I finally got to see the final episode of the Star Wars trilogy last night. My kids, Keenan (rising 5th grade) and Kendall (rising 3rd grade), had been begging since it opened to see it. Watching a film with your kids is a very informative and challenging context — a new context for me (we just haven't gone to many movies as a family) that offers a whole new perspective on message and delivery.
My kids alternated between engrossed, overwhelmed, and even impatient with the intense action and battle scenes. Seems that you can only see so much of multi-dimensional, high speed, spacecraft chases and battles before the point becomes redundant — "Anikan and/or Obi Wan are in big trouble and it will take a heroic effort to get out of this situation." But they were deeply engaged by the drama, betrayal, and good vs. evil themes. The great narratives of life seem to grab us, whether portrayed poorly or skillfully. One of the best parts of the experience was our conversations of these themes on the way home — why one who knows good chooses evil, the fine line between love and betrayal, the fine line between trust in a community, taking responsibility, and autonomous foolishness. We used a different language, but my kids really got these points. It was fun to translate these themes into their world of experiences and understanding. And, of course, they loved the epic light saber duels on high places above tumult and ruin! And they loved, as both would put it, "not so much mushy-mush!"
I felt like Anikan's journey to the dark side merited 500 pages in a novel or its own trilogy in film. It is so hard to compress complex journeys into a medium like an action movie.
George Lucas has often commented in interviews about his use of color in these movies —
•A New Hope — dominated by the desert sand, tans, and browns of Luke's home
•Empire Strikes Back — white ice and snow, white clouds, and the murky slime of Yoda's exile
•Return of the Jedi — the deep greens of Endor
The deep, fiery reds of Revenge where breathtaking to me — warfare, fiery explosions, red sunsets, the fire of the Jedi temple, and the apocalyptic scene of Vader's battle with Obi Wan in the midst of a volcanic meltdown. This color conveyed the level of rage, evil, horror, and imminent collapse of an era found in the story.
I want to be friends with the wookies. Everyone needs — huge, furry, not overly conversant, intensely loyal, clever, and utterly fearsome to enemies — companions in life.
By no means was this a "perfect movie." But I thoroughly enjoyed it and will see it again. I'm a very willing consumer for grand stories of betrayal, redemption, and hope.