a new hope

last night was family night in the drenner household. family night means blankets on the living room floor, eating there, and watching a movie. needless to say the boys love family night. the last family night, about a month ago, was significant: james and miles' first viewing of a star wars film. they've seen the cartoon network's brilliant clone wars series-- if you haven't, check them out-- they're really good. the viewing last month was episode iv; in other words, old school, 1977. the original version, when lucas made the correct decision to leave han solo's encounter with jabba the hutt on the cutting room floor.

so what to follow the brilliance of episode iv with? james picked episode v-- the empire strikes back, from 1980-- and even better star wars film. why he chose that i do not know, although i am sure it has something to do with darth vader. like his dad before him, james has a powerful love for the dark side of the force. this came to him as naturally as luke skywalker's ability to pilot a land speeder-- no influence from dad. you can imagine how thrilled i am! then of course i could not find the dvd, it got misplaced in the move, i guess. so we settled on episode i, the phantom menace. yes, the one featuring not two of the coolest characters in the history of cinema, darth vader and han solo, but two of the biggest flops, darth maul and jar jar binks.

turns out lucas is still the genius we know he is, if not so much on the writing and directing side as the marketing side. jar jar, like the dreaded ewoks of return of the jedi, is nothing more than a ploy to get the little kids involved. nevermind good dialogue or awesome special effects-- make a four year old giggle or say "awww..." and they're hooked. it's no secret that episode i (1999) was made not with the generation x star wars geeks in mind, but trying to create a gen. y fanbase. boy, did it work. james loved jar jar, cracking up everytime he appeared on screen. he loved seeing a kid near his own age in a thrilling pod race, and well, he's not up to darth vader on the cool scale, but i think he kinda dug darth maul too.

how does this make me feel? a mixture of old and happy. no one will ever convince me that the 1977 and 1980 versions of star wars are not the best of the series-- even some of the best films ever. i say that with lots of nosatlgia, i know, but it's true. and i will always be disappointed with the 2000's versions, although i liked them all. but seeing my kids flat out hooked on star wars makes me feel good.

what about the church? has worship changed enough, or too much, to embrace a new generation? are we holding on too long to certain practices that have a limited appeal, or (as my experience has shown) are younger folk more "in tune" with the traditions of the church? who knows the answer; but as long as we are exposing young folk to the message, and they are digging it on their own, does it really matter which version they like best?