June 03, 2002

Movies... it's been fun seeing them (again and again), and it's been fun hearing my kids talk about them.

Most recently, my 4-year old son explained what happened at the end of Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, after watching it for the first time on DVD.

My Boy: "Him find crystal, put it in him pocket. Him haves burning hands."
Frankly, that's a better explanation than the one Dumbledore gave Harry. Nice summary, son.

My daughter and I saw Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones together, and before the movie we were reviewing things a bit. I asked if we were likely to see spaceships, and she said we were. I asked if we'd see spaceships blowing up, and she thought for a moment and said "yes."

Me: "I bet you're right. It wouldn't be Star Wars without spaceships blowing up.
My Girl: "Nope. It would just be Star."

That one had me laughing out loud. My girl is sometimes worried when I laugh at the things she says (we can't have daddy having fun at her expense), but this time she laughed too as she realized she'd told a really good joke. Here's hoping comedy runs in the family.

Lemme weigh in for just a moment on the "was Episode II good or bad" debate: It was good. Sure, sure, there were groaners in there (SPOILER ALERT: if your target can fly as fast as the missiles you use, keep using the rat-a-tat blasters. You were doing just fine with those, Jango) but the movie was meant to be fun for kids (and the kid in all of us) on one level, while having some actual meaning for the grownups on another.

Ask yourself: where do evil character traits like those demonstrated by the Darth Vader of 1977 come from? I think Lucas got the answer right -- most of us want to do good, and most of us want to do well. Anakin, the most gifted Jedi of his generation, wants all of this to great extent. He will confront, consume, and eventually be consumed by the power to accomplish these things... presto, instant despot. This is why power corrupts.

For those put off by Anakin the whiny, rebellious young man, look back at your own youth and ask yourself if you ever did something you regretted. Did you blame your actions on someone else? Did you ever throw a temper tantrum? Did you ever feel oppressed by those in whose care you'd fallen? Hmmm? Well, Lucas captured the dilemma of the rebellious, gifted child in all of us, and now warns us of the dangers implicit in our pride. Humble yourself, or when you are granted power, you may use it to ends you once would have abhorred.

Enough moralizing. Good movie. Spaceships blew up. Not just "Star". Star WARS. Yay!