my son and husband got to go! They were so excited. Ben’s birthday was today and he wanted to see the movie for his birthday. He has been super jealous of all the previews I get to see, and was so excited to get to go to this one! I cannot thank everyone who made this possible for him enough! I have struggled with severe back pain (due to bulging discs), and cannot drive because of the seizure issue. I spent most of this week in the hospital. It could have been a horrible birthday, but it wasn’t, because he got to see Star Wars before everyone, and he got to review it for me. He loved it! He loved the jokes, the action, and the story! It practically broke him not to give away major plot points or secrets. (He has ADHD and autism and struggles with impulse control). I loved his happiness, the struggle to keep a secret, at this most secretive time of year, and his joy at being able to share his experience with his cousins and grandparents this weekend after they saw the movie. It is definitely on our must see and must own list.
Here is what my husband had to say about the movie:
Let’s just start with…”Everyone dies.”
Oh wait, that was Rouge One.
No we don’t want any spoilers.
If your first Star Wars movie was The Force Awakens then this continues brilliantly from where you left off. The characters are well-developed and you care about every little turn the plot takes. The twists and turns are well written and you do not feel like anything is left unresolved.
If you are an old fan, you are treated to echoes of the old movies. Little hints and lines that make you geek out because you “got that reference” or you “saw what they did there”. It was very similar to the way they did “The Force Awakens” and how that mirrored “A New Hope”, but they still kept it fresh.
The best part of the movie for me was the way they used The Force. New ways and new twists had me geeking out and wanting to see more of what they would do with it next. Be it training, fights, philosophy, or just showing off, The Force felt like a major mover (No pun intended) in how the story would go.
The worst part of this movie seemed to be the pacing. It sometimes felt like the slowest high-speed chase in a galaxy far, far away. This pacing had its reasons, but it still felt like it would drag on forever at certain times in the movie.
My son’s review of the movie comes from his point of view (an Autistic preteen). They used a lot of silence to great effect in the sound of the movie. This gave him jump scares. Not really a spoiler, but the opening note of the opening crawl comes off a bit big and scared him. His favorite character in the movie was BB-8, who we all love. As usual, the Star Wars movies are all about the droids being the heroes. I know we think it is the humans, but they would all be doomed without the droid’s help.
To end this review, I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I bit my nails, and I can’t wait for the next one. “May The Force be with you” my friends, and long live BB-8.
So, catch it in theaters this holiday season. Take the kids, or go alone (like I get to :). It’s sure to delight and entertain everyone. As always, Disney has told a wonderful story in a new and exciting way. It is nice to know that they are at the head of many great films to come! They have also made one newly “teenaged” boy with a lot of hard and scary going on in his life very happy and excited. We use movies and games to distract from pain and fear. It is nice to have options that inspire and entertain in a way that is consistent with what we hope to teach our son. It is wonderful to have opportunities that make life brighter and easier when it seems like everything is just too hard to bear anymore. Ben will never forget this experience, and the fact that it was a great movie made it that much cooler!