Over the last couple of weeks Stephanie and I decided that it would be fun to watch the Star Wars movies with the kids (the original three, not the prequels, don't even get me started on those!!). One of the reasons I wanted to watch these movies with our kids is because I loved them so much when I was a kid. I have a terrible memory for my past and my life, but one of my very earliest memories is being in a dark movie theater and watching Star Wars. We had tried showing the kids the first movie a few years ago, but at the time they were too young and didn't get into it. Rhianna and Rand couldn't even remember trying to watch it. This time it went a lot better. It was a lot of fun watching the three movies and we had a nice time. I thought I would share some of the fun observations and moments from watching them with our kids.
Even though we hadn’t really talked about Star Wars very much, it has really diffused through our culture so much that it is almost impossible for the kids to watch it without knowing some important things. For instance, the first time we saw Darth Vader on screen, Rand said: “That guy is somebody’s dad.” I asked him how he knew and he said someone at school told him. I did my best to not address his comment, and it worked fairly well because when the big reveal did happen in Empire it still had an impact for him.
Another moment that did not have as much of an impact as intended is when Luke goes to Dagobah and Yoda shows up and starts harassing Luke by acting like an annoying swamp creature. The surprise of Luke finding out that this creature was really the Jedi master was ruined because Rhianna already had seen pictures of Yoda and so she knew that he was Yoda as soon as he appeared. She even asked why he was acting so weird.
Seth had a lot of fun watching the movies. He was really tired when we watched Star Wars and so he fell asleep during that, but he was totally in to both of the other movies. Seth kept calling him “Dark Vader.” Stephanie pointed out that the music would change whenever the Empire was on screen and after that whenever the music would start, Seth would say: “It’s Dark Vader.”
When Yoda started lifting things with the Force, Seth started pointing his hand at the screen and saying: “I am using the force.” After we watched Return of the Jedi, Seth said: "Actually, I am Yoda. Green is my favorite color and I have a light saber, so that makes me Yoda." He has also talked a few times about how he thinks he may be starting to be able to use the force.
After Darth Vader tells Luke that he is Luke’s father Seth kept saying, “Is Dark Vader REALLY his father? Really? In real life?” (He always says “in real life” when he is trying to tell you he is not pretending and something is true). Seth also kept asking if Luke was going to turn bad. He was really worried that Luke was going to turn bad as well. In Return of the Jedi he was very concerned when Luke was with the Emperor that he was going to turn bad.
One thing I found interesting was that when we proposed watching Star Wars, Rhianna said that she didn’t want to watch it. In fact, she almost seemed against it. It really seemed to me that she had assumed that Star Wars was a “boy” thing and so she didn’t want to watch it and assumed she wouldn’t like it (or that she didn’t want to like it because doing so wouldn’t be cool). In fact, even after it started she kept trying to look like she wasn’t interested. I talked to her and told her that she should decide on her own what she liked and not to keep herself detached because she had a preformed opinion. After that she softened a bit. Especially because Princess Leia is just cool. She is smart and tough and Rhianna really likes smart, tough women characters. Rhianna especially loved at the end when they revealed that Leia is Luke's sister and that she would be able to learn how to use the force some day.
When we were watching The Empire Strikes Back, I really noticed all of the banter between Han Solo and Leia this time. Early in the movie I asked Rhianna if she thought that Leia liked Han and she said, “No, because she always seems to be upset or angry when he is around.” However, then came the scene where they are captured and Han is about to be frozen and she was riveted. In fact, during the end scenes of this movie all of the kids were riveted. As Darth Vader has captured everyone and has set up a trap for Luke all of the kids kept yelling at the screen that Luke shouldn’t come back. The kids were really upset that at the end, the Empire is basically winning. Han is frozen, Luke couldn’t beat Vader and is devastated to know that this evil monster is his own father. It was really interesting watching this together with them.
When Darth Vader asks Luke to take off his mask and is dying, it was a big moment for all of our kids. Rand even started crying. He said that is made him so sad that just as Luke's dad was turning good again that he died. (Although they were all confused at the end when the "ghosts" appear and Anakin appears as young Hayden Christensen, no one knew who that was supposed to be.). The kids also really enjoyed the Ewoks, especially the baby Ewoks and they were moved by the Ewoks helping even though they had very little technology and many of them died fighting the Empire.
Overall it was a fun experience and I wanted to record some of these moments to remember when our kids are older.