So let’s recap. We ran the first video diary, a second video diary, and I published a review of the experience Toshi and I had with our screening of “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D.”
That means there’s only one more piece to run, and it’s the loosest of the three. On the Sunday of our trip, we got up and headed over to the Presidio, where ILM has its main facility. This was by far the most theatrical part of our stay, and it’s the event that Toshi has spent the most time talking about since we got back. It made a huge impression on him, and I’ll be honest… it made a pretty big impression on me as well.
At Skywalker Ranch, the most film nerdy thing you’ll see is the movie poster collection that George Lucas has put together, none of which are for his own films. It is, dare I say, tasteful and restrained in every way. It is not a building designed for “Star Wars” fans… although they did probably pay for it. Instead, ILM is the place where the iconography of his career is on full display.
It probably helps that they hired Stormtroopers to escort us around the building, and that there was an R2D2 that seemed to be rolling around on his own, and that ILM is as much a museum as a working FX facility. But even on a regular work day, this place is spilling over with wonders that come from all corners of film geek history. You’ll get a glimpse here, but there just as many parts of the building that we weren’t allowed to film, where I wasn’t able to capture something. I’m normally not very good about filming things and taking pictures because I’d rather have the experience while I’m there than filter my memory through a camera. In this case, though, I wanted to try to capture much of it so that we could share it with Allen, who wasn’t able to join us, and also so Toshi would have a record of this amazing weekend.
We wrapped up the day with our screening in the ILM theater, and then hurried out to the waiting buses that took us to the airport. As we waited several hours for our flight, Toshi ran around the terminal, lightsaber in hand, threatening passing airport security with the Dark Side Of The Force. It struck me that this was a very special weekend, and not because of where we went, but because it was the first time Toshi and I ever took a trip with just us, no one else along. I can count the number of trips I took with just my dad on one hand, but I cherish each of them as a memory, and it’s never because of where we went. It’s just that time that meant something to me, and I hope when Toshi looks back on this in the future, he remembers how excited I was to have him with me. It is wonderful to have this person I love and cherish so much who shares interests with me and who wants to do these things, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have a job that allows me to involve him.
I never would have been included in all of this if I hadn’t started the Film Nerd 2.0 column, and it wouldn’t have meant the same thing to us if we hadn’t done our trip through “Star Wars” last year. When I showed those films to him, I did so knowing full well that I had alienated Lucasfilm with my past actions, and I figured we were going to enjoy them as outsiders, at permanent arm’s length from Skywalker and ILM. Instead, it seems we’ve found ourselves in this thematic parallel, and the son has indeed redeemed the father.
I can think of no more fitting way to bring our “Star Wars” experience to a close for now.
This weekend, we’ll be screening the next Film Nerd 2.0 title, and if you want to participate, then get ready, because next week, I’ll be sharing my experience showing the boys one of the great American movies, “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
“Film Nerd 2.0” remains, in every sense of the word, an irregular column: