Monday, March 18, 2013

The Force is With Us

It’s the moment every [geeky] parent dreams of. My [geeky] husband and I [also geeky] have anticipated it for a few years now.

“Do you think they can handle it?”

“No…they’ve only seen animated movies. Better wait.”

We sigh in geeky frustration.

For the last week or so, the signs have begun pointing in our favor. A boy at Little A.’s preschool brought in the “can opener ship.”

At first we had no idea that this was such a hopeful sign—at first we had no idea what the #@%* a can opener ship was. We just knew Little A. and his buddies loved playing with it. Then came the big moment. Little A. reports, “And it comes with R2D2 and that guy that only roars.”

Picture me doing a cartoon spit take. Star Wars??? He’s into Star Wars all on his own? My baby is growing up.

In true geeky fashion, Little A. spent the next week absorbing every bit of Star Wars-related information that he can. Luckily he has a surprisingly well-informed friend. We just need to get past that hurdle of the “can opener ship.” Given that Chewie is aboard, we have to assume it’s the Falcon, but how on earth does that resemble a can opener? I explore various options like X-wings and some of the odd things Anakin flies, but no dice.

Finally we search for Star Wars toys on the internet (more geekiness!) and find pictures of the friend’s toy, a really awesome, sturdy-yet-detailed Playskool…Millennium Falcon.

With that resolved, Little A. starts seriously discussing all kinds of things with me, like the Sarlacc. Who knew? My little “I don’t like bad guys” kid is entranced by a giant man-eating mouth on the desert floor of Tatooine. We cover all sorts of topics, including R2D2’s various extensions and abilities, C3PO’s three million forms of communication, what Wookies are, who Obi Wan is (without spoilers, of course), and what the Force can do for you.

And the whole time I feel incredibly guilty that this gush of geekiness usually hits at lunch, right after school, and my husband is missing it! But they bonded over some of Big A.’s (not vintage) models this weekend, so I guess the force is with him, too.

NOW, the six-million-credit question is: should we watch the movie?

We really, really, really want to. But this is the kid who found the R.O.U.S.s too intense. Granted, he seems to have learned a lot about special effects because of his Fire Swamp experience, but can he handle A New Hope? (Or just plain Star Wars, as us old fogies like to call it.)

It all comes down to one scene for me. When I saw the movie at five years old (Little A.’s age) and, really, every time I saw it until I was in college, I completely missed one detail. I was not traumatized by the movie because I did not see what happened to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru until I was over twenty. In fact, I often cite that scene to the authors I work with as an example of masterful storytelling—the answer is there, but so subtle that only those mature enough even understand it.

Now, I get swept up in a story. I’m not scientific and detail-oriented like Little A. On the other hand, he is innocent, just as I was, and has no reason to think of anything but Luke in that scene, as I did. So will the power of good storytelling protect him from that moment as well? Or will his mind zero in on the odd shapes in the flames?

I don’t know!

And even if we do decide to watch it with him, we face a still stickier question:

The original version or the re-mastered one?

1 comment:

  1. here too.... we have struggled for so long. we were so afraid of what he saw, especially with the autism.. and then we found out the babysitter had already shown it. At 8, he has seen the original 3, and episodes 1 & 2. we told him that he is not allowed to see episode 3 for a while - even if someone shows him... like it's crack or something - but he needs to grasp the finer points of good and evil and violence before he sees Anakin massacre.... quite frankly the movies that the babysitter showed him scared him enough that he is VERY careful about checking if a movie is PG-13, or PG or G ... and he follows those rules closely - but that could be the literal/ obsessive autism...

    May the Force be with YOu as your family navigates this learning path...

    And it was Legos that got us into Star Wars trivia - and now i teach a Star Wars summer camp...