Hello Again, Sydney

One Sydney-sider's experiences moving back to Sydney after a long absence overseas.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The hardest decision for a parent to make...

So, the little guy turned five a few weeks ago and we got the green light from Mum to watch... STAR WARS! Great news, but it left me with a difficult call: which order should we watch the films in: release order, or story order, or something else again?

I was about five when I saw the original Star Wars, and it took up a permanent place in my imagination. The Empire Strikes Back had just as big an impact, and Return Of The Jedi tied it all up nicely. Star Wars figures were the toys of choice back then and priced reasonably enough that you could amass a decent collection. My friends and I spent whole days making up scenarios with the figures in the backyard. On hot days we'd create whirlpools in the above-ground swimming pool, creating a whirlpool then chucking in the figures that floated to see who'd be the first to go around five times. One classic scenario took place at the incinerator. This was the large brick fireplace in most backyards where people could burn off their rubbish (outlawed in the early '80s I think). One day, when my friends' dad had just finished burning off, the snowspeeder "crashed" on the edge of this pit of smoldering ash and we had to quickly assemble a rescue squad to get them out. Thanks to some brave Star Wars figures, the snowspeeder and its crew were saved. But many characters suffered severe burns, and poor Greedo never made it out of the ashes. Lucky we had two of him.

My son will never know the joys of playing that close to an incinerator, and with the figures now going for about $30 a pop, he won't be collecting those any time soon. But his imagination may still yet be populated with Banthas and Jawas, X-Wings and AT-ATs, Gamorrean Guards and Mon Calamari.

I want my son to share the joy, but as you can see, it's also an opportunity to indulge in a second childhoood - why else do we have kids?. So, since I've never watched the films in storyline order, I decided we ought to do it now. The pause button got a major work-out, as I stopped mid-scene to answer all the questions and show off my useless knowledge of Star Wars characters ("That one is Nien Nunb") while my wife looked across at me as if to say "who is this person I married?".

After six weeks, we wrapped it up with Return Of The Jedi last night and I'd totally recommend doing the films in this order - for Star Wars newbies and old fans. It helps you forgive the naffness of the first film, and recognise the constraints George Lucas had, trying to construct a storyline with such a massive arc. Put together, the six films work as a surprisingly believable story of Annakin Skywalker/Darth Vader's turn to the dark side, and his return to the light.

The little guy's precis: It's a movie about real people who have sticks that is light, and there's a worm and bounty hunters. May have to work on the blurb-writing skills...


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