When I was 7, my days were filled with light saber battles in the backyard,
complicated Death Star scenarios performed by my 4-inch Kenner plastic figures and messy attempts to wind my long blond locks into side buns. At night, I would
take that same light saber, hide under my blue blankie adorned with images of
Leia, Luke and Han and pour through comics illustrating their adventures.
you haven’t guessed by now, I was totally a Star Wars nerd.
Then I grew up. As a tween, Star Wars was replaced with Siouxie and the
Banshees. I gave up on the side buns and instead tried teasing my hair. Han Solo no longer made my heart flutter. That was now a job relegated to John
Although I had boxed up the well worn blankie, the piles of comics and the banged up action figures, my Star Wars allegiance was still there. It
was just being safely stored in my parent’s basement.
Over the years, I never hesitated to declare my love for
Star Wars. It was an important player in my childhood, like a favorite playmate
or a cherished pet. But here’s the thing: although I kept this candle burning
in my pop culture loving brain, I hadn’t actually seen the films for approximately 30 years. (I’m talking
about the original trilogy, not the Jar-Jar Binks, fancy-pants follow-ups.) I’d seen the first three so many times as a kid that they were etched
into my mind (and soul). I didn’t need to see them again (I thought).
With much anticipation (oh my God, Luke! Leia! Han!),
anxiety (oh my God, will she hate it?), and awe (oh my God, it’s been so
long!), we watched “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the
Jedi” over a series of nights.
My girl? She loved them. I had a convert.
My job was done. Or so I had thought.
While viewing the series, another thing happened: I saw "Star
Wars" through a completely different lens. I was watching them as a “been there,
done that” adult rather than a wide-eyed child, and there were a whole bunch of
things that totally surprised, nay, shocked me.
1. Luke Skywalker is totally whiny
He’s like the male equivalent of Jane Brady via Tatooine — naïve,
wide-eyed, and totally whiny. George Lucas recently said he initially made the
film with 12-year-old
boys in mind. Seeing Luke from a mom lens puts his character much more into focus. He’s not the epic hero I thought he always was, more like a
slightly annoying but well-meaning adolescent.
I hate typing that sentence. Hell, I hate thinking that sentence. But I have to
face facts: Han Solo is a jerk. I still love him, will always love him. But
after seeing the films as an adult, a woman who has had my fair share of
run-ins with real life Han Solo types, I can’t see him the same way as I once did.
The scene where Leia confesses her love for Han before he gets frozen, man,
that made me cringe.
4. Yoda is, like, totally Zen,
I’ve recently become more mindful of, well, mindfulness. I’m a coffee addicted,
go-go-go kinda gal. My daughter goes to a school that not only promotes, but practices, mindfulness. Now, finally, I’m getting it. So when Yoda aptly dresses
down Luke in a few swift swipes saying:
“All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his
mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement.
Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless.”
I was totally mindful that he’s preaching the key “be here
now” mantra. He also gets all Zen about the Force saying:
“For my ally is the Force and a powerful ally it is. Life
creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous
beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here,
between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes.”
If Yoda existed in real life, he’d be that really wise dude running a yoga
studio in Palm Springs.
5. Special effects ain’t so special now
When I was a kid, those special effects in the
original “Star Wars” kicked ass. Now they seem like a something a 17-year-old kid could create in their
basement. That’s purely a old school vs. new school issue. There have been so
many advances in movie special effects, spearheaded by Lucas himself (with ILM
and LucasFilms), since the original came out 38 years ago.