Friday, January 23, 2015

A Star Wars year

It's been since 2007 that I've seen any of the Star Wars movies. That's a long time for a series whose first two movies are in my top ten of all time. My last viewing was Return of the Jedi on December 29, 2007. My wife and I had watched The Empire Strikes Back just four days earlier.

Time to dust off that lightsaber, methinks.

Especially with Episode VII coming out in December, I decided 2015 was a good year to reacquaint myself with a galaxy far, far away. It's not that I need to brush up on plot points before the new movie, though some of the details of the prequels are pretty hazy at this point (but figure not to be too relevant for The Force Awakens). It's more that it's just been too long.

I've gotten an additional inspiration from the recent attention drawn to Star Wars Ring Theory (, a lengthy scholarly essay (a thesis, really) by a guy named Mike Klimo, which posits that the structure of the six movies is a lot more elegant and more premeditated than anyone had previously thought. I'm still only about halfway through it, but so far, Mr. Klimo is convincing me that George Lucas is not only a purveyor of Ewoks and Gungans, he might also be a bit of a savant. In any case, his approach does not appear to be slapdash in the slightest.

So I'm going to divide the year into six two-month sections, and watch one Star Wars movie in each. I'll go in order of the episodes. So The Phantom Menace will be due before the end of February. Following that will be Attack of the Clones by the end of April and Revenge of the Sith by the end of June. Then the original trilogy will get their turn by August 31st, October 31st, and, well, before The Force Awakens opens on the 17th of December (yes, we in Australia get it one day early). 

Revenge of the Sith is the only of these movies I haven't already seen twice, which is kind of funny, since I tend to think of it as my favorite of the prequels. I saw the other two prequels twice in the theater, and I think I saw The Phantom Menace one additional time on video. For the original trilogy, I've lost count of total number of viewings, but probably approaching ten for each, with Return of the Jedi lagging a viewing or two behind the others. 

The timing of these viewings is a bit odd, though, in that it's just a smidge too early to be taking my son on the journey along with me.

Before Christmas I proposed to my wife the idea of watching the six Star Wars movies with my four-year-old prior to seeing The Force Awakens in the theater in December. By then he'll be five years and four months, which is a year-and-a-half older than I was when I saw Star Wars in the theater. And Lord knows, he's being subjected to other material that is more mature than I was watching when I was his age.

But we've both decided that perhaps these movies are just a tad too intense for him right now. He hasn't done all that well with live action -- you'll remember, we had to leave the theater before Paddington ended -- and some of the cartoons we've recently borrowed from the library have seemed a couple years too mature for him. (There's a Wolverine origin story that involves characters screaming in agony much of the running time.) 

So the historical precedent of my own life does not seem particularly relevant in this case. As I think I've discussed before, my parents pretty much had to take me to Star Wars if they wanted to take me to any movies at all, since there wasn't a good kid-themed movie coming out every other week back in 1977. Besides, they probably didn't realize that things like Walrus Man losing an arm, Greedo getting a cap popped in his ass, all sorts of mid-level imperial officers getting strangled to death, and Obi-Wan Kenobi being lightsabered into oblivion would be things that happened in this movie. If they had, maybe they wouldn't have taken me either.

Besides, doing it this year allows me to do something I haven't done before: watch the movies chronologically in terms of the story. That's not something I intend to do with my son. When we do get around to watching them -- to prepare him for the 2017 release of Episode VIII, probably -- we will watch them in the order of their cinematic release. And that'll be two years after I rewatch them this year, so I'll be ready for another dose.

Well, maybe not of the prequels ... but you make sacrifices for your kids. 

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