Saturday, June 7, 2014

Tatooine is Really UAE!

Having just arrived back from Emirates, I of course have Star Wars on the brain. As every red-blooded Earthling knows, Star Wars VII is currently in production. Maybe not everyone knows that it is hidden somewhere in the desert between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Therefore, with the Tatooine sand fresh between my toes, I realized that I still owed Ted a Star Wars movie.

When Ted was an infant, possibly before he was even born, I started to consider how best to approach the Star Wars problem. This was often debated up until his fifth birthday, the date I had arbitrarily picked for his indoctrination into Star Wars lore. Do we introduce the movies as we experienced them, IV-VI, or as they were intended I-VI?

There are those that will still argue with me, but unless you are going to watch the movies with my kids, my final judgment stands. My rational is thus; the movies defined childhood for my generation and the next one. Ultimately, I have to accept that they are infact children’s movies. We loved them as kids for the humor and the action. As teenagers we saw the beauty of the Force and idolized Han Solo's resistance to authority. The next three were terrible, they didn’t reach the adult audience, they didn't have the layersf. Still, kids loved them.  Yes, the epiphany that Darth Vader really is Luke’s father is lost, but kids don’t really care about that stuff anyway.  When Disney announced that three more movies were forthcoming, my decision was made. My kids would see them in order through the end.

When Ted turned five I started the movies. Someone would take Josie out for something special of her own and then Ted and I would make Star Wars an experience. I would try for the projector or popcorn, but the first movie was most memorable. We watched in a Jo’burg hotel room and halfway through the movie the computer battery died. I plugged the computer into the transformer and within 5 minutes the transformer blew up. I had to air out the room and then find an Apple store to replace the fried cord before Ted could finish the movie. I stalled for a while, trying to avoid movie III which was dark and scary for a five year old. Over the course of the year, we fit all five in. Today we watched VI.

Ted constantly asks questions not at all relevant to the story and talks over dialog. Yoda is dying and all Ted can do is chatter on, “Is Yoda dead? Is Yoda dead? How is he going to die?” “No, damnit! You just missed the line ‘There is another.’ That is huge to the story line.” Good thing I can quote all the missed lines, there were a lot today. He doesn’t care. He loved the Ewoks and laughed when a storm trooper would die in some comical way.

Watching the movie today brought flashbacks of playing with my cousins. They always had the best toys. They had the Jabba the Hut that slid over a box/pit hiding an imaginary Rancor. I think they had speeders and the Ewok village too, but it was Jabba in his lair that I remembered in detail today. Could even remember the smell. You know, that indescribable, plastic and rubber, new toy smell. We played for hours with those figurines.  I distinctly remember the Ewok Adventure movie being overhyped and terrible. We hated the movie, but still pretended to explore with Wicket. 30 years later, I still remember his name.

Watching the movies with a child confirms my belief that this is a series for children. Kids in almost every culture know them, whether in Tunisia or UAE. I am looking forward to sharing Star Wars with Josie next year.

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