Friday, May 27, 2005

Yoda...Every Kid's Hero

The Star Wars phenomenon is once again sweeping the nation. Not only is it coming close to making the most money at the box office ever, people are still clamoring to see it. Yes, I do know more than 3 people who have yet to see it.

My generation grew up on Star Wars and Yoda was always my favorite character. When I was a kid, I had the cassette/storybook version of Return of the Jedi, and my Mom can attest that I listened to it ALL the time. I completely wore it out – the ink on the cassette label was about all gone and the staples had worn through the book cover and it hardly stayed on. I think the signal to turn the page was the sound of a speeder instead of the usual “chime.” Of course, that made it even more cool. I also had The Empire Strikes Back sheets and blanket for my bed. Not to mention my action figures…C3PO came apart so Chewy could carry him on his back, and the land speeder had a trigger that would pop your guy off and it would “explode.” That’s right, even then I leaned toward the nerd side of life.

So what is so cool about Yoda?

First off, he’s green. I think we all remember our first love affair with a green character – Kermit the Frog. Not that Kermit and Yoda are anything alike, but I think the color association is important there. Plus, there weren’t any other truly green Star Wars characters. Yoda was unique in a way that none of the others were.

Yoda is funny. To a kid, a guy who’s the “master” is supposed to be a scary guy, but Yoda was totally opposite; Yoda was quirky. I mean, you try getting away with talking with syntax like that. Mom got tired of it pretty quickly, believe me. He also made Luke do stupid things – not in a mean way, mind you, but it was just funny to see Luke standing on his head just because Yoda told him to.

Yoda was simple. He didn’t try to make use of these big elaborate speeches to make Luke feel inspired. He just said a few of his backwards words and you totally knew what he meant.

Yoda’s house was cool too – and seeing Luke folded up and stuffed in there was hilarious. As a kid you thought, “Wow, that stuff is my size – Yoda’s the same size as me!”

Yoda’s influence faded as we got a little bigger and the movies got a little older. But he came back with a vengeance in the newest Episodes of Star Wars. I mean, sitting in a fully packed theater opening weekend in Austin, Texas (nerd capital of the south) a few years ago and watching Yoda pull out his lightsaber for the very first time was awesome. The crowd applauded. I mean, you knew in the back of your mind that Yoda had at some point wielded a lightsaber, but you didn’t think you’d actually get to see it. Not only could Yoda use a lightsaber properly, he definitely was the master Jedi we had all believed he was.

And seeing Yoda hang with the kids in the Jedi Temple was great. You knew that if you had met Yoda as a kid (come on – don’t tell me you didn’t pretend!) you would’ve loved him even more.

In Episode III, I think Yoda tugged at the heartstrings even more as he showed his disappointment in Anakin. It quite possibly explains his hesitation in taking on Luke as an apprentice.

Now, some say that the whole Yoda thing is not believable. Either they don’t like the graphics, the idea of Yoda actually fighting, or they’re just not true fans. If you don’t want to see Yoda fight, don’t go to see Star Wars. I mean, here you are, watching a movie about inter-galactic war with land speeders, droids, clones, Ewoks, Wookies, Siths, and Jedis, and you think that a little green guy is not believable? Get over yourself.

Personally, I look forward to one day introducing my kid(s) to Yoda. I hope they are able to use their imaginations to explore galaxies of nonexistent star systems and fall in love with characters that aren't real. I mean, the real world is for adults. Let the kids have their fun. And let the adults digress every now and then. Especially when Star Wars is on. Pin It



    Weird Al Yankovich had a song back in the 80s about him.....Yoda...Yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda...he's drinking a soda....yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda (or something like that....)

  2. It's quite sad that you know that. Ha! I didn't listen to Weird Al until the late 80's I guess, because I missed that one.