Cinematic Incidents III: The Last Jedi Incident

I like Star Wars. I like Star Wars to the point where I’m one of those people who takes time off and spends most of the day in the cinema watching the latest film back to back…and then goes back to watch it a few more times over the next few weeks. After all, the chances of getting to see each one on a cinema screen are limited to a few scant weeks and months.

With a six-month-old baby, this year was always going to be a little bit different. I knew – and didn’t mind so much, given that the time I wasn’t at Star Wars I’d be with my daughter – that I’d likely only get to see The Last Jedi in the cinema once, at a midnight screening. I’d be able to pop out, watch it and come back while everyone else was asleep.

Circumstances, though, seemed to want to conspire against me seeing it at all.

On Tuesday, when I went out to the car, I found the windscreen heavily iced over. I thought, through a combination of hot water and scraping, I’d managed to remove all the ice from the screen and around the wipers.

I was wrong.

Hitting the switch to wipe away some of the now water from the screen, my wipers protested, moved a few inches and then refused to do anything else, regardless of how many times I tried it.

Checking with the garage, it turned out I’d managed to snap something, which meant ordering a replacement part…which would come in on Thursday…after I was due to see The Last Jedi.

My car was now – especially with changing weather conditions – out of action.

Not only was watching The Last Jedi under threat, but I was due to take some time off the afternoon before the screening to do some family activities which required a functional car.

So I decided that I’d try to get a rental car last minute.

The booking went in, it was accepted and it was confirmed. I’d have a rental car delivered to me Wednesday morning. Everything was back on track, although a little more costly than I’d anticipated.

Wednesday morning came.

A message appeared on my phone. Please could I call the local branch of the car hire company, there were issues.

Apparently, despite accepting and confirming my booking, they: a. didn’t have a car available for me; b. didn’t offer a delivery service from that branch.

After an hour or so of calling between various parts of the car hire company and repeatedly explaining that “no, a car at 4pm wouldn’t help, I need it before then” and “no, I can’t collect it from the branch. I’m not able to get there, mainly because I don’t currently have a car I can use, hence the need to hire one”, I admitted defeat.

Plans for that afternoon were changed to ‘at home’ activities, and a taxi was booked to take me to the cinema at 11pm, assuming something didn’t happen to it and I ended up walking to the cinema.

At 10.55pm, the taxi showed up. Things were looking good.

I was at the cinema by 11.15pm. Things were still good.

I sat down, enjoyed a hot chocolate, bought my film snacks and at 11.45pm, I went up the escalator and into the screen.

The audience waited.

The adverts began.

The Black Panther trailer started.

Things were a little distorted.

The trailer was in 3D.

I had my 3D glasses on, but everything was in double.

They were old glasses. Maybe they’d been damaged over the years and were no longer functioning properly.

Others were complaining though.

Maybe they just needed to adjust the projector. These things happen. Things are left set up for a previous film, they don’t realise and they just need to adjust things. Everything would be fine for –

A cinema staff member was calling out, apologising for the issue. Things sounded more serious.

Apparently, the projector wasn’t set up for 3D showings. They had no capacity to adjust it.

Dread set in.

They would cancel the showing. My opportunity to see The Last Jedi on the big screen would be lost. My chances to avoid spoilers before seeing it would disappear.

They were going to issue free tickets so we could see it at a later date as compensation.

In the normal scheme of things that might be fine. But this was likely my one chance to see it.

But he continued talking.

They were going to move us to another screen. We’d see it. In 2D, but we’d see it.

They’d skip the trailers. Just go straight in.

We’d see it though.

The audience poured out of the screen.

We poured into the next screen along.

We took our free tickets.

The film began.