September 28, 2007

There Is No Cry, Only Poo: Introducing The Kid To Star Wars

Lead, schmead. It's good to see someone's tackling the real issues of burning importance to new dads these days. Like what order to show the Star Wars movies to your kid:

Let's say you're a new father and a movie fan. When your child is of an appropriate age to start watching movies, in which order will you show him/her the six Star Wars movies? By original release date (Star Wars, Empire, Jedi, Phantom Menace, Clones, Sith) or according to the intra-movie chronology (Phantom Menace, Clones, Sith, Star Wars, Empire, Jedi)?
In the already lively discussion in Jason's comments, the early critical issue seems to be setting your kid up for the big, "Luke... I'm your father." reveal.

But in a world of newborn-sized R2D2 costumes and Darth Tater, I don't know if it's really possible, much less desirable, for the release-date sequence to recreate our own experience of discovery, excitement, satisfaction, horrible betrayal, disillusioned boredom, and weary resignation. And personally, I think showing them Eps 1&2 anytime is a form of child abuse.

Better to ban the whole thing and let them discover it on their own in junior high.

Star Wars Viewing Order [kottke.org]

update:

7 Comments

By release date. The narrative sense of the original movies is ruined by having the backstory first.

Also, I hope this goes without saying, but: Han-shot-first/Jabba-actually-scary version.

[the preferred medium in kottkeland is revival theater, then laserdisc, then original vhs, then classic dvd version. -ed,]

This also goes for the Narnia books. I know both Lucas and Lewis want say the "official" order is by internal chronology, but they're both wrong.

I'm astonished that kids still like Star Wars. Don't those first three movies seem ancient to them? I went nuts for the first Star Wars movie when I saw it in 1977. Wouldn't that have been like me and my friends loving a movie that was made in 1947, such as "Duel in the Sun?"

Once Teufel'skind gets old enough (about 3 yrs) I'll be introducing him to the series... In the original order. He can watch Ep 1-3 on his own later if he's so inclined.

I saw Ep 4 at 5 yrs old, and it created a lasting impression. Hopefully he will get a fraction of the enjoyment out of them that I did. I'll also show him the original versions, not the Lucas-Ruined 'updated' versions :P

We've shown our 5.5 year twins the first three (original order, not the prequels.) I find them to be more like a fairy tale and less like wartime drama. Sure, evil gets it in the end, but that's narratively satisfying.

They can see the prequels if they really want to, when they're much older.

As for the "antique" aspect of the films, I don't think that matters. My kids have enjoyed Errol Flynn films nearly as much; they don't know or care that they are older films.

Nothing new to add to the comments already posted, but thought I'd include my two cents to the chorus - By release date, of course. And they have to be the original versions. I honestly don't care if the kid ever sees the newer episodes.

As for whether she'll think they look like ancient history, I don't believe so. I actually think the effects look so much better in the original episodes. The CGI effects just never look real to me.

[that's the overwhelming consensus, btw, which is fascinating. 4 5 1 2 3 6, with the crap prequels as a bad dream/flashback and the surprise wrapup at the end was a distant second. -ed.]

empire came out when i was like 7 and had nightmares for about a month. mostly, as you might imagine, focused on luke falling endlessly down the core of the cloud city after the father scene. dont worry, ive already talked to my analyst about it. i would say though, that i think it is a totally different thing to see action/effects movies on a big screen with surround sound etc at that age then at home on a tv, familiar things all over the place and what not. still, it wonked me out something awful at the time.

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