I will admit that as Star Wars fans go, I lean a bit more fanboy than average. Most of it comes from the nostalgia of watching Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in the theater while in grade school. I don’t remember when I first watched A New Hope, but I believe it was at my Grandpa’s in his basement home theater. I watched it a lot.
When Episode 1 came out I was as ready as every other star Wars fan to be blown away. I was initially, but that damn Jar Jar was so off putting and I felt the slapstick humor of the last battle was out of character. It only got worse with the other two prequels and my enthusiasm withered like a helium balloon from yesterday’s party.
As my kids grew up I only ever showed them the original trilogy. I had a VHS set that was pre-specialized edition. My oldest daughter never cared for them. My second daughter watched them as a pre-schooler over and over. I can still remember her hiding under a pillow during some of the Darth Vader scenes, but she kept asking to watch them again and again. My son, the youngest of the three) also grew up in the original universe, however by then the VHS machine had quit and I never got around to replacing it. Sadly I also never bought the DVDs. We took a family vacation to the Washington coast and I borrowed the original trilogy on DVD for him to watch in the car. This was his first exposure to Star Wars. He ate it up completely. Sadly they were the specialized edition and I had to spend time explaining who that young ghost guy was at the end of ROTJ.
My middle daughter had a reawakening from her preschool youth and also watched through them all. Oldest daughter still didn’t care. They wanted to see the prequels and I let them watch Episode one at some point but refused to let them watch 2 or 3. I told them they could watch 2 when they were older and 3 they could watch as adults. (Can you tell I was pretty bitter about 3)
Year went by without much Star Wars action. I played through the Star Wars Lego game with my kids and told them they could get the storyline from the lego game for Episodes 2 and 3. It wasn’t really adequate and their appetites to see the unseen went unsatiated.
2 years ago I found a box set of the original trilogy at Costco. I scoured the box writing and logos for any hint of special edition and could find no mention. While we stood in line I tried to look up the set on the internet for reviews to see if it was special or not. Results inconclusive, some said yes some said no. I ended up buying it and giving it to my son for Christmas.
Christmas was spent watching the three movies in order. Sadly it was pretty much all the specialized edition. The one exception: Han shot first, or more accurately Han shot period. Greedo never gets a shot off in the original or in this version. Once again I had to explain that it was a young version of Anakin at the end of ROTJ. Oldest daughter fell asleep any time the movie was on, but the younger two loved them.
By then my kids knew that a new Star Wars film was in the making. November 2014 my wife left town with her family to bereave a nephew who OD’d on heroin. It was a dark time while I stayed home with the kids. The day after she left, I left work and picked up my kids from the sitters and came home to a cold house. We were in the middle of a cold snap and the furnace busted. I spent the night looking at the furnace and realizing it was beyond my skillset. We huddled up in a bedroom with space heaters going. Day 2 in the cold house, the furnace needed a part that had to be shipped. My kids came home and we huddled up again. To distract them I suggested we watch Star Wars. It was the prequels they wanted to watch.
I relented and even found a copy sans most of Jar Jar on youtube. The quality was poor and my kids were confused by the poor cutting. I apologized and located a copy of the full movie. By the time the furnace was fixed two days later we’d seen all of the prequels, yes even the 3rd one, which I vowed I would never watch again. Oldest daughter slept through them.
My kids weren’t bothered in the least by the prequels. In fact they found them much more exciting. My son can do an impressive Jar Jar impression much to my embarrassment. His Yoda is good too, which I encourage more. They were shocked by the murder of sand people and children as they should have been. The “love story” was over their head for the most part. They did comment that Anakin sure went downhill fast. My own thoughts about the prequel also changed. I was still annoyed by the same scenes that annoyed me before, but they were better this time. Maybe watching with my kids and their enthusiasm helped to brush away the annoyance.
2015 has been a year spent in anticipation for Episode 7. I tried getting my oldest daughter (15 yrs old) interested. I felt like this was my last chance to spark some interest. Her boyfriend also had never seen any Star Wars. I talked them both into watching A New Hope with me. Turned it on, and my daughter promptly fell asleep. Maybe its the John Williams score or the slow pacing of the seventies era movies. Boyfriend dutifully watched it all though I suspect he may have slept through part of the middle as well. For my daughter it was a failure.
Thursday I had just come out of the dentist and decided I’d better buy tickets for the family or we may not get in this weekend. I texted my oldest and asked if she wanted a ticket. She said yes, so I felt maybe all was not lost. Maybe this movie would convert her. Friday she and the boyfriend are hanging out at the house so I suggest Empire Strikes Back. The creme de la creme for true Star Wars fans. Oldest daughter promptly fell asleep…
Saturday was the day. My wife took the kids and got in line early to secure good seats. I had a meeting at 10 AM but assured everybody I would be there by showtime. When I got there, they were still in line but luckily the second family in line. Oldest daughter was grumpy after sitting on the floor for an hour and asked me how she got talked into this. Then they let us in and we waited and waited for the Episode 7 title and scroll. My son who is now 9 and daughter 12, kept looking at me like is this thing ever going to start? Oldest 15 on her phone probably texting hwo bored she was. Finally the John Williams score started up and Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens had our complete attention.
To be continued…