Thursday, 6 September 2007

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away

I just love it when the newspapers chew over the big issues. Last week in the Guardian’s Notes and Queries column Andrew Brannan wrote in wanting help.

In what sequence should he show his young son the Star Wars episodes?

I quite liked the reply from Neil Rodgers in Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire. “Would it not be more challenging to consider which order to introduce a young son to the Dr Who series?”

Sharon Shaw, from Tunbridge Wells, probably spoke for millions when she suggested that starting with the Phantom Menace (Episode I) he risked putting the child off.

She said she and her husband planned to unfurl them in the following order. Episode IV (A New Hope); V (The Empire Strikes Back); I (The Phantom Menace); II (Attack of The Clones); III (Revenge of the Sith and VI Return of the Jedi.

“This way they get drawn into the simple wonder of the originals, before being left on the cliffhanger at the end of Empire to watch the back stories,” she added.

Gianluca Newcombe, aged nine, from north London, gave the child’s view: “I watched all the Star Wars films with my twin brother and my father in order I-VI. I advise everyone to so you don’t get confused.

“For example, the Emperor dies in Episode VI but then if you go and watch Episode I after that he is alive again!”

You cannot argue with that.

My conundrum has been that R2D2 has fairly limited powers in the original three and he fair clunks around as the Rebellion is threatened by hordes of Galactic Stormtroopers. But in the prequels, it can zoom about hanger decks and has all kinds of capabilities.

That’s not logical unless machines, like aging Jedi warriors, lose their potency. Watching it in chronological order would lend credence to Luke’s assertion in Episode IV to a sceptical Han Solo that Ben is a great man.

I could go on but then I’d have to go out and buy episodes I-III watch them and then IV, V and VI all with a critical eye.

I haven’t got the time because I have an 18 month old son to get through his first week in crèche and to prepare for my combat on Friday morning in the second match in the journalists’ tennis tournament on the unforgiving terre battue etc etc at Roland Garros.

It’s been a bit damp today and that will slow conditions down. That’s not going to suit my all action game.

On the subject of losers at Roland Garros, I was watching Federer hack up Andy Roddick in the quarter-finals at the US Open earlier. It was a real slugfest.

Roddick, dressed in a black T shirt, black shorts and white socks, was a pumped-up dynamo of aces, crunching forehands and grunts. Federer, kitted out in all black, was by contrast, silent poetry.

I’ll never have his dazzling array of shots but I can at least emulate his on court comportment.