Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Phantom Rascal

A few years ago, I was watching a documentary on PBS about Joseph Campbell.  As they spoke about the myths and themes about Star Wars, I had a strange feeling.  It wasn’t as though I felt that I had been duped, but somehow there was a part of me that felt a bit… bamboozled when I found out that Lucas was plunking age-old archetypes into a futuristic setting:  Kenobi was just the mage?

Solo, my personal hero, was just another renegade, rogue figure? 

Oh, George.  You rascal.  

Then, as I watched the 3D version of The Phantom Menace with my nephews—both roughly the same age and pluckiness of young Anakin—a realization sunk into my brain.  Actually, I should say I spent most of my time watching my nephews watch The Phantom Menace.  Anyway the realization was this:  It doesn't matter whether or not Darth Vader’s helmet was just a death mask…

What matters is that my nephews were enthralled. 

By Star Wars! 

They were terrified by Darth Maul, and they cheered when Anakin won the pod race.  And as the credits began to roll, they applauded. 

Did they get enthralled by Star Wars as much as I did when I was their age?  Will they keep Luke’s perseverance against the Dark Side in mind as they travel through life?  Will they value the lessons so much that they one day bring their nephews to watch the films, only to watch them watch the films?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But that I still get a kick out the movies, and I can talk about them with my second grade nephews, well that's pretty good stuff, friends.  It may be some of the best stuff there is.

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