I swear that title isn’t intended to see how many plays on words I could cram into one post. Yes, I’m talking about the original Star Wars movie, the one we (I) saw back in 1977. Sometimes it’s called Episode IV. And sometimes it’s called A New Hope. I just knew it as Star Wars. And the next generation reference, I promise you, has nothing to do with Star Trek. It has to do with my son.
I have some pretty strong opinions about what movies I let my son watch. I am admittedly very nostalgic so I tend to gravitate towards movies that I loved as a kid. I also hope he’ll like them. Most of the Disney movies have been hits with him: 101 Dalmatians (although he doesn’t like to be alone with Cruelle De Ville), Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood.
As I’m watching some of these classics, their age becomes immediately apparent to me. Snow White was made back in the 1930s and you can tell by watching it. The animation is not as fluid as we’re used to and the quality is lower. Watching Robin Hood, it’s pretty obvious that this was a 1970s flick. The style, the mannerisms, the moustaches. Yep. It’s a 70s flick.
So how would a 1977 classic that I absolutely adored as a kid translate to my 4 year old son?
I don’t remember when we started talking about Star Wars with my son. Perhaps it was when we started really perusing the toy aisles. It amazes me that after all these years, Star Wars merchandising is still going strong. He was immediately drawn to Darth Vader, even though he knew he was the bad guy. And he pleaded for a red light saber.
At Christmas time, Santa brought him a red light saber that lights up and makes the appropriate swishing sounds when you “fight.” I even thought enough to get him a blue light saber for his birthday a month later so that he could fight his friends when they came over. I was saddened to find that the blue light saber was not actually a “light” saber since it didn’t light up on make noise. Oh well. That was one was for his friends anyway.
We had even more exposure to Star Wars on a recent Disney vacation including a stop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We got to watch a live Jedi training session and see young boys (and a girl) learn to fight and defeat the evil lord Darth Vader. My son was mesmerized. Terrified, but mesmerized. (Side note: I also got a really cool Star Wars hat there.)
When we returned from the trip, I would get a few questions here and there about Darth Vader. And then I thought it might be time. It might be time to introduce my son to Star Wars. I made a trip to the cheapest movie spot I know: BJs (yes, that BJs).
Then came my dilemma. BJs had two trilogies for sale. The original Star Wars, or what they refer to as Episodes IV, V, and VI. Or the prequel, known as Episodes I, II, and III. I, of course, am totally partial to the original. Plus, I only saw the first movie of the prequel and was so nauseated by Jar Jar Binks, I had no interest in the remaining movies.
But it’s a prequel. Would it make sense to show everything in chronological order? Or would I have to explain in the near future how Luke Skywalker is the son of Darth Vader but Darth Vader is really Anakin Skywalker, the little boy in the prequel, who grows up to become the father of Luke Skywalker. (Oh sorry, I probably should have said SPOILER ALERT).
And then there was the whole issue of low-tech vs. high-tech. Would he be okay watching the highly animated prequel trilogy only to be severely disappointed by the plastic models posing as tie fighters in the original trilogy?
I made an adult decision. I decided I wanted to see the originals and I’m glad I did. We watched Star Wars together on the condition that his 4 year old brain was only allowed to ask a limited number of questions and that we would stop the movie if there was something pressing he needed to ask.
It actually wasn’t until today that I realized we watched the wrong disc. We watched the original theatrical version instead of the new, reformatted, digitally enhanced version. We went super low-tech and didn’t even know it. But we both loved it. And it turns out that after all these years, I never really knew what the storyline was, other than good vs. evil. I actually really liked the movie.
The best part? I was able to share some of my childhood with my son and despite all the bells and whistles, he now prefers his blue light saber. You know, the same one as Luke Skywalker. The downside? He wanted to know why his light saber didn’t come with “the force.” I’m currently looking into that.