Ashland Theatre Grand Reopening

 Hailey Lambert

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” proclaimed Mary Poppins as the Ashland Theatre reopened its doors December 26th, 2018. The historic Ashland Theatre has been void of laughing audiences and excited moviegoers for two years while construction teams attempted to restore the theatre to its previous glory. The Ashland Theatre has commonly been referred to as “the heart of Ashland,” and that might be because it has stood at 205 England Street for over seventy years, since its opening on August 10th, 1948.

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Return of the Hype

Searlait Coffey

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The poster above was shown at the Bowtie Cinema in Richmond. Photo by Séarlait Coffey

Ten years have passed since the final
prequel of “Star Wars: Episode III
– Revenge of the Sith” was released.
Thirty years have gone by since the
deaths of Emperor Palpatine and
Darth Vader were accompanied by the
blowing up of the second death star.
Not a single day has gone by since the
first time I saw “Star Wars: Episode
VII – The Force Awakens” and haven’t
thought about how phenomenal it was.
It was released on December 18
and has already shattered box office
records. The film surpassed the old
record holder, “Avatar,” and reached
number one in box office earnings in
America. “The Force Awakens” broke
the $760.5 million record only after
20 days after its initial release. For the
sake of perspective, it took “Avatar”
seven months to achieve its earnings.
Globally, the movie has pulled in over
$1 billion. “Avatar” remains ahead in
that aspect with a grand total of $2.78
billion. Only time will tell if “The
Force Awakens” can surpass “Avatar”
in this category.
Director J.J. Abrams delivered on
all accounts for fans everywhere. The
movie had just the right amount of
tribute to its predecessors. Fatherly
troubles were as present as ever, as
well as the need to restore balance to
an unbalanced galaxy. But what really
made the seventh installment fantastic,
was the new characters introduced
to its vast and complicated universe.
We first meet Poe Dameron (Oscar
Isaac), who is known for being the
best pilot in the resistance. Poe is easy
to like and so is his beloved jacket that
is shared with a few people throughout
the film. Isaac is a rising star in the
movie world after his exceptional performances
in “Inside Llewyn Davis”
and “Ex Machina.”
Next, Finn (John Boyega) who is
formerly known as FN-2187, becomes
a rogue Stormtrooper to free the captured
and dashing Dameron. Finn is
the character who would be a chocolate
lab in real life. Boyega brought
charm, humor and spirit to his character
that will be loved for years to
come.
Last, but certainly not least, was the
heroine, Rey. Rey, Rey, Rey. Oh, Rey.
No one would be able to guess that
this was Daisy Ridley’s first movie
of her career. Rey is the character the
world does not deserve, but the one we
need. An un-objectified, three dimensional
and incredibly likeable female
lead. The more Rey, the better the next
two movies will be.
On to the dastardly villains. Most
formidable is the unnecessarily
masked and emo Kylo Ren (Adam
Driver). Kylo also goes by Ben Solo.
Yes, that does mean he’s Han and
Leia’s son. Kylo’s master goes by a
pretty un-formidable title: Lord Snoke
(Andy Serkis). There are several theories
circling around that claim Snoke
is really Darth Plagus, former master
of Darth Sidious.
There were a few plot holes that
would have been preferably filled
throughout the movie. For one thing,
The First Order has replaced the Galactic
Empire antagonist but there was
zero explanation surrounding their
rise to power. You’d think that after
the first saga of empirical power, that
the rebels fought so hard to destroy,
the Star Wars galaxy would try a little
harder to avoid anything similar from
happening again.
Another issue was Kylo Ren’s apparent
assumption that Darth Vader-his
grandfather and fashion idol-wanted
Kylo to finish what he started. This
doesn’t make any sense on the account
that Vader clearly regretted his actions
by saving Luke from death by sith
lightning. Not to mention the fact that
if Kylo knows so much about Vader he
would’ve heard everything about him
and known that Vader was actually
“good” after all. Nonetheless, Kylo’s
got some severe internal struggles going
on that are expected to be resolved
over the span of the next two movies.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
After so much anticipation for this
movie, it had so much to lose. Thanks
to the brilliance of Abrams and a refreshingly
superb cast, “The Force
Awakens” brought a euphoric state to
nerds like me. Episode VIII comes out
May 26, 2017, may the force be with
all of us who will be thinking of nothing
else till that day arrives.

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