THE cultural significance of the Star Wars films is not in doubt. But when our six-yearold began testing me, off the top of his head, with Star Wars trivia questions I couldn’t answer but he could, I had to doff my lid to George Lucas.
Our tyro auteur hasn’t even seen a Star Wars film yet. I’m waiting for the right fatherson moment when the girls are at the ballet. And I haven’t decided the order in which to screen them: by release date or by episodes?
Probably the former, because episode three, Revenge of the Sith, is the most violent (although some people suggest that watching episodes four, five, one, two, three then six works very well).
And my son already knows Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s dad, thanks to his Star Wars Lego sticker book.
Hence my tip of the hat to Lucas. Not only did he create a seminal movie experience for my generation in the 1970s, he built a relentless marketing and re-distribution monster worth billions of dollars. Good for him.
It’s not good for us though. That monster has spoiled any potential shock my son would have viewing one of cinema’s great plot twists: ‘‘No, I am your father.’’
That’s just another example of why Lucas has such a fraught relationship with fans of his major creation.
The toys we can live with, just; the final three movie ‘‘prequels’’ less so. But Lucas’s severe tinkering with and re-engineering of his films, not at all.
Something that was so profound in 1977 has become cynical in 2012. 3D version, anyone?
That’s one of the tenets of Alexandre O. Philippe’s zippy, if whiny, prosecutorial documentary The People vs George Lucas (M, Hopscotch, 96 min, $19.95). Sure, this doco has a limited audience — men — but it has its fun moments if you are frustrated with Lucas. Best of all, it assembles a withering array of Star Wars parodies and mash-ups.
Me? I’m a live-and-let-live person. I loved Star Wars in the 70s and 80s and tolerated it in the 90s. However, Lucas made them, I didn’t. He can do with them what he wants.
But after the series has been debased my son goes in eyes wide open. And that’s no way to experience cinema.