Locals say the Force is with the newest chapter in the "Star Wars’ saga
DILLON – Begun the “Star Wars” craze has. Let not the dark reaction of critics cloud your mind.The Force nearly launched Skyline Cinema’s rowdy, full house crowd to Naboo with the “Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones” premiere at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.Audience members sat at the edge of their seats, cheered and chanted “Yoda, Yoda,” when the 800-year-old Jedi traded in his walking stick for a green lightsaber. He transformed from a serene swamp dweller to a fast-flying, flipping warrior in his battle with Count Dooku.”Yoda was the best. Yoda was bad,” said Chris Coleman, dressed as a blonde-haired version of Darth Vader.”I am so happy. A single tear for Yoda, the rubber Yoda,” Silverthorne resident Matt Devine said. He and five friends from Summit High School could hardly contain their excitement at 2:30 a.m., when the premiere ended. They were the last to leave the theater.”I was so afraid it was going to be bad, and it wasn’t,” Summit High student Liz Boyd said. “Anakin was the perfect amount of whiny. You didn’t know whether to love him or to hate him.”Episode II foreshadows Anakin’s eventual turn to the dark side, when his mother dies in his arms on Tatooine, his homeland. The 20-year-old’s burning hatred is temporary soothed by his love for Padme Amidala.Some fans worried their favorite sci-fi saga would gush with romance.At the Dillon Dam Brewery’s pre-screening party Wednesday night, Breckenridge resident Mathias Salamon said, “I have a fear of it being ruined because of the love story.” However, creator George Lucas kept romantic scenes at a bare minimum, interspersing fast-flying action and gladiatorial battles.Most fans at the brewery just wanted to see the saga unfold, regardless of any flaws the film might show.”I’ve been watching it since third grade,” said Yoda impersonator and Keystone resident Rex Lint. “It’s the mystery of the Force that keeps my interest in the Star Wars trilogy. I base my life on it – everything.”The Force even pulled in people who weren’t Star Wars fans.”I’m converted,” said Silverthorne resident Zack Hastings, after watching the premiere with his friend, Darth Vader lookalike Joe Welk. “Before, I couldn’t sit through any of them, but now I gotta go home and watch the other four.””I think Star Wars has gained even more popularity because you had the original, and the generation before me watched it,” 18-year-old Welk said. “Now, with the new ones, all of my generation will see it. The fan base keeps growing because of it. I think it has a really good story line – one that’s always worked – good vs. evil. And good hasn’t always won. The evil has won a couple times, yet good has won overall.”Along with the theme and plot, the special effects keep people coming back.”I think it’s grabbing a whole different generation – it’s more exciting because of special effects,” Breckenridge resident Curtis Bogart said.”Getting to see the Jedis fight was the highlight,” Frisco resident Amanda Driftmeyer said. “It was more than I expected.””You can tell how modern it is,” Frisco resident Adam Orenz said. “And their cheeky jokes were great.””It was a slower episode. It didn’t make much progress, but I still liked it,” Silverthorne resident Chris Quiroz said. “The sound effects were incredible.”Like Darth Vader, Star Wars fans have staying power.”It’s something I’ve grown up with,” Wildernest resident C.J. Bailes said. “It’s part of culture.””Star Wars stuff sells pretty steady all the time, but there’s been an increase in numbers in the last couple of months,” said Gus Eliopoulos, owner of Stage Fright Posters & Collectables in Frisco. He said sales of Star Wars posters have increased 30 percent to 40 percent.”A new generation is buying into Star Wars, but you still have the 32-year-olds buying the memorabilia,” Silverthorne resident Kiki Weis said.”Every six weeks or so, two guys in their 40s come into the store and buy figures,” said Nancy Cuellar, store manager of Portiera Designs in Breckenridge. “They buy a set for themselves and a set for their kids. One stays in the box.” Cuellar said sales of Star Wars memorabilia have increased 20 to 30 percent in the last month.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at 970-668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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