As much as I wanted to like the new movie about Han Solo's rise to being a lovable smuggler, I found myself struggling to settle into the story. My strife was due to one particular, glaring element of film composition that vexed my mind from the opening scene until the very end.
It seemed as if the editors of the film were determined to see how many camera angles, quick cuts, and shaky frames could be squeezed into the 135 minutes of runtime—perhaps for purposes of pushing viewers to the edge of an epileptic seizure.
For instance, there was one scene with Han and Chewbacca talking on a balcony. They were engaged in their usual, lighthearted dialogue. Yet, every five seconds, the camera shifted to a new angle—to the left, to the right, from below, from above. Talk about gilding the lily.
In AYP, we talk about the importance of cultivating stillness and being grounded in the physical body. Without poise and centeredness, the ecstasy and energy become too unstable, and therefore unenjoyable. That's how I felt during the movie. All of this beautiful scenery was unfolding before my eyes, but I could barely take a breath before the camera would rip my awareness away in a constant roller coaster of fleeting perceptions that left me with little time to soak in the magic of the make-believe universe.
Fortunately, the acting was stellar. At times, I just closed my eyes and listened to the characters' voices. Such introversion gave me respite from the schizophrenic mind of the cinematographer. As Jesus said in the Gospels: "And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." Following that logic, I'd rather turn down the dial of sensory input than try to swallow a barrage of overwhelming information.
Of course, this is just my subjective experience. I'm sure some viewers could keep pace with the lightning storm of angles. Maybe I am getting old. The gray hairs on my head are becoming more prominent, I've noticed.
Anyway, I'm just trying to emphasize how much I value being attached to a perspective that is anchored in stillness, and in silence. Don't get me wrong. I like getting hyped up, and I appreciate the electric surges of joy that move my body in creative ways, but I need to be able to fall back into a calm space at a moment's notice. Otherwise, it's just too maniacal.
I'm glad to see these Star Wars spin-offs being released, because there's plenty of fertile material for developing minor characters and exploring their archetypes. I just hope the next chapter will cut me a little slack when it comes to pace and perspective, so that I can better appreciate the craftsmanship that gets poured into these films.
Thank you for reading. Be still, and flow.