Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can … and apparently, that includes taking another swing through movie theaters.
Yeah, the webhead’s back for Labor Day, sending his most recent installment, “No Way Home,” back onto the big screen. Inevitably, it’s an extended edition – always gotta offer more, right? – but at heart, it dusts off an unfamiliar word: re-release.
(Enter Obi-Wan Kenobi: “Now that’s a word I’ve not heard in a long time. A long time.”)
I know, I know. These days, it seems like every movie we see is a sequel or a re-boot of some kind, a tradition that goes back to the earliest days of the industry. “The Wizard of Oz” from 1939 that we all know and love, for example, was the third version of L. Frank Baum’s children’s story to hit the screen and the 10th Oz film of any kind. Ding-dong, the story’s never dead!
But the re-release was already starting to become a thing of the past in the age of VCRs, never mind a time of streaming, DVD and Blu-ray options. Why send “Star Wars” back through first-run theaters for the umpty-umpth time when you can make money from home viewing and save the big screens for your new stuff?
But of course, when you change the setting, you change the story a little bit as well. Take a movie you’ve seen a thousand times at home, one that you could quote blindfolded. Put it back on the big screen for even one night. You’ll see details that escaped attention, feel the impact of a story in its intended scale … and of the people around you discovering the same thing.
It’s a chance to truly re-read the story.
And I love a good re-read.
As I’ve mentioned before, our home has enough books to qualify as the North Longmont branch of the public library. At any given time, I may be reading half a dozen at once … and of those, it’s almost a guarantee that one or two will be re-reads.
Every so often, someone will ask me why. After all, there’s a ton of new stuff to catch up on. (Heck, there’s a ton of new stuff to catch up on just in the living room.) Why plunge back into a story you already know?
But for me, and for the many other inveterate re-readers out there, it’s not just a rehash. It’s more like visiting an old friend.
There’s comfort in coming back to a loved story, as you not only revive favorite scenes and characters, but re-awaken how you felt when you met them.
There’s discovery, too. Some of my favorite books continue to reveal new details every time I open the covers. It might be something I’d forgotten or overlooked – or simply that I’ve changed enough to see the old material in a new way.
There’s the joy of introducing someone new to a favorite. Watching Missy discover Bilbo Baggins and Harry Potter during nighttime reads enhanced the magic (so to speak) for both of us. And now that we both know the tales well, our re-reads strengthen that family bond.
It’s a good approach to life in general. Sure, one should always be ready to explore new trails. But there’s still value to be found in the roads that brought you here. Old lessons still matter. Old memories can still grant assurance. And past joys can still bring light in a dark time.
So take a moment to look back. It might be just what you need when life is driving you up the wall.
And if you meet a certain wall-crawler up there .. say hi for me, will you?