A friend of mine recently mentioned that he was re-watching all of the Star-Wars with his kids. "You know they get the good and evil thing with Anakin". I thought it was a wonderful idea and I went to buy all 6 episodes at the local Target store.
I asked my friend: "What order do you watch them in?". He said "the original order, you start with number 4 and so on, you do 4-5-6-1-2-3".
We had watched Episode 4 back when my twins were 2 year olds. When Darth Vador appears the first time, it is truly scary and both boys poopped their pampers at the same time and I thought to myself: "Hmmm, I either just traumatized them for life or they are immune to everything".
This time around I started again with 4-5 and stopped midway to restart with 1-2-3-4-5-6. The problem with the historical thread is that it is very annoying and confusing for the kids. My 5 year olds are lost in the Anakin thread, "wait he is this big bad guy and now he is this kid? and this teenager? and isn't obiwan dead?"
It makes it very hard to talk about the plot of the movies amongst ourselves as I refer to the "first movie, I mean the fourth one" and so on, getting nothing but confused looks from my boys.
My 8 year old girl solved my problem. She gets the "new" stuff. She came to me and said "Dad, you know, we should really watch the movies in the new order." I asked why, she said "because Star Wars really is the story of Anakin, his saga, from birth to death, how he becomes Darth Vador". I paused for a second to think about it and realized she was entirely right. We (those who saw 4-5-6, then 1-2-3) tend to think of Star Wars as the story of Luke and Han Solo, but truly 1-2-3-4-5-6 is the saga of Anakin Skywalker.
Lucas always claimed he was trying to capture the hearts and minds of the young generation of viewers. That comment went above my head at the time but judging by my 5 year olds reaction to the pod race, he hit the target, they lap it up no pun intended. One of the twins went out for halloween disguised as Vador. Lucas won his bet.
My 8 year old cried at the end of number 6 when Vador dies. For me it was always a joyous moment so I was curious to hear why she was moved by Vador's death. "I liked Darth Vador, Darth Vador was GOOD". That gave me pause, as, like many of you I am sure, I grew up thinking Darth Vador was Evil incarnate. She explained something about the struggle in him, his love for Padme and his ultimate redemption. At the end of Episode 5 she was rooting for Luke to join his father to 'destroy the emperor' and we concluded that luke was a young cretin.
Rewatching the movies as the story of Darth Vador, really is an enjoyable experience, I can't wait for them to put out the Blu-ray versions as the DVD on Plasma really doesn't do credit to the graphics. Also episode 4-5-6 look like shit nowadays, just dated, and these movies could really be redone well I guess.