No, I am your father

darthvaderWhen my two sons were about six years old, I sat down with them and we watched the Star Wars double trilogies together. This was a key moment in the father-son relationship. My eldest son gave the event the respect it deserved by dressing up in his Darth Vader costume and fiercely clutching his toy light sabre for the duration of the show.

More recently, at the age of twelve, we’ve enjoyed a couple of Bond films and the Bourne Identity together. I’m looking forward to watching the Matrix trilogy with them, and when they’re older teenagers we’ll tackle The Good, The Bad and the Ugly trilogy and the Godfather trilogy.

All the best films come in threes it seems, with the exception of Big Momma’s House. And what could be better than a trilogy than a double trilogy?

Interestingly, you can also think of Star Wars as the ultimate father-son relationship film. I’m talking about Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.

Vader: Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!
Vader: No. I am your father.

Admittedly perhaps this isn’t the best role model to present to a six year old, but it seemed to work out OK for my family. No long-term harm done, I think.

Another great film that has a father-son relationship at its heart is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with Sean Connery playing Harrison Ford’s dad. Yeah, I’m being serious.

These kinds of films work because they’re exactly what boys and dads are both happy to watch. (“I’m just going to watch that Indiana Jones film again with the boys. Yeah, I know I’m supposed to be cooking the dinner / mowing the grass / collecting your mother from the hospital but the kids really want me to watch it with them.”)

There are more thoughtful films dedicated to exploring the father-son relationship in greater emotional depth. Films often described using adjectives such as “touching”. But do you know what’s wrong with these films? They’re crap.

Much better are the kinds of fast-paced action films that include a father-son relationship without wallowing in it. Films like The Terminator, perhaps. Another trilogy. Oh yes!

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