“I Bet All The Nerds Loved Princess Leia” – K’
For a Sci-Fi fan, there is nothing more pleasurable than revealing one of your favorite stories or movies to a person who has never read, seen or experienced it. Even better is if that person is a child. Just think about it. Blowing a youngling’s mind with Star Wars, Aliens, or Terminator is just as rewarding as getting a chance at watching it all over again.
This weekend I got that chance as I sat with my 16yr old Padawan and broke out the original Star Wars Trilogy for her to experience for the first time. While I expected her to fall in love with the series just like everyone else has. What I didn’t account for was her bringing my attention to a number of things that clashed with modern culture (stay-tuned).
Though K’(that is what I will be referring to her as) is a gifted, honor student, who is a bit more mature than your average kid, she is still very much a child at heart, so I expected her to react to the series in a certain way. Let’s just say that I was taken by surprise…
A New Hope
When A New Hope started I found myself constantly checking to see if she was paying attention. It was hard for her to hide the cynicism being that Star Wars is so old. No matter how many renditions and fixes George Lucas does, the movie looks its age. This young girl, being the same to scoff at my 2D parallax video games for being “ugly” was not taking to the costumes and puppetry of the original movie very well. One of her main comments was “why does everyone look so funny?” A valid question I suppose, which I chalked up to the bigger hair, raw 70’s look, and Luke’s ugly Tatooine fashion.
In the infamous scene where Greedo corners Han and catches a face full of blaster, K’ looked at me like “What was that!?” Due to the ugly, edited-in shot where they tried to make it look like Greedo shot first. This prompted me to explain to her that the scene was “fixed” and she should look at it as Han killing Greedo who misses in retaliation due to his life leaving his body. How else would I explain a seasoned Bounty Hunter missing a dead-to-rights shot on his mark?
Surprise comment: “I like Jabba!” – Who the hell likes Jabba The Hutt? Apparently 16 yr old science nerds like the slug. Lucas placed an extra scene in my movie where Han Solo runs into the serpentine gangster and pleads his case for paying him back the money he owes. Somehow Jabba’s charm comes across in this scene because K’ took a liking to him. I am still confused as to why.
The Empire Strikes Back
Since K’ is all about girl-power (started trying her hand at Martial Arts after seeing Bai Ling kick some boy’s ass in a b-movie) I thought that Leia Organa would be her favorite character. I was right, but she explained why in a very interesting way.
K: I bet all the nerds love Princess Leia.
Me: Well… ya you’re right, but what makes you say so?
K: Well she is the only woman that I have seen… wait no there was Aunt Beru. But Leia is really, really, pretty, and she’s a badass.
I have never thought about the fact that Leia was the sole woman in the original series… I thought there were some female X-wing pilots but the prequels having a number of women had me assuming wrong.
Due to the hour being late, and the impact of certain scenes, I made sure K’ noticed Yoda saying “there is another”. I also checked to see if she noticed that Luke could mentally connect with Leia the same way he could with Vader. I thought that this was pushing too hard, but it still took her seeing The Return of The Jedi for her to realize that Leia was Force-sensitive and the “other Jedi” that Yoda was referencing. This made me happy.
When the reveal from Vader came – you know… the famous “I Am Your Father”, instead of being shocked, K’ laughed! It was disappointing that the scene had none of the impact it was meant to have. This struck me as one of the main problems with Star Wars being as popular as it is… everyone knows the line, and the scene. Darth Vader is no longer the mysterious wraith that he was when we old folks watched it. Instead K’ laughed at Luke Skywalker’s face. A little part of me died…
First her love for Jabba, now she laughs at Luke in his moment of greatest pain. I think K’ is an agent of The Dark Side. Seems to be a trend with young women:
The Return of The Jedi
Surprisingly Yoda’s obvious puppet animation did not bring out K’s cynicism like I expected. By the time she was starting this movie, she had accepted the look, and was fully immersed in the Rebel versus Imperial conflict. She perked up at the awesome scene with Mon Mothma (many Bothans died to bring us this information), being that she was the 3rd “strong” woman of note that she had seen.
K’ loved the Ewoks but thought their babies were ugly. Throughout our watching the series her comments on Storm Troopers and their terrible aiming was pretty hilarious. Jabba lost her as a fan when we finally saw him in his element… licking women, choking them out, enslaving them, and who knows what else. She was lukewarm to the nerd-favorite Boba Fett – probably because of the painful carbonite scene that she had witnessed at the end of Empire.
The great thing about watching this movie with a young girl is that her observances brought on a different angle and appreciation of the series for me. If Leia won her over so fast I can’t wait for her to watch the Star Wars that was made for her generation (the unpopular prequels). With more women to like (Shmi Skywalker, Shaak Ti, Luminara, Padme Amidala, Aayla Secura…) I wonder which will be her favorite. Will she hate Anakin and lose respect for Vader due to his portrayal – like the rest of us had, or will she sympathize with him? We shall see, and I can’t wait to take that journey with her.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.