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SFX blogger Steven Ellis needs helps. Which Star Wars film should he let his son see first?
A conversation I had with a fellow geek last week has had me thinking about something. Something that any geek fan of Star Wars of a similar age to me may have thought about; how do I introduce Star Wars to my children?
My son Henry is 15 months old. So, I’ve got a while to figure out how best to do it. And he’s already had some limited contact with the Star Wars universe: he has several Star Wars T-shirts and he has a plush Yoda doll whose ear he likes to chew. He’s even got his own little lightsaber. He’s watched The Clone Wars cartoon with me; he likes the swishy flashy lights of the lightsaber fights and the bright lights of the blasters. Oh, and the cartoon Yoda makes him laugh. But he doesn’t know what’s going on. He knows nothing of the characters or their stories; he’s still too young for that.
I’m talking specifically about how I introduce him to the two film trilogies. Do I let my prejudice of the prequels cloud my judgement and avoid them? As a child he may get far more out of them that I ever will as an adult. He might connect with Anakin. He might love Jar Jar Binks. And who am I to stop that? I mean, I’ll judge him for it of course. I mean it’s Jar Jar Binks for God’s sake! But I shouldn’t stop him from watching them, should I?
Mini-Ellis uses the Force
And what order do I let him watch them in? I want him to experience them how I did. I know he’s not me and might not get the same thing out of them as I did but I still want to share something important to me in the right way. And I want to try to get him on side early. Do I go for the original trilogy first and then the crap ones? Or do I show him them in the Lucas suggested order of I to VI? It would get the crap ones out of the way first. But that would totally lose the shock of Vader’s revelation in Empire Strikes Back. And I’d think the “Anakin getting everything chopped off and getting all burned” scenes in Revenge Of The Sith would be a bit scary for him if I showed him the films too early. It may also lead to some awkward, “Why is Luke kissing his sister?” questions as well. If I showed him The Phantom Menace first he might give me a funny look and refuse to watch the rest. I’m tempted to let him see them in the order I saw them in; release order. That would certainly be the easiest way. What’s a geek supposed to do?
When I first heard of the 3D versions being made I was full of nothing but apathy. Anyone who regularly reads my blogs here at SFX will know I’m no fan of 3D. And I also think Lucas has gone way past scraping the barrel when it comes to Star Wars film cinema/video/DVD and BluRay releases.
Still, the idea of the 3D theatrical releases gave me an idea. If, as is currently planned, they start showing the 3D-ified Phantom Menace in early 2012 then each subsequent film is scheduled to be released at the rate of one a year after that, then the first Star Wars film, the 1977 one, should come out in 2015. Henry will be around six by then, which is how old I was when I saw the first film. It would be a way for my son to see Star Wars on the big screen. Sure it would be in the dreaded 3D, but still, it would be in a theatre on a big screen. And that is the best way to see these films isn’t it. So is 3D in the cinema the way to go?
Hey, the 3D might even be good… nah, never mind.
Would the drawback of 3D win out over DVDs on my TV at home? If we did see Star Wars: A New Hope at the cinema should I let him then watch the rest at home on DVD or make him wait a year to see the next one on the cinema too? Or do I just make that first film the special cinema visit one? Oh, so many questions…
I know this looks like I’m over thinking this and to some degree I probably am, but I’m also doing it on purpose a little for this blog. Still, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t given it serious thought since the subject came up. So, I’m asking for help. What do you think? What would you do? Have you been in this situation? What did you do? How do you share your Sci-fi loves with your kids? Does anyone else even worry about these things?