Trust me when I tell you I was stupid crazy over Star Wars as a kid. I spent every available cent I could on the toys back in the seventies. I collected, I traded, I begged for more. But as with all things in our childhood, the things that were so very important to us back then, can become less so as we grow up. Wait a second, who am I lying to here? I am still just as big of a fan and I would still play with the action figures on the playground if it wasn’t completely creepy for a middle-aged man to be doing so. I wrote an article last year about how profoundly Star Wars affected me as a child, you can read it here. However, what I’d like to talk to you about today is the new Star Wars movie as it affects my youngest.
At 11 years old, my daughter Vivienne is pretty much the typical pre-teen nerdy girl. She’s discovered the joys of playing with hair and cosmetics, she loves fashion in all of its forms (she wants to be a fashion designer and have her own clothing line), and she plays video games and reads comics regularly (her favorite character is the ass-kicking Black Canary). But it wasn’t until recently in the last couple of years that she discovered what is arguably the greatest space opera of all time, Star Wars.
A longtime fan of Indiana Jones, she saw Harrison Ford as Han Solo and was immediately drawn to the screen. I think I was watching The Empire Strikes Back that day, but I couldn’t swear to it (though it is my fave, hands down). This event inspired us to watch the original trilogy over the course of a weekend. She sat on the edge of the sofa, mouth agape, with eyes watery from staring as the Rebel Alliance took down the evil Galactic Empire. No sooner did the first film finish than she was demanding the sequel to start. And while she was loving Return Of The Jedi the next day (damn those little bears), she really liked A New Hope the best. I’m okay with that; it is a masterpiece, after all.
We watched the prequels over the next week, no hurry on those in my opinion. While I loved Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu (with his rockin’ purple lightsaber), there was just too much CGI and too little substance to those films to make me love them as much as the originals. I’ve got no hate for them, they were good, but just not as great…if you get my meaning. I answered question after question, recited line after line, and even encouraged her to watch them again at her convenience. But I really did not expect to ever be able to give her the same experience that I had. You know what I’m talking about, we have all been there. The waiting in line, the sudden anxiety as the lights go down and the trailers start, while you juggle popcorn and soda in order to settle in for a two-hour life-changing experience.
But it’s happening, the new film is dropping on December 18, 2015. Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What a fitting title that is, mostly because it has revived some long lost feelings of excitement that I never thought I’d have again. If you know me, then you know I’m also a huge comic nerd, I’m vocal and proud of what I love. My adoration for everything that Marvel and DC are doing right now is almost without limits. It is a great time to be a comic fan, even if I am turning 45 this year. But though I do love the comic films, they just cannot compare to the Star Wars universe. I love, love, love that my daughter gets excited about comics, but I was amazed at how she really seemed to fall in love with the films that shaped my childhood.
I saw the original Star Wars in a dinky little theater, it was serviceable, but I was young and didn’t care about threadbare seats or sticky floors. As I’ve gotten older, I have become a lot pickier about where I’ll go and what I’ll tolerate when it comes to cinematic presentations. So my plan is to make sure her first silver screen Star Wars experience is the best it can be. I know I’ll be there to see the film but I hope I can catch at least a few glimpses of her face as she gets the full effect. I’ll be the first to admit that I may be more anxious for her to see the movie than she is. But come on, wouldn’t you jump at the chance to hopefully bring life full circle?
My daughter is just like a female mini-me, therefore I have no doubt this will be awesome and historic. She does, after all, love the six prior films. She’s getting older and it won’t be long before she’s not interested in hanging out with dear old dad, so I’m making the most of every chance I get. It may not be the tie that binds but it certainly cannot hurt one bit. I encourage you to take your young ones to the new movie, or buy it after it hits shelves. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s only for boys, that did happen to me (and yes, I set their archaic, misogynist ass straight). I know I’m not the only mom or dad out there that has a deep heartfelt love for Star Wars. While I loathe all the editing that he did to them later on, I admire and respect George Lucas for what he gave us. And I have an expectation that Disney will continue that same tradition of awesomeness.
Thank you for reading and May The Force Be With You. Enjoy this day, our day, Star Wars Day.