Soon, the new Star Wars movie, The Clone Wars will be out. (If you want to count down the time, join my children and watch the seconds pass by in breathless anticipation here.) There is little doubt that I will soon find myself in a theater with at least my two oldest children seeing the film.
Here’s the problem: once they have seen The Clone Wars, how do I avoid showing my children Episodes I-III? As a child, I loved the first three movies (Episodes IV-VI). Even now, I still enjoy watching them, and over the last six months, my two oldest children have become huge fans of them as well. But I have strenuously avoided showing them I-III, on the ground that they range from mediocre (at best) to awful. (As an aside, I saw Episode II with Dan, and I think it may have been the worst cinematic experiences of both of our lives.) Unfortunately, my understanding is that The Clone Wars is set between Episodes II & III, so they will have an even better case for their “need” to see the other Episodes. (They already have a good idea of what happens in these films, through books and friends.) And, to be honest, I suspect that they would actually like Episodes I-III, much for the same reasons that they love those Ewoks in Episode VI. George Lucas at least certainly still knows how to please his target demographic.
The question I have been struggling with is whether, after The Clone Wars, I should still refuse to show them Episodes I-III. Remember, my objection is artistic. They already know Anakin turns evil, etc., and frankly the incomprehensibility of the rest of the plot won’t bother them. Plus, while no doubt the violence should bother me, that’s a battle my wife and I lost long ago in this particular case. So should I show them these episodes, or am I right to shield them from what I deem to be a cinematic disaster?