Melinda’s Brew: Silent Running

Melinda’s Brew: Silent Running

On a recent trip out to LA to visit my daughter, Erin, I was passing the time on the four-hour flight doing puzzles in the paper and crossword puzzle book I brought along. The flight attendant came by to bring us passengers a snack and beverage. I looked up from what I was doing to take my tea and goodies, and as she passed, I espied a special treat showing on a fellow passenger’s tablet screen. [He was sitting across the aisle and one row up from me.]

What did my eyes behold but “Rogue One”! Captain Andor, Jyn Erso and K2SO had made it into the Imperial stronghold on Scarif to retrieve the Death Star plans, the Rebels were fighting the stormtroopers, and the fleet had just arrived, only to have their way to the planet’s surface blocked by the impregnable shield. The amazing – or maybe not so amazing – thing was I was watching the film over that nearby passenger’s shoulder all without the enhancement of sound. No dialog. No music. You know what? It was a great way to watch the movie! 🙂 Sure, sound would have been great, but I didn’t need it. I knew what was going on. I knew pretty much what was being said [having seen RO only six times – and the last time was way back in February – the dialog has not been committed verbatim to my memory. But it’s close enough.].

This was an interesting way to watch “Rogue One”. With no distractions like sound, I found myself concentrating on the action, and, specifically, the body language and facial expressions of the characters. The concentration on Cassian’s and Jyn’s faces as they sifted through the information that will lead to the identification of the Death Star plans, Bodhi Rook’s frustration when his first attempt to stretch the power cable from the ship to the coupling station hits a snag, the pilots’ rapt glares as they zero in on their prey … and their looks of terror when they know there is no escape from their pursuers. There is a brief moment when Chirrut Îmwe pauses in the midst of battle before alerting Baze to “Run!” just before they are obliterated by an approaching AT-AT. It is as if Chirrut indeed can feel the Force. And then there’s the tender moment when Baze cradles Chirrut in his arms as the blind Guardian dies. The anguish is written across Baze’s face, and while I can hear in my mind what Baze is whispering to his dead “brother”, the scene is more powerful to me at this moment – with the absence of sound – than it ever has been before.

When I fly, and have the choice, I always like to sit in an aisle seat. I like the vantage point. Every once in a while, when a fellow passenger sitting a row ahead and across the aisle from me brings along a device on which to watch something of interest [to me 😉 ], I like to steal a look or two when I can. On this flight, I lucked out! However… my fellow Star Wars fan was unaware that I was watching over his shoulder. Every once in a while, he would bend his right arm, resting his elbow on the armrest, his forearm pointing toward the ceiling – obstructing my view! 😉 I wanted to tap him on the shoulder to let him know I couldn’t see the full screen. lol Luckily, I could see through the “V” shape his arm made to follow the action. By the time Jyn began the upload of the Death Star plans, he lowered his arm so I could watch the final sequences in all their glory – the Death Star coming into view, Orson Krennic accepting what is about to befall him, Jyn and Cassian making their way to the shore to await their tragic fate – together. I was overcome with such sadness as I watched the soundless scene of the white light enveloping the pair of freedom fighters.

Perhaps the most awe-inspiring scene was aboard the Rebel ship that Darth Vader’s star destroyer nabbed. The screen is black for the most part. The Rebels are braced to face their foes, unaware of just how formidable the foe emerging from that blackness is. In a split moment, you see the red blade elongate in the darkness. Out of the abyss steps Darth Vader, wielding his lightsaber to deflect blaster bolts, cutting down one Rebel after another, flinging bodies this way and that – all with so little effort. Not that I ever doubted his finesse of the Force, but watching this scene in this manner left me in such awe of the Sith Lord. I gained a new respect for him.

I am a sound junkie when it comes to watching movies. It doesn’t get any better than watching a Star Wars film, as far as I’m concerned. Truthfully, I never really could imagine watching any Star Wars movie devoid of all sound. Not me. No way. Never! But, like Mikey in the Life Cereal commercial, I found I liked it! 🙂 This happenchance experience opened up a whole new world to me. Try it some time. You might find yourself liking it, just like me. 🙂

In the end, my only real regret was not looking up from my puzzles sooner. I could have enjoyed a lot more of “Rogue One” if I had. 😉 It can be so easy for me to get lost in a word puzzle. ha ha

Thanks for stopping by to share a few moments with me. Please feel free to leave me a comment below to tell me your favorite way to watch a Star Wars film or to let me know if you ever tried watching one without any sound. [Like I alluded to earlier, it really does help to know the dialog before watching a film in this manner. 😉 ]

Until next time,


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1 Comment

  1. Natasha O'Shaughnessy
    August 9, 2017 at 23:48 Reply

    Dear Melinda, what a fun post. We live in a small village in France and when RO came out I had to search and travel ( had to attend ahem a meeting on That Day in Nice real close to a theater that showed the film in English). Turns out quite a few people had the same idea. There were a few well dressed ( for work) folk all attending ” meetings” that morning. One person was clever enough to bring his client. Kudos, man. But see the premiere, I did.

    At any rate, I dragged my husband on the Saturday and then took myself off via little shuttle bus the following week to see RO in 3D at a local cinema. In French. That was a cool experience and as I am learning the language it was a great way to expand my Universe.

    I write this while the soundtrack plays, ahem, I am studying the score ( I really am).

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