My kids were feeling somewhat left out each time I dropped a Star Wars reference in conversation – something I apparently do a lot. Hoping to shore up this gap in their cultural education, I rented and watched all three(*) movies from Netflix with them. Parenting can be tough!
(*I am, of course, referring to A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I’ve heard rumors that there is another trilogy using the Star Wars name, and it even had Samuel L. Jackson asking “ ‘What’ ain’t no planet I ever heard of. They speak Bocce on What?” But the ones I saw were CGI-frenzies. (There’s also rumor of two sequels to The Matrix. Yeah, riiiiight.))
Having seen these films more times than I should ‘fess up to, I was struck by how much crap George Lucas has added in the DVD version. (And I understand there’s even more in the Blu-Ray.) I can sort of see the motivation in adding Jabba the Hutt’s conversation with Han Solo just before Han leaves Mos Eisley space port. But throughout the movie, I kept noticing buttloads of CGId stuff added for no apparent benefit. The oddest were robots zipping in between Storm Trooper legs in random Death Star corridors.
At the end of the DVD Return of the Jedi, there’s a more ornate celebration before the scene pans to the three ghosts: Obi-Wan, Yoda and Annakin Skywalker, except instead of an old Sebastian Shaw, we see a sprightly Hayden Christensen. At least it wasn’t Jar-Jar.
But I digress. I let them enjoy the movies without offering my historical perspective.
And enjoy they did. They readily identified scenes based on the lines I toss around:
They were quick to observe how inept Stormtroopers seemed to be — poor aim, easily Jedi mind-tricked, and kind of lazy. In A New Hope, we discussed just how useful a strategy of “If the door’s locked, go onto the next one” would not be.
Droids in Disguise, by Wai Fong Fung. Used with her permission. Visit her Flickr Gallery, you shall!
The two favorite characters were Yoda (for obvious reasons) and Darth Vader. I found the second choice interesting since he seemed a lot scarier when I saw the original movies in 1977, 1980 and 1983, respectively. Then again, I have been talking about the Darth Vader management style, especially his use of field promotions.
After the movies, we started delving into various parodies and references to the Star Wars characters and universe. They were rolling with laughter when we watched the Improv Anywhere Subway Scene (because it was so easily recognizable) and episodes of Chad Vader (who uses all of the good lines). Later, they had found and watched most of the Star Wars Musical. (Wow, they put a lot of time into that… and it’s really good.) The oldest has even tried playing John Williams’ Imperial March on the flute. I couldn’t be prouder.
I’m still trying to decide if these are age-appropriate to show them (but I think maybe not):