WATCHING STAR WARS WITH ELORA, Part Twoon October 13th, 2011
Last time, I explained how and why I decided to watch the new Star Wars Blu-rays with my 9-year-old daughter in a funky order: IV, V, I, II, III, VI. At the end of that blog, Elora and I had gotten halfway through the saga, having just finished Episode 1, The Phantom Menace. She dug everything she’d seen so far, but Episode II, Attack of the Clones would prove to be trying…
Back when Elora was very, very young and before her long term memory really kicked in, Attack of the Clones was her favorite of all the Star Wars films. It was released the year of her birth, 2002, so maybe that had something to do with it. The original Star Wars was released the year of my birth, 1977, and that one was always my favorite. Elora responded to ‘Clones’ this time right away and gasped at the big explosion that kills one of Padme’s doubles.
A lot of the early politics were lost on her, but her suspicions about Chancellor Palpatine were raised. She didn’t like the cut of his jib. I pointed out that he was Anakin’s friend and seemed nice, but she wasn’t buying it. There was something fishy about that guy. When Obi-Wan when off into his own little detective story, she was fascinated–though I had to put the pieces together for her.
The romance she had no patience for–so she said. Elora still hides her eyes when people kiss on screen, but she loves movies with romance. She just won’t admit to actually liking the romance aspect of the movies. Of course, saying there’s any real romance in ‘Clones’ is a bit of stretch. While I found myself really admiring the imagination and much of the action, the love story plays worse and worse each time you see it. That’s just not how human beings fall in love. That’s not even how aliens fall in love.
The end battle scenes were Elora’s favorite part. Because that’s what kind of a girl she is.
Revenge of the Sith made Elora nervous. She knew this was the PG-13 one and she knew this was the one where Anakin burns up and turns into Darth Vader. She did not want to see those parts. I assured her I’d mute the sound and tell her when to close her eyes.
The opening battle remains stunning, if confusing to look at. Elora wasn’t terribly impressed with it. It was only once Anakin and Obi-Wan jumped out of their starfighters and took on Grievous’s ship that she was in. She thought R2′s antics were hilarious. And the crash landing on Coruscant? Made her eyes pop out.
Her suspicions about Palpatine continued to be raised, though she couldn’t quite figure out what his play was. She finally decided he was completely evil about five minutes before his big reveal and then was wowed by the revelation he had been Darth Sidious the entire time. It’s funny because that wasn’t a reveal that even seemed like much a reveal to me. It was always so obvious. But to her? It was extremely satisfying.
She didn’t quite understand Anakin’s turn to the dark side or why he would go so far so fast. It is abrupt and I did my best to explain, but I don’t think she was ever completely satisfied. I know I’m not, so that’s not surprising. When the big moment at the end of the big fight came, sure enough she hid her eyes.
The other big reveal for her was that Luke and Leia were twins. When Padme had TWO babies, it blew her mind. It was a lot of fun seeing her jaw drop like that, and, I think, much more satisfying than if I’d let her watch ‘Jedi’ first and find out the same time Luke does. That’s one twist that’s much improved watching the films in the order we did.
Finally, we reached the end and joined back up with the original trilogy with Episode VI, Return of the Jedi. I’ll admit that the one drawback to watching them all in the order we did is that by the time you get to ‘Jedi’ you’ve kind of lost the plot of the original trilogy. Three movies is a loooooong flashback. However, we got caught back up rather quickly and I’ve got to say that ‘Jedi’ resonated in a whole new way with me. When you have all the history from the prequels swimming in your head and realize that, essentially, Luke and Leia are all that’s left of what everyone was fighting for, it really gives the events of ‘Jedi’ a whole new weight. Plus, there’s a lot of symmetry between ‘Sith’ and ‘Jedi’ and that plays really, really well when you watch them back-to-back. It was the most satisfying viewing of ‘Jedi’ I’d had in quite a while.
Jabba was gross, of course. But Elora loved all the interplay with C-3PO and R2-D2. It was like having old friends back. (Side note: I’m surprised the nudity in the scene where Jabba’s slave dances for him wasn’t edited out. On Blu-ray, you can see it much, much more clearly.)
Far and away the thing Elora loved most about ‘Jedi’ was the Ewoks. She thought they were HILARIOUS and cute and wonderful. She laughed and laughed at the idea that teddy bears could defeat stormtroopers. She stopped laughing once the Ewoks started dying. By then, she was attached and wasn’t expecting that. Honestly, I get it. I’ve never hated the Ewoks and always thought they were really cool. That the Empire is defeated by a bunch of small teddy bears isn’t stupid, it’s fitting. Quintessentially American, even. I dug it when I was six, and I still dig it now.
To Elora’s credit, even she noticed how odd it was for Anakin’s ghost to look like Hayden Christensen when Obi-Wan and Yoda had to be old men.
Elora went nuts for Star Wars. It took us about a week and a half to get through them all and not a day went by that she didn’t bed me to watch “just 10 minutes” if that was all we had time for. She’s hooked, but she’s spoiled. She can’t even comprehend the amount of time I had to wait between movies.
Now, she’s moved onto The Clone Wars. She’s already watched the 2D short series that came out years ago and is working on the current, CG series right now. They’re pretty fun, so I try to watch them with her as much as I can.
When was the last time you watched all the Star Wars movies? What order will you show them in to your kids? Will you show them the prequels and risk them loving Jar Jar? Love to know what you think!