Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Watching My Kids Watch "Star Wars" For the First Time

A few years ago, our oldest daughter started to show an interest in Star Wars. She knew the names of the main characters, and often included them in her "Pretend World" activities. (Chewbacca was her favorite.) But, she hadn't seen the movies--and we decided she wasn't ready to see them yet. (She cried during Muppets Most Wanted because Kermit's evil twin was too scary.)

Several years have passed, and circumstances seemed right to end our Star Wars embargo. (We're stuck at home, and all the movies are available on Disney+.) My wife, who isn't too familiar with the movies, wondered which movie to show them first. I guess there are some people who would think it best to start with Episode I: The Phantom Menace, because it says right there in the title that it's the first episode. But, since I wanted our kids to actually like the movies, I started them out with the one that started them all, Star Wars!

[NOTE: In order to clear up and/or add to the confusion, let me explain. Star Wars, also known as Episode IV: A New Hope, was the first movie to come out, back in 1977. So, even though it's the fourth episode, it was the first movie, and since I'm old and grumpy, that's the way it's always going to be to me.]

As I sat down to watch the movie with my kids, I decided to take a few notes. I wanted to watch my kids watch Star Wars for the very first time. It was pretty fun! But first, roll call:
                                         Thing 1--11 year-old daughter
                                         Thing 2--9 year-old son
                                         Thing 3--5 year-old daughter
                                         Thing 4--3 year-old son

Her are there reactions.

*The Opening Note--That opening note from the John Williams score is one of the best opening notes in cinema history. I jumped a bit in excitement when I heard it, and my kids all jumped along with me, and laughed at me a little.

*The Opening Scroll--Thing 1, as many have done before her, felt the need to read the opening scroll out loud. Thing 2 observed that as the words faded out of view, it appeared that they were turning into little stars.

*The movie starts--"That is one big ship," says Thing 2. It's the exact same thing I thought when I first saw the movie in 1977.

*Darth Vader appears--"Is that him breathing? It sounds like someone slurping a straw."--Thing 2

*More Darth Vader--"He says 'I want them alive' right after he kills one of them. Doesn't make much sense."--Thing 1

*C3PO--"Is he always that bossy?"--Thing 1

*R2-D2--"Is R2-D2 going to die?"--Thing 3 asks. "No," I reply. "Okay."--Thing 3. (I don't think Kermit's evil twin would make her cry.)

*Jawas--"Oh, they're aliens. The sound a little bit like Minions."--Thing 2

*C3PO--"Is he always that bossy?"--Thing 1 (again.)

*Two moons over Tatooine--"The red one is for the aliens, and the other one is for the people."--Thing 3

A long time ago....

*The Sand People--"More aliens?"--Thing 2 (I remind him that this is a planet far, far away.)

*Luke gets his lightsaber--Luke lights up his lightsaber and is waving it around the room. Thing 1 warns him, "Be careful! Don't hit anyone with that!"

*Obi-wan uses Jedi mind tricks--Obi-wan tricks the Stormtroopers into saying, "These aren't the droids we are looking for." The kids love it!
"That was cool!"--Thing 1.
"(Excitedly) How did he do that?"--Thing 2

*In the Cantina--The camera pans around to the different aliens in the bar. "Some of those are definitely just people in masks."--Thing 2

*Greedo--As Greedo and Han Solo exchange words, Thing 3 laughs and says, "He talks really funny."

[NOTE TO GEORGE LUCAS: Look, George, you made a great movie back in 1977. Why won't you let us watch it? The changes to the Greedo/Han Solo shootout are bad enough, but the added scene with Jabba the Hut is preposterous because it a) is totally unnecessary; b) is actually harmful to the plot of this and the next two movies; and C) looks terrible--as if some 6th grader was trying to create a movie scene using Photoshop. It's too bad I couldn't show my kids the real movie.]

*Jabba the Hut--Thing 1 has a hard time understanding what Jabba is saying. "Did he just say, 'I'm a very happy cheese steak?'"

*On the Millennium Falcon--As Obi-wan trains Luke, Thing 1 says, "For a second there I thought he sounded like PopPop." (Interesting, because PopPop is not a Jedi master.) (At least, not as far as I know.)

*On the Death Star--As the action moves to the Death Star, the kids are too involved in the movie to make as many comments. But, as Han Solo "rescues" Princess Leia from her cell, Thing 1 observes, "Wow, he's very rude."

*Lightsaber fight between Obi-wan and Darth Vader--"They're fighting! That's a fun part!"--Thing 4, who has spent most of the movie up until now in wide-eyed silence and awe.

*Millennium Falcon shootout--As the heroes are escaping the Death Star, they get into a laser fight with some Imperial fighters. Han Solo and Luke each strap into moving chairs and fire at the enemy, looking as if they are playing a video game. Thing 2 stands up off of the couch in excitement. "This is good!!! Now I know why this movie is so famous!"

*The rebel forces prepare to attack the Death Star--Leia gives Luke a pep talk before he climbs into his X-Wing to face almost certain death. "Boy, she's wearing a lot of lip gloss!"--Thing 1

*Luke hears Obi-wan's voice--"I don't think he's really dead."--Thing 1, stating the obvious.

*Several rebel fighters fail to destroy the Death Star--"I think it's going to be Luke."--Thing 1, stating the obvious. (She's good at that.)

*Death Star blows up--"Woohoo!!!"--Thing 1, Thing 2, Thing 3, and probably Thing 4.

*THE END--"Is there a scene after the credits?"--Thing 1. (Today's kids have been spoiled.)

*Waiting for a scene after the credits--They're not sure if they should believe me, so they want to watch the credits. "James Earl Jones. He was really good as Darth Vader!"--Thing 2

*After the movie was over (with no scene after the credits)--
"That was the best movie ever!!!"--Thing 2
"No, Frozen 2 is better."--Thing 3
"Nope! Star Wars is the best movie ever!"--Thing 1
(Sitting in silence with a big smile on his face.)--Thing 4
It's official. Two out of four children think Star Wars is the best movie ever.

I asked the kids who their favorite character was.
"Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader!"--Thing 1
"Luke."--Thing 2
"The big guy--not the one who lost his clothes."--Thing 3 (I'm not sure, other than that Obi-wan Kenobi is not her favorite.)
"The robot who says beep."--Thing 4
"--and the little aliens who sound like Minions, and C3PO!"--Thing 1, unable to limit her list of favorites to fewer than 13.

Later in the evening, Thing 2 is walking around repeating, "Obi-wan Kenobi. Obi-wan Kenobi."
"What about him? I ask.
"Nothing. It's just fun to say."--Thing 2

As they're going to bed, I play the song "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band" by Meco for them.
"That's an old song!"--Thing 4
"Well, it was from the nineteen hundreds!"--Thing 2

Yes, it may be ancient, but that doesn't mean it can't be "the best movie ever!" (I'm so glad I didn't start them with The Phantom Menace.)

No comments:

Post a Comment