I got my traditional Mother's Day nap yesterday (three years running makes it a tradition in our household) and was amazed how much that helped me, energy-wise, going into the new week. Perhaps it should be a weekly tradition!
Following the nap, I was treated to Chinese food and a video with my dear family. We decided to go on and see The Empire Strikes Back, as the sweet girl had decided (after weeks, or was it months?) that she was ready to move on in the Star Wars trilogy. She loved the first one, but I think the intensity made her want a long breather in between installments. Plus she's sort of charmed by the fact that her Daddy and I had to wait three years -- THREE YEARS! -- in between each movie when we originally saw them.
I love watching the Star Wars films with the sweet girl. It's fun to watch any story you know by heart with someone new, someone who is seeing the story fresh for the first time. It's even more fun when they're watching it from a young, innocent perspective. I like to observe what works and what doesn't work for her, from a story perspective. What does she intuitively get? What needs more explaining? What strikes her as hilarious? Not that every story needs to be simple enough to be fully understood by an almost nine year old, but it's still interesting to ponder what works and what doesn't on a child's level, and which story layers work on more than one level.
She loved Yoda, of course. She lit up like a Christmas tree when we told her he was voiced by Frank Oz! She is a BIG fan of Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear. She thinks Han Solo is very funny. The running gag of the hyperdrive not being fixed was probably her favorite part (well, next to checking out Princess Leia's changing hairstyles). She practically cackled in glee when Han landed the Millennium Falcon on top of the huge Imperial ship ("it looks like a tiny skylight!" she crowed) and then floated away with the garbage. I think she was momentarily stunned by the big reveal of Luke's parentage -- I was glad she was cuddled on my lap at the time, so I could squeeze her shoulder in sympathy.
Of course, Dana and I ended up getting into a long, geeky discussion, as we brushed our teeth and headed toward bed, about the prequels. And about how we would have written Darth Vader's back story completely differently. (Oh go on, admit it. You would have too! If any villain ever deserved a better back story than the one he got, it's Vader!)
But I think I've had prequels on the brain, ever since we started viewing (thanks to an unexpected wait on a movie at the top of our Netflix queue) the first season of Star Trek: Enterprise. This is a series we've often talked of wanting to watch -- we never caught any of it. Well, D. says he caught part of an episode once in the wee small hours when the sweet girl was a baby, but as you can imagine, that's a bit blurry. I don't even recalling seeing that. So it's all new to us.
I've been hearing that a lot of Trekkies weren't overly fond of the series because it messed with canon and with their preconceived ideas about what the Star Trek universe looked like prior to Kirk, Spock and crew took to the skies. They have my empathy, but I honestly think, based on the three episodes we've seen so far, that the writers were spot on, at least early. The third episode, which we watched a few nights ago, was especially rife with original series "vibes" and references. And it's just plain fun to see the beginnings of things we've grown accustomed to in the Star Trek universe, like phasers and transporters. Their trepidation over using the transporter (and their insistence on using shuttles) is particularly fun -- sort of like reading mystery novels set anywhere prior to the mid 1990s, when you sometimes find yourself gnashing your teeth because the characters in danger don't have cell phones. I also enjoy the sense that the crew members are like kids in a candy shop when it comes to space exploration. Meeting alien races! Cool! Much less high-falutin' talk (no prime directive yet) and much more "let's just go see what's out there." It works for me.
So in general, how do you feel about prequels? Should writers avoid them like the plague? Are they always rife with potential pitfalls? What about companion stories written from a different POVs (like Ender's Shadow/Ender's Game?)And what book, or series of books, would you most love to see "prequelized"? I'd love to have some geeky book/movie discussions about this topic.