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  • On First Looking Into Lucas’ Star Wars October 10, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite , trackback

    Most father’s have a tic list of things that they long to do with their children: riding on bikes, playing Risk, collecting horse chestnuts… And Beach is pleased to say that he and his four-year-old  daughter have just achieved the most important of them all: watching Star Wars together while eating caramelized popcorn.

    Star Wars has long had an intoxicating effect on the present author: he saw it as a child (aged four?) and was mesmerised. He saw it as an adult and realised it was not quite the ‘classic’ he remembered, though was still, against expectations, moved. Then he dragged himself to see the prequel films where the Star Wars universe worked its disturbing magic again notwithstanding some extraordinarily ill-judged scenes. But would it work on demanding little Miss B who refuses to wear anything but purple and who has staged walk outs of Disney cartoons because she disapproves of witches?

    Well, luckily for her father, little Miss B likes fairies, dragons, mermaids and, crucially, princesses. Next, by great good fortune, one of the main characters of the Star Wars franchise shares a family member’s name: so that was another thing working towards the success of the project. Then about three and a half minutes in Darth Vader walked on with that terrifying where’s-my-inhaler voice and was not interpreted as a witch (this had been Beach’s main fear). From then on in, it was, as the cousins say, a slam dunk.

    But what makes Star Wars so gripping for an infant and an adult who watch it side by side? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com It is one of the few films that father and daughter have enjoyed together: Beach can’t say the same, for example, of Brother Bear or any of the Peppa Pig marathons he has endured.

    Well, it is certainly not the script: there is some amusingly ill-judged banter including a scene where Luke and Han exchange notes on Princess Leia. It is not particularly the actors and actresses either: no Oscars here, though Alec Guiness came close.

    In the end, George Lucas stumbled or borrowed (reading Joseph Campbell)  a few effective archetypes and a metaphysical system (‘the Force’) to wash it down: is the Force sci-fi buddhism? If Darth Vader had ended up looking like that red and black goon in the Phantom Menace and if the Force had been replaced with sci-fi Christianity then the film would have been a mere 1970s curiosity, lost to history.

    Little Miss B was most fascinated by Princess Leia: which funnily enough was Beach’s main interest as a child. Our four-year-old hero seemed to admire the feistiness of PL and at one point asked, after her majesty had despatched some undeserving Imperial Star Troopers: ‘can she kill with her hands too?’ This probably tells us more about Little Miss B than about Princess Leia…

    And when Beach’s daughter was asked if she’d like to watch a sequel? Her immediate answer was: ‘Will Darb Vadder [sic] be there?’ Beach guesses that she disapproved of the black-gowned one, but clearly couldn’t wait to make his acquaintance once more.

    As we are on the topic some Star Wars links. First Star Wars in earth history. Second, brilliant Italian comic art turning Star Wars into a high school flick  and the immortal Christmas special  (if you like Star Wars and you’ve never seen this you are in for a treat) AND some background to Lucas’ biggest mistake.