Thursday, July 12, 2012

[Cinerati] How Jedi are Like MLB Managers

To date, my daughters History and Mystery have had only limited Star Wars exposure.  They've seen one episode of the digital Clone Wars cartoon, a couple of the "trips" on Star Tours, and the first Star Wars movie.  No, not that first movie, the actual first Star Wars film -- the one that's called A New Hope to more recent generations of viewers.

So far, History and Mystery love the franchise.  They love Luke and Leia, but their all time favorite is Darth Vader.  They adore him and desperately want to play with him.  Jody and I have tried to get the girls picked at a couple of sessions of Jedi Training Academy during visits to Disneyland, but even dressing them in matching Stormtrooper Stand-Up to Cancer T-shirts (a gift of my dear friend Joel) hasn't prompted their selection.  Jody has observed that the selection trend by certain Jedi Masters has a noticeable gender bias, but I want more points of data before I make a decision in that regard.  If it is the case, I will definitely be sending management a stern letter.  But the Jedi "cast members" are comprised of a nice mix, so I'm willing to believe that our 4 or so attempts are too small a sample to make generalizations from -- though not too few to mention in passing.  But that is not what this post is about, so back on track.

As I stated, Mystery and History adore the Star Wars franchise and even create their own stories from time to time using their plush Darth Vaders.  Sharing Star Wars with my daughters -- and all my other quirky interests -- is one of the great joys of parenting.  But I am resistant to sharing the more recent installments of the franchise with them.

Sometimes, take The Empire Strikes Back for example, my reason for delay is tonal.  Empire is a great film, but tonally it's a bit much for 4 year old who weep uncontrollably at the end of Toy Story 3 because Andy leaves his toys behind.  I can only imagine the response that seeing Luke's hand being cut off would have on them.  Similarly, Darth Maul freaks the girls out a tad.  Darth Vader, to Mystery and History, is a cool robot who's sometimes bad and sometimes -- like when he's working at Disneyland -- a good guy.  They like to pretend to be Darth Vader.  Maul, on the other hand, genuinely freaks them out.  Which is good.  That's good character design.  I'm just not ready to show the girls this guy getting cut in half and all the resulting questions.

Other times, my resistance is entirely due to the fact that I don't want my daughters to see the "face-palmingly silly" moments that accompany many films in the franchise.  I'm not one of those who thinks that these moments ruin films -- except making Han shoot second which is ridiculous as it only makes him seem incompetent if lucky.  For the most part, I think every film in the franchise has its groan moments.  How "fast" did Han do the Kessel run?  How many years does it take the Sarlacc Pit to digest you?  Isn't that longer than you'd be alive in the first place?  Jar-Jar...  Pod races... Gambling with the lives of 8 year olds...  Okay, the newer films have more than the older films, but all the films have them.

To be honest though, some of the silly moments can be endearing as well.  Think of Han Solo shooting the comm system, or Luke leaning back after being kissed by Leia, or even C3PO as the storyteller golden god of the Ewoks.  These moments are silly, but downright charming.

Recently, Cracked did a post featuring 10 deleted scenes that would have ruined the films they were intended to be used in.  For the most part, they were correct.  When it comes to their moment from Revenge of the Sith, I disagree.  Would the moment -- in the video below -- have made me groan?  Yes, but I think I would have liked it too.  First, it shows the death of a Jedi featured in the first Clone Wars animated series.  It's kind of nice to bring her into the films.  Second, it makes Jedi look like Mike Scioscia.  All of the facial touching for a combat dialogue that looks like baseball batting/running signals has a certain appeal to me.  Not just because I'm a baseball fan, but because the thought of History and Mystery touching their cheeks and noses pretending that they are planning how to defeat Darth Vader has a certain appeal to me.  I can also see how fun this would be around the RPG table.  It might make me crazy, but I think the Jedi in my world are all going to use these kinds of hand signals.  Who knows, maybe someone will write a companion book to The Hidden Language of Baseball entitled The Hidden Language of the Jedi.  I'd buy it.

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