We showed the kids Star Wars! Following the methods I have previously discussed, we started with, well, Star Wars, the original theatrical version, with the best special effects 1977 had to offer. (Hey, it’s not like kids today need Elmo to be an expensive digital effect in order to buy into him.)
She was excited and we talked it up ahead of time, but her reaction was a little underwhelming. Oh, she liked it. But her attention strayed at parts and she didn’t seem as fascinated with it as she does with, say, Frozen. Her reaction to The Wizard of Oz was much more fulfilling — but more on that in another post.
I suppose I had very high expectations. It isn’t a children’s movie, after all, and it is rather long. Maybe not as long as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but it still clocks in at 11.2 episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. That’s a big stretch of time for a pre-schooler to stay focused.
During the climactic attack on the Death Star, when it cuts to all the Imperial officers and crewmen and stormtroopers hurrying to their posts to repel the rebel attack, RU asked, “Why are Darth Vader’s friends running?” So, even when she was engaged with it, pretty much all of the context for any given scene went just a bit over her head.
With the lights off and the film that comprises the core of my nerd psyche playing on the TV, I flashed back to the movie nights of my childhood. I remembered being a little older than RU is now, struggling to pay attention to movies that I very much wanted to watch; I couldn’t stay on target with Star Wars any better than she did.
In the final analysis, in our enthusiasm to share Star Wars with her, we jumped the gun a little bit. I’ve decided to wait a year before showing the kids The Empire Strikes Back, though if she wants to watch Star Wars again, we’ll do that. I think putting about a year between the films leaves enough room to anticipate the next chapter while rewatching and absorbing the ones already seen. That would put us on schedule to be unveiling Return of the Jedi to them around 2018/2019, when RU will be 7. Baby Z should be 4 by then, which gives him the short end of the stick, so I’ll have to figure out some other movie franchise to schedule around his level of age-appropriateness. Harry Potter? The Avengers-related films? Or maybe when he’s a teenager I’ll show him Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness.
Now I just have to figure out if and when we’re going to watch that Clone Wars show that I’ve heard is actually pretty good.