By Fleet Capt. Dave Mason
HOLLYWOOD — The Force was with USS Angeles members as we unexpectedly ran into Rey in the Arclight Cinemas lobby.
She brought her light saber and led us Dec. 16 into the Cineramadome. where we watched her latest adventure, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” This was just two days after the movie opened on a weekend that would mark the second highest-grossing opening for a “Star Wars” movie.
We weren’t thinking about that, though, on this day in Hollywood. No, there was something about Rey. Then it dawned on me.
She had an uncanny resemblance to USS Angeles Founder Janice Willcocks!
And Janice — er, Rey — told us who designed her clothes. It was none other than Angeles member Candi Rosales. Turns out she has long helped the Resistance! Who knew?
Karen Hoagland, Chris Mulrooney, Lisa Sobien, Kat Campbell, Jennifer Cole and I followed Rey into the theater and sat in front of its big, curved screen. I was concerned when Jennifer dressed as a villainous officer, but learned later she was on a covert mission for the Resistance. (Whew.)
We cheered as we saw Daisy Ridley, who played Rey in the movie, get together with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in a film full of legends, heroics, humor and emotions. I’ll give no plot spoilers (Rey would never forgive me), but I think it’s the best “Star Wars” movie since “The Empire Strikes Back.”
And the late, great Carrie Fisher stood out in a poignant depiction of Leia Organa, the princess who became a general but remains the queen of our hearts.
The Disney/Lucasfilm movie also stars John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as pilot Poe Dameron and Laura Dern as the Resistance’s Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo. Returning as villains were Adam Driver as Kylo Ren — he killed Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in “The Force Awakens”! — and motion-capture actor Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke.
After the movie, Kat needed to leave, but the rest of us gathered for dinner at the patio in the dinner’s lobby, where we enjoyed a hamburger, salad and fish ‘n’ chips.
Then the real drama began.
Overtaken briefly by the Dark Side of the Force, Chris tried to steal Rey’s compact light saber. The saber floated magically between them. We have photographic proof! (Rey prevailed in the end, and Chris returned to the Light Side of the Force. Whew.)
Later, Jedi-in-training Lisa Sobien got tips from Rey during light saber practice.
After all that excitement, Rey went back to the secret Resistance base in — oops, I’ll stop right there. “Secrets you must keep,” Yoda keeps telling me. (Here’s one thing I won’t keep secret. The USS Angeles will see “The Last Jedi” again Jan. 7 at the AMC Fallbrook in West Hills in the Los Angeles area.)
Immediately after our Dec. 16 mission, future Jedi Lisa and I explored Planet Amoeba, known for its CDs, LPs, DVDs and an ancient document form called video tapes. We would have looked for holograms, but R2D2 wasn’t nearby to project them.
No worries. The Force was with us as we looked up at the night sky and saw writing that started with “Episode 18. The Angeles Soars.” Suddenly we heard the “Star Wars” theme.