The Star Wars franchise has had plenty of ups and downs, but The Last Jedi was a two-hour-and-forty-minute expression of those ups and downs all in one shot. There were cheerful moments (moments when everyone cheered) and “Seriously?” moments. The movie was too ambitious and accomplished less by doing too much. There was a very interesting commentary on the role of religion in society as we see Luke’s struggle with the use of the Jedi and his desire to end the religion. It’s a good watch and a great movie for family discussion.
Tag archive: Star Wars
The Star Wars franchise portrays strong women in various ways throughout their movies. But, the gal who redefined for me what it was to be a princess of awesomeness was Leia. She wasn’t perfect, but she was an integral member of the rebellion against the Empire, the Force was strong with her, and she was brave and feisty.
Having been a fan of the Star Wars franchise since I was a small child, each new movie (except those three that shall not be named) brings fresh excitement. Rogue One lived up to the hype and filled in some blanks that I’ve been holding since I was seven. My review of Rogue One with discussion questions for families.
Recently, when on the checkout line in the supermarket, I caught an older gentleman staring intently at me. I was wearing my “Every great mother teaches her children the ways of the Force” shirt. When I caught his eye he said, “The Force…like Obi Wan.”
“That’s right!” I said.
“I wouldn’t want to be raising kids now.” he said.
Well, that was all I needed to hear. I have an annoying condition called “Runningoffathemouth” that prevents me from being silent if provided an opportunity to sound off. Frankly, I’m not sure how I still have any friends…
So, I ascended my soap box and said something about how raising kids in any time period has its challenges; that it’s never easy. He expressed his concern about what parents are up against with the culture being so contrary to anything wholesome. True enough, I said, but the tone and boundaries a family sets, the context and values that are modeled are up to the parents to provide. The way we treat one another and those outside of our family will become the standard of how our children behave when they are away from us. We have the most significant impact on the worldview our children will adopt, and we give them a foundation…and truth, justice and the American way!
(Cue the breeze blowing my cape behind me.)
This is going to sound really messed up at first, but that scene in Star Wars: A New Hope, when the Imperial Officers are all talking about their plans for the Death Star and Vader says, “I find your lack of faith disturbing,” and then uses the Force to choke Admiral Motti expresses so perfectly what being religious feels like sometimes.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s this part:
It’s not the part when Vader chokes him, because that’s just not right (even if there are times when I sooooooooo wish I could do that), but the conversation about how powerful the Empire thinks they are. In their hubris, they entirely overlook the power of something quiet, but much greater than themselves—something that can, and ultimately will take them down. Admiral Motti actually calls the Death Star the “ultimate power in the universe.” He taunts Vader mocking his, “sad devotion to that ancient religion.” I feel like I’ve heard that exact thing said to me before…or I might have drifted off into a Star Wars daydream…
More and more, religion is looked on with suspicion and, even worse, isn’t thought of at all. Now that I work with kids (I’m the Coordinator of Religious Education for a parish), I’m given an insight into their parents’ mindset. And before that, when I worked with young adults it was the same. Not only do most of them not have even a basic theological vocabulary, but the most basic Christian concepts are perfectly foreign to these young people. They are completely shocked when I tell them that, as people of faith, God should come first in their lives and that they should try to put others before themselves. No one ever told them that.
Our society seems to be moving in a direction that views religion as either the superstition of old people, or some vague authority that exists just to squish our fun. Like Darth Vader, I want people to recognize the power of the Force. Of course, he used it for evil for a long time, but he knew that those who used it for good and to promote justice and freedom for the oppressed—even without using fear tactics, or weapons of mass destruction—could overthrow what appeared to be an insurmountable enemy. It’s true in real life, too. With God, all things are possible. With faith lived in community, impossible things become a reality.
Saturday night I purchased a Star Wars album on iTunes because my stupid phone won’t let me have my Star Wars CD on it since it last updated. Anyhoo… I got to listen to the album on my way to work Sunday morning, rather loudly, in my car. This particular version comes with the “Fox Fanfare” and then goes into the “Main Title” for A New Hope. I often have an emotional response (not bawling or anything) to some of the Star Wars music; particularly Princess Leia’s theme and the Throne Room Finale—but that morning, going from the “Fox Fanfare” into the “Main Title” really got me. It was like all the excitement of every Thanksgiving night that I can remember as a kid, when there was a Star Wars marathon on and my whole family would settle down in front of the TV with leftover sandwiches to watch all three movies, the joy of seeing Return of the Jedi in the theater with my Dad and siblings, the honor of hearing John Williams conduct the Boston Pops on Independence Day at the Clam Shell all came rushing back on me.
And for your listening pleasure, I offer this YouTube collection of Mr. Williams and the Boston Pops…