For you Star Wars fans who read my earlier suggestions on How Young Is Too Young For Start Wars that 8 was a good age to watch Star Wars for the first time, I have gone against my own advice!
We finally broke down and let the Boys watch Star Wars at age 6. And when I say Star Wars, I mean Star Wars. The first one. Han Solo, R2D2, Trash Compactor, lame Light Saber slap fight and all.
We had intended to wait until they were older, seven or eight seemed like a good age to start Star Wars. But we were forced into it.
You see, we were at my sisters house last weekend, and I was downstairs playing with The Princess when I noticed it had become very quiet. When I go upstairs, there are Speedy and Rainbow sitting in rapt attention in front of the TV with their 9 year old cousin who had decided to put on an episode of the new Clone Wars cartoon. There were lots of robots getting blown up, and lots of Bobba Fett lookalikes running around dodging lasers.
Now I certainly wouldn’t put Clone Wars on the same low level of the famed Star Wars Christmas Special, but it’s a pale imitation of what the real movie is all about. At the end of it, one of the clones stayed behind to blow up a giant bomb, thus killing himself and saving some random rock from being taken over as a base by the obviously evil robots.
Not only were there a ton of questions about why someone would blow themselves up, but suddenly my kids are beset by two ideas that I just couldn’t tolerate:
- That they had just watched the real “Star Wars”
- That the Stormtroopers were the good guys.
Well, that was it. The only way to clear the Clone Wars out of their head was to sit them down and watch the real thing.
Except there was one problem. After looking through our DVD collection, I realized we don’t actually own a copy of the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD. I used to have at least 3 different versions on VHS, but we’d long since rid our house of the VCR and video tapes. Somehow we had a copy of The Phantom Menace on DVD, but damned if I was going to let that be their first exposure to Star Wars.
That Saturday, the boys were SO excited to watch Star Wars they could hardly contain themselves. We made a couple of pizzas and whipped up a batch of popcorn (real popcorn with real butter from a real air popper, not the microwave junk) and started the movie. I almost had tears in my eyes while reading the opening scroll to them.
The boys, being almost 6, asked a ton of questions (“Daddy, which one is R2D2 and which one is C3PO?”, “Daddy, can Land Speeders fly?”, “Daddy, how big is the Death Star?”, “Daddy, what’s a tractor beam?”, etc.) but were also held on the edge of their seats throughout the movie and both jumped up and shouted “YES!” at the end when Luke blew up the Death Star. The both immediately requested to watch it again, but since it was bedtime it was going to have to be another time.
All in all, it was a great experience with both boys saying they really liked it, with no bad dreams the night after and days afterward of light saber battles and binocular carrying (I’d forgotten how cool Luke’s special binoculars were).
Will we watch Empire? No, probably not for a long time. Empire is considered by many to be the best of all the Star Wars movies but it’s also quite dark and menacing, far more than most of the other films. I might consider showing the The Phantom Menace, but Empire Strikes Back is an older kids film.
Yeah, I know, I went against my Star Wars age limit once already, but this one I intend to keep.
Anyone else have a young kid Star Wars watching story they’d like to share? How old were your kids when you introduced them to Star Wars?